The Sunday Diigo Links Post (weekly)

October 30, 2011 at 12:00 pm | In links | Comments Off on The Sunday Diigo Links Post (weekly)
  • Interesting discussion of streetcars’ ability to cement a sense of place (which buses can’t do):
    … the old New Orleans streetcar is inextricably linked to the city it navigates. This sense of permanency is a big reason for the St. Charles streetcar’s success. It’s also something buses lack: because they can go anywhere, they belong nowhere.

    tags: streetcars transit urban_development

  • Amazing. This should be a useful tool in urban food self-sufficiency.
    When the new site gets up and running, Backhaus estimates that Podponics will turn out 40-50 tons of green per year, though with the newly available real estate, they expect to experiment with other crops, which may vary the total weight output. While they could continue to expand many times over within the bounds of their current location, they have designs on a different kind of expansion model.

    “Our ultimate vision is to get 80-100 pods next to the Publix distribution center in Florida or the Walmart distribution center,” says Backhaus, “so that we can harvest right there in the morning and plug it directly into their supply chain. We’re mainlining fresh produce into the regional distribution network.”

    They are also talking with potential partners in the UAE and Germany, who are dealing with various resource limitations that make this model look appealing. For now, this is a Georgia business serving other Georgia businesses. And while you probably won’t spot these shipping containers while visiting Atlanta, you’re likely to spot Podponics lettuce on any number of local menus.

    tags: agriculture urban_agriculture food_security atlantic_monthly farming container_housing

  • A terrifyingly important article about the gig / freelance economy…
    For Gioia himself, it’s made being a freelance man of letters – like his heroes from mid-century – much tougher. “I don’t think that’s possible anymore,” he says, as writing becomes unpaid volunteer work. “There are fewer gigs.” The number of papers with real book or ideas sections is down substantially; serious magazines are half the size they used to be. “If I’d quit my job this year, I don’t think I could have made it as a literary freelancer. The problem isn’t the decline of the economy, though that doesn’t help. The problem is the collapse of culture.”

    tags: freelancing gig_economy creative_class scott_timberg slate_magazine

  • Super-interesting article about the growth of food trucks. And who knew that there’s even a trade magazine devoted to mobile food trucks? “Mobile Cuisine Magazine” ??
    In fact, restaurant industry analysts say that rather than bucking the trend, brick and mortar restaurants increasingly are looking to gain market reach and heighten their public profile by putting their own mobile kitchens on the road. And retailers such as Crate + Barrel have hosted food truck nights in their parking lots on the theory that people who come out for the food may come inside to shop, Myrick says.

    tags: lifestyle atlantic_cities mobile_food_trucks food franchises business_model

  • I like the retail-on-ground-floor/apartments-above model. Standardize away. Most towns and cities could use more of it.
    Leinberger, an urban land-use strategist and professor at the University of Michigan, includes the Grocery Anchored Neighborhood Center on his list of the 19 standard real estate product types dominant in post-war America. Also on the list: suburban detached starter homes, big-box anchored power centers, multi-tenant bulk warehousing and self-storage facilities. All of these products are designed for drivable suburban communities. (…)
    But we overbuilt these 19 models, he says.

    “We built the wrong product in the wrong location, and nobody wants it any more,” he says. “That’s the reason for the housing crisis, and therefore the mortgage crisis, and therefore the Great Recession.”

    …Leinberger estimates that a good 90 percent of new development in the [DC] area has lately been planned for walkable, high-density living… These are the real estate products Leinberger believes we’ll need going forward: ground-floor retail with rental apartments on top, hotel/convention centers with condos above and a subway corridor below. These models may very well become standardized, too.

    tags: urban_renewal suburban_style suburbia christopher_leinberger atlantic_cities real_estate malls

  • Sure, university professors provide a service. But are they really just service providers? And if that’s all they have turned into, what does it say about the nature of universities? Change, change, change…
    Because “Harvard students are generally pragmatic and hyper-concerned about maximizing their Return On Time Investment,” Gandhi writes, they log onto the site… Besides, he says, students no longer have to pay attention to the professor’s lecture to learn the subject matter because “much of knowledge has become commoditized on the web.” To solve the problem, Gandhi believes professors must “start thinking of themselves as service providers who must constantly innovate to serve students better.”

    tags: socialmedia university professors lecturing teaching harvard facebook education

  • Terrific article by G. Roger Denson on Claudia Hart.
    It’s a prejudice that signals many of us are largely unaware that the pinnacle of artistry has, with the use of the computer and virtual effects software, turned a full 360 degrees in shifting, first from hand-eye coordination in painting, then to automatic reproduction in photography and film, and now back to the hand-eye coordination of 3D computer animation and virtual effects. Whether or not this means that CGI and 3D animation will become the dominant future mode of painting is to be contended. But Hart’s 3D projected paintings suggest that were Goya, Rubens, Delacroix and Ingres alive today, CGI would be their medium of choice.

    tags: art painting cgi claudia_hart g_roger_denson huffington_post

  • This is very heartening:
    …Ziegler’s approach was about adding the positive to diminish the negative, not erasing the negative and expecting a positive to emerge.

    In the end, the PHLF approach has been enormously successful. A variety of strategies, as opposed to a master plan, were established that could be applied according to different local conditions. Residents were involved in the process from the beginning. The worst vacant properties were purchased from absentee landlords and restored.

    tags: urbanism urban_renewal heritage pittsburgh historic_preservation

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Calcaneus stress fracture, 8 months and counting?

October 24, 2011 at 8:17 pm | In health | Comments Off on Calcaneus stress fracture, 8 months and counting?

How is it possible to be stupid enough to hobble around with a heel stress fracture for 8 months and keep fooling oneself into thinking it’s something else?

Well, if you’re me it’s entirely possible. As I mentioned on Oct. 11/11 in Still hobbling along…, I had a bone scan …and even to my untrained eye, it was obvious that there were all sorts of problems. Today, I finally had a follow-up with the GP I’ve been seeing (yeah, I know… takes a while, doesn’t it?), and she explained the thing.

I have not just a stress fracture in my third metatarsal – that’s the problem that sent me to the clinic in the first place – but also a stress fracture in my heel (calcaneus) bone.

What’s so incredibly frustrating is – or rather, are – these facts:

  • my heel has been painful to walk on since at least February; I assumed it was a stupid case of plantar’s fasciitis (although there was no physical reason for me to think I could have developed a case of this, and of course I didn’t – but talk about fooling oneself into thinking it’s something it’s not…), and so I ignored ignored ignored the pain;
  • I should have been in an air-cast weeks ago when I first went to the walk-in clinic on 9/28: instead, the doctor assumed it was… meh, something else, something that didn’t require immobilizing the foot – and the upshot is that I missed about 4 weeks of treatment (I’m now advised to acquire an air-cast asap);
  • I may be moving out of my house on Nov.28 (if a current offer doesn’t fall apart), and I am NOT looking forward to moving when my foot isn’t healed (but I’ll have to).

Man, I’m ticked off.

I feel like I have done nothing but fool myself about my whole existence in Victoria, and aside from healing this heel, I better look after my own interests lest I explode from sheer frustration.

The Sunday Diigo Links Post (weekly)

October 23, 2011 at 2:30 am | In links | Comments Off on The Sunday Diigo Links Post (weekly)
  • Really glad to see a lot of push-back in the comments against Matthew Yglesias’s blanket rant against publicly- or city-owned parking garages. I think the argument is ignorant and completely ignores different realities, literally on the ground. I “liked” a number of the comments, including Jamie Rosenteel’s, MacK’s, Squalish’s, and openid7&’s.

    tags: parking atlantic_cities urban_amenities shopping downtown

  • Occupy Wall Street as start-up – neat!
    The bankers are essentially oligarchist socialist types these days, looking for handouts from the government. The protesters? They’ve got their wits, their sleeping bags, their energy, and their American dream.

    Where’s the better ROI?

    tags: tom_watson occupy_wall_street entrepreneurship

  • Fascinating analysis by complex systems theorists of what looks like a super-connected cluster or network of power: 147 corporate entities (mostly banks), connected to one another, and therefore a kind of global Achilles Heel (nexus of instability, versus stability). And also likely resistant to regulation or change…?
    So, the super-entity may not result from conspiracy. The real question, says the Zurich team, is whether it can exert concerted political power. Driffill feels 147 is too many to sustain collusion. Braha suspects they will compete in the market but act together on common interests. Resisting changes to the network structure may be one such common interest.

    tags: new_scientist banks corporations networks clustering capitalism

  • So true, about the corruption of the attitude of public service:
    Over the past dec­ade the city of San Jose had repeatedly caved to the demands of its public-safety unions. In practice this meant that when the police or fire department of any neighboring city struck a better deal for itself, it became a fresh argument for improving the pay of San Jose police and fire. The effect was to make the sweetest deal cut by public-safety workers with any city in Northern California the starting point for the next round of negotiations for every other city. The departments also used each other to score debating points. For instance, back in 2002, the San Jose police union cut a three-year deal that raised police officers’ pay by 18 percent over the contract. Soon afterward, the San Jose firefighters cut a better deal for themselves, including a pay raise of more than 23 percent. The police felt robbed and complained mightily until the city council crafted a deal that handed them 5 percent more premium pay in exchange for training to fight terrorists. “We got famous for our anti-terrorist-training pay,” explains one city official. Eventually the anti-terrorist-training premium pay stopped; the police just kept the extra pay, with benefits. “Our police and firefighters will earn more in retirement than they did when they were working,” says Reed. “There used to be an argument that you have to give us money or we can’t afford to live in the city. Now the more you pay them the less likely they are to live in the city, because they can afford to leave. It’s staggering. When did we go from giving people sick leave to letting them accumulate it and cash it in for hundreds of thousands of dollars when they are done working? There’s a corruption here. It’s not just a financial corruption. It’s a corruption of the attitude of public service.”

    tags: california michael_lewis vanity_fair municipal_funding municipal_government public_service debt

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

The Sunday Diigo Links Post (weekly)

October 16, 2011 at 2:30 am | In links | Comments Off on The Sunday Diigo Links Post (weekly)
  • Well, the old CBD – Central Business District – (as a monoculture of urban downtowns) sure seems to be taking a back seat…
    All of this is leading to something of a convergence across America’s best neighborhoods, a morphing of what we used to think of as suburban versus city life. More and more of our most desirable suburban communities look more like cities, with bustling town centers alive with pedestrian life, while our best city neighborhoods have taken on many of the characteristics we used to see as the province of suburbs: good schools, green spaces, safe streets, and family life.

    tags: richard_florida cities suburbs walkability atlantic_cities

  • Cool. Exercises for improving presbyopia (by “re-wiring” perception in the brain) soon available as an app. A $95.00 app, alas. But still…
    The app helps people compensate for deterioration in their eyes’ ability to focus on nearby objects by training the brain to process the resulting blurred images. “We’re using the brain as glasses,” says Tel Aviv University’s Uri Polat, cofounder of Ucansi, which designed the software.

    The software trains users to detect patters called Gabor patches (pictured above) – blurry lines created by varying a gray background.

    tags: glasses_off presbyopia eye_exercises vision apps neuroscience

  • Hm, really? While I’m generally favorably curious about evolutionary psychology and its implications for architecture, I find the following a bit too prescriptive and overly detailed. Also disagree with the assessment of modernism and critique of its alleged “violation” of the hierarchy of scale…
    Evolutionary psychology provides an obvious reason for why people find traditional urban fabric attractive: during the period of evolutionary adaptation, if people were attracted to the temporary settlements with larger groups of people and more genetic diversity, they had a better chance of finding mates and producing healthy children. Thus, evolution hard-wired us genetically to like settlements that have individual variation and general consistency.

    This sort of urban fabric remained common during most of human history, from the earliest vernacular and traditional cities and villages until the earliest twentieth century. Here, too, buildings are similar in overall massing but different in detail.
    This is necessarily the way that traditional vernacular urbanism was built. There were only a few available materials and there was a local tradition of how to build, but each family built its own house, so there was individual variation within general consistency of design.

    tags: evolutionary_psychology architecture preservation_institute charles_siegel

  • The establishment’s reaction reminds me a bit of how people who believe in highways and cars don’t want to fund bike infrastructure. They usually argue that *they* already pay a gas tax, while the cyclists pay nothing, and thereby conveniently forget that we’re all – drivers or not – paying for highways, and that they’re driving their cars on a subsidized highway system.
    The way to understand all of this is to realize that it’s part of a broader syndrome, in which wealthy Americans who benefit hugely from a system rigged in their favor react with hysteria to anyone who points out just how rigged the system is.

    tags: occupy_wall_street ows nyt paul_krugman politics plutocracy

  • Allan Grayson explains Occupy Wall Street. Must-see.

    tags: allan_grayson occupy_wall_street ows usa financial_crisis politics video youtube bill_maher

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Still hobbling along…

October 11, 2011 at 7:35 pm | In health, just_so | 3 Comments

And now it’s three weeks, give or take a day, that this mystery ailment has limited my mobility: I’m referring to my possibly-stress-fractured right foot, which still hasn’t significantly improved. As I wrote on Sept.28, an x-ray failed to reveal a fracture – and I was actually quite happy about that …probably because I thought I’d be tripping the light fantastic within a week since, surely, there was no fracture. Right? Well, my glee was premature.

Turns out I needed a bone scan after all.

Earlier today, I went to the hospital to get an injection of radioactive phosphorous, and several hours later my foot bones were scanned for about 30 minutes in three 10-minute increments: both feet together, once in pigeon-toe position; then side-by-side from the side; and finally flat on the plate, filmed from top and bottom.
While it will be another week before I can return to the walk-in clinic for the doctor’s assessment, I did get a peek at what the technician was producing for the radiologist who will read my scans. Did not like what I saw.

First, the good-interesting part, the science (as understood by unscientific me): The method for getting the images is ingenious – from what I gathered, the radioactive material (quite a minimal amount) emits …well, radioactivity, which the camera can then pick up, over 10 minute increments (times 3, for a total of 30 minutes). This in turn creates a composite of what’s going on in the foot: where in the foot is the osteo-related cellular activity going gang-busters, for example, and where is it just chugging along in business-as-usual mode. Think of it as a webcam on a live event. In an x-ray, tissues and bones are bombarded by a single “large” dose of radiation all at once, which the camera snaps quickly. But in the scan process I underwent today, it’s sort of the reverse: the camera works slowly, capturing the tiny amount of radioactivity that’s actually in my system, and which is making visible what’s happening with the bones (maybe that’s the phosphorous part?, I don’t know). It captures this over time, and all that data is put together to create an image. Neat! 🙂

But now for the part that’s bad-mysterious: from the scans, even I could tell that there were two major problem areas in the right foot. The heel (which, interestingly, had been giving me problems for months – like plantar fasciatis, yet not), and the tarsal (cuboid) area right across the foot were clearly in trouble. Both areas lit up like xmas trees.

I plan to walk for decades to come. Sure hope we can figure out not just that there’s something broken, but also how to make sure there’s no repeat performance once it has healed.

On the comic relief front: after injecting me with the radioactive phosphorous (which is done in the hospital’s nuclear facility – I kid not, scientists don’t mince words), the technician cautioned me to stay away from pregnant women and told me not to coddle babies (no problem). She also said that if I were to travel through airport security in the next week or so, I might alarm the security personnel. For some reason, this made me want to book a flight right away.

When I went back in the afternoon, a man was lying on a gurney – he didn’t seem conscious. While I sat in the waiting area for my scan, he woke up, calling for a nurse. He needed to urinate, so the nurse provided him with a plastic bottle …which her colleague then took from her, saying (no joke) that she needed to dispose of it since the contents were radioactive.

This of course made me wonder how I’m contributing to toxic waste in the CRD when I go to flush my toilet at home…

I also asked how much I was costing the system with my scan and was pleasantly surprised to learn that my procedure was only at the ~$400 mark. Well done, BC Medical. But if I had my druthers, I’d prefer not to cost you a dime…

The Sunday Diigo Links Post (weekly)

October 9, 2011 at 2:30 am | In links | 1 Comment
  • Whoops…
    Mike Johnson: It’s an extraordinary thing to get your head around. Let me just get this clear, what we are going to have is a situation where countries which are on the verge of bankruptcy are going to be borrowing money effectively from themselves?

    Satyajit Das: That’s exactly what’s going to happen. I will give you the picture. The European Financial Stability Fund is guaranteed by a whole bunch of countries including, interestingly enough, Spain and Italy. Spain and Italy between them make up 30% of the guarantee of the European Financial Stability Fund.

    Now what they are going to do is then the European Financial Stability Fund is going to borrow from the European Central Bank, which has also obviously got support from Spain and Italy, and then lend the money to Spain and Italy. It’s almost self dealing raised to an art form. It’s abstraction on a level of money which is almost incomprehensible.
    Mike Johnson: You think Germany, the German people will run out of patience with all of this before long, do you?

    Satyajit Das: Well, before they run out of patience, they will run out of money because in the end if you actually look at the amount needed just to get through the next two or three years, if you take Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and Italy, they have maturing debt. This is debt they have issued, about $1.5 trillion between now and the end of 2013.

    So all of that money has to be found and at the end if Germany and France and the stronger countries start to take on that burden, their own credit worthiness will be called into question. And if they lose their triple-A ratings, well then the whole game starts to unravel yet again, and it’s very difficult to see this having what could be called a happy ending.

    tags: satyajit_das bbc europe finance ponzi_scheme

  • Short blog post with wonderful video embedded featuring Amanda Burden (NYC planner) who talks about Yolanda Garcia. QUOTE
    Via Verde aside, nearly a dozen public housing complexes have been built in Melrose during the last decade, as part of the mayor’s $3 billion initiative to add some 165,000 new subsidized apartments around the city. It seemed like a good idea to make the video to give Times readers a look at a few of the buildings and some sense of the scope of the change that has come to the South Bronx.

    tags: nyc bronx amanda_ burden yolanda_garcia urbanplanning urban_renewal

  • Meshes nicely with the research that shows sitting to be harmful to your health (whether in offices or in cars…)
    Cars have so altered the way cities are planned that “it’s arguable that zoning is now health averse,” said Larry Frank, a professor at the University of B.C.’s school of community and regional planning. One of his studies found that for every hour spent in a car, there’s a six-per-cent increase in the likelihood that you’ll be obese.

    Old cities are pedestrianfriendly because they had to be. But the rise of mega-cities makes that impossible, unless you consider public transit to be an extension of walking. Transit riders almost invariably walk to and from their bus or train to work or home. In fact, they are nearly 3.5 times more likely than drivers to meet minimum physical activity guidelines, according to another of Frank’s studies.

    tags: vancouver walkability cities cars health walking

  • Fantastic analysis and riff on the internet and our present prospects, by Jaron Lanier.
    To expect liberty from democracy without a middle class is hopeless because without a middle class you can’t have democracy. The whole thing falls a part.

    tags: edge jaron_lanier internet futurismo technology interview video socialtheory

    Strengthening property rights, however, would more closely align private costs and private benefits. A group of NIMBY neighbors forced to buy a property in order to limit development on it would only make the purchase if they felt very strongly about doing so and, in particular, if they felt the benefits to them of blocking the development were worth the cost of the land in question.

    But wait, you might argue: what if the potential developer stands to make billions by building on a particularly lucrative piece of land? How then could neighbors hope to buy the land to keep it un- or underdeveloped? It would obviously be much more difficult for NIMBY groups to halt development in such cases, but generally speaking, that’s a good thing. When land values are very high because development potential is very high, that suggests that demand is very high. And in such cases, the cost of blocking that high demand is also quite high. It is in precisely these cases that the economy is most harmed by NIMBYs who face low costs in restricting development.

    tags: atlantic_cities cities urban_development ryan_avent nimbyism housing

  • Fascinating talk by Charles Marohn – at about 5min., I was reminded of Gordon Price’s “Motordom”… Must think about the two in tandem… Also, his talk touches on the problem of down- or offloading by senior levels of government to lower levels of government. And just get a load of the talk at around 9min. So true, so sad. “We’re so obsessed with moving cars…” It’s all about the cars, which are hogging everything related to infrastructure, and it’s sapping the economy. Not “a value-creation machine.” The way we physically structure our (suburban) environments retards innovation, which is based on interaction.

    tags: new_urbanism urbanplanning suburbia charles_marohn michigan strong_towns

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Imagine: Why Steve Jobs’s death made me think of John Lennon’s

October 5, 2011 at 8:28 pm | In yulelogStories | 1 Comment

“Just imagine what else he could have done, had he lived another ten, twenty years.”

Imagine is of course the name of a famous John Lennon song. That’s who came to mind when Steve Jobs died.

On December 8, 1980 (in the midst of young Apple’s “turbulent” years), John Lennon was gunned down in front of the Dakota Apartments in Manhattan, NY. By a deranged assassin.

…Perhaps cancer is a type of deranged assassin? Just wondering.

At the time, the spouse and I had recently arrived in Vancouver, and I was pumped full of every academic Marxist theory that Europe of the late-70s could inject into an impressionable and highly critical young mind. I had spent several months looking for work when we first got to Vancouver, but no one wanted me (the story of my life in Canada, it seems), and so I ended up at the University of British Columbia – because, if you can’t find employment/ paying gigs, why not go back to school? [#mistakealert]

Now, bear with me: I was well-versed in theory, and in Vancouver that meant I accrued like-minded critical friends.

…There is a HUGE subtext and underlying story here, but let’s not get into that at present.

On December 8, 1980, when I heard that John Lennon had been (excuse the trite word) senselessly gunned down, I was as sad as the bazillions who informed the public sphere (aka mainstream network TV news) of the day. I mean, it took an effort not to cry.

Learning of – and reading about – Steve Jobs’s death triggered similar emotions, which reminded me of Lennon’s death.

When John Lennon died, one of my Canadian NDP (and seriously communist sympathizing) friends blithely dismissed the huge global outpouring of grief as manufactured grief: as something that the culture industry and its stirrup-holding lackeys to capitalism need, because that emotion (an expression, presumably of false consciousness) validates the system’s “humanity.” In other words, any expression of emotion is simply fodder for the system. Emotion (in the dogmatic perspective, all of it “manufactured” emotion, for hardly any of us have actually met the luminous star whose death has saddened us, therefore how can it be personal or genuine, in which case it is manufactured by evil ideological forces) is merely an instrument to “humanize” an inherently inhuman system. Emotion is something “they” use to manipulate “us.”

To this day, I can recall the sense of being slapped across the face for a kind of soft-headedness (i.e., emotionalism) about the death of an icon.

What, I can’t be sad about the death of someone I don’t know? Someone I’ve never met?

Let’s chuck out the old broadcast model of grief for a sec – the one that does enmesh uncomprehending populations in illusory identification with culturally flattened (aka 1-dimensional) icons. Sure, there are “star” deaths that sadden millions for all the wrong reasons. I don’t think that was the case with John Lennon, though (which is probably why my dogmatist friend’s dogmatism rankles me to this day), and it’s not the case with Steve Jobs, either: there are simply too many people whose lives were UN-one-dimensionalized by the products he brought to market. And if you don’t get that, I apologize to your inner Stalinist for feeling sorry for you!

It’s a tricky problem to tease out, though, this business of mourning icons who’ve “touched” us, but whom we’ve never met. What about Princess Diana’s death? Did you cry about that? How about Susan Sontag’s? …Oh, you weren’t emotionally affected by Sontag’s death? Well, I was.

Maybe it’s relative. Or not.

Here’s what I think: Steve Jobs’s death is affective (duh, no shit Sherlock), and the affect is real (phew, ditto Sherlock, thanks for figuring that out for us), but the emotion will be manipulated (even if it’s not “manufactured” – although, maybe it will get a manufacturing boost here and there – I’m sure the networks are on it as I type).

Mediated emotion is affected by the change from broadcast (one-to-many) to interactive (peer-to-peer).  Even my die-hard communist friend from the Vancouver 80s should have second thoughts (I hope) about how to apply a Marxist analysis of grief, c. 2010 in the age of peer-to-peer media.

Meanwhile, we mourn also for with Apple, which has lost its guiding genius. There is no replacement for what Apple under Jobs’s leadership delivered to date – here’s hoping that spirit abides. RIP Steve Jobs.

Slight update:

For a juxtaposition of what else is going on today, see Keith Olbermann’s commentary on #occupyWallStreet


The Sunday Diigo Links Post (weekly)

October 2, 2011 at 2:30 am | In links | Comments Off on The Sunday Diigo Links Post (weekly)
  • Strange idea (given historical notions of patronage), but interesting: selling public art that’s no longer wanted to private buyers.
    This is an idea that’s taken hold in the Hayes Valley neighborhood of San Francisco, where large-scale sculptures are installed for temporary display in a local park. Known as Patricia’s Green, the park plays host to a variety of art pieces, most of them brought about through the support of the Black Rocks Art Foundation, a group run by the organizers of the Burning Man festival. In coordination with the Hayes Valley Art Coalition, the group arranges for sculptures built for the Burning Man event to take on temporary residence in the park. Ranging from a few months to a few years, these residences end and new sculptures are installed.

    tags: art public_art patronage atlantic_cities

  • The paragraph below clips a more serious note, but read this article for its sardonic wit, too. It’s one hell of a ride, totally recommended.
    One could further argue that all of these menopausal women, in fact, represent a major evolutionary shift. Owing to women’s greatly lengthened lifespan (from about 40 in 1900 to 80 in 2000 in the U.S.), even the notion of what a woman’s so-called normal state is can be questioned: Northrup notes that before this time in history, most women never reached menopause—they died before it could arrive. If, in an 80-year life span, a female is fertile for about 25 years (let’s call it ages 15 to 40), it is not menopause that triggers the mind-altering and hormone-altering variation; the hormonal “disturbance” is actually fertility. Fertility is The Change. It is during fertility that a female loses herself, and enters that cloud overly rich in estrogen. And of course, simply chronologically speaking, over the whole span of her life, the self-abnegation that fertility induces is not the norm—the more standard state of selfishness is.

    Which is to say, if it comes at the right time, menopause is wisdom.

    tags: sandra_tsing_loh christiane_northrup menopause atlantic_monthly women feminism

  • Neal Stephenson nails it…
    We’ve been talking about wind farms, tidal power, and solar power for decades. Some progress has been made in those areas, but energy is still all about oil. In my city, Seattle, a 35-year-old plan to run a light rail line across Lake Washington is now being blocked by a citizen initiative. Thwarted or endlessly delayed in its efforts to build things, the city plods ahead with a project to paint bicycle lanes on the pavement of thoroughfares.
    Believing we have all the technology we’ll ever need, we seek to draw attention to its destructive side effects. This seems foolish now that we find ourselves saddled with technologies like Japan’s ramshackle 1960’s-vintage reactors at Fukushima when we have the possibility of clean nuclear fusion on the horizon. The imperative to develop new technologies and implement them on a heroic scale no longer seems like the childish preoccupation of a few nerds with slide rules. It’s the only way for the human race to escape from its current predicaments. Too bad we’ve forgotten how to do it.

    tags: innovation neal_stephenson progress futurismo world_policy_institute

  • Audio archive now available online:
    Although we email, blog, tweet, and text as if by instinct, too many of us toil in schools and workplaces designed for the last century, not the one in which we live. Using cutting-edge research on the brain and learning Cathy N. Davidson — former Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies at Duke University and co-founder of HASTAC (Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Advanced Collaboratory) — shows how the phenomenon of “attention blindness” shapes our lives, and how it has led to one of the greatest problems of our historical moment, and suggests ways we can take control, based on her book Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn.

    tags: berkman harvard cathy_davidson brain attention_economy

  • Will be live-streamed, Oct. 18 (Tuesday):
    Harvard Professor Yochai Benkler (The Wealth of Networks) is one of the world’s top thinkers on cooperative structures. In his new book, The Penguin and the Leviathan: How Cooperation Triumphs over Self-Interest, he uses evidence from neuroscience, economics, sociology, biology, and real-world examples to break down the myth of self-interest and replace it with a model of cooperation in our businesses, our government, and our lives.

    tags: berkman harvard yochai_benkler altruism self_interest

  • Interesting article, but I was left confused by it: are Gen Xers pampered (high expectations) or totally under siege (bad timing, bad luck, bad future)?
    “You look at our generation and we’re on the cusp of financial disaster, and it’s the first time that the American dream isn’t what we all thought it was,” says Bryce Pickering, who has worked at Citigroup Inc. (C) in New York for 10 years and, at 32, is among its youngest managing directors.

    tags: gen_x boomers bloomberg

  • The comments on this article are excellent (critical). Have to agree with the ones that criticize central planning. If zone 1 and 3 were connected directly (skipping zone 2), I bet it would be the same story as with building more and bigger roads…
    The researchers’ algorithms indicate when the network of roads and subway lines between two regions cannot support the number of people traveling between those regions. By pointing out underlying problems, the system shows urban planners where to focus their attention, Zheng says.

    In some cases, Zheng says, the busy regions aren’t really the ones that are flawed. For example, it may be that people from region 1 are going through region 2 on their way to region 3, in which case it may be better to connect region 1 and 3 directly, rather than trying to widen highways in region 2.

    tags: planning urban_planning traffic congestion mit_techreview

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Stumbling on orcas

October 1, 2011 at 9:53 pm | In scenes_victoria | 4 Comments

At around 3:30pm this afternoon, hobbling around on a dog walk at the Dallas Road walkway that borders the cliffs on the Juan de Fuca Strait, the spouse noticed that 2 or 3 commercial whale watching boats had stalled their engines really close to shore, right near Clover Point. They were quickly joined by several private vessels – three sail boats and an outboard. Well, must be some Orcas just under the water!

Sure enough, they appeared, spouting and spewing – about half a dozen. By the time I got around to taking the photo, below, the mini-flotilla (which periodically would start up to follow the pod, then turn off engines, then start up again, etc.) had reached Finlayson Point and was dispersing. In between, the Orcas put on a major show – I swear the lead mammal had a show-biz complex: when the shore was truly ringed by scores of land-based viewers and the flotilla had grown to six or seven vessels, he or she splashed up a storm.

All of it was preceded by the most delicate ballet of the finely-nuanced sort, with the junior members showing discrete bits of fin and flute (white underneath …how odd). But when Big Mama (or Daddy) got going, the small fry moved out of sight until s/he was done. Loop-de-loop, up into the air, twirl, flip on the back, dive in nose first. Rinse. Repeat.

It was really joyful.

There’s much to enjoy here. 😉

Theme: Pool by Borja Fernandez.
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