robertogreco + australia   111

Plight of the Platypus
"The more scientists learn about this strange, elusive species, the more concerned they become about its future. But these new insights may ultimately help to save it."
platypus  science  biology  multispecies  animals  nature  wildlife  australia  2019 
april 2019 by robertogreco
Gangsters in Paradise - The Deportees of Tonga - YouTube
"In Gangsters in Paradise - Deportees of Tonga, VICE embeds with four Tongan nationals who have been sent back to the tiny island nation where they were born after serving prison time in New Zealand and the United States. Former gang members, they often struggle to reconnect with the culture, the language, and the people.

They are haunted by the stigma of their criminal pasts, which casts a pall over their employment prospects and puts a barrier between them and their compatriots.

Government support for returnees is non-existent, wages are low, and with Tonga in the midst of a methamphetamine crisis, the temptations to revert to the lives of crime they hoped to leave behind when they left prison are high."
tonga  deportation  borders  citizenship  crime  2019  repatriation  newzealand  us  australia  gangs 
february 2019 by robertogreco
Innovative Learning Environments & Teacher Change
"The Innovative Learning Environments and Teacher Change (ILETC) project is an Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Project funded for 4 years from 2016-2019. It brings together the expertise of leading researchers in education and learning environments and partner organisations in education and learning environment design and technology.

The project will be lead by Associate Professor Wesley Imms, who heads a cross disciplinary team of researchers from the Melbourne Graduate School of Education and the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning at The University of Melbourne. The project is affiliated with the Learning Environments and Applied Research Network (LEaRN)."
via:cervus  australia  learning  schooldesign  melbourne  education  teaching  architecture 
october 2018 by robertogreco
anja kanngieser on Twitter: "this is a long thread on #nauru, where i spent last week. nauru is currently most visible as a site for australia’s offshore detention of asylum seekers and refugees. it is also the location of a longstanding #phosphate mine
"this is a long thread on #nauru, where i spent last week. nauru is currently most visible as a site for australia’s offshore detention of asylum seekers and refugees. it is also the location of a longstanding #phosphate mine which covers over 2/3 of the island 1/22

#nauru is experiencing considerable #climatechange. im going to outline some of the social-environmental stresses i observed that nauruans, refugees and asylum seekers are facing, and why we need to talk about #colonialism and #environmental racism for #climatejustice 2/22

#nauru is a beautiful island. its main resource is #phosphate. germany colonised nauru in the late 1800s and in the early 1900s the british found phosphate and started to exploit it for fertiliser and munitions with australia and nz, who became nauru’s trustees in the 1920s 3/22

during both world wars #nauru was a strategic imperial site and was occupied by multiple nations. in the 1960s nauru gained independence and took over mining activities 4/22

these days its extremely hard to get onto #nauru. i was invited to do work on community #mitigation and #adaptation measures. my work involves speaking with community leaders, environment organisations, government workers, activists 5/22

it also involves making #bioacoustic recordings of environments - #nauru's mine, the reef, the lagoon. this means i spend a lot of time listening. this is some of what i was told: 6/22

#nauru is running out of land. there are too many people living on the coast, as topside (the mining site) has not been rehabilitated. its a moonscape up there - huge phosphate pinnacles segregated by steep drops. its hot - it feels like 50 degrees, and its super humid 7/22

no one really goes up there, except people working in the mine, ihms employees and the border force. and refugees and asylum seekers, because thats where the detention centres are. you cant play there or just hang out, its too hot, and if youre not in aircon its unbearable 8/22

#coastal erosion is bad around the north of #nauru. sea walls protect one area but then other areas get flooded. #kingtides flood the single road that runs around the island, meaning people cant get around to access services 9/22

houses on the coast side of the main road on #nauru get #inundated. because of a lack of land, people cant really move far 10/22

much of the ground water in #nauru is #contaminated, by waste, from overpopulated cemeteries leaking into the water lens, run off from the mine and sea water. there is a huge stress on water supplies 11/22

most of #nauru gets its water from the desalination plant, but it takes a long time to get water and if it breaks experts need to be flown in to fix it. not everyone has a water tank, so there are water shortages 12/22

its hard to grow food on #nauru so food is imported. there are long lines of people whenever a shipment of rice is due to arrive. cucumbers cost $13AUD, a punnet of cherry tomatoes $20AUD. people do not earn anywhere near enough money to be able to afford it 13/22

kitchen gardens have been established on #nauru, but they only feed the families that have them, a lot of people feel their soil is not adequate to growing food 14/22

reef fish stocks are depleted on #nauru, so there is a plan to build milkfish supplies in peoples home ponds. as the water is contaminated that means that the fish are contaminated. if people feed the fish to the pigs and eat the pigs, then that meat is also contaminated 15/22

the #phosphate dust from the mine causes respiratory issues in #nauru. it covers houses near the harbour and people refer to it as snow. while primary mining is almost complete, secondary mining is planned. this should last around 20 years, then the phosphate is gone 16/22

#nauru is getting hotter. its so hot that kids dont want to walk to school, which is not aircon. its so hot that no one is really outside during the day. the heat on the coast is not as bad as the heat on topside. but its still hot enough that you dont want to move 17/22

i was told that people remember it being 20 degrees cooler when they were kids. #nauru goes through extreme #droughts 18/22

there are issues with #biodiversity loss and strange movements of sea creatures. i recorded a dusk chorus at a mining site and heard only one bird. at the start of the year dead fish littered the reef. this happens periodically, no one could tell me why 19/22

the noddy birds, which people rely on for food, got a virus earlier this year and there were fallen noddy birds all over the roads. people have spotted orcas in #nauru’s waters. a dugong also washed up on shore. they are not known to inhabit that area 20/22

as i said, these issues affect everyone on #nauru. nauru is highly vulnerable to #climatechange. it is also hugely economically reliant on aid, on the money from the incarceration of refugees and asylum seekers and a rapidly diminishing natural resource: phosphate 21/22

this is why conversations about human rights and environmental justice in #nauru and the #pacific also need to include strong critiques of #neocolonialism, #racism and #paternalism. nauru wasnt always like this. these are ongoing impacts of colonisation 22/22"
nauru  climatechange  globalwarming  2018  anjakannigieser  environment  climatejustice  colonialism  islands  polynesia  australia  newzealand  activism  adaptability  oceans  fishing  health  biodiversity  multispecies  pacificocean  vulnerability  neocolonialism  racism  paternalism  colonization  birds  nature  animals  wildlife  water  waste 
october 2018 by robertogreco
M.I.A. and the Defense of Nuance | Affidavit
"Cancelling people is exhilarating, especially when it’s done by marginalized folks, those who so often experience the world through white supremacy—sometimes as a soft and subtle barrage, other times through vicious and terrifying means. The ability to dictate someone’s fate, when you’ve long been in the shadows, is a kind of victory. Like saying “Fuck You” from underneath the very heavy sole of a very old shoe. But while outrage culture has its merits, nuance has evaporated. So often it involves reducing someone to their mistakes, their greatest hits collection of fuck-ups.

In her song “Best Life,” Cardi B raps:

“That’s when they came for me on Twitter with the backlash/ "#CardiBIsSoProblematic" is the hashtag/ I can't believe they wanna see me lose that bad...”

This is her response to being cancelled for a now-infamous Twitter thread detailing her colorism, orientalism, and transphobia. Most recently, after her song “Girls” with Rita Ora was also deemed problematic, she made a statement: “I know I have use words before that I wasn’t aware that they are offensive to the LGBT community. I apologize for that. Not everybody knows the correct ‘terms’ to use. I learned and I stopped using it.”

Cardi brings up something that I keep coming back to: How accessibility to political language is a certain kind of privilege. What I believe Maya is trying to say is that American issues have become global. What she lacks the language to say is: how do we also care about the many millions of people around the world who are dying, right now? Why does American news, American trauma, American death, always take center-stage?

There are things we need to agree on, like the permutations of white supremacy, but are we, societally, equipped for social media being our judge, jury and executioner? I started to realize that the schadenfreude of cancelling was its own beast. It erases people of their humanity, of their ability to learn from experience.

This brings up the politics of disposability. How helpful is distilling someone into an immovable misstep, seeing them not as a person but as interloper who fucked up, and therefore deserves no redemption? How helpful is to interrogate a conversation, but not continue it? Is telling someone to die, and sending them death threats, or telling them they’re stupid or cancelled the way to do it? Who, and what, are we willing to lose in the fire?

M.I.A. and Cardi are similarly unwilling to conform to polite expectation. They both know that relatability is part of their charm. They are attractive women who speak their mind. This, in essence, is privilege, too—which then requires responsibility. The difference is that Cardi apologized."



"“Is Beyoncé or Kendrick Lamar going to say Muslim Lives Matter? Or Syrian Lives Matter? Or this kid in Pakistan matters?”

In 2016, when Maya made these comments in an ES Magazine interview, I remember being frustrated that she only accentuated the divide between non-black people of color and black folks, partially because so often we (Asians) say dumb shit.

The dumb shit I’m referring to w/r/t Maya is not only her tunnel vision when it comes to the complexity of race (plus the void and difference between black and brown folks’ experience) but also the incapacity—or stunted unwillingness—to further self-reflect on her positioning.

Because of her insolence, I had considered Maya undeserving of my alliance. Her lack of inclusivity and disregard of the complexity of political identity, especially in North America, was abominable. As a woman who had found success within the black mediums of rap and hip-hop, her smug disregard felt brash. It felt lazy.

But, as I watched the documentary on her life, I also began to see her complexity. One thing that strikes me about Maya is her personal perseverance. Her family went through hell to get the U.K. Her father’s political affiliations forced them to flee Sri Lanka. Arular was a revolutionary, and thus deemed a terrorist. He was absent her whole childhood. At one point in the film she describes riding on a bus in Sri Lanka with her mom. When the bus jerks forward, the policemen standing alongside casually sexually assault them in broad daylight. Her mother, Mala, warns Maya to stay silent, lest they both be killed. Her reality—of physical threats, of early loss—is stark. As she recalls the details in her candid, detached drawl, you imagine her grappling with the past like a lucid dream.

Herein lies Maya’s dissonance. She is the first refugee popstar, which allows her to subsume a state of Du Bois’ double consciousness. She is neither this nor that, she is a mixture of both East and West. Her experience seeps into her music like a trance, and these definitions are vital to understanding her.

She is agonized by the realities of war, of being an unwanted immigrant who fled from genocide into the frenzied hells of London, only to be pushed into a mostly-white housing estate system, replete with Nazi skinheads. “A tough life needs a tough language,” Jeanette Winterson writes in Why Be Happy When You Can Be Normal?, her memoir about her abusive stepmother. As I watch the documentary, I wonder, again, if what Maya lacks most is language.

In the current political climate, where Syrian refugees are denied entry into the U.S., and the Muslim Ban, or “Travel Ban,” is an attack on the very notion of being different in America, I began to understand this other part of Maya. How angry she might be for the lack of articulation when it came to refugees, when it’s still very much an issue. She came to music to survive. Art was a way to dislocate from the trauma, to inoculate herself from the past, and provide a new, vivid reality that was both about transcending where she came from, whilst also creating a platform to speak to her roots, to her lineage, to her people.

Tamil is one of the oldest languages in the world. The people that speak it are, right now, being wiped out.

Her understanding of race comes from the victim’s perspective. She not only experienced white supremacy in her work, but was forced out of the country where she was born. Someone like her was never supposed to succeed. But, whether it’s Bill Maher mocking her “cockney accent” as she talks about the Tamil genocide, or the New York Times’ Lynn Hirschberg claiming her agitprop is fake because she dare munch on truffle fries (which were ordered by Hirschberg), Maya has been torn apart by (white) cultural institutions and commentators. You can see how these experiences have made her suspicious in general, but also particularly suspicious of me, a journalist.

Thing is, she’s been burnt by us too—by South Asians. So many of us walked away, attacking her instead of building a dialogue. Her compassion, therefore, is partially suspended. It’s as if she’s decided, vehemently—because she’s deemed herself to not be racist, or anti-black—that the conversation ends. She feels misheard, misrepresented. For her, it’s not about black life mattering or not mattering. It’s about prioritizing human life, about acknowledging human death. But, in America, that gets lost.

You can understand Maya’s perspective without agreeing with her, but I had another question. How do you hold someone you love accountable?

*

The talk itself was many things: awkward, eye-opening, disarming. When I asked about her alleged anti-blackness, she brought up Mark Zuckerberg as evidence that she was set up... by the internet. That her online fans should know that she’s not racist, so that perhaps her one-time friendship with Julian Assange was why she was being attacked online. Her incomprehension that people could be upset by her remarks reflected her naivety about how the internet kills its darlings. Two weeks prior to our meeting, Stephon Clark was murdered, shot twenty times in the back by two police officers. To this she responded: “Yeah, well no-one remembers the kid in Syria who is being shot right now either. Or the kid that’s dying in Somalia.” It made me wonder if she was unwell, not on a Kanye level, but just enough to lack the mechanisms it takes to understand perspective.

Backstage after the talk, she said, “I don’t know why you asked me those questions.” I told her that I thought critique, when done with care, was an empowering act of love. I needed clarity for our community’s sake—many of whom felt isolated by her, a cherished South Asian icon. We need answers from her because we are all trying to grapple with our love and frustration with her.

I don’t want to absolve Maya. What I’m more interested in is how we can say “problematic fave” while acknowledging that we are all problematic to someone. Is there compassion here? Is there space to grow?

*

In They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us, Hanif Abdurraqib writes, “There are people we need so much we can’t imagine turning away from them. People we’ve built entire homes inside of ourselves for, that cannot stand empty. People we still find a way to make magic with, even when the lights flicker, and the love runs entirely out.”

In the recent months, I’ve re-examined Maya with sad enthusiasm. The beginning riff of “Bad Girls”: a women in full niqab racing a car through side swept dunes. Without question, it’s an aching kind of visibility, but the tenor is different. Listening to her now it feels weighted, changed.

Laconic and aloof, I remind Maya on stage that anti-blackness is not an American issue, it’s universal. Perhaps it’s ego, or shameful anger, but I know she cares. Before she begins to speak I realize that you have to build empathy when someone fails you. That they’re not yours to own. You have to try your best to talk to them, and that it’s never helpful to reduce them to a punchline. I believe in Maya’s possibility to grow. I believe in the possibility of change. Maybe that’s my own naivety, but it’s also my political stance. It’s not about … [more]
mia  fariharóisín  2018  privilege  language  cancelling  marginalization  colorism  transphobia  orientlism  cardib  socialmedia  disposability  whitesupremacy  race  racism  apologies  learning  power  islamophobia  islam  socialjustice  noamchomsky  modelminorities  modelminority  nuance  complexity  perseverance  srilanka  silence  refugees  politics  tamil  victims  compassion  blacklivesmatter  julianassange  yourfaveisproblematic  us  australia  anti-blackness  growth  care  caring  dialog  conversation  listening  ego  shame  anger  change  naivety  howwechange  howwelearn  hanifabdurraqib  visibility  internet  problemematicfaves 
july 2018 by robertogreco
Uranium: Twisting the Dragon's Tail | PBS
"Host and physicist Dr. Derek Muller unlocks the mysteries of uranium, one of the Earth’s most controversial elements. Born from the collapse of a star, uranium has brought hope, progress and destruction. It has revolutionized society, from medicine to warfare. It is an element that has profoundly shaped the past, will change the future and will exist long after humans have left the Earth."
classideas  science  documentary  uranium  radiation  aborigines  australia  physics 
may 2018 by robertogreco
When Scientists "Discover" What Indigenous People Have Known For Centuries | Science | Smithsonian
"Our knowledge of what animals do when humans aren’t around has steadily increased over the last 50 years. For example, we know now that animals use tools in their daily lives. Chimps use twigs to fish for termites; sea otters break open shellfish on rocks they selected; octopi carry coconut shell halves to later use as shelters. But the latest discovery has taken this assessment to new heights—literally.

A team of researchers led by Mark Bonta and Robert Gosford in northern Australia has documented kites and falcons, colloquially termed “firehawks,” intentionally carrying burning sticks to spread fire. While it has long been known that birds will take advantage of natural fires that cause insects, rodents and reptiles to flee and thus increase feeding opportunities, that they would intercede to spread fire to unburned locales is astounding.

It’s thus no surprise that this study has attracted great attention as it adds intentionality and planning to the repertoire of non-human use of tools. Previous accounts of avian use of fire have been dismissed or at least viewed with some skepticism.

But while new to Western science, the behaviors of the nighthawks have long been known to the Alawa, MalakMalak, Jawoyn and other Indigenous peoples of northern Australia whose ancestors occupied their lands for tens of thousands of years. Unlike most scientific studies, Bonta and Gosford’s team foregrounded their research in traditional Indigenous ecological knowledge. They also note that local awareness of the behavior of the firehawks is ingrained within some of their ceremonial practices, beliefs and creation accounts.

The worldwide attention given to the firehawks article provides an opportunity to explore the double standard that exists concerning the acceptance of Traditional Knowledge by practitioners of Western science.

Traditional Knowledge ranges from medicinal properties of plants and insights into the value of biological diversity to caribou migration patterns and the effects of intentional burning of the landscape to manage particular resources. Today, it’s become a highly valued source of information for archaeologists, ecologists, biologists, ethnobotanists, climatologists and others. For example, some climatology studies have incorporated Qaujimajatuqangit (Inuit traditional knowledge) to explain changes in sea ice conditions observed over many generations.

Yet despite the wide acknowledgement of their demonstrated value, many scientists continue to have had an uneasy alliance with Traditional Knowledge and Indigenous oral histories.

On the one hand, these types of knowledge are valued when they support or supplements archaeological, or other scientific evidence. But when the situation is reversed—when Traditional Knowledge is seen to challenge scientific “truths —then its utility is questioned or dismissed as myth. Science is promoted as objective, quantifiable, and the foundation for “real” knowledge creation or evaluation while Traditional Knowledge may be seen as anecdotal, imprecise and unfamiliar in form.

Are Indigenous and Western systems of knowledge categorically antithetical? Or do they offer multiple points of entry into knowledge of the world, past and present?

Ways of Knowing

There are many cases where science and history are catching up with what Indigenous peoples have long known.

For instance, in the past two decades, archaeologists and environmental scientists working in coastal British Columbia have come to recognize evidence of mariculture—the intentional management of marine resources—that pre-dates European settlement. Over the course of thousands of years, the ancestors of the Kwakwaka’wakw and other Indigenous groups there created and maintained what have become known as “clam gardens”—rock-walled, terrace-like constructions that provide ideal habit for butter clams and other edible shellfish.

To the Kwakwaka’wakw, these were known as loxiwey, according to Clan Chief Adam Dick (Kwaxsistalla) who has shared this term and his knowledge of the practice with researchers. As marine ecologist Amy Groesbeck and colleagues have demonstrated, these structures increase shellfish productivity and resource security significantly. This resource management strategy reflects a sophisticated body of ecological understanding and practice that predates modern management systems by millennia.

These published research studies now prove that Indigenous communities knew about mariculture for generations—but Western scientists never asked them about it before. Once tangible remains were detected, it was clear mariculture management was in use for thousands of years. There is a move underway by various Indigenous communities in the region to restore and recreate clam gardens and put them back into use.

A second example demonstrates how Indigenous oral histories correct inaccurate or incomplete historical accounts. There are significant differences between Lakota and Cheyenne accounts of what transpired at the Battle of Greasy Grass (Little Big Horn) in 1876, and the historical accounts that appeared soon after the battle by white commentators.

The Lakota and Cheyenne can be considered more objective than white accounts of the battle that are tainted by Eurocentric bias. The ledger drawings of Red Horse, a Minneconjou Sioux participant in the battle, record precise details such as trooper’s uniforms, the location of wounds on horses, and the distribution of Indian and white casualties.

In 1984, a fire at the battleground revealed military artifacts and human remains that prompted archaeological excavations. What this work revealed was a new, more accurate history of the battle that validated many elements of the Native American oral histories and accompanying pictographs and drawings of the events. However, without the archaeological evidence, many historians gave limited credence to the accounts obtained from the participating Native American warriors.

Hypotheses incorporating traditional knowledge-based information can lead the way toward unanticipated insights. The travels of Glooscap, a major figure in Abenaki oral history and worldview, are found throughout the Mi’kmaw homeland of the Maritime provinces of eastern Canada. As a Transformer, Glooscap created many landscape features. Anthropologist Trudy Sable (Saint Mary’s University) has noted a significant degree of correlation between places named in Mi’kmaw legends and oral histories and recorded archaeological sites.

Opportunities at the Intersection

As ways of knowing, Western and Indigenous Knowledge share several important and fundamental attributes. Both are constantly verified through repetition and verification, inference and prediction, empirical observations and recognition of pattern events.

While some actions leave no physical evidence (e.g. clam cultivation), and some experiments can’t be replicated (e.g. cold fusion), in the case of Indigenous knowledge, the absence of “empirical evidence” can be damning in terms of wider acceptance.

Some types of Indigenous knowledge, however, simply fall outside the realm of prior Western understanding. In contrast to Western knowledge, which tends to be text-based, reductionist, hierarchical and dependent on categorization (putting things into categories), Indigenous science does not strive for a universal set of explanations but is particularistic in orientation and often contextual. This can be a boon to Western science: hypotheses incorporating traditional knowledge-based information can lead the way toward unanticipated insights.

There are partnerships developing worldwide with Indigenous knowledge holders and Western scientists working together. This includes Traditional Ecological Knowledge informing government policies on resource management in some instances. But it is nonetheless problematic when their knowledge, which has been dismissed for so long by so many, becomes a valuable data set or used selectively by academics and others.

To return to the firehawks example, one way to look at this is that the scientists confirmed what the Indigenous peoples have long known about the birds’ use of fire. Or we can say that the Western scientists finally caught up with Traditional Knowledge after several thousand years."

[See also:
"How Western science is finally catching up to Indigenous knowledge: Traditional knowledge has become a highly valued source of information for archaeologists, ecologists, biologists, climatologists and others"
http://www.macleans.ca/society/how-western-science-is-finally-catching-up-to-indigenous-knowledge/

"It’s taken thousands of years, but Western science is finally catching up to Traditional Knowledge"
https://theconversation.com/its-taken-thousands-of-years-but-western-science-is-finally-catching-up-to-traditional-knowledge-90291 ]
science  indigenous  knowledge  archaeology  ecology  biology  climatology  climate  animals  nature  amygroesbeck  research  clams  butterclams  birds  morethanhuman  multispecies  knowing  scientism  anthropology  categorization  hierarchy  hawks  firehawks  fire  landscape  place  nativeamericans  eurocentricity  battleofgreasygrass  littlebighorn  adamdick  kwaxsistalla  clamgardens  shellfish  stewardship  inuit  australia  us  canada  markbonta  robertgosford  kites  falcons  trudysable  placenames  oralhistory  oralhistories  history  mariculture 
february 2018 by robertogreco
High-Impact Actions
"What can one person in a developed country do about climate change?

Seth Wynes, who finished his master's degree in my lab in June 2015, set out to answer this question in his thesis.

Our key takeaway: 4 personal choices really matter for the climate, and the climate really matters for one of them."

[See also:
http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/aa7541
https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2017/7/14/15963544/climate-change-individual-choices
https://phys.org/news/2017-07-effective-individual-tackle-climate-discussed.html

"Governments and schools are not communicating the most effective ways for individuals to reduce their carbon footprints, according to new research.

Published today in the journal Environmental Research Letters, the study from Lund University, found that the incremental changes advocated by governments may represent a missed opportunity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions beneath the levels needed to prevent 2°C of climate warming.

The four actions that most substantially decrease an individual's carbon footprint are: eating a plant-based diet, avoiding air travel, living car-free, and having smaller families.

The research analysed 39 peer reviewed papers, carbon calculators, and government reports to calculate the potential of a range of individual lifestyle choices to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This comprehensive analysis identifies the actions individuals could take that will have the greatest impact on reducing their greenhouse gas emissions.

Lead author Seth Wynes said: "There are so many factors that affect the climate impact of personal choices, but bringing all these studies side-by-side gives us confidence we've identified actions that make a big difference. Those of us who want to step forward on climate need to know how our actions can have the greatest possible impact. This research is about helping people make more informed choices.

"We found there are four actions that could result in substantial decreases in an individual's carbon footprint: eating a plant-based diet, avoiding air travel, living car free, and having smaller families. For example, living car-free saves about 2.4 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year, while eating a plant-based diet saves 0.8 tonnes of CO2 equivalent a year.

"These actions, therefore, have much greater potential to reduce emissions than commonly promoted strategies like comprehensive recycling (which is 4 times less effective than a plant-based diet) or changing household lightbulbs (8 times less effective)."

The researchers also found that neither Canadian school textbooks nor government resources from the EU, USA, Canada and Australia highlight these actions, instead focussing on incremental changes with much smaller potential to reduce emissions.

Study co-author Kimberly Nicholas said: "We recognize these are deeply personal choices. But we can't ignore the climate effect our lifestyle actually has. Personally, I've found it really positive to make many of these changes. It's especially important for young people establishing lifelong patterns to be aware which choices have the biggest impact. We hope this information sparks discussion and empowers individuals," she concluded."]
classideas  climatechange  personalimpact  sethwynes  2015  2017  textbooks  education  schools  curriculum  canada  us  australia  eu  emissions 
february 2018 by robertogreco
Animals with Cameras | About | Nature | PBS
"Go where no human cameraman can go and witness a new perspective of the animal kingdom in Animals with Cameras, A Nature Miniseries. The new three-part series journeys into animals’ worlds using custom, state-of-the-art cameras worn by the animals themselves. Capturing never-before-seen behavior, these animal cinematographers help expand human understanding of their habitats and solve mysteries that have eluded scientists until now.

Wildlife cameraman Gordon Buchanan and a team of pioneering animal behaviorists join forces to explore stories of animal lives “told” by the animals themselves. The cameras are built custom by camera design expert Chris Watts to fit on the animals unobtrusively and to be easily removed at a later point. From this unique vantage point, experience the secret lives of nine different animal species. Sprint across the savanna with a cheetah, plunge into the ocean with a seal and swing through the trees with a chimpanzee."

"Episode 1 premieres Wednesday, January 31 at 8-9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings)
The astonishing collar-camera footage reveals newborn Kalahari Meerkats below ground for the first time, unveils the hunting skills of Magellanic penguins in Argentina, and follows the treetop progress of an orphaned chimpanzee in Cameroon.

[http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/animals-cameras-episode-1/15926/ ]

Episode 2 premieres Wednesday, February 7 at 8-9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings)
The cameras capture young cheetahs learning to hunt in Namibia, reveal how fur seals of an Australian island evade the great white sharks offshore, and help solve a conflict between South African farmers and chacma baboons.

Episode 3 premieres Wednesday, February 14 at 8-9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings)
Deep-dive with Chilean devil rays in the Azores, track brown bears’ diets in Turkey, and follow dogs protecting flocks of sheep from gray wolves in Southern France."

[See also:
http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-42660492
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09qqqgr ]
animals  cameras  cameraencounters  video  photography  morethanhuman  nature  multispecies  2018  meerkats  wildlife  dogs  sheep  namibia  chile  argntina  cameroon  chimpanzees  kalahari  cheetahs  southafrica  australia  sharks  seals  faming  baboons  bears  turkey  rays  classideas  pov 
february 2018 by robertogreco
David Fickling on Twitter: "Australian hawks carry burning twigs to START FOREST FIRES and drive out prey https://t.co/puU5u0y38I Cool story bro, but ine of the most i… https://t.co/xXHcEJZZh6"
"Australian hawks carry burning twigs to START FOREST FIRES and drive out prey ªªhttp://www.bioone.org/doi/abs/10.2993/0278-0771-37.4.700?journalCode=etbi ºº

Cool story bro, but ine of the most interesting angles was totally missed in many reports:

Indigenous people have known about this behaviour since way, way back. It's "often represented in sacred ceremonies", per the article

https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2018/01/wildfires-birds-animals-australia/
[image of text]

Three guesses how Australian officialdom deals with real-world information that Aboriginal people have known for generations and observe all the time... 🙄🙄
[image of text]

I can think of another -ism that doesn't start with "skeptic" in this instance...

Australians still vastly underestimate how intensively Aboriginal people cultivated the landscape through fire agriculture: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGO2GbLRWcQ

One other thing: Cooperative hunting with dolphins was also quite common among Aboriginal people in eastern Australia: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.2752/089279302786992694?journalCode=rfan20

I wish people would more often call this applied knowledge what it is: "technology" https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/technology [image of text]

BTW the paper abstract starts "We document Indigenous Ecological Knowledge and non-Indigenous observations..." so it's hard to argue this angle is a minor element of the research

The theme of the paper is literally "we should pay more attention to Indigenous knowledge" but somehow in translation it's become "LOL hawks are mad"

BTW here's a non-journalwalled summary of the research themes: https://blogs.crikey.com.au/northern/2015/11/08/ornithogenic-fire-raptors-as-propagators-of-fire-in-the-australian-savanna/ "

[via "This behavior is fascinating and the thread that follows on both Aboriginal technology and colonialist racism is important."
https://twitter.com/Dymaxion/status/951172611391795200

via "cc: @rogre And now, for the rest of the story..."
https://twitter.com/symptomatic/status/951198470848819205 ]
animals  multispecies  moethanhuman  aborigines  davidfickling  via:sympotomatic  australia  human-animalrelations  human-animalrelationships  technology  racism  colonialism  ecology  indigeneity  knowledge  erasure  indigenousknowledge  hawks  fire  landscape  dolphins 
january 2018 by robertogreco
The biggest estate on earth ABC News - YouTube
"Before white settlement, some of the local landscape looked like parkland. Author Bill Gammage explains the complex systems of land management used by Indigenous Australians."

[via: https://twitter.com/davidfickling/status/950960056811454464 ]
australia  aborigines  billgammage  history  human-animalrelationships  human-animalrelations  morethanhuman  multispecies  parks  landscape 
january 2018 by robertogreco
Cooperative fishing interactions between Aboriginal Australians and dolphins in eastern Australia: Anthrozoös: Vol 15, No 1
"Published eyewitness accounts and stories from Aboriginal Australians are used to provide an overview of the geographical extent and characteristics of cooperative fishing between Aboriginal Australians and dolphins in eastern Australia. These sources indicate that cooperative fishing was geographically widespread in eastern Australia, involved both bottlenose dolphins and orcas, and had a significance (emotional and spiritual) to Aboriginal people beyond the acquisition of food. These fishing interactions represent both context and precedent for the economic and emotional objectives of contemporary human–dolphin interactions such as dolphin provisioning."

[via: https://twitter.com/davidfickling/status/950960884582514689 ]
multispecies  human-animalrelations  human-animalrelationships  2015  australia  aborigines  dolphins  fishing  morethanhuman 
january 2018 by robertogreco
Hello World: Explore the Tech World Outside Silicon Valley With Ashlee Vance
"Hello World invites the viewer to come on a journey. It's a journey that stretches across the globe to find the inventors, scientists and technologists shaping our future. Each episode explores a different country and uncovers the ways in which the local culture and surroundings have influenced their approach to technology. Join journalist and best-selling author Ashlee Vance on a quest to find the freshest, weirdest tech creations and the beautiful freaks behind them.

Episode 1: New Zealand
New Zealand’s freaky AI babies, robot exoskeletons, and a virtual you.

Episode 2: Sweden
We explore Sweden's magical treehouses, faceswapping robots, and enjoy fika with Spotify’s Daniel Ek.

Episode 3: Israel
Learn how the constant threat of war has shaped Israel's tech industry.

Episode 4: Iceland
Iceland's punishing terrain inspires cutting-edge tech.

Episode 5: Mojave Desert
America's most passionate and daring inventors have built an engineering paradise in the middle of nowhere.

Episode 6: Australia
Bio-hackers, Internet playboys, and underwater drones have ignited Australia’s long-dormant tech industry.

Episode 7: England
Once a computing pioneer, England has struggled to remain relevant in tech. Now, a revival appears to be on the way.

Episode 8: Japan
Japan's obsessive robot inventors are creating the future.

Episode 9: Russia
Grab yourself a vodka and witness the bizarre spectacle that is Russian technology.

Episode 10: Chile
Searching for the origins of the universe in the Earth’s driest desert."
technology  video  chile  russia  japan  england  australia  mojavedesert  iceland  israel  sweden  newzealand  ashleevance 
july 2017 by robertogreco
Y-Fi
"Experience Loading Animations / Screens in wifi speeds around the world. This website was inspired by this conversation I had on twitter. I was home (Nigeria) for a bit before I started work and was annoyed at how long I had to look at loading animations. I wondered how long people wanted to wait around the world screaming.

Notes / How this works

• Data about wifi speeds is from: Akamai's State of the Internet / Connectivity Report.

• I chose countries based on what suprised me and to get diversity across speeds.

• To get most data about loading times, I used a combination of Firefox DevTools and the Network Panel on Chrome DevTools. For Gmail I used this article on Gmail's Storage Quota.

• The wifi speeds and sizes of resources are hard-coded in so you can see them and the rest of the code at the repo.

• Any other questions / thoughts? Hit me up on twitter!"

[via: https://twitter.com/YellzHeard/status/890990574827851777 via @senongo]
omayeliarenyeka  internet  webdev  webdesign  wifi  broadband  nigeria  loading  speed  diversity  accessibility  paraguay  egypt  namibia  iran  morocco  argentina  india  southafrica  saudiarabia  mexico  china  chile  greece  ue  france  australia  russia  kenya  israel  thailand  uk  us  taiwan  japan  singapore  hongkong  noray  southkorea  perú 
july 2017 by robertogreco
Towards an Internet of Living Things – OpenExplorer Journal – Medium
"Conservation groups are using technology to understand and protect our planet in an entirely new way."

"The Internet of Things (IoT) was an idea that industry always loved. It was simple enough to predict: as computing and sensors become smaller and cheaper, they would be embedded into devices and products that interact with each other and their owners. Fast forward to 2017 and the IoT is in full bloom. Because of the stakes — that every device and machine in your life will be upgraded and harvested for data — companies wasted no time getting in on the action. There are smart thermostats, refrigerators, TVs, cars, and everything else you can imagine.

Industry was first, but they aren’t the only. Now conservationists are taking the lead.

The same chips, sensors (especially cameras) and networks being used to wire up our homes and factories are being deployed by scientists (both professional and amateur) to understand our natural world. It’s an Internet of Living Things. It isn’t just a future of efficiency and convenience. It’s enabling us to ask different questions and understand our world from an entirely new perspective. And just in time. As environmental challenges — everything from coral bleaching to African elephant poaching— continue to mount, this emerging network will serve as the planetary nervous system, giving insight into precisely what actions to take.

It’s a new era of conservation based on real-time data and monitoring. It changes our ecological relationship with the planet by changing the scales at which we can measure — we get both increased granularity, as well as adding a truly macro view of the entire planet. It also allows us to simultaneously (and unbiasedly) measuring the most important part of the equation: ourselves.

Specific and Real-Time

We have had population estimates of species for decades, but things are different now. Before the estimates came from academic fieldwork, and now we’re beginning to rely on vast networks of sensors to monitor and model those same populations in real-time. Take the recent example of Paul Allen’s Domain Awareness System (DAS) that covers broad swaths of West Africa. Here’s an excerpt from the Bloomberg feature:
For years, local rangers have protected wildlife with boots on the ground and sheer determination. Armed guards spend days and nights surrounding elephant herds and horned rhinos, while on the lookout for rogue trespassers.

Allen’s DAS uses technology to go the distance that humans cannot. It relies on three funnels of information: ranger radios, animal tracker tags, and a variety of environmental sensors such as camera traps and satellites. This being the product of the world’s 10th-richest software developer, it sends everything back to a centralized computer system, which projects specific threats onto a map of the monitored region, displayed on large screens in a closed circuit-like security room.

For instance, if a poacher were to break through a geofence sensor set up by a ranger in a highly-trafficked corridor, an icon of a rifle would flag the threat as well as any micro-chipped elephants and radio-carrying rangers in the vicinity.

[video]

These networks are being woven together in ecosystems all over the planet. Old cellphones being turned into rainforest monitoring devices. Drones surveying and processing the health of Koala populations in Australia. The conservation website MongaBay now has a section of their site dedicated to the fast-moving field, which they’ve dubbed WildTech. Professionals and amateurs are gathering in person at events like Make for the Planet and in online communities like Wildlabs.net. It’s game on.

The trend is building momentum because the early results have been so good, especially in terms of resolution. The organization WildMe is using a combination of citizen science (essentially human-powered environmental sensors) and artificial intelligence to identify and monitor individuals in wild populations. As in, meet Struddle the manta ray, number 1264_B201. He’s been sited ten times over the course of 10 years, mostly around the Maldives.

[image]

The combination of precision and pervasiveness means these are more than just passive data-collecting systems. They’re beyond academic, they’re actionable. We can estimate more accurately — there are 352,271 elephants estimated to remain in Africa — but we’re also reacting when something happens — a poacher broke a geofence 10 minutes ago.

The Big Picture

It’s not just finer detail, either. We’re also getting a better bigger picture than we’ve ever had before. We’re watching on a planetary scale.

Of course, advances in satellites are helping. Planet (the company) has been a major driving force. Over the past few years they’ve launched hundreds of small imaging satellites and have created an earth-imaging constellation that has ambitions of getting an image of every location on earth, every day. Like Google Earth, but near-real-time and the ability to search along the time horizon. An example of this in action, Planet was able to catch an illegal gold mining operation in the act in the Peruvian Amazon Rainforest.

[image]

It’s not just satellites, it’s connectivity more broadly. Traditionally analog wildlife monitoring is going online. Ornithology gives us a good example of this. For the past century, the study of birds have relied on amateur networks of enthusiasts — the birders — to contribute data on migration and occurrence studies. (For research that spans long temporal time spans or broad geographic areas, citizen science is often the most effective method.) Now, thanks to the ubiquity of mobile phones, birding is digitized and centralized on platforms like eBird and iNaturalist. You can watch the real-time submissions and observations:

[image]

Sped up, we get the visual of species-specific migrations over the course of a year:

[animated GIF]

Human Activity

The network we’re building isn’t all glass, plastic and silicon. It’s people, too. In the case of the birders above, the human component is critical. They’re doing the legwork, getting into the field and pointing the cameras. They’re both the braun and the (collective) brain of the operation.

Keeping humans in the loop has it’s benefits. It’s allowing these networks to scale faster. Birders with smartphones and eBird can happen now, whereas a network of passive forest listening devices would take years to build (and would be much more expensive to maintain). It also makes these systems better adept at managing ethical and privacy concerns — people are involved in the decision making at all times. But the biggest benefit of keeping people in the loop, is that we can watch them—the humans—too. Because as much as we’re learning about species and ecosystems, we also need to understand how we ourselves are affected by engaging and perceiving the natural world.

We’re getting more precise measurements of species and ecosystems (a better small picture), as well as a better idea of how they’re all linked together (a better big picture). But we’re also getting an accurate sense of ourselves and our impact on and within these systems (a better whole picture).

We’re still at the beginning of measuring the human-nature boundary, but the early results suggests it will help the conservation agenda. A sub-genre of neuroscience called neurobiophilia has emerged to study the effects on nature on our brain function. (Hint: it’s great for your health and well-being.) National Geographic is sending some of their explorers into the field wired up with Fitbits and EEG machines. The emerging academic field of citizen science seems to be equally concerned with the effects of participation than it is with outcomes. So far, the science is indicating that engagement in the data collecting process has measurable effects on the community’s ability to manage different issues. The lesson here: not only is nature good for us, but we can evolve towards a healthier perspective. In a world approaching 9 billion people, this collective self-awareness will be critical.

What’s next

Just as fast as we’re building this network, we’re learning what it’s actually capable of doing. As we’re still laying out the foundation, the network is starting to come alive. The next chapter is applying machine learning to help make sense of the mountains of data that these systems are producing. Want to quickly survey the dispersion of arctic ponds? Here. Want to count and classify the number of fish you’re seeing with your underwater drone? We’re building that. In a broad sense, we’re “closing the loop” as Chris Anderson explained in an Edge.org interview:
If we could measure the world, how would we manage it differently? This is a question we’ve been asking ourselves in the digital realm since the birth of the Internet. Our digital lives — clicks, histories, and cookies — can now be measured beautifully. The feedback loop is complete; it’s called closing the loop. As you know, we can only manage what we can measure. We’re now measuring on-screen activity beautifully, but most of the world is not on screens.

As we get better and better at measuring the world — wearables, Internet of Things, cars, satellites, drones, sensors — we are going to be able to close the loop in industry, agriculture, and the environment. We’re going to start to find out what the consequences of our actions are and, presumably, we’ll take smarter actions as a result. This journey with the Internet that we started more than twenty years ago is now extending to the physical world. Every industry is going to have to ask the same questions: What do we want to measure? What do we do with that data? How can we manage things differently once we have that data? This notion of closing the loop everywhere is perhaps the biggest endeavor of … [more]
davidlang  internetofthings  nature  life  conservation  tracking  2017  data  maps  mapping  sensors  realtime  iot  computing  erth  systems  wildlife  australia  africa  maldives  geofencing  perú  birds  ornithology  birding  migration  geography  inaturalist  ebird  mobile  phones  crowdsourcing  citizenscience  science  classideas  biology 
july 2017 by robertogreco
Baugruppen model ditches developers so that apartment buyers save
"Baugruppen. It might sound like a mouthful but this German word could be the answer to Australia’s housing affordability woes — or at least a new way to look at the problem.

If you can’t afford a freestanding house in Australia’s capital cities, the choices for an apartment alternative are generally expensive and limited. Many of the units available are targeted to investors and are often said to be of poor quality.

Literally translating to “building group”, baugruppen in effect cuts out developers from developments. The idea is that a group of interested purchasers come together and collectively fund their own multi-unit housing project. They are often helped or led through the process by architects, and they get a say in what their resulting homes look like. Generally, these homes have a focus on quality, sustainability and shared community facilities.

“At the moment, middle to modest income earners cannot buy a decent apartment because all the stock that’s produced is generally for investors,” says RMIT housing lecturer Andrea Sharam. “But there’s now a lot of interest in different models, particularly from younger people.”

Her research has shown that apartment buyers can save up to 30 per cent through such “deliberative development” (the opposite of speculative development).

The model that took off in Germany (predominantly in Berlin) has made its way to Australia, with a handful of baugruppen-esque projects popping up throughout the country.

Two recent examples have come out of Western Australia. One is a co-housing project that was launched by the council in Fremantle, the other is an innovative collaboration between the WA government’s land development agency, LandCorp, and the University of Western Australia. Located in White Gum Valley near Fremantle, that project is targeting a 15 per cent saving for buyers.

It’s basically like paying wholesale prices on homes, rather than the marked-up retail price.

“[A group] is fundamentally assisted to become their own developer, and in doing that they save themselves the developer’s margin and the marketing costs,” says project leader Geoffrey London, Professor of Architecture at UWA.

Mr London, who was also the former Victorian government architect, says the main aims of the project are to provide more affordable higher density options, provide more sustainable unit designs, establish a community, explore shared amenities and improve the diversity and quality of designs available.

There are a few things holding the model back from taking off completely in Australia, according to Dr Sharam. One of those is the significant financing barriers, especially the high level of equity required to obtain debt financing from the banks.

Dr Sharam says this will require a whole shift in thinking from conventional development lending, understanding that buyers in baugruppen projects are not at the same risk of settlement defaults.

“It’s a whole different ball game,” she says. “Even if one buyer falls out for some reason, say they go through a divorce and can’t go through with the purchase, then you have a waiting list; a group of people waiting in the wings to come in.”

That has been true of popular baugruppen-style developments in Melbourne, such as the Nightingale series, where a waiting list was more than 800 strong.

“One of the other really big things holding us back is that prospective purchasers are failing to understand it’s up to them to initiate it,” she said.

Gerard Coutts, a project management consultant with an interest in bringing baugruppen to Australia, is on a tour of Europe studying co-housing models. He says there’s much Australia can learn from them.

“I think there is a compelling movement [towards baugruppen models] as land supply dwindles and people are pushed outwards,” Mr Coutts says. “Older people, who wish to stay in areas familiar to them, this may be the type of solution to that assists.”"
housing  germany  2017  baugruppen  community  parking  cars  development  apartments  sustainability  melbourne  commons  transportation  australia 
june 2017 by robertogreco
Education Gurus | the édu flâneuse
"Knowledge and advice for schools and about education often seem to exist in a world of commodification and memeification. There is plenty of disagreement and debate in education, and plenty of competition on bookshelves and in conference programs. Educators and academics position themselves as brands via bios, photographs, and certification badges. As an educator and a researcher I have those whose work I follow closely; academics, for instance, whose presence affects me when I meet them because their reputation and body of work precede them.

In education, we have perceived gurus. These are people who have become ubiquitous in education circles, at education conferences, and in education literature. Teachers and school leaders scramble to get tickets to their sessions and to get photographic evidence of having met them. Their words are tweeted out in soundbites ad infinitum (or is that ad nauseum?), and made into internet memes. Sometimes these individuals partner with publishers or education corporates, and so the visibility and reach of their work grows. They become the scholars or experts most cited in staff rooms, at professional learning water coolers, and in job interviews when asked how research informs practice.

Sometimes, these gurus are teachers or principals who have gained a large following on social media and subsequently a monolithic profile. Often, they are academics who have built up bodies of work over many years, becoming more and more well-known along the way, and eventually being perceived as celebrities or gurus. Yesterday I had the pleasure of learning from Dylan Wiliam, firstly at a day long seminar, and then at my school. At one point the seminar organisers apologised for running out of Wiliam’s books, acknowledging the desire of delegates to have the book signed.

Marten Koomen has traced networks of influencers in Australian education organisations. In his new paper ‘School leadership and the cult of the guru: the neo-Taylorism of Hattie’, Scott Eacott challenges the rise of the edu guru, those academics whose work is ubiquitous and influential to the point of being uncritically accepted and canonised. Eacott pushes back against the ‘what works’ mentality in education, in which educators are sold ‘what works’ and encouraged to slavishly apply it to their own contexts. Jon Andrews, too, questions the unquestioning way in which the loudest and most prominent voices become the accepted voices. Meta-analysis and meta-meta-analysis, often translated into league tables of ‘what works’ in education, have been the subject of criticism. George Lilley and Gary Jones have both questioned meta-analysis on their blogs. I’ve written about cautions surrounding the use of meta-analysis in education, especially when it drives clickbait headlines and a silver-bullet mentality of having the answers without having to ask any questions. Yesterday Wiliam made his oft-repeated points: that everything works somewhere, nothing works everywhere, and context matters. A guru cannot provide easy answers in education, as education is too complex and contextual for that.

Much of this conversation around the rise of the edu guru has surrounded John Hattie, although he is by no means the only globally renowned education expert likely to make conference delegates weak at the knees. I was personally uncomfortable when he was beamed in via video link to last year’s ACEL conference and began to give an ‘I have a dream’ speech about education. As an English and Literature teacher I understand the power of rhetoric and analogy to persuade and inspire, but appropriating the legacy and words of Dr Martin Luther King Junior seemed a way to gospelise a personal brand of education reform.

I don’t think that education experts, no matter how influential they become, should encourage the uncritical acceptance of their ideas as dogma, or present themselves as the bringers of the One True Thing To Rule All Things of and for education. As Dylan Wiliam, channelling Ben Goldacre, repeatedly said yesterday, “I think you’ll find it’s a little more complicated than that.”

I wonder how perceived gurus feel about being guru-ised by the education masses. In part the famous and the infamous in education are so because of their actions: accepting more and more speaking gigs, performing the game of publishing and promoting their work. Most, I would guess, do this for the same reason someone like me speaks and publishes. To contribute to education narratives and change those narratives, hopefully for the better. To be of service to the profession and the field. To explore and wrestle with ideas, trying to find ways to make sense of the complexity of education in order to improve the learning of students and the lives of teachers and school leaders.

I wondered about the rise to gurudom and the moral obligation of the academic celebrity figure last year when at AERA I saw a panel in which four educational heavy hitters—Andy Hargreaves, Michael Fullan, Linda Darling-Hammond and Diane Ravitch—all advocating for the moral imperative of educational research and practice. They spoke of lifetime journeys of work intended to make the world a better and more just place. I wondered at the time about how much an early career academic can be brave and resistant in their work, as they try to build a career via the performative pressures of the academe. Can only the guru, free from institutional performativities and the financial pressures often associated with early career academia, say what they really want to say and do the work and writing they really want to do?

I don’t think experts in education are dangerous. We need expertise and people willing to commit their lives and work to making sense of and making better the world of education and learning. But in a world where teachers and school leaders are busy racing on the mouse wheels of their own performative pressures, we need to figure out ways to support and facilitate sceptical and critical engagement with research. Even those who are highly influential and highly admired need to have their work engaged with closely and critically. The danger comes when experts become so guru-fied that the words they use become part of an unthinking professional vernacular, used by educators who haven’t looked behind the curtain or beneath the book cover."
cultofpersonality  edugurus  education  australia  newzealand  2017  deborahnetolicky  learning  research  andyhargreaves  michaelfullan  lindadarling-hammond  dianeravitch  academia  dylanwiliam  bengoldacre  scotteacott  matenkoomen  influence  leadership  thoughtleaders  neo-taylorism  schools  georgelilley  garyjones  jonandrews  bestpractices  echochambers  expertise  experts 
may 2017 by robertogreco
Why Can’t the U.S. Decolonize Its Design Education?Eye on Design | Eye on Design
"While diversity and inclusion might be ubiquitous terms in the mission statement of any progressive university, these words alone do little to address the lack of diversity within the curriculum itself. So what’s really causing this disconnect? That’s what three designers and educators—Dori Tunstall, dean at OCAD University, Sadie Red Wing, a graphic designer and member of the Lakota Tribe, and Neebinnaukzhik Southall, a graphic designer of the Chippewas of Rama First Nation—gathered to discuss on a panel at the recent AIGA Design Conference.

The issue starts with the design narrative that many schools have adopted, prioritizing European art and design histories as the key pedagogical source over non-Western design lineages. While every design student loves a good Walter Gropius story, teaching design from a Eurocentric perspective fails to reflect the diversity that exists in the student body or regional history of contemporary institutions. In North America, indigenous visual cultures have existed for thousands of years, so why are they still relegated to “special topics” classes, or to the anthropology department instead of serving as foundational principles to standard design curricula?

I followed up with the panelists after the conference to get a better understanding of why non-Western design isn’t more of a focus in higher education. Tunstall says the reason is complicated by the fact that it’s not just a conversation about aesthetics. Rather it’s “the way in which design is implicated in the politics of the nation relating to colonization in a direct way, and to a history of decimation of Native American communities.”

Tunstall, whose background is in design anthropology, says “coming from the field of anthropology, we’ve gone through a process of self-evaluation and self-reflection around the discipline’s role in colonization, and so I’m always a bit shocked by how difficult it is to have that conversation in the field of design.”

In Toronto, OCAD University has entered a new educational paradigm, following principles that Tunstall calls “respectful design.” Their goal as educators is to “prepare students to understand the cultural implications of what they’re designing, as well as understand the role they play in the creation of culture by the making of things. That leads to questions of ethics, questions of social justice, questions of accountability, appropriation, indigenization, and decolonization.”

“When you begin to ask those questions of what it means as a designer to be a culture maker, you ask harder questions about what kind of culture you’re creating.”

The Canadian government is unique in that it has made decolonization a national mandate for all educational institutions. Tunstall says that this means every Canadian educational institution has adopted the principles laid out by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission which seeks to indigenize the curriculum by “increasing native representation in content and methods, as well as physically the number of indigenous people within the institutions.”

This kind of progressive policymaking is a stark contrast to the political and educational experiences of many native people living in the U.S. I spoke with Sadie Red Wing, who at the time of our conversation was en-route to Standing Rock Reservation to protest the Dakota Access Pipeline, a 1,172-mile-long oil pipeline project that crosses into sacred tribal lands and threatens to contaminate the local water supply.

Her current design work has been in support of the No DAPL protests, and reflects the language and iconography that’s indigenous to North Dakota, where she’s from originally. Red Wing says, “My priority is to advocate for my tribe in order to revive the culture we lost through assimilation and oppression. I’m always a Lakota graphic designer before I am just a graphic designer. I design for a Great Plains audience.” Her posters were produced by the Amplifier Foundation for distribution at protest sites nationwide, and Red Wing has since collaborated with other artists and designers in a poster printing workshop at Standing Rock to create additional graphic interventions for the grassroots movement.

Red Wing earned her BFA in new media arts and interactive design from the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico in 2013, and received a Master’s of graphic design from North Carolina State University this past May. She advocates for native designers to practice visual sovereignty in their work by using the visual language that is unique to their specific cultural heritage.

Too often indigenous symbols and designs become homogenized into a “Pan-Indian” motif that Red Wing says only further perpetuates Native American stereotypes.

“As a Lakota, I do not identify with a Navajo design. A Seminole will not identify with a Lakota design. It seems like common sense, but there are still cases today where designers use any tribe’s imagery just to show that something is ‘Native American.’” Her graduate thesis, Learning the Traditional Lakota Visual Language Through Shape Play, serves as a guide for how Native American designers can research their own traditional visual languages and apply them to their contemporary practices.

Red Wing feels that both her experience in undergrad and graduate school was not comprehensive enough in terms of including indigenous design into the curriculum, and both institutions still taught from a colonized perspective. While NCSU offered more in the way of design theory, IAIA was a vocationally based program of study, and the design theory and history that was provided was predominantly Eurocentric, even though IAIA is a school founded specifically for native students.

Red Wing admitted she’s frustrated by the lack of scholarly design opportunities available through tribal colleges. Of the 30 Native American schools in the U.S., only three offer graphic design programs, none of which award degrees beyond an Associate’s. Red Wing says, “Our education is pushed to keep students in the fields of education, health, and liberal studies. That means, design is not taught in our tribal colleges.”

“We need more graphic designers in tribal communities. There are over 500 tribes, but one tribal person cannot teach design to 500 tribes.”

“This is where our fight for sovereignty comes in. Native American students are colonized to think that they are artists, and not designers. The way they practice is always ‘craft.’ I put my efforts into getting Native American students away from that thinking when it comes to designing artifacts.”

Neebin Southall received her education at Oregon State University, and while the program focused on conceptualization and critical thinking, the curriculum still operated from a colonized perspective. Southall says, “Most educators inherit this situation with absolutely no ill intent, but the truth is, the situation is historically rooted in some very ugly things: white supremacism, genocide, displacement, cultural suppression, and forced assimilation. It’s important to acknowledge this truth and make changes where we can.”

As a personal project, Southall has compiled a database of Native American graphic designers as a means of promoting the work of contemporary designers within her community and informing the public about the rich visual history of native design. One notable historic figure listed was Angel DeCora (1871-1919), a prominent native female designer from the Thunderbird clan, who “advocated for the intrinsic value and legitimacy of Native arts in speaking to the broader society.”

Because colonization has affected indigenous cultures from all over the world, our editorial team wanted to know how design programs outside of North America are addressing the need for respectful design. Prior to her position at OCAD, Dori Tunstall worked in Melbourne at Swinburne University, where together with Dr. Norman Sheehan, a man of Aboriginal and indigenous heritage, she developed the Master’s program in design specifically based on Australian indigenous principles. Elsewhere in Australia, graphic designer and educator Dr. Russell Kennedy is working with Dr. Meghan Kelly to form The Australian Indigenous Design Charter on Communication Design.

In Zimbabwe, designer and educator Saki Mafundikwa’s research on Afrikan alphabets has helped audiences rediscover the visual language of Afrikan iconography that was suppressed through colonialism. Piers Carey, professor at Durban University in South Africa, advocates for indigenous African design systems to be taught in the classroom. Unfortunately Carey has seen little interest from the country’s design schools in developing anything that is not “International” in terms of aesthetics, and feels that the best way forward in developing a respectful design curriculum would be a postcolonial approach. He says they must “find routes through our neo-colonial present to acknowledge and incorporate all the traditions that exist in the country. These routes will be varied and full of pitfalls, but decolonized cultures of design will develop eventually, simply because the country and the continent are too varied for the present globalized monolith to be sustainable.”

Teal Triggs, design historian and professor at London’s Royal College of Art, has a unique perspective in that she was raised and educated in the U.S. but works in the UK and has received degrees from both countries. She says when she was a student during the 1980s and ’90s, “The main difference was that the U.S. experience was much more ‘taught’ and in discrete units of study, whereas in the UK it was still more about an overarching program through which a thread of critical discourse was running.”

She sites a few key figures in the U.S. and UK who have made an impact in developing graphic design curricula that not only “decolonizes” but “demystifies” the complexity of these … [more]
design  education  designeducation  decolonization  2017  margaretandersen  diversity  socialjustice  indigenization  appropriation  culture  accountability  ethics  ocad  inclusion  inclusivity  aiga  us  aisharichards  elizabethresnick  lucilletenazas  tealtriggs  sakimafundikwa  dorituntall  meghankelly  russellkennedy  normansheehan  australia  canada  angeladecora  neebinsouthall  colonization  colonialism  sadieredwing  neebinnaukzhiksouthall 
january 2017 by robertogreco
Trust Me - Freakonomics Freakonomics
"Societies where people trust one another are healthier and wealthier. In the U.S. (and the U.K. and elsewhere), social trust has been falling for decades — in part because our populations are more diverse. What can we do to fix it?"



"HALPERN: We almost seem to hardly notice that it’s there. So it’s incredibly consequential and we see it in lots of areas of policy that we touch on.

DUBNER: So you write this about low trust: “Low trust implies a society where you have to keep an eye over your shoulder, where deals need lawyers instead of handshakes, where you don’t see the point of paying your tax or recycling your rubbish since you doubt your neighbor will do so, and where employ your cousin or your brother-in-law to work for you rather than a stranger who’d probably be much better at the job.” So that has all kinds of business and ultimately economic implications. However, when you talk about high trust being good for us on a personal level, whether it’s health or individual income, do the two necessarily go in hand? In other words, can we have a society that has a business climate where there isn’t a lot of trust and, therefore, you do need all those lawyers instead of the handshakes, but where you have good social trust among neighbors, family and friends, communities and so on, or are they really the same thing that you’re talking about?

HALPERN: Well, there is a key distinction and Bob Putnam has often made this too, between what’s sometimes called bonding social capital and bridging social capital.

PUTNAM: Social capital is about social networks. But not all social networks are identical, and one important distinction is between ties that link us to other people like us, that’s called bonding social capital.

HALPERN: Bonding social capital often refers to your closeness to your friends, your relatives, those that are immediately around you. It’s particularly important, it turns out for, things such as health outcomes.

PUTNAM: Because, empirically, if you get sick, the people who are likely to bring you chicken soup are likely to represent your bonding social capital."



"PUTNAM: What strategies I would want to emphasize for moving in a positive direction would be more contexts in which people connect with one another across lines of race or economics or gender or age."



"HALPERN: People that go to university end up trusting much more than those who don’t, particularly when they go away residentially. It doesn’t look like it’s explained by income alone. So there’s something about the experience of going off as a young person in an environment where you have lots of other young people from different backgrounds and so on, hopefully, and different ethnicities. You learn the habits of trust because you’re in an environment where you can trust other people; they are trustworthy. And you internalize these habits and you take them with you the rest of your life. So we tend to not think of going away to university as being the reason why you’re doing it is to build social capital and social trust, we think about learning skills and so on, but it may well be that it has as much, or even more value, in terms of culturing social trust going forward. The question is: do you have to do that in university, can you do it another way? So in the U.K., following partly an American lead, the government has championed a national citizen service. And what this means is for every young person, essentially a 17-year-old, increasingly, starts off with a — not everyone does it alone, but more and more every single year, goes and does voluntary experience, community service. This deliberately includes a couple of weeks which are residential and deliberately includes mixing with people from all different walks of life. Look, it’s only limited data, but in terms of before-and-after data, we see significant impacts in terms of higher levels of trust between groups and individuals, as well as instantly higher levels of life satisfaction and well-being too. So it looks like we can do something about it."



"HALPERN: In the most recent data, it looks like it’s one of the biggest risers. So the Netherlands had pretty similar levels of social trust in the 1980s to America and the U.K., but whereas we have now drifted down towards sort of 30-odd percent, they are now up close to 70 percent in levels of those who think others can be trusted.

DUBNER: What would you say it’s caused by?

HALPERN: Well, I mean, one of the characteristics of the Netherlands, and you have to be a bit careful when you pick off one country, is it has wrestled quite hard with the issues of, not just inequality, but social differences. They’ve really tried to do a lot in relation to making people essentially build cohesion. Particularly Amsterdam, is a very famous area for — it’s long been an extremely multicultural city. It’s had issues over that over time, but they’ve really in a sort of succession of governments have tried to quite actively make groups get along with each other in quite an active way. So that may itself, of course, root in the Netherlands, it’s quite a deep culture of a strong sense of the law, being trustworthy and that contracts will be honored and so on. It’s what helped to power its economic success in previous centuries, so it does have that tradition also to draw on."



"PUTNAM: I looked hard to find explanations and television, I argued, is really bad for social connectivity for many reasons.

“More television watching,” Putnam wrote, “means less of virtually every form of civic participation and social involvement.”

HALPERN: As Bob sometimes put it, I think, rather elegantly, when we were looking forward in terms of technology or the Internet and of course, even pre-Facebook and so on, would it be, in his words, a “fancy television”? In other words, it will isolate us more and more. Or would it be a “fancy telephone” and would connect us more and more? Because technology has both those capabilities. So when I played video games when I was a kid, you basically did them mostly by yourself or with a friend. When I look at my teenage kids playing videos, they’re actually talking to each other all the time. To some extent it looks like, to me, that we get the technology that we want, and even this is true at sort of a societal level. So one of the arguments you can make, in my view is true anyway, by explaining some of these differences in the trajectories across countries is in Anglo-Saxon countries, we’ve often used our wealth to buy technology and other experiences. That means we don’t have to deal with other people — the inconveniences of having to go to a concert where I have to listen to music I really like, I can just stay at home and just watch what I want and so on and choose it. And even in the level of, if I think about my kids versus me growing up, I mean when I was growing up we had one TV and there were five kids in the household. You know, had to really negotiate pretty hard about what we were going to watch. My kids don’t have to do that and probably not yours either. There are more screens in the house than there are people. They can all go off and do their own thing. To some extent, that is us using our wealth to escape from having to negotiate with other people, but that isn’t necessarily the case. Some people and some countries seem to use their wealth more to find ways of connecting more with other people. And the technology has both these capabilities and we can’t just blame it. It’s the choices we’re making and how we use it and the technology which we’re, kind of, asking and bringing forth.

DUBNER: It reminds me a bit of — we once looked into the global decline of hitchhiking, for instance. One of the central reasons being that people no longer trusted strangers to not kill each other, really, is what it boiled down to, even though there was apparently very little killing involved, but just the fear of one. And yet now, Uber is a 60-some billion-dollar company that’s basically all about using technology to lure a complete stranger into your car. Which, I guess, argues, if nothing else, the fact that technology can be harnessed very much in either direction.

HALPERN: That’s right. Indeed, so, as you say, there’s actually two points here, and there’s a really important behavioral one, which I think we’ve only figured out in recent years to bring together these different literatures, how does it relate to behavioral scientists versus those people studying social capital? We look like we have certain systematic biases about how we estimate whether we think other people can be trusted. And in essence, we overestimate quite systematically the prevalence of bad behavior. We overestimate the number of people who are cheating on their taxes or take a sickie off work or do other kinds of bad things. This doesn’t seem to be just the media, although that may reinforce it. It seems to be a bit how we’re wired as human beings. So why is that relevant and why does this have to do with technology? Actually, technology can help you solve some of those issues. So when you’re buying something on eBay or you’re trying to decide where to go using, you know Trip Advisor, you’re actually getting some much better information from the experiences of other people as opposed to your guesstimate, which is often systematically biased. So it turns out it’s a way we can sometimes use technology to solve some of these trust issues. Not just in relation to specific products and “Should I buy this thing from this person?” but, potentially, more generally in relation to how do we trust other people because, ultimately, this social trust question must rest on something. It must be a measure of actual trustworthiness. "
trust  diversity  socialtrust  2016  us  society  socialunity  via:davidtedu  trustworthiness  socialcapital  australia  uk  netherlands  davidhalpern  stephendubner  bobputnam  italy  corruption  socialnetworks  civics  government  governance  community  brazil  brasil  norway  edglaeser  tobymoscowitz  hunterwendelstedt  ethnicity  stockholm  education  colleges  universities  military  athletics  multiculturalism  culture  law  economics  behavior  technology  videogames  socialmedia  television  tv  toolsforconviviality  hitchhiking 
november 2016 by robertogreco
Prof Carla Rinaldi on 'Reclaiming Childhood' - YouTube
[For a quick taste, go to 52:15 https://youtu.be/dqgvW-IRXKg?t=3135:

"Schools, in general, they are considered as a place to learn to read, to learn to write, to be disciplined. Especially the schools for the youngest, they are the famous place to pre-: to pre-pare for the future, to pre-pare for life, to pre- pre- pre-. Pre-school, pre-reading, pre-writing. To take children to pre-ordained outcomes. Pre-, pre-. It’s time to really cancel pre- because school is not a preparation for life, but life. It is a real, deep important part of your life. […] School is life. […] Life itself is school, but for sure, school is life. And the question becomes more urgent nowadays because we are talking about the role of school in contemporary society. Contemporary that is a digital era, e-learning, everything. And somebody says maybe it's time to cancel schools. Why do we continue to build schools? Why does a society looking at the future have to continue to have a school? […] I think the answers still continues to be that we need to have good schools because they are a fundamental place of education of the citizen and communities. […] Not only a place to transmit culture, but nowadays more than ever a place to construct culture and values. Culture of childhood and culture from childhood. That means that the children are bearers and constructors of elements that can renew the culture. They are our best source for our renewing culture. […] The way in which they approach life is not something that we observe without them in our life, it is an amazing source for renewing our questions and our way of approaching life. They are the source for creativity, for creative thinking. They can be the source for changing the concept of ecological approach, holistic approach. We have to explain [these] to each other. Children know exactly what it means. […] We continue to talk about teaching nature to children. Children *are* nature."
carlarinaldi  2013  education  schools  teaching  sfsh  childhood  learning  howwelearn  howweteach  reggioemilia  children  agesegregation  aborigines  australia  pedagogy  inclusivity  accessibility  competence  life  living  meaning  meaningmaking  beauty  humanism  humanity  humans  humannature  self-discipline  thewhy  creativity  trust  parenting  unschooling  deschooling  listening  respect  knowing  relationships  joy  canon  otherness  howeteach  makingvisible  ethnography  welcome  reciprocity  community  interdependence  negotiation  rights  nature  culture  culturemaking  responsibility  duty  duties  authority  rule  freedom  co-constuction 
july 2016 by robertogreco
Drifter - Mitchell Whitelaw
[via: https://twitter.com/vruba/status/717891312683356160
https://twitter.com/mtchl/status/717907711459872770
https://twitter.com/vruba/status/717917873969102849
https://twitter.com/mtchl/status/717919016463896576
https://twitter.com/vruba/status/717920437041168384 ]

"Drifter is a multilayered portrait of the Murrumbidgee river system, made out of data. Historic images, newspaper articles, scientific observations and digital maps; tens of thousands of data points come together in three ever-changing views.

Map uses digital newspaper articles to trace fragments of the river's (white) history, from everyday life to large-scale interventions. Alongside these human stories, thousands of scientific observations reveal some of the nonhuman life of the river.

Sifter transforms text into texture, drifting through text snippets from newspaper articles discussing the Murrumbidgee and its tributaries, piecing together the names of some of the living things that go unmentioned in these accounts.

Compositor combines historic images from library and archive collections with contemporary images from fieldwork monitoring the health of the river's wetland ecology.

About

Drifter is a work by Mitchell Whitelaw, created for exhibition at the Wagga Wagga Art Gallery in conjunction with the Land Dialogues conference. A big-screen, non-interactive version is on show there until June 2016.

This web version works best with a modern browser and a big-ish screen.

Drifter is part of a research project on combining digital scientific and cultural heritage materials to create rich representations of landscape. It builds on the speculative, generative approaches to digital heritage developed in Succession.

Sources

Geospatial data sources

• US Geological Service HydroSHEDS River network
• Digital Chart of the World water areas
• Open Street Map towns and rivers
• Australian Department of the Environment, Interim Classification of Aquatic Ecosystems in the Murray Darling Basin based on the Australian National Aquatic Ecosystems (ANAE) Classification Framework - Wetlands

Newspaper articles: Trove, National Library of Australia

Frog observations: Atlas of Living Australia

Frog audio

• Amphibiaweb
• Australian National Botanic Gardens
• Frogwatch ACT - recordings by Ederic Slater
• Museum Victoria Biodiversity Snapshots
• North Central Catchment Management Authority Frogwatch resources - recordings by Murray Littlejohn

Images from the National Library of Australia and Flickr Commons where credited.

Wetland fieldwork images courtesy of Dr Skye Wassens and her team, Institute for Land Water and Society, Charles Sturt University.

Built With

• The Trove API
• The Atlas of Living Australia API
• Leaflet.js
• jQuery
• howler.js"
maps  mapping  osm  openstreetmap  drifter  murrumbidgeeriver  australia  audio  nature  mitchellwhitelaw  waggawaggaartgallery  landdialogues  lansdscape  sound  soundscapes  webdev  gis  frogs  webdesign 
april 2016 by robertogreco
James Meek · Robin Hood in a Time of Austerity · LRB 18 February 2016
"How like the Middle Ages, if it were so. Behind the twisted rhetoric of a hardworking majority oppressed by a welfare-mad government, a modern version of the medieval world has been constructed, one where the real poor are taxed more heavily than the rich; where most of those who are not rich are burdened by an onerous roster of fees and monopolies levied by remote, unaccountable private landlords; and where many of us live out our lives shackled to an endless chain of private debt.

Since the Thatcher revolution in 1979, British governments have boasted of how they’ve lowered taxes. And they have, except for one section of society: the poorest 20 per cent. In 1977, the least well-off fifth of households paid 37 per cent of their gross income in direct taxes (like income tax) and indirect taxes (like VAT), against 38 per cent for the richest fifth. In 2014, the tax take from the poorest group had gone up to 37.8 per cent, while the taxes paid by the richest had gone down to less than 35 per cent.

Not only does this understate the extent of tax cuts for the top 1 per cent; it shows only part of the burden borne by the least well off. Piketty writes that ‘modern redistribution does not consist in transferring income from the rich to the poor, at least not in so explicit a way. It consists rather in financing public services and replacement incomes that are more or less equal for everyone, especially in the areas of health, education and pensions.’ This is a very cautious definition of the modern social state. Health, education and social security make up the lion’s share of public spending, but they’re intimately linked to a wider set of networks that includes energy, water and transport and, some would argue, should include housing. What these networks have in common is that society has decided they’re essential, and therefore should be universal – that is, we think everyone should have access to them, all the time. The significance of this is that, on the one hand, society takes on itself the obligation to give its poorest members access to these networks, which they wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford; and, on the other, payment to use these networks, if it isn’t funded out of general taxation, becomes in itself a tax, particularly when that network is a monopoly. In Britain, many of these universal networks, such as electricity and water, have been privatised, often twice – once to put them on the stock market, once to put them into the hands of overseas owners. Bills for these services have increased faster than inflation, and take little account of people’s ability to pay. It is the poorest, then, who as well as paying the heaviest combination of indirect and direct taxation bear the brunt of such hybrid public-private taxes as the water tax and the electricity tax.

Other universal networks, such as health and education, haven’t been privatised, but have been through another process that makes them ripe for the introduction of flat fees for usage in future. This process really got going under Labour, and it is a sign of the liberal left’s failure to recognise what it has done that there isn’t a name for it. One word to describe it might be ‘autonomisation’ – the process by which state-run bodies continue to be funded by the state but are run autonomously on a non-profit basis. So state secondary schools become academies, NHS hospitals become NHS foundation trusts, and council estates are transferred to housing associations. The British state is in a condition of rolling abdication, leaving behind a partly privatised, partly autonomised set of universal networks, increasingly run by absentee landlords in the form of global companies and overseas corporate investors, that is disproportionately funded by the poorest payers of taxes, fees and duties, many of whom are also deep in debt.

There is a cynical view which says that as long as the majority of the population feel they’re doing all right, a democratically elected government is safe to squeeze the poor and pamper the rich. But cynicism is a risky thing to rely on when a government is simultaneously cutting spending and shedding control of the universal networks on which its entire population relies. As Hobsbawm writes in Bandits, ‘concentration of power in the modern territorial state is what eventually eliminated rural banditry, endemic or epidemic. At the end of the 20th century it looks as though this situation might be coming to an end, and the consequences of this regression of state power cannot yet be foreseen.’ We’re a long way from the return of the literal outlaw to Nottinghamshire. But we need to remember the insight given our ancestors when they saw through the illusion of the Robin Hood myth, when they saw that the strongbox of silver coins wasn’t just money stolen from each of them individually, but power robbed from them collectively, and that they needed to wield that power collectively as much as they needed their money back. For sure, freedom to choose is a grand thing, and the market will try to help you exercise it. With a bit of money in the bank, a middle-class family might choose to send their child to private school, provided by the market; but that same family can’t choose to build and maintain a universal education network by itself, and the market won’t provide it. With money, you can choose to buy a car, and the market will provide it; but you can’t choose, all by yourself, to build and maintain a universal road network, and the market won’t provide it. To make and keep universal networks requires the authority of the state, an authority that has been absent; and it’s hard to see where that authority might come from if the people don’t find a way to assert their kingship."
2016  jamesmeek  capitalism  politics  policy  welfare  poor  class  rich  wealthdistribution  inequality  taxes  taxation  health  education  thomaspiketty  neoliberalism  autonomization  housing  uk  finance  davidcameron  margaretthatcher  ronaldreagan  stephenharper  us  canada  australia  marcorubio  georgeosborne  power  money  economics  labor  erichobsbawm  government  markets  universalnetworks  infrastructure  via:anabjain 
april 2016 by robertogreco
Birds Deliberately Spread Wildfires Because Birds Are Dicks
"Crazy news from the outback, folks. Certain birds of prey are picking up burning sticks from brush fires and dropping them in dry grass. Why? Because then all the little critters will run away from the fire and out into the open, where the birds can snatch them up. Birds are dicks!

But even dicks have to eat. The birds of prey in question here—black kites and brown falcons—have apparently been doing this for ages. Both aboriginal populations in northern Australia and local firefighters say they’ve seen them do it. Aboriginal advocate Bob Gosford, who’s interviewed over a dozen firefighters about the trend, described the behavior, “Reptiles, frogs and insects rush out from the fire, and there are birds that wait in front, right at the foot of the fire, waiting to catch them.” (The above image is a reenactment of this grisly scene that I made in Photoshop.)

The phenomenon has never been caught on photo or video. However, it’s a relatively accepted belief that this happens. As of right now, Gosford’s research basically amounts to self study based on accumulated observations. According to IFL Science, he’s presented the research at both the Raptor Research Foundation and the Association for Fire Ecology’s annual conferences.

What a bunch of jerks. This, after a blaze in London was started by a pigeon dropping a lit cigarette onto the roof of a house back in 2014. This, after realizing that diabolical falcons trap their prey in stone prisons so they can eat them later while they’re still alive. This, as crows are getting so smart they can solves complex puzzles with a basic understanding of the size, weight, and density of stones. This, as we know that sparrows are just plain evil.

It’s not so much that birds are dicks. Birds are dicks, and they’re super smart. Hitchcock warned us. We have been warned."
birds  animals  nature  fire  australia  kites  falcons  hunting 
february 2016 by robertogreco
Paper Giant | Design Research, Strategy & Innovation - Melbourne, Australia
"We are a team of designers and researchers who use design thinking to make effective, evidence-driven products and services."
design  melboune  australia  chrismarmo  openstudioproject  lcproject  designresearch 
january 2016 by robertogreco
Walking the Clouds: An Anthology of Indigenous Science Fiction
"In this first-ever anthology of Indigenous science fiction Grace Dillon collects some of the finest examples of the craft with contributions by Native American, First Nations, Aboriginal Australian, and New Zealand Maori authors. The collection includes seminal authors such as Gerald Vizenor, historically important contributions often categorized as "magical realism" by authors like Leslie Marmon Silko and Sherman Alexie, and authors more recognizable to science fiction fans like William Sanders and Stephen Graham Jones. Dillon's engaging introduction situates the pieces in the larger context of science fiction and its conventions.

Organized by sub-genre, the book starts with Native slipstream, stories infused with time travel, alternate realities and alternative history like Vizenor's "Custer on the Slipstream." Next up are stories about contact with other beings featuring, among others, an excerpt from Gerry William's The Black Ship. Dillon includes stories that highlight Indigenous science like a piece from Archie Weller's Land of the Golden Clouds, asserting that one of the roles of Native science fiction is to disentangle that science from notions of "primitive" knowledge and myth. The fourth section calls out stories of apocalypse like William Sanders' "When This World Is All on Fire" and a piece from Zainab Amadahy's The Moons of Palmares. The anthology closes with examples of biskaabiiyang, or "returning to ourselves," bringing together stories like Eden Robinson's "Terminal Avenue" and a piece from Robert Sullivan's Star Waka.

An essential book for readers and students of both Native literature and science fiction, Walking the Clouds is an invaluable collection. It brings together not only great examples of Native science fiction from an internationally-known cast of authors, but Dillon's insightful scholarship sheds new light on the traditions of imagining an Indigenous future."
sciencefiction  scifi  via:anne  books  fiction  toread  nativeamericans  firstnations  aborigines  maori  newzealand  australia  canada  us  magicalrealism  lesliemarmonsilko  shermanalexie  williamsanders  stephengrahamjones  zainabamadahy  edenrobinson  robertsullivan  geralvizenor  gracedillon  marmonsilko  māori 
october 2015 by robertogreco
Research shows Aboriginal memories stretch back more than 7,000 years
[Wayback: https://web.archive.org/web/20161109160141/http://www.pasthorizonspr.com/index.php/archives/09/2015/research-shows-aboriginal-memories-stretch-back-more-than-7000-years ]

"Aboriginal society has preserved memories of Australia’s coastline dating back more than 7,000 years. That’s the conclusion that University of the Sunshine Coast Professor of Geography Patrick Nunn reached in a paper published in Australian Geographer.

The study looks at Aboriginal stories from 21 places around Australia’s coastline, each describing a time when sea levels were significantly lower than today. Professor Nunn said present sea levels in Australia were reached 7,000 years ago and as such any stories about the coastline stretching much further out to sea had to pre-date that time.

Stories describe changes

“These stories talk about a time when the sea started to come in and cover the land, and the changes this brought about to the way people lived – the changes in landscape, the ecosystem and the disruption this caused to their society,” he said.

“It’s important to note that it’s not just one story that describes this process. There are many stories, all consistent in their narrative, across 21 diverse sites around Australia’s coastline.”

Professor Nunn said his interest in how stories met science was piqued during his extensive tenure at the University of the South Pacific in Fiji. He said the time span of the memories in the Australian Aboriginal stories he studied, however, appeared unmatched by any other culture.

“Anything that goes back thousands of years – nearly 10,000 years in some cases – has to be quite exceptional,” he said.

“It’s a remarkable time period when we consider our own memories and what we can remember even with the aid of books and other information.

“I believe these stories endured that long partly due to the harshness of Australia’s natural environment, which meant that each generation had to pass on knowledge to the next in a systematic way to ensure its survival.”"

[more:
https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00049182.2015.1077539 ]
aborigines  aboriginal  australia  history  climatechange  maps  mapping  memory  oraltradition  stories  storytelling  patricknunn  coastline  ecosystems  landscape  oceans  sealevel 
october 2015 by robertogreco
This is What Happened When an Australian City Gave Trees Email Addresses | Smart News | Smithsonian
"Trees get fan mail and even write back to Melburnian residents"

"They provide shade, air to breathe, and an undeniable sense of grandeur. But would you ever write a letter to the tree? Officials in Melbourne, Australia have discovered that for many, the answer is a resounding yes — The Guardian’s Oliver Milman reports that when they rolled out a program that assigned email addresses to trees in a bid to help identify damage and issues, they discovered that city residents preferred to write them love letters instead.

The city is calling it “an unintended but positive consequence” of their attempt to help citizens track tree damage. On their urban forest data site, Melbourne assigned ID numbers and email addresses to each of the city’s trees so it would be easier to catch and rehabilitate damaged trees.

Then the emails began to arrive. Milman writes that instead of damage reports, people began to write fan mail to trees, complimenting their looks and leaves and telling tales of how they’d helped them survive during inclement weather. Some trees even write back.

The effort is part of a larger initiative to protect Melbourne’s 70,000 city-owned trees from drought and decline. But it turns out that Melburnians have always been arboreal enthusiasts: the city council notes that in the 1880s, residents wrote begging for the planting of blue gum eucalyptus trees to “absorb bad gasses” emanating from a nearby manure depot."

[See also: http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2015/07/when-you-give-a-tree-an-email-address/398210/ ]
australia  trees  internetofthings  email  2015  melbourne  plants  multispecies  iot 
july 2015 by robertogreco
‘A change of heart towards children.’ Historical perspectives from England, Australia and New Zealand on the design of a new primary school for Cambridge, Catherine Burke
"Architects and educators who collaborated in the post war era have talked about the development of a ‘common vocabulary of design’ in relation to the planning of new school buildings supported by a consensus in the dominant ways of envisaging the modern school. From the 1930s, there also developed a common vocabulary of progressive education. Key concepts that were presented and discussed at international conferences (1930s-70s) included the phrases; ‘education for living’; and ‘education through art’. John Dewey’s Art as Experience (1934) was no doubt responsible for much discussion about the place of the arts in education.

‘Education through art’ is an idea most closely identified with Sir Herbert Read however when one considers the evidence from important gatherings of educationalists in the antipodes during this period, one realizes that the phrase may have been used more generally and was certainly used by the Canadian artist and educator (Toronto Art Gallery) Arthur Lismer in 1937 as the title of one of his addresses at the Victoria NEF conference."



"The change of heart towards children that Clegg was striving for also concerned attitudes towards the older child, often as he saw it abandoned by the system owing to their talents being measured merely in academic terms. Clegg was a significant voice in the findings of the Newsom Enquiry which reported in 1963 as ‘Half Our Future’. These were the majority of secondary modern pupils, the rejected and the neglected as ‘they do not readily lend themselves to measurement by the conventional criteria of academic achievement.’ (Newsom Report 1963, p. 1). The report concluded there was a need for ‘ a change of heart, on the part of the community as a whole ‘ towards children. What was needed was a recognition that those parts of education, less easily measurable, were as vital to the individual and society as those that were. This was an education of the spirit: That part of humanity that defies measurement. In particular, Clegg drew attention to the role of the expressive arts and their impact on other basic skills.

‘one can more often than not measure the things of the mind,
the things governed by law and regulations - spelling,
punctuation, calculations, the facts of history and geography,
science, technical proficiency, the accuracy of the perspective,
the effectiveness of the timetable, even the degree of
submission achieved by the cane. But you cannot measure the
love of poetry, the sensitivity to music or art, the zest or
initiative with which the peculiarities of nature are
investigated, the extent to which encouragement and
expectation and just treatment breed trust and compassion and
concern in a child.

When he was asked by an American scholar if he had any statistics to share with them about this revolution in primary education, Clegg reached for his leather briefcase he carried with him and emptied the contents saying these are your statistics ‘extraordinary samples of paintings, drawings, collages, embroideries, stories, poems and essays produced by pupils in his district.’ (Charles Silberman, Revolution, Foreword p.5) and Clegg insisted that the products were the children themselves."



"A new school for Cambridge

Under the UK government's Free Schools policy, every new build must have a sponsor and the new primary school for Cambridge is one of two University Training Schools currently under construction – the other being a secondary school in Birmngham. The University College London sponsored and opened an academy two years ago.

The Cambridge primary school will be a University training and research school (UTS) and is intended to be a beacon for the region as well as representing the best possible practice nationally and internationally. There is a lot of expectation. Today, I want to describe the design of the school and share with you some of the ways that knowledge of the history of education and school design past and present has informed the design process. The school is due to open in September 2015. It will be a three form entry school : 60 Reception, 20 year 1 and 20 year 2 growing to 630 children ( 21 classes) by 2016017. It will include a 78-place nursery by 2016-17. The architects are Marks Barfield (designers of the London Eye). In many ways in terms of design, the building and its relationship with the grounds share many characteristics of children’s; design ideas in The School I’d Like. It is possible to measure these comparable features. However, whether this school is able to come close to the radical agenda agreed across time and space by the generation of ambitious teachers artists architects and administrators associated with the powerful ‘revolutionary’ capacity of education through art, and the aspirations of children and young people in the SIL is another matter. There is hope that inspired leadership informed by an historical sensibility and a high level of energy will indeed create a showcase of what is possible to achieve through ‘learning beyond limits’ a terms associated with the beliefs and practice of advisory head teacher for the project, Dame Alison Peacock. However, we are reminded that the spirit of a creative school cannot reasonably be measured and evaluated in the same terms that are likely to characterize research that will be carried out at the school. Whether the school fits the child in the way that Alec Clegg, a generation of progressive educators and children expressing their hopes for the future intended, will depend on the capacity of teachers to practice their art fully and with a wisdom that is rooted in a respect for the child as an artist and creator of their own worlds.

Final words of Alec Clegg “the entire object of true education is to make people not merely do the right things but enjoy the right things’"
catherineburke  2015  alecclegg  education  schools  schooldesign  architecture  children  learning  england  australia  newzealand  creativity 
june 2015 by robertogreco
Spreadsheets of power: How economic modelling is used to circumvent democracy and shut down debate | The Monthly
[via: https://twitter.com/annegalloway/status/587013934143574016 ]

"Most people think it is hard to put a dollar value on a human life, but they’re wrong. It’s easy. Economists do it all the time.

Most people think that all human lives are equally valuable. And most think economic modelling is boring, irrelevant to their busy lives, and unrelated to how our democracy is functioning. They’re wrong about those, too.

About ten years ago, a lawyer rang to ask if I would do some (economic) modelling. “It depends,” I said. “What’s the job?”

“We want you to put a dollar value on the life of a dead mother,” said the lawyer. “We are suing a doctor for medical negligence, and the insurance company wants to value her life at zero because she wasn’t working. She had no future earning potential. Can you estimate the value of the housework she would have performed?”

I still feel sad when I think about it: for the family, for myself, and for a society in which asking such a question is not only acceptable but also necessary. The dilemma for the widower and the lawyer, and for me, was that if someone didn’t put a dollar value on the love and care that a mother gives her children, the father would wind up with even less money to care for the kids he would be bringing up by himself.

Of course, economists have no real way to value love and affection, so I valued ironing, laundry and child care instead. I got my hands on data about how mothers with three kids use their time. I found data on the price of buying individual household services like ironing, and the price of live-in maids and nannies. I forecast the age at which the kids would leave home. My forecast was based on a meaningless average of kids who do go to uni and kids who don’t. My spreadsheets were huge, complex, scrupulously referenced and entirely meaningless. Like all good forecasters I estimated the “value” of her life to the cent, and as happens in all good negotiations, the lawyers ultimately settled for a nice round number. The only good thing about the number was that it was bigger than zero.

The topsy-turvy “morality” of economics is built in to models that politicians, lawyers, economists and lobby groups use to persuade the public, in all parts of public life: models that say, for instance, that we can’t afford a price on carbon; that life-saving medicine for some people is “too expensive”; or that the loss of an entire species is justifiable if woodchip prices remain above $100 per tonne.

Everyone who uses economic models to excuse the inexcusable wants you to believe that the models are boring. The last thing they want you to do is to pay attention.

***

Many economists have calculated that it will be cheaper for the world to endure climate change than to prevent it. The models they use to draw this bizarre conclusion are built on thousands of assumptions about everything from the value of human life to the willingness of consumers to buy smaller cars if petrol becomes more expensive. If any one of those assumptions is wrong, the answer will be wrong. If hundreds of the assumptions are out, the answer becomes meaningless. (Some economists then argue that if hundreds of the assumptions are wrong then the errors might cancel each other out. Seriously.)

Imagine you were asked to model the costs of dangerous climate change. Imagine you were in possession of the likely number of people who will die as a result of storms, floods and droughts. Imagine you knew what countries they would die in, and how many years into the future. Would you value all of their lives equally? Would you assume that a Bangladeshi and an American life were “worth” the same? Would you think that the death of a child in 20 years’ time was worth as much as the death of a child in 50 years’ time?

In our democracy, these ethical questions are usually answered by economists, to two decimal places.

Most economic modellers do not assume that all human lives are equal. Bjorn Lomborg, for example, one of the world’s most famous climate sceptics, uses modelling that assumes the lives of people in developing countries are worth a lot less than the lives of Australians or Americans. While the US Declaration of Independence may declare that all men are created equal, most economic models assume that all men (and women) are worth a figure based on the GDP per capita of their country.

Late last year, Bjorn Lomborg asked to meet me, and I wondered whether talking to him would be good fun or a waste of time. It was neither: it was scary and illuminating. After 15 years as the smiling face of climate inactivists, Lomborg had raised his sights. His new mission was to ensure that governments also deliver inaction on global poverty alleviation, public health and gender inequality.

When we met, Lomborg proceeded to explain how his team of economists at the Copenhagen Consensus Center had decided that a number of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals weren’t worth pursuing. His tool of choice for defending such a position? Economic modelling.



You probably didn’t know economists had an assumption about humanity’s primary goal, did you? No wonder developing countries think that the developed countries don’t really care about their suffering as much as our inconvenience. We don’t.

Assumptions such as those made by Summers sit at the heart of the economic models that are regularly used to oppose carbon taxes, support free trade agreements and prevent the introduction of environmental regulations or more generous welfare safety nets.

Much of the power of economists is based on the public’s (understandable) lack of desire to read reports written in algebra. That’s why we like to use algebra.



In 2011, Denmark’s general election saw its centre-right government tossed out of power, to be replaced by a minority centre-left coalition led by the country’s first female prime minister, Helle Thorning-Schmidt.

Bjorn Lomborg’s Copenhagen Consensus Center was one of the first casualties of the change of government. When it was announced that its more than $1 million in funding would be cut, Lomborg visited the new prime minister, urging her to reconsider the government’s decision. “I’d love to show you how the Copenhagen Consensus is a good idea,” he was reported as telling her.

“I think that probably might be right, Bjorn,” she reportedly responded to the sceptical environmentalist. “But I will just get so much more mileage out of criticising you.”

Costs and benefits can be calculated any number of ways, and the modeller’s assumptions are crucial to the end result. Lomborg had confidently assumed that the Danish taxpayer would continue to fund his work. His cost–benefit analyses had found that more effort should be put into free trade and less money spent on tackling poverty and climate change. But, as with all such efforts, garbage in, garbage out.

There is a role for economists, and economic modelling, in public debate. Its role should not be to limit the menu of democratic choices. Instead it should be to help explain the trade-offs.

Good modellers aren’t afraid of explaining their assumptions. The clients who pay best, however, don’t want the best modellers. They want people who can write a fat report to slam on the fucking table."
economics  power  democracy  control  2015  economists  ideology  modeling  morality  politics  policy  lobbyists  persuasion  climatechange  justification  capitalism  larrysummers  worldbank  welfare  humanism  humanity  ethics  neoliberalism  richarddenniss  bjornlomborg  copenhagenconsensuscenter  riotinton  consensus  petercostello  joehockey  australia  inequality  poverty  representation  environment  pollution 
april 2015 by robertogreco
Tasmanian Devil - The New Yorker
“A master gambler and his high-stakes museum.”



"In 1985, Ranogajec took Walsh with him to Las Vegas. They lost almost everything they had. Ranogajec spent the next five months at the tables painstakingly winning back their stake while Walsh escaped what he called “the scream of the bland” for a new discovery which was to prove their big break: the world’s largest collection of gambling literature, housed at the library at the University of Nevada. He read widely and deeply on gambling history and gambling systems, the psychology of gambling, its management, its workings as a business, why people win and lose."



"From the warehouses of the Hobart wharf district of Salamanca and from the rooms of Hobart pubs—where banks of computers and attendant programmers, mathematicians, and statisticians crunched information, enhanced mathematical systems, and placed bets—the Bank Roll’s gaming went global. It was recently reported in the Australian that the Bank Roll now gambles “as much as $3 billion” worldwide on betting-pool systems alone and continues to develop new mathematical models and computer systems for gambling on horse races, basketball, football, soccer, rugby, and dog racing in Europe, Asia, and the U.S.

These days, according to Walsh, the Bank Roll employs people who are much better than he is at mathematics and computing. At a MONA party, you are as likely to meet an Ivy League econometrics professor recruited to do statistical analysis of Hong Kong Thoroughbred racing as you are a Tasmanian abalone diver or a naked dancer, just let out of a cage suspended from the ceiling, expressing her gratitude for “the honor of dancing for David.”

Gambling, with its allure, its lore, its cosmology of numbers and chance, the immense skill it demands, the wild hope and dizzying despair it summons, remains powerfully attractive—and lucrative—to Walsh. For all the mathematical systems and computing power, Walsh remains a gambler. He bet on the election of the last Pope, studying the field of vying cardinals, putting his money down when Joseph Ratzinger was running 6 to 1. But at the heart of his passion he found emptiness. “Gambling, like future-markets trading, doesn’t produce anything,” Walsh has written. “It just causes money to change hands. . . . Winning gamblers end up with money but have achieved nothing else.”

And Walsh wanted to do something."



"In 1995, Walsh bought a small peninsula of land, known as Moorilla, in Hobart’s northern suburbs, after family troubles forced its previous owner, Claudio Alcorso, a Jewish refugee from Mussolini’s Italy who made his fortune in textiles, into bankruptcy. Alcorso had built a high-modernist house there, but it didn’t appeal to Walsh as a home. He turned it into a museum for his antiquities. No one came. It was, in his words, generic. “It looked like every other museum.” He began to question everything he had been told about museums, from the white walls to the notion of neutrality of presentation. By then, his collecting had begun to extend into contemporary art, and the idea of a more ambitious museum took hold. Walsh’s first decision was radical. He didn’t choose to build his museum on the élite shores of Sydney Harbor, or even in the more select parts of Hobart. Instead, he chose Moorilla, which is less than three miles from where he grew up. Picturesque to visitors, set against a large river and wooded hills, MONA is, to locals, the working-class heartland of Hobart.

It’s not the only misperception to which MONA has given rise. Not the least is that it stands in sharp contrast to a Tasmania frequently misrepresented in mainland Australia as conservative. But Tasmania is better understood as a place of extremes, radicalism, and unreality, and MONA is merely its latest manifestation.

There is no Golden Age in the telling of Tasmania. For a quarter of its modern history, Van Diemen’s Land, as it was then known, served as the British Empire’s gulag: the island was populated with convicts who were brought out in the stinking holds of the ships that had once been used for the lucrative slave route. A war was waged and lost by indigenous Tasmanians against the British colonists, an apocalypse that later inspired H. G. Wells to write “The War of the Worlds.” The British governors who ran the island banned dancing and fiddle-playing, fearing their subversive powers. In the ruins of the totalitarian state that was left when convict transportation ended, in 1853, nothing much changed, because neither the prosperity nor the waves of emigration that transformed mainland Australia ever arrived in Tasmania.

The island became not so much a democracy as a mediocracy, in which the worst kept their power by destroying the best. Corruption scandals that were never properly investigated or punished came and went; a savage, self-deceiving complacency became the ruling creed; a culture of cronyism became the norm, and backwardness became self-perpetuating. Governments of astonishing incompetence had for many years no policy other than the blanket support of a rapacious forestry industry run on scandalous subsidies. If Australia was the lucky country, Tasmania became its unlucky island. Its people are by all social indicators the poorest in the country.

Such a society breeds extremes and revolt, the radical product of which is everything from the invention of the quintessential Australian outlaw hero—the bushranger—to the world’s first Green Party. It is perhaps no surprise that Walsh frequently mentions Wunderkammern—wonder chambers. Before science vanquished awe and fantasy, Wunderkammern were the fashionable way for European royalty to display their great, eclectic collections. The fabulous, the fantastic, and the fake were all thrown and shown together in a spirit of enchanted wonder. Tasmania is an island Wunderkammer, crammed full of the exotic and the strange, the beautiful and the cruel, conducive not to notions of progress but to a sense of unreality—an unreality without which there would be no MONA.

For Walsh, traditional art museums were “designed to inculcate a sense of inferiority, to prepare you for the instilling of faith.” Beholden to nobody, he wanted to “subvert the very notion of what an art museum is” by democratizing the viewing of art in a way that had “no viewpoint privileged.” But subversion didn’t come cheap."



"The tax case was finally resolved in a confidential agreement in October, but it demonstrated the fundamental fragility of MONA—its dependence on Walsh in all things. In his memoir, Walsh writes of Shelley’s “Ozymandias,” and there is more than a little of the vainglorious “king of kings” in him. In the restaurant, he told me he had plans drawn up to make sure that MONA continues after his death, but his conviction suggests a belief that he could pay for MONA in the first place. A senseless risk yesterday, it remains a wild gamble tomorrow. “If I cared about longevity, I wouldn’t have built a museum a couple of meters above the sea level,” Walsh told a newspaper in 2010. “The Derwent is a tidal river. In fifty years, there’s going to be a lot of money spent on MONA, or it’s going to be underwater.”

Later in our lunch, Walsh—with the autodidact’s vast appetite for books—talked of writers. I gesture across the Derwent, to the rusting hulk of the barque Otago, the last boat on which Joseph Conrad sailed before heading up the Congo River. “And the only ship of which he ever had oceangoing command,” Walsh said. He said that he struggled with “The Shadow Line,” Conrad’s elusive novel inspired by his time on the Otago. As with much else, Walsh is certain in his thinking about books. Perhaps the only real certainty with Walsh is that he is always certain about what he is saying."
2013  davidwalsh  richardflanagan  mona  tasmania  art  literature  museums  userexperience  money  gambling  australia 
april 2015 by robertogreco
Is There a Place Where White People Are More Committed to Faux Race Blindness than South Africa? | Africa is a Country
"The levels of racism amongst many white Australians seem to match the levels of denial about their being racist. And there is no doubt that the deepest and most abiding forms of racism are directed against Aboriginal people. It is as though on some psychic level, white Australians are angry with Aboriginal people for still being here, for reminding them of their sins, for refusing to conform to their own ideas about what Australia is or should be. In a country that is so dedicated to the idea of ‘mateship’ that the prime minister sits at the front of the car next to the driver rather than in the backseat, the very idea of racism is jarring. Being racist denies people the ‘fair go,’ that so many people say is at the core of this country’s identity.

Yet, white Australia’s history of dealings with the indigenous people of this continent are as ugly as you’ll find anywhere in the world. It is a history of trickery, dispossession and violence, all of it premised on rock solid racism. Today, Aboriginal people in Australia represent less than three per cent of the national population. Within this small population there is huge diversity in language, cultural practices, connection to land and urban spaces, educational levels, and so on. Yet, because racism follows the same script wherever you find it, Aboriginal people are over-represented in the criminal justice system, and have health and educational outcomes that – if they were taken alone – would make Australia look like a developing country."



"While other Australians will be affected, the primary target for the actions are understood to be Indigenous people. This was made clear when the Prime Minister Tony Abbott defended the decision that would see up to 150 communities in Western Australia closed. His words were instructive. He was quoted as saying, “What we can’t do is endlessly subsidize lifestyle choices if those lifestyle choices are not conducive to the kind of full participation in Australian society that everyone should have.”

Abbott’s statement caused uproar because it reflects the attitude that successive Australian governments have taken to Aboriginal people. The summary of this attitude across time is essentially this: ‘If only they could just change how they live, they wouldn’t be such a menace to all of us.’ Implicit in the statement is this idea that Aboriginal people are holding the nation back. Never mind that it makes sweeping generalizations about a series of communities and people that are diverse in multiple ways.

Because of the blowback, and the government’s own lack of proper planning, it is unclear how many communities will close at the moment. The Western Australia state government is backpedalling the face of widespread opposition from Aboriginal organizations and their allies. Yet the fact that such plans could even be contemplated, speaks to a far larger problem in this country.

Abbott’s words are the latest in a long line of insults hurled at the people who are the original inhabitants of this continent and the rightful caretakers of this land. They also echo comments that could have been two hundred years ago when thousands of Aboriginal people were exposed to the diseases of the colonising settlers and many others were massacred in events that were often deliberately erased from the history books."
australia  2015  racism  aborigines  sisonkemsimang  southafrica  tonyabbott 
april 2015 by robertogreco
25 maps that explain the English language - Vox
"English is the language of Shakespeare and the language of Chaucer. It's spoken in dozens of countries around the world, from the United States to a tiny island named Tristan da Cunha. It reflects the influences of centuries of international exchange, including conquest and colonization, from the Vikings through the 21st century. Here are 25 maps and charts that explain how English got started and evolved into the differently accented languages spoken today."
english  maps  mapping  language  history  change  accents  migration  immigration  colonization  international  australia  us  india  europe  wikipedia  words  vocabulary  dialects  regionalisms 
march 2015 by robertogreco
The reality | Music for Deckchairs
"Here’s a story that ought to be filling us all with hope: a big tale of resilience, creativity, cooperation and opportunity, driven by a remarkable and gifted Australian. Look at him here: he is young, and healthy, and doing so much good. He has time left. If I was his mother watching this, I’d be awash with pride at what he’s achieved."

[video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aAP2xWlEfNU ]

"But his reality is this: that right at this minute plans are being made for him to be taken to a field, tied to a post and shot. Let’s not mince words, this is what we mean by “death penalty” and “firing squad”, and anyone who is still championing this as a just outcome needs to look much more closely at the violence in the details. There is nothing at all separating this killing from that of Kenji Goto, and the only whisper of daylight between this and the shooting of Kajieme Powell is the premeditation, the forced contemplation of what’s to come. Nothing at all distinguishes what his mother will feel when his body is returned, from the grief of Junko Ishido.

None of us are going to live for ever, and this is why mortality really is inseparable from love. We all wonder how, when, in what condition we’ll end our turn; we wonder who will be with us, and how they will get up and carry on without us when we stop. Atul Gawande’s Being Mortal, an intensely personal discussion of what happens to individuals and their families at the end of life, suggests that this is why humans really cannot bear the idea of dying. So we go on suffering because we don’t know how to accept that what’s around the next bend—the next birthday, the next family wedding—isn’t going to be part of our life time. The weather will continue, the buildings will stay up and the clocks won’t stop; it’s just that we won’t be here to see it, and people we love will have to go on without us.

Gawande and many others are now arguing that it’s vital to good healthcare that we learn to make peace with human dying, and let that direct us towards living while we’re here in a way that reflects our values. This isn’t a simple thing: it takes time to untangle our own values and beliefs from those of our community and the cultures that shape us. It’s easy to get taken up with the things that seem to matter to others, the achievements that are celebrated, the stuff that is envied. But in the end we all have a fairly strong sense of what we each really care about—what we would go on doing if it was the last day of our lives.

UK palliative care specialist and cancer patient Kate Granger, for example, has taught me a great deal about what it means to value work, and to fight to continue working while thinking that this might be the last year for doing anything at all. Lisa Bonchek Adams advocates tirelessly for the right of patients with metastatic breast cancer to have their condition recognised as a disease stage that can be lived with, and in so doing she continues to love and care for her children, her family and friends. Both have made hard personal choices to continue in treatment, and to do this in public, because this is what enables them to go on living with purpose.

This is Gawande’s point: we each approach the question of what it would take to live the best possible day today on our own terms, whatever the constraints we’re facing. This isn’t just a question for people who are sick; the best possible day is a wish we can all offer each other, for the simple reason that we’re all mortal too. And this really should be the basis for how we treat each other, how we value each other’s time, and how we react to the knowledge that someone is facing their death. This isn’t just about ethics in institutional or constitutional decision-making, or state sovereignty: we stop in our tracks for death, and we try to bring every possible resource of care and hope to the end of someone’s life, because one day that’s exactly how it will be for each of us.

"How people die and how we participate in their deaths is as much about us as about them. Our own humanity is at stake."
– Eric Manheimer, MD, Twelve Patients

And so I can’t make peace with this dying at all. I wander round the house thinking about him, and I know that thousands of us are doing exactly the same, right at this moment. Those close to him have said goodbye and look exhausted with grief. I can’t imagine their pain.

Execution strips all possibility of dignity or care from the event of dying, which is why it’s used wherever the aim is to brutalise and terrify. The aim isn’t simply to end life, but to cause its end to be a spectacle, and to force the whole world to contemplate the violence and abjection of life being ended in this way. Kenji Goto’s mother, pleading for his release, said that she would sacrifice her life for his, and we all knew that this was an unbearable cruelty that she should be made to suffer the knowledge of his death, and her exclusion from it. Nothing is different here.

Myuran Sukumaran is an Australian artist. With persistence and vision he has created a studio and an educational enterprise filled with generosity, and inspired an incredible campaign to try to keep him alive. And at this last minute, he’s still there painting, caring for his family, thinking it all through, making a portrait of himself and the island of Nusakambangan, where prisoners are taken to be shot.

He is one of us, and he is still alive. Don’t disturb him. Let him paint."
balinine  mortality  atulgawande  2015  via:audreywatters  myuransukumaran  crime  punishment  deathpenalty  australia  indonesia  rehabilitation  dignity 
february 2015 by robertogreco
Is it time to cut adrift from island thinking? – Libby Robin – Aeon
"Island-mindedness is born in island places, but the islands of the mind have a broad appeal. Is this hard-wired? Recognising an island of safety and refuge might have enabled our hominin ancestors to find stepping stones out of Africa in times of environmental stress. The concept of the island has long been prominent in literature and useful in science: biologists and geographers, national park managers and archaeologists, linguists, geneticists and evolutionary theorists have all turned at times to the model of the island. Yet it might no longer be a great model for the new needs and concerns of our rapidly globalising century."



"An island is as much metaphor as it is physical place. Nature and wilderness reserves became the real nature for quantitative biological theorists. They could ignore the complex stuff of urban development and human communities. An island could stand for the Garden of Eden, in an age when wilderness was the highest ideal for conservation.

Islands are also devices for thinking mathematically, for simplifying the real world and leaving out messy variables. MacArthur and Wilson were conscious of the complexity of the processes they wished to explain quantitatively – processes such as dispersal, invasion, competition, adaptation and extinction. An island-based theory, they acknowledged, left out ‘many of the most troublesome – and interesting – problems’. Ecological principles need sound theories and statistical significance if they are going to attract support from governments and policymakers. Ultimately, they argued, islands and continents need to be understood together, but the island was the basis for mathematical certainty – for laws – in the management of nature. Their final chapter, ‘Prospect’, argued that biogeography was mature enough to ‘be reformulated in terms of the first principles of population ecology and genetics’."



"The island had seemed an ideal field for ‘experimentation’, but island biogeography did not take sufficient account of time and history, and the assumption that the island’s ecological future was heading steadily towards some sort of ‘balance’ was misplaced. In 1986, the Finnish philosopher-ecologist Yrjö Haila argued that the equilibrium model had ‘ossified into a simple formula that began to suppress creative thinking instead of stimulating it’.

Haila advocated ‘a broader, pluralistic appreciation of the role of theories in general’. But ecologists have found it difficult to let go of the elegance and parsimony that equilibrium theories embody, and to see the way life works afresh without theoretical assumptions. In 2006, the ornithologist and oceanic island specialist David W Steadman argued: ‘Data that fail to support an ‘elegant’ model are often regarded as noise or the exception that proves the rule. Elegant models made by deified people die hard.’

Wilson’s fame gave the equilibrium theory a longer life than its data supported. The balance of nature was attractive beyond science, and it has a romantic following, particularly among conservationists and nature lovers who support the national parks and ‘wilderness’ ideals. The US Wilderness Act is now 50 years old, and things have moved on during the Great Acceleration of change in the same period.

Even as the theory of island biogeography was gaining supporters, the critique of the balance of nature was gathering pace within ecology. National parks and nature reserves management took for granted that nature could somehow heal itself, if protected from humanity. Experimental ideas about islands drove – and at times limited – the conservation agenda, because managers still indulged the idea that nature could be fenced off, or isolated from the threat of humanity. In the past half-century, during which the human population has more than doubled, theories for protecting nature from our overexploitation have proliferated. Biological extinctions have accelerated unabated."



"In the ‘post-national’ 21st century, borders are no longer as fixed as national jurisdictional law suggests. Australia has, at times, excised itself from its islands to handle the politics of asylum‑seeking. Would-be migrants, seeking refuge in Australia, are held on offshore islands until their status is legitimated or denied. By this means, successive Australian governments have deprived vulnerable people, including children, of basic human rights. For the sake of domestic political convenience, the nation of the plastic stencil sometimes defines itself without the islands where refugee boats land. The fact that people abandon nations and passports because of global pressures, because of the impossibility of being at home where they were born, is part of what is changing the nature of nations in a global world. People are no longer from where they came from. They become citizens of where they wash up, or the world. Island-mindedness – the separation of places from other places – is no longer an option.

In this global world, it is flows and circulation, rather than land parcels, that are important. Just as Google maps and GPS have become widespread, territoriality is changing. Flows are about land-and-sea-and-sky-and-people – a collective consciousness that is hard to represent on a 2D map or a phone app.

The island-minded idea of nature, separated from culture, has also changed. Some say we are at the ‘end of nature’: there is now a human signature on all the global flows: the biophysical system is also cultural, as the new epoch of the Anthropocene is imagined. To rework the poet John Dunne, no island-nation is ‘entire of itself’, nor can any island-nature be other than ‘involved in mankind’. Perhaps the bell now tolls for the last island: the blue marble of planet Earth, an island in the infinity of space."



"Surtsey is still bleak and black, but mosses and lichens, windswept grasses and stunted shrubs now soften its edges. All its creatures still live as much with the global systems of winds and storms as on the precious fragment of land that erupted 50 years ago. Surviving on such a remote island is, paradoxically, a mark of cosmopolitanism. Only plants and animals that travel easily will flourish there."
libbyrobin  via:anne  2014  iceland  islands  science  isolation  cosmopolitanism  judithschalansky  picoiyer  surtseyisland  peterveth  charlesdarwin  alfredrusselwallace  galápagos  alexandervonhumboldt  newzealand  australia  bali  lombok  ecology  biology  life  robertmacarthur  edwardowilson  ecosystems  discreetness  nature  wilderness  complexity  extinction  dispersal  invasion  adaptation  competition  biogeography  geography  lordhoweisland  yrjöhaila  equilibrium  conservation  adrianmanning  jakobvonuexküll  flows  circulation  borders  people  humans  separation  anthropocene  darwin 
december 2014 by robertogreco
Private schooling has little long-term pay-off
"These results must call into question the wisdom of paying private school fees, particularly for independent schools whose fees can be anywhere from $20,000 to $34,000 a year. The massive growth in the number of private schools since the 1990s may be having the effect of diluting the advantages perceived to be attached to private schooling.

If, as these results suggest, there is no long-term advantage to be gained from paying to attend an independent school, why do parents stretch their family budgets to pay private school fees? In a climate where university fees are set to rise, parents across the country may start asking themselves this very question."
education  schools  privateschool  australia  economics  schooling  2014 
august 2014 by robertogreco
Mark Gerada | Artist
"Mark Gerada is an Australian artist, illustrator and teacher with a background in architecture, ceramics and design. He worked as an architectural designer and as a designer on a leading magazine, Interior Architecture, before graduating in Architecture with first class honours at the University of Technology, Sydney in 1993. Supporting his painting practice, Mark ran a successful ceramics business for many years, worked as an illustrator for magazines and newspapers, and produced commissioned paintings for private houses, offices and hotels. He has taught in architecture, illustration and visual communications at the University of Technology Sydney.

Mark has exhibited work in Sydney, Melbourne, London, Brussels and China, and in June 2007 had his Generation solo show in Malta. In 2008, Mark had his solo show Mounds and Caves at Gaffa, curated 888 to coincide with the opening of the Beijing Olympics, and in June 2009 curated 649 to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests.

In 2010, Mark exhibited his Post Exhibition Blues body of work at the new Gaffa, where he also coordinated the reconstruction of four levels of heritage building, including the design and construction of the new joinery and signage design. In 2012, Mark collaborated with Tega Brain and Diego Bonetto to create City Wilderness Trail, commissioned by the City of Sydney as a part of Arts and About, Laneways Arts Programme and Arts Month. Mark has just completed Koala Land, a blog, report and publication that investigates how humans and koalas can live together on the Koala Coast of South East Queensland in an attempt to stop one of our national icons from becoming extinct."
art  artists  illustration  design  australia 
may 2014 by robertogreco
Aboriginal people – how to misunderstand their science
"Just one generation ago Australian schoolkids were taught that Aboriginal people couldn’t count beyond five, wandered the desert scavenging for food, had no civilisation, couldn’t navigate and peacefully acquiesced when Western Civilisation rescued them in 1788.

How did we get it so wrong?

Australian historian Bill Gammage and others have shown that for many years land was carefully managed by Aboriginal people to maximise productivity. This resulted in fantastically fertile soils, now exploited and almost destroyed by intensive agriculture.

In some cases, Aboriginal people had sophisticated number systems, knew bush medicine, and navigated using stars and oral maps to support flourishing trade routes across the country.

They mounted fierce resistance to the British invaders, and sometimes won significant military victories such as the raids by Aboriginal warrior Pemulwuy.

The Yolngu people, in north eastern Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory, long recognised how the tides are linked to the phases of the moon. …"

[via: https://twitter.com/annegalloway/status/458932709125922816
https://twitter.com/annegalloway/status/458934224863518721
https://twitter.com/annegalloway/status/458935945488633856
""Only now are we starting to understand Aboriginal intellectual and scientific achievements."
But referring to indigenous ways of knowing as “science” serves to reinforce scientific authority by co-opting other forms of knowledge. Of course, claiming scientific authority can also be very subversive and interesting. It’s a complex issue." ]
australia  science  aboriginal  2014  via:anne 
april 2014 by robertogreco
Why Light Inspires Ritual - Issue 11: Light - Nautilus
"For Aboriginal cultures, light is a physical and spiritual guide."
"Tell me about how light creates “wonder.”
Wonder comes from all sorts of light. People tend to appreciate unusual light phenomena such as sunrises and sunsets, rays from behind clouds, exciting color contrasts, and rainbows. And while cultures vary, our shared sensory avenues for engaging with the world explain why we’re similarly affected by light. The Aboriginal people in Queensland, Australia, where I have worked for many years, may not have the same conversations that we do about the beauty of light and water, but they do sit and gaze at water bodies. And they generate ideas about what water and light mean.

What are some of these ideas?
The notion of visibility and invisibility is central to Aboriginal thinking. There is the invisible and immaterial world that is held within the land where ancestral beings reside. From there, they generate life and emanate power upward into the visible material world. The notion that it’s the ray of light that rouses the spirit is all around their mythology. Even the words they use to describe the spiritual movement from the ancestor to a human being can be translated roughly into English as “becoming visible” or “becoming material.”

So light makes the Aboriginal ancestral beings visible?
Yes, and it’s usually done through the interplay with water. Aboriginal Australia’s major ancestral being, the Rainbow Serpent is, in a sense, composed of water and its power is emitted by light or shine. Many other ancestral powers are contained in sacred water spots that are brought into the visible world through the shimmering water surface. A similar idea applies to rock and body art: The dots and patterns painted on the landscape or on the body represent the emanation of ancestral forces—their shimmer makes them manifest. In songs and stories too, “things that shine” are quite literally powerful and alive. The process of retelling the myths is meant to evoke the ancestors."



"Is there a reason why people are riveted by light and water?
In many cultures, but especially in the West, we tend to privilege our sense of sight above the other senses. Water’s capacity to reflect light is a particularly powerful sensory stimulus. So if you add together the fact that we prize visual experience, and that water and light in combination can produce large-scale, intricate, rapidly-moving patterns and effects with elements of both order and disorder, it seems reasonable to speculate that this is particularly stimulating and engaging to the brain, evoking something for which we can use the term wonder. There is, at least, a good research question here.

Is there a way to measure people’s emotional response to light and water?
A fruitful line of research, I think, would be comparing ethnographic accounts of watching the play of light on water with neuroscientific research on how light affects the eye, the brain, and the body. I suspect that the shimmer of light on water echoes what is going on inside our heads. This constant neurological “fizz” or “shimmering” of thoughts might remind us of the mesmerizing effect of sitting beside a glittering body of water, watching the light sparkle on the surface. This remains rather speculative, but when I interview people in cultures such as ours about their experiences with water, they very often talk about its powerful mesmerizing or hypnotic effects. The nascent science of how light and water affect the mind makes me understand better why indigenous peoples, such as the Aboriginal Australians, would have practices that involve it."
veronicastrang  light  water  casparhenderson  2014  culture  anthropology  australia  aboriginal 
april 2014 by robertogreco
Pursuing The Platypus (Idle Words)
"And so one of the most hopelessly domesticated corners of Queensland, a landscape full of dairy farms and sugar cane, is full of friendly monsters. There are platypus in the river banks, giant bats in the night sky, and God only knows what kinds of creatures in the tree canopy. It makes me wish I could be a kid in Australia, where magical creatures really do come out at night. And it makes me excited to think of what might still turn up in the wilder parts of this continent, or in someone's carefully tended garden."
australia  fauna  nature  animals  2013  maciejceglowski  emus  platypus  maciejcegłowski 
december 2013 by robertogreco
Education in the Age of Globalization » Reading the PISA Tea Leaves: Who Is Responsible for Finland’s Decline and the Asian Magic
"While the East Asian systems may enjoy being at the top of international tests, they are not happy at all with the outcomes of their education. They have recognized the damages of their education for a long time and have taken actions to reform their systems. Recently, the Chinese government again issued orders to lesson student academic burden by reducing standardized tests and written homework in primary schools. The Singaporeans have been working reforming its curriculum and examination systems. The Koreans are working on implementing a “free semester” for the secondary students. Eastern Asian parents are willing and working hard to spend their life’s savings finding spots outside these “best” education systems. Thus international schools, schools that follow the less successful Western education model, have been in high demand and continue to grow in East Asia. Tens of thousands of Chinese and Korean parents send their children to study in Australia, the U.K., Canada, and the U.S. It is no exaggeration to say that that the majority of the parents in China would send their children to an American school instead of keeping them in the “best performing” Chinese system, if they had the choice.

The East Asian education systems may have a lot to offer to those who want a compliant and homogenous test takers. For those who are looking for true high quality education, Finland would still be a better place. But for an education that can truly cultivate creative, entrepreneurial and globally competent citizens needed in the 21st century, you will have to invent it. Global benchmarking can only give you the best of the past. For the best of the future, you will have do the invention yourself."
yongzhao  standardizedtesting  pisa  china  korea  finland  globalization  canada  us  australia  testing  2013  education  schools  learning 
december 2013 by robertogreco
Bird's-Eye View - Radiolab
"Tim Howard heads to Fort Monmouth, New Jersey for the story of a WWII hero whose feats of navigation saved hundreds of lives. The hero? A pigeon named G.I. Joe. Museum Curator Mindy Rosewitz fills in the details. Professor Charles Walcott  helps Tim delve into the mysteries of how pigeons pull off these seemingly impossible journeys--flying home across hundreds of miles of unfamiliar terrain. Then, Dr. Lera Boroditsky tells us about a language in Australia in which a pigeon-like ability to orient yourself is so crucial...you can't even say hello without knowing exactly which direction you're facing. And finally, Jad and Robert talk to Karen Jacobsen, aka "the GPS girl," about her own navigational abilities."

[The rest of the episode ("Lost & Found"): http://www.radiolab.org/2011/jan/25/ ]

[Related: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lera_Boroditsky
http://www-psych.stanford.edu/~lera/
http://falmouthinstitute.com/language/2010/07/the-relationship-between-language-and-culture/
http://tylertretsven.wordpress.com/2012/03/05/time-and-space-in-pormpuraaw/
http://fora.tv/2010/10/26/Lera_Boroditsky_How_Language_Shapes_Thought
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/culture-conscious/201110/is-the-left-after ]
leraboroditsky  language  pigeons  gps  directions  place  orientation  2011  radiolab  emiliegossiaux  giuseppeiaria  karenjacobsen  alanlundgard  lost  languages  pormpuraaw  thought  thinking  maps  mapping  navigation  geospatial  culture  australia  aborigines 
april 2013 by robertogreco
[this is aaronland] The "Drinking Coffee and Stealing Wifi" 2012 World Tour
"On some levels, you could reduce this entire talk down to a very simple question: Why are keeping any of this stuff? Or rather: If we as public institutions, or even private ones that wish to bask in the warm fuzzy glow of the public "trust", can't figure out how to provide access to all of this stuff we're collecting then what exactly are we doing?

We tend to justify these enourmous and fabulous buildings we create to showcase our collections on the grounds that they will, sooner or later, be the spotlight that embraces the totality of the things we keep. Yet that doesn't really happen, does it?"
mapping  maps  metadata  objects  parallel-flickr  sebchan  pharlap  australia  paolaantonelli  cooper-hewitt  databases  data  macguffin  revdancatt  gowanusheights  identification  integers  privatesquare  joannemcneil  jamesbridle  flickr  penelopeumbrico  collections  museums  archiving  archives  2012  aaronstraupcope  from delicious
december 2012 by robertogreco
cityofsound: Journal: Fabrica
"a type of school, or studio, or commercial practice, or research centre. Fabrica, hovering between all these things yet resisting the urge to fall into becoming any one of them, is perhaps genuinely without parallel. This makes it a little tricky to explain, but this ability to avoid pigeonholes is also to its credit."

"hybrid organisation—part communications research centre…but also part arts and design school, part think-thank, part studio. My kind of place."

"While I might occasionally characterise Fabrica as the pugnacious upstart, or startup, whose agility might challenge the established institutions, it’s clear we also have a lot to learn from the likes of the exemplary creative centres like the RCA, and from Paul in particular. His experience across the Design Museum, Cooper Hewitt and the RCA will be invaluable, and he’s beginning to draw together a great advisory board. Watch that space. I’m also exploring various newer models for learning environments, from Strelka and CIID to MIT Media Lab and School of Everything, alongside the centres of excellence like the RCA and others. My father and mother, more of an influence on me than perhaps even they realise, were both educators and learning environments and cultures may well be in my DNA, to some degree."

"…the other idea that I’m incredibly interested in pursuing at Fabrica is that of the trandisciplinary studio."

"With this stew of perspectives at hand, we might find project teams that contain graphic designers, industrial designers, neuroscientists, coders, filmmakers, for instance. Or product design, data viz, sociology, photography, economics, architecture and interaction design, for instance. These small project teams are then extremely well-equipped to tackle the kind of complex, interdependent challenges we face today, and tomorrow. We know that new knowledge and new practice—new ideas and new solutions—emerges through the collision of disciplines, at the edges of things, when we’re out of our comfort zone. Joi Ito, at the MIT Media Lab, calls this approach “anti-disciplinary”."

"And living in Treviso, a medieval walled Middle European city, our new home gives me another urban form to explore, after living in the Modern-era Social Democratic Nordic City of Helsinki, the Post-Colonial proto-Austral-Asian Sprawl of Sydney, the contemporary globalised city-state of London, and the revolutionary industrial, and then post-industrial, cities of the north of England."
1994  australia  uk  finland  venice  helsinki  london  sydney  domus  josephgrima  danielhirschmann  bethanykoby  technologywillsaveus  tadaoando  alessandrobenetton  rca  schoolofeverything  strelkainstitute  joiito  medialab  mitmedialab  ciid  paulthompson  nontechnology  crossdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  marcosteinberg  jocelynebourgon  culturalconsumption  culturalproduction  code  darkmatter  fabricafeatures  livewindows  colors  andycameron  richardbarbrook  californianideology  discourse  sitra  italy  treviso  helsinkidesignlab  benetton  culture  culturaldiversity  socialdiversity  diversity  decisionmaking  sharedvalue  economics  obesity  healthcare  demographics  climatechange  research  art  design  studios  lcproject  learning  education  2012  antidisciplinary  transdisciplinary  cityofsound  danhill  from delicious
november 2012 by robertogreco
Exertion Games Lab
"The Exertion Games Lab researches the future of gaming in order to understand how to design better interactive experiences, in particular games that require intense physical effort from players. We call it the intersection between gaming and sports."

[Related: "Video game with biofeedback teaches children to curb their anger" http://childrenshospital.org/newsroom/Site1339/mainpageS1339P913.html ]
gamedesign  biofeedback  australia  interactive  exertion  physical  gaming  tangible  games  from delicious
november 2012 by robertogreco
Feral Arts
"Feral Arts is one of Australia’s leading community cultural development companies. We are innovators in the field of digital storytelling, community mapping and communications. We specialise in partnerships in the Arts, Community, Education, Environment and Health sectors, creating new ways to communicate and collaborate through stories. We build world-leading community-focused digital storytelling software systems and explore the potential of emerging digital technologies in finding creative solutions to cultural and social challenges."
environment  education  community  culture  australia  feralarts  digitalstorytelling  art  from delicious
august 2012 by robertogreco
Austrian city builds public library with nothing but QR codes, NFC and stickers -- Engadget
"Strangely, the Austrian city of Klagenfurt doesn't have a public library, even though it hosts the Festival of German-Language Literature. However, an initiative dubbed Project Ingeborg is turning the municipality into a book repository of sorts with 70 QR code and NFC chip-equipped stickers. Plastered throughout town, they direct users to web pages where they can download public domain works, largely from Project Gutenberg. Oftentimes, e-books will be located in relevant locations -- so you'll be sure to find Arthur Schnitzler's The Killer near the police station, for example. Come August, the team behind the effort will partner with local talent to distribute books, music and other digital content too. In an effort to build a stronger bond to the location, the organizers have prevented search engines from indexing the links, so you'll have to visit Klagenfurt to access the curated goods. If you'd like to turn your city into a library, the group hopes to release instructions…"
mobile  2012  publicdomain  projectingeborg  qrcodes  projectgutenberg  ebooks  library  libraries  australia  klagenfurt  from delicious
july 2012 by robertogreco
Flickr: Transport Timetables and Ticket SCANS.
"A group for people interested in railroad, bus and airline timetables and tickets. Extracts from historic and current schedules from North America, Australia and worldwide. Discuss urban and long distance rail and bus timetables. Shipping and ferry timetables are included.

SCANS of transport tickets and timetables are sort. Please do NOT post photos of people holding a ticket or timetable."
masstransit  publictransit  transit  transportation  tickets  flickr  airlines  global  world  australia  us  canada  northamerica  schedules  rail  trains  buses  timetables  from delicious
may 2012 by robertogreco
Slime Mold and Highways Take the Exact Same Paths
"Slime mold is weird stuff: despite having no brain or nervous system it's ruthlessly efficient at hunting down food. So efficient that if you lay out food for it in the pattern of major cities across the US, it grows in the exact same paths as the highways we've already built.

Andrew Adamatzky, a researcher at the University of the West of England, UK, takes a petri dish of agar and holds it over a map. Then, he places oats where each of the major cities is, and dollops a lump of slime mold at the nation's capital. The networks that the slime forms pretty much tally exactly with the roads humans have built between the real cities.

If you don't quite believe that, I don't really blame you. But he's done the same experiment using maps of Canada, China, Australia, the UK, France, and a bunch more—12 in total—and the same thing happens each time. He speculates that it's because roads are actually based on unplanned paths that were also originally chosen by living creatures…"
highways  organic  mold  nervoussystem  andrewadamatzky  pathways  growth  roads  france  china  canada  uk  australia  us  cities  slimemold  2012  from delicious
april 2012 by robertogreco
Already Home - Adelaide City Stories
"Already Home is an experiment in local exploration and community interconnectivity.

This website is a community of Adelaide city locals who share inside knowledge of their home, in their own words. These stories are told through film, photography and written word.

The Already Home stories are submitted and hand-picked by locals and offer behind-the-scenes info of their city. This website is a celebration of the unique lifestyles of those who call Adelaide home."
place  alreadyhome  interconnectivity  local  belonging  community  australia  adelaide  interconnected  from delicious
april 2012 by robertogreco
Unknown Fields Division
"The Unknown Fields Division is a nomadic design studio that ventures out on annual expeditions to the ends of the earth exploring unreal and forgotten landscapes, alien terrains and obsolete ecologies. Join the Division as each year we navigate a different global cross section and map the complex and contradictory realities of the present as a site of strange and extraordinary futures.
 
Here we are both visionaries and reporters, part documentarians and part science fiction soothsayers as the otherworldly sites we encounter afford us a distanced viewpoint from which to survey the consequences of emerging environmental and technological scenarios."

[Blog: http://www.unknownfieldsdivision.com/blog/ ]
travel  galápagos  amazon  arcticcircle  ecuador  australia  alaska  roswell  chernobyl  sciencefiction  scifi  obsoleteecologies  exploration  unknownfieldsdivision  neo-nomads  nomads  fiction  design  architecture  from delicious
march 2012 by robertogreco
Art for kids in the heart of the city - playDUcation
"The Ark in Dublin was the world's first children's art centre. The City of Melbourne embraced the idea of creating a similar centre and ArtPlay was born: It resides in a big loft in the heart of the city, on the bank of Yarra River and right next to Federation Square. (Thankfully the square has a free public Wifi that I was able to use.)

What happens there? Basically workshops (or should we better call them playshops?) run by artists — painters, sculptors, media designers, dancers, musicians, and so on. The setting and Simon’s leadership are attracting some of Melbourne’s most recognized artists to be part of Artplay. Children up to 13, sometimes together with their families, or as school groups, are attending.

When I visited on a Sunday afternoon there was a group learning about to create a presence on the web: how to set up and maintain a blog, how to spread the word through social media…"

[See also: http://www.ark.ie/ AND http://www.melbourne.vic.gov.au/artplay/Pages/ArtPlayHome OR http://www.melbourne.vic.gov.au/artplay/about/Pages/about.aspx ]
artplay  ark  theark  community  children  artspace  ireland  australia  dublin  melbourne  glvo  learning  education  art  playducation  lcproject  from delicious
january 2012 by robertogreco
G.D.P. Doesn’t Measure Happiness - NYTimes.com
"What these societies have in common is that rather than striving to be the biggest they instead aspire to be constantly better. Which, in the end, offers an important antidote to both the rhetoric of decline and mindless boosterism: the recognition that whether we are falling behind or achieving new heights is greatly determined both by what goals we set and how we measure our performance."
scandinavia  nordiccountries  economics  via:anthonyalbright  2011  well-being  happiness  growth  gdp  improvement  society  capitalism  competition  davidrothkopf  measurement  carolgraham  nicolassarkozy  josephstiglitz  bhutan  jeffreysachs  us  china  development  post-development  stability  sustainability  prosperity  wealth  australia  canada  singapore  japan  netherlands  norway  sweden  denmark  luxembourg  europe  fiscalresponsibility  humanism  shrequest1  from delicious
october 2011 by robertogreco
Blog - HappySteve
"This is the first in a series of posts tracking a radical new school structure I am pioneering with my colleague Ms Talar Khatchoyan in Years 9 and 10. It's a pilot program that could become universal.

We're calling it the GAT Class, for reasons I shall explain one day.

The premise: No program. No tests. No teacher talk. No outcomes. No bureaucracy.

The students will show up on day 1, and will begin to define their own learning pathway as they find clarity regarding where they want to go.

We're starting with a modest number of students, with an entire spectrum of academic track records. In fact, during the pilot, the students themselves will help equip the structures around the course."
via:steelemaley  unschooling  deschooling  tcsnmy  lcproject  self-directedlearning  teaching  pedagogy  2011  australia  learning  from delicious
october 2011 by robertogreco
Climate Change and the End of Australia | Politics News | Rolling Stone
"Want to know what global warming has in store for us? Just go to Australia, where rivers are drying up, reefs are dying, and fires and floods are ravaging the continent"
australia  climatechange  2011  floods  fires  drought  nature  from delicious
october 2011 by robertogreco
Help Exchange: free volunteer work exchange abroad Australia New Zealand Canada Europe
"HelpX is an online listing of host organic farms, non-organic farms, farmstays, homestays, ranches, lodges, B&Bs, backpackers hostels and even sailing boats who invite volunteer helpers to stay with them short-term in exchange for food and accommodation.

HelpX is provided primarily as a cultural exchange for working holiday makers who would like the opportunity during their travels abroad, to stay with local people and gain practical experience. In the typical arrangement, the helper works an average of 4 hours per day and receives free accommodation and meals for their efforts."
education  work  travel  activism  glvo  free  helpx  exchange  us  europe  newzealand  australia  international  global  from delicious
august 2011 by robertogreco
Design Action, Leadership, and the Future (July 2011, Brisbane) « Design Journal & Conference Calls
"The objective of this process is for participants to leave with a selection of projects, design actions, new practices and political strategies – informed by their own context – that can form the basis of collaborations formed at the event. The most critical aspect of the HotHouse is not what happens at it but what occurs after it’s over! At its most ambitious, the event aims to create an ‘educational institution without a place’ (an ‘Urmadic Academy’) that can structure and facilitate the exchange of knowledge, projects and research programs."

[via: http://xskool.com/ ]
[also at: http://s-architecture.blogspot.com/2011/02/s-architecture-fwd-call-for-expressions.html ]
design  architecture  popupschools  australia  brisbane  2011  the2837university  sustainability  alternative  education  lcproject  unschooling  deschooling  tonyfry  from delicious
june 2011 by robertogreco
Not a Wolf, But a Tiger | Wired Science | Wired.com
"But appearances can be deceiving. The skull of Thylacinus may be a remarkable marsupial facsimile of the grey wolf skull, but this does not mean that the thylacine actually behaved like its placental counterpart. In fact, many of the proposed equivalencies between marsupials and their placental proxies do not hold up very well under close scrutiny – the fossil “marsupial lion”, for example, is a vastly different creature than Panthera leo. In the case of the thylacine, a study just published by Borja Figueirido and Christine Janis suggests that the predator probably had more in common with cats when it came to subduing prey."
animals  tasmania  australia  evolution  tasmaniantiger  extinction  science  zoology  thylacinus  nature  from delicious
may 2011 by robertogreco
Leigh Blackall: Notes on Herzog's film: Where Green Ants Dream
"Where The Green Ants Dream is a MUST see for anyone interested in the issues between indigenous and migrant Australia, land rights, traditions vs change, and the question of sustainability. Herzog, devoted this film to his mother, and took liberties in the basis of the story, making it entirely a work of fiction, but it is none-the-less based a whole range of real events. He certainly captures the depth of the issues, in a way Herzog only can, offering us in Australia, the valuable perspective of a thinking outsider to our plights. As always, the audio commentary from Herzog in the extra features of the DVD is well worth a viewing also."
wernerherzog  leighblackall  australia  aborigines  indigenous  film  sustainability  westernworld  westernculture  landrights  tradition  change  wheregreenantsdream  from delicious
may 2011 by robertogreco
Where the Green Ants Dream - Wikipedia
"Where the Green Ants Dream (German: Wo die grünen Ameisen träumen) is a 1984 film by German film director Werner Herzog. It is set in the Australian desert and is about a land feud between a mining company and the native Aborigines. The Aborigines claim that an area the mining company wishes to work on is the place where green ants dream, and that disturbing them will destroy humanity. The film was entered into the 1984 Cannes Film Festival."
film  wernerherzog  towatch  australia  aborigines  mining  development  landfeuds  1984  via:leighblackall  from delicious
april 2011 by robertogreco
ClubOrlov: America—The Grim Truth [A bit over the top, but there are some major truths in here, especially about the worry that results from the financial precariousness we feel as part of our system, lack of social safety net]
"Americans, I have some bad news for you:

You have the worst quality of life in the developed world—by a wide margin.

If you had any idea of how people really lived in Western Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and many parts of Asia, you’d be rioting in the streets calling for a better life. In fact, the average Australian or Singaporean taxi driver has a much better standard of living than the typical American white-collar worker.

I know this because I am an American, and I escaped from the prison you call home.

I have lived all around the world, in wealthy countries and poor ones, and there is only one country I would never consider living in again: The United States of America. The mere thought of it fills me with dread.

Consider this…"
politics  collapse  us  economics  health  healthcare  expats  2010  via:mathowie  finance  well-being  qualityoflife  food  pharmaceuticals  work  balance  australia  fragmentation  teaparty  immigration  emmigration  canada  newzealand  japan  europe  comparison  middleeast  guns  safety  society  fear  dystopia  unemployment  decline  oil  peakoil  grimfutures  change  policy  freedom  germany  finland  italy  france  scandinavia  singlepayerhealthsystem  government  socialsafetynet  bankruptcy  from delicious
december 2010 by robertogreco
Transparency: Who Owns Antarctica? - Environment - GOOD
"It stretches 5.4 million square miles. It's freezing, inhospitable, and devoid of any native residents. Why, then, is the southernmost continent at the center of such contentious wrangling? We take a look at who owns what in Antarctica, and why the battles have recently grown more tumultuous."
antarctica  globalwarming  climatechange  environment  geography  territory  argentina  chile  uk  australia  newzealand  internations  norway  france  politics  visualization  antarctic  from delicious
november 2010 by robertogreco
Pop Quiz: How Do You Stop Sea Captains From Killing Their Passengers? : Planet Money : NPR
Interesting story, and there is something to be said about incentives, but there is more to behavior than just that and remember that this comes from Alex Tabarrok. As Alfie Kohn said recently: "It's not a coincidence that this incentive-driven model [school reform and "value-added" teacher evaluation] is favored by economists, who have a growing influence on educational matters and who still tend to accept a behaviorist paradigm that most of psychology left behind ages ago." http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alfie-kohn/what-passes-for-school-re_b_710696.html
economics  incentives  alextabarrok  australia  history  felons  seacaptains  motivation  1700s  from delicious
september 2010 by robertogreco
Power in Coalition
"Coalitions can be important tools for social change and union revitalisation. What makes them successful? What causes them to fail? Community organiser Amanda Tattersall in Power in Coalition examines successful coalitions between unions and community organisations in three countries: the public education coalition in Sydney, Toronto’s Ontario Health Coalition fighting to save universal health care, and Chicago’s living wage campaign run by the Grassroots Collaborative. She explores when and how coalitions can be a powerful strategy for social change, organisational development and union renewal.

The Power in Coalition website is designed for researchers and organizers (organisers) to provide up-to-date commentary, research and training materials on coalitions between unions and community organizations (organisations). It accompanies the publication of Power in Coalition by Cornell University Press and (Allen & Unwin in Australia) in 2010."
via:foe  sustainability  politics  rights  coalitions  activism  unions  organization  organizations  labor  us  canada  australia  unionism  books  from delicious
august 2010 by robertogreco
Australian Design Review / Projects - Dandenong High School
"The cluster buildings at Dandenong are a templated module based around an ideal collective number of 150 students. British anthropologist and evolutionary biologist Robin Dunbar formulated what is now referred to as Dunbar’s Number in the 1990s as an ideal size for a social group in which healthy social relationships can be maintained (interestingly, the average number of friends belonging to any one Facebook account across its 300 million active users is 130).
schools  schooldesign  dunbar  teamteaching  tcsnmy  australia  education 
july 2010 by robertogreco
World's Happiest Countries: Gallup Survey (PHOTOS)
"While the United States may still be the richest nation on Earth, it can't claim to be as happy as Denmark or Finland. In fact, according to a new analysis of data provided by the Gallup World Poll, the relationship between overall life satisfaction and wealth may not be as straightforward as previously thought."
2010  countries  happiness  health  healthcare  polls  well-being  us  denmark  finland  norway  netherlands  costarica  canada  switzerland  sweden  newzealand  austria  australia  belgium  brasil  panamá  brazil 
july 2010 by robertogreco
New Visions of Home: Change Observer: Design Observer
"The world is tumbling over the precipice of a major demographic shift. By 2030, it is estimated that 25 percent of the developed world’s population will be over 65 — an unprecedented proportion in human history. A century ago, that number was a mere 3 percent. In the U.S., the population over 65 is expected to double to 71.5 million in the next 15 years. Investment firm T. Rowe Price now advises retirement savings until age 92. ... Below is a sample of inventive approaches to living as we age. Few of these projects suggest “senior living”; in fact, many combine thoughtful programming with sophisticated aesthetics, and all have a human-centered approach."
aging  architecture  housing  europe  trends  us  design  retrofitting  cohousing  multigeneration  vertical  density  denmark  small  smallhomes  lifelonglearning  seniors  affordability  world  population  urban  urbanism  switzerland  portland  oregon  leed  designobserver  australia  uk 
july 2010 by robertogreco
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