The Sunday Diigo Links Post (weekly)

December 8, 2013 at 9:08 pm | In links | Comments Off on The Sunday Diigo Links Post (weekly)
  • This “street area calculator” could be really useful in determining context-specific redevelopment…
    QUOTE
    Price has created a “street area calculator,” that allows you to plug in a street width and block size. Using this tool, you can come up with some basic figures to compare different grids and how they apportion a city’s land. To take two of the extreme examples calculated by Price using rough figures gleaned from Google maps, Portland, Oregon, has streets that are 60 feet wide (building face to building face, including the sidewalk) and blocks that are 200 by 200. Compare that to Salt Lake City, where the streets are 130 feet wide and the block are 660 by 660.

    These configurations mean that Salt Lake is using its space more efficiently by one measure, with only 30.2 percent of area devoted to streets, which must be maintained and are not “productive” in terms of tax revenue. Portland, in contrast devotes nearly 41 percent of its area to streets. Most street space goes to cars, with sidewalks taking up a relatively small fraction.

    But when you look at how much street frontage a city’s grid creates within a half-mile walk of a certain point – one potential measure of walkability – Portland has nearly 160,000 feet, while Salt Lake has just under 60,000.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: street_usage street_grid andrew_price atlantic_cities

  • More than 10 years ago I said that continually pumping more PhD graduates into a rapidly downsizing job market, as academic leaders everywhere were doing, was immoral. This excellent essay backs me up from yet another angle.
    QUOTE
    The academic job market is structured in many respects like a drug gang, with an expanding mass of outsiders and a shrinking core of insiders. Even if the probability that you might get shot in academia is relatively small (unless you mark student papers very harshly), one can observe similar dynamics. Academia is only a somewhat extreme example of this trend, but it affects labour markets virtually everywhere. One of the hot topics in labour market research at the moment is what we call “dualisation”[3]. Dualisation is the strengthening of this divide between insiders in secure, stable employment and outsiders in fixed-term, precarious employment. Academic systems more or less everywhere rely at least to some extent on the existence of a supply of “outsiders” ready to forgo wages and employment security in exchange for the prospect of uncertain security, prestige, freedom and reasonably high salaries that tenured positions entail[4].
    UNQUOTE

    tags: academia alexandre_afonso socialcritique

  • I just started reading Vaclav Smil’s latest book. Good stuff.
    QUOTE
    His conclusions are often bleak. He argues, for instance, that the demise of US manufacturing dooms the country not just intellectually but creatively, because innovation is tied to the process of making things. (And, unfortunately, he has the figures to back that up.)
    UNQUOTE

    tags: vaclav_smil wired_magazine manufacturing economysocialcritique

  • The real reasoning behind Amazon’s drones?
    QUOTE
    …if Amazon can become the first company with significant resources to invest in consumer drones, it could corner the market on cheap unmanned aerial vehicles the way it’s cornering the market on cheap computing power. And so far, investors have rewarded Bezos for putting long-term, wide-ranging ambition before short-term profits. Which means that however distant they are right now from Amazon’s core business, drones could become a much larger part of it.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: amazon drones quartz

  • This article is about planning and placemaking and stuff, and also deeply philosophical. Good read.
    QUOTE
    When I covered sports as a newspaper reporter, I got into a discussion with a highly successful football coach about his obsession with control. By the time a coach reaches the upper tiers of his profession, he or she has experienced hundreds of ways to lose. So they become students of failure, of where they missed opportunities to choose a better way to prepare a team or respond in a game situation. They hate surprises, even though they can’t think of many contests where they weren’t surprised at some point. They know that talented players will at some crucial moments in a contest improvise with success, perhaps even with game-winning success. But that’s not something they can control. And coaches are control freaks. So they drill their teams for near-instinctual responses to situations in order, they hope, to minimize the necessity for innovation. To control what’s within their power to control.

    I remember what the football coach told me about strategies for optimizing flexibility, for withholding commitment to rules, for keeping an open mind. “Well, I guess an open mind can be a good thing,” he told me. “But you have to be careful that your mind’s not so open that your brains fall out.”
    UNQUOTE

    tags: flexibility predictability planning placemakers

  • We knew this already (well, some of us did), but this article is really worth a close read.
    QUOTE
    This points to an emerging disaster in street psychology. As suburban retailers begin to colonize central cities, block after block of bric-a-brac and mom-and-pop-scale buildings and shops are being replaced by blank, cold spaces that effectively bleach street edges of conviviality. It is an unnecessary act of theft, and its consequences go beyond aesthetics, or even the massive reduction in the variety of goods and services that results when one giant retailer takes over a block. The big-boxing of a city block harms the physical health of people living nearby, especially the elderly. Seniors who live among long stretches of dead frontage have actually been found to age more quickly than those who live on blocks with plenty of doors, windows, porch stoops, and destinations. Because supersize architecture and blank stretches of sidewalk push their daily destinations beyond walking distance, they get weaker and slower, they socialize less outside the home, and they volunteer less. Studies of seniors living in Montreal found that elderly people who lived on blocks that had front porches and stoops actually had stronger legs and hands than those living on more barren blocks. Meanwhile, those who could actually walk to shops and services were more likely to volunteer, visit other people, and stay active.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: atlantic_cities street_appeal cities biophilia facades built_environment charles_montgomery

  • Powerful article.
    QUOTE
    Perhaps the greatest danger today is that of fatalist apathy. People do not think there is a viable alternative. They are wrong.

    On the technological side, techniques such as anonymization and pseudonymization allow the development of personalized services that don’t invade privacy on a mass scale – yes, targeted investigations can extricate identifying information out of such masked data, but we want targeted investigations to remain possible. Indiscriminate dragnet surveillance is the problem here.

    Technologists and developers need to implement privacy by design. They need to minimize the data they collect, because their advances are the very tools that can be turned against people. They need to mask that data where they can, and make it 100 percent clear to their users what data is being collected, why it’s being collected, and what’s going to happen to it. Also, we need encryption everywhere.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: privacy surveillance gigaom police_state

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

The Sunday Diigo Links Post (weekly)

December 1, 2013 at 8:52 pm | In links | Comments Off on The Sunday Diigo Links Post (weekly)

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

The Sunday Diigo Links Post (weekly)

November 24, 2013 at 8:20 am | In links | Comments Off on The Sunday Diigo Links Post (weekly)
  • No doubt there are some flaws in this study, but the conclusions are intriguing. Is it the commute? Is it the isolation that commuting often entails (sitting singly in one’s car, or avoiding eye-contact on public transit)? We forget how to be social when we commute?
    QUOTE
    The longer the commute, the less likely people are to participate in politics through behaviors like voting, frequently talking about politics, or giving to political campaigns. And the authors believe this is a causal relationship, not merely a correlation between people who travel long distances to work and those who live in cloistered bedroom communities.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: commuting atlantic_cities emily_badger cars socialcritique politics

  • Beautiful article. Here’s to polymathy.
    QUOTE
    The average job now is done by someone who is stationary in front of some kind of screen. Someone who has just one overriding interest is tunnel-visioned, a bore, but also a specialist, an expert. Welcome to the monopathic world, a place where only the single-minded can thrive. Of course, the rest of us are very adept at pretending to be specialists. We doctor our CVs to make it look as if all we ever wanted to do was sell mobile homes or Nespresso machines. It’s common sense, isn’t it, to try to create the impression that we are entirely focused on the job we want? And wasn’t it ever thus?

    In fact, it wasn’t.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: aeon_magazine robert_twigger polymath monopath neuroscience

  • Great article.
    QUOTE
    If one was to judge by sheer wealth, the last half-century should have been an ecstatically happy time for people in the US and other rich nations such as Canada, Japan and Great Britain. And yet the boom decades of the late 20th century were not accompanied by a boom in wellbeing. The British got richer by more than 40% between 1993 and 2012, but the rate of psychiatric disorders and neuroses grew.
    (…)
    As much as we complain about other people, there is nothing worse for mental health than a social desert. The more connected we are to family and community, the less likely we are to experience heart attacks, strokes, cancer and depression. Connected people sleep better at night. They live longer. They consistently report being happier.

    There is a clear connection between social deficit and the shape of cities. A Swedish study found that people who endure more than a 45-minute commute were 40% more likely to divorce. People who live in monofunctional, car‑dependent neighbourhoods outside urban centres are much less trusting of other people than people who live in walkable neighbourhoods where housing is mixed with shops, services and places to work.
    (…)
    Stutzer and Frey found that a person with a one-hour commute has to earn 40% more money to be as satisfied with life as someone who walks to the office. On the other hand, for a single person, exchanging a long commute for a short walk to work has the same effect on happiness as finding a new love.
    (…)
    “…we adapt quickly to the joy of a larger house, because the house is exactly the same size every time. But we find it difficult to adapt to commuting by car, because every day is a slightly new form of misery.”
    UNQUOTE

    tags: cities walkability cycling happiness commuting sustainability the_guardian

  • Big Brother scariness taken to the nth…
    QUOTE
    Capable of geo-locating smart phone and computer users across the city, Seattle acquired its “mesh network” the same way other cities got theirs: the Department of Homeland Security helped pay for it, a private contractor built it, and the city council approved it without public debate. Then The Stranger ran a lengthy exposé in which a member of the Seattle PD responded to a question about rules governing the use of the mesh network by saying, “[We’re] not comfortable answering policy questions when we do not yet have a policy.” (The Stranger also published a list of questions the Seattle PD refused to answer.) Roughly a week later, Seattle PD Sgt. Sean Whitcomb told the alternative weekly, “The wireless mesh network will be deactivated until city council approves a draft policy and until there’s an opportunity for vigorous public debate.”
    UNQUOTE

    tags: atlantic_cities seattle surveillance big_brother policing cities

  • Love it just for its take-down of Malcolm Gladwell. (The rest of the article is good, too!)
    QUOTE
    On a basic factual level, Gladwell doesn’t seem to know what he’s talking about. Contrary to his claim in Outliers, the Beatles didn’t have to wait until 1964 to enjoy “their first burst of success.” They scored their first top 20 hit in late 1962 and their first number one single in either February or May of 1963, depending on which chart you consult; as of New Year’s Eve, they had notched two additional U.K. chart toppers and sold nearly 300,000 copies of “I Want to Hold Your Hand” in the U.S. By the time 1964 began, Beatlemania was blossoming on both sides of the Atlantic.

    Gladwell seems confused by his own statistics, too. According to Lewisohn, The Beatles played roughly 1,110 hours of music in Hamburg, the equivalent of three hours every night for a full year; when Gladwell writes that they “performed live an estimated twelve hundred times [emphasis mine],” he’s either mixing up his measurements or claiming that the Beatles averaged more than one show per day from the time they went professional until the day they invaded America. The former seems much more likely. Finally, the Beatles weren’t the only act to play endless hours in Hamburg. So did Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, Gerry and the Pacemakers, and Tony Sheridan, who landed in Germany before the Beatles and stayed on long after they left. None of them became the Fab Four.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: malcolm_gladwell the_beatles daily_beast andrew_romano

  • QUOTE
    If Ronald Reagan was the first Teflon President, then Silicon Valley is the first Teflon Industry: no matter how much dirt one throws at it, nothing seems to stick. While “Big Pharma,” “Big Food” and “Big Oil” are derogatory terms used to describe the greediness that reigns supreme in those industries, this is not the case with “Big Data.” This innocent term is never used to refer to the shared agendas of technology companies. What shared agendas? Aren’t these guys simply improving the world, one line of code at a time?
    UNQUOTE

    tags: evgeny_morozov faz internet ideology silicon_valley

  • QUOTE
    Leute, die bezahlt werden, das Internet zu studieren, bekommen im Grunde ihr Geld nur, um dessen Logik, Vokabular und Weltsicht zu perpetuieren. Es ist lächerlich, das Internet erklären zu wollen. Was erklärt werden müsste, ist das beständige Bedürfnis, das Internet zu erklären, als wäre es eine theologische Kraft mit Bedeutung. Eine selbsternannte Priesterklasse hat sich formiert, um das Wesen und die Auswirkungen des Internets zu erklären. Ich halte das für ein moralisches Denken und Reden, das man besser vermeiden sollte.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: evgeny_morozov internet faz

  • QUOTE
    Simitis knew even in 1985 that this would inevitably lead to the “algorithmic regulation” taking shape today, as politics becomes “public administration” that runs on autopilot so that citizens can relax and enjoy themselves, only to be nudged, occasionally, whenever they are about to forget to buy broccoli.

    Habits, activities, and preferences are compiled, registered, and retrieved to facilitate better adjustment, not to improve the individual’s capacity to act and to decide. Whatever the original incentive for computerization may have been, processing increasingly appears as the ideal means to adapt an individual to a predetermined, standardized behavior that aims at the highest possible degree of compliance with the model patient, consumer, taxpayer, employee, or citizen.

    What Simitis is describing here is the construction of what I call “invisible barbed wire” around our intellectual and social lives. Big data, with its many interconnected databases that feed on information and algorithms of dubious provenance, imposes severe constraints on how we mature politically and socially.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: evgeny_morozov privacy mit_techreview big_data democracy

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

The Sunday Diigo Links Post (weekly)

November 17, 2013 at 5:43 pm | In links | Comments Off on The Sunday Diigo Links Post (weekly)
  • Reread this great review of my 1995 book the other day; had to bookmark it, even if I am tooting my own horn here!
    QUOTE
    Inside the deliberately circumscribed limitations of her topic, Yule Heibel makes a profoundly sophisticated contribution to scholarship on post-World War II art history. Concentrating on German artists’ and critics’ efforts to reestablish viable cultural practices, she turns her evaluation of the relatively minor painter Nay into a discussion that has implications for a great range of visual art produced after 1945.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: johanna_drucker reconstructing_the_subject yule_heibel

  • This is frightening. A car where you have to rent the battery (i.e., you don’t own the whole vehicle), and if you let your contract lapse, it stops working?
    QUOTE
    As our friends at iFixit say, if you can’t fix it, you don’t own it. Users need the right to repair the things they buy, and that is incompatible with blanket restrictions on circumventing DRM.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: drm eff

  • Creepy. (Reading about this while reading Dave Eggers’s The Circle just makes me want to hurl…)
    QUOTE
    By adding an array of features to mobile devices including GPS trackers, cameras, apps and sensors that can improve and record our daily lives and browsing habits, the addition of personal cloud computing gives applications the opportunity to acquire knowledge over time and predict what we need and want in real-time.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: smartplanet smartphones ubiquity tracking dystopia silicon_valley

  • This is the stuff that Evgeny Morozov RIGHTLY would call creepy…
    QUOTE
    You’ve just tossed a jar of peanut butter in your grocery cart when your smartphone buzzes. You glance down at the screen to see a message that seems downright clairvoyant: Buy some jelly. Get $1 off.

    Convenient? Certainly. Creepy? Maybe.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: tracking mit_techreview retail shopping big_data privacy

  • Sad state of affairs:
    QUOTE
    Saratoga Springs in New York made national news some years ago when a middle school refused to admit a student who, on national Bike to Work day, bicycled to school with his mom. On the other side of the country, Laguna Beach’s schools declined to join the other 425 in California who participated in Walk to School Day in 2010 because walking to school, the decision-makers determined, was inherently unsafe, no matter how coordinated and supervised.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: atlantic_cities kaid_benfield childhood traffic cities

  • QUOTE
    Girls don’t ride bikes, Wadjda hears repeatedly from her mother and her (all-female) teachers. Such a ban isn’t superfluous from the point of view of controlling society; one feels independent and in charge when pedaling a bicycle, a state of mind that an authoritarian government frowns upon. But as Wadjda secretly practices her balance on Abdullah’s bike, she grows more determined to get one of her own. Her desire for spokes and wheels grows as she begins to realize everything else that girls and women aren’t permitted to do. She’s reaching the age where teachers want her to drape her face and hair on her way to school, lest she pose too much of a temptation to the catcalling men she meets along the way.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: nicole_gelinas city_journal saudi_arabia islam girls equality bicycles

  • Great video.
    QUOTE
    The truth is, no matter how hard some media outlets try to spin it otherwise, these new street safety projects have broad community support. And while the story of these changes often gets simplified in the press, the fact is that the benefits of the redesigns go far beyond cycling. A street with a protected bike lane also has less speeding, shorter pedestrian crossings, less lane-shifting and more predictable movements for drivers, and the opportunity to add more trees and plantings. Injuries to pedestrians, cyclists, drivers, and car passengers drop wherever the new designs go in. And on the East Side, these improvements have been paired with dedicated bus-only lanes with camera enforcement, making service more convenient and attractive for thousands of bus riders.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: urbanism walkability vimeo

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

The Sunday Diigo Links Post (weekly)

November 11, 2013 at 3:50 pm | In links | 2 Comments
  • The whole article is super interesting, but this bit especially:
    QUOTE
    Yet the offline environment is actually more important when consumers connect through a mobile device. With colleagues including Sang Pil Han of the City University of Hong Kong, we studied 260 users of a South Korean microblogging service similar to Twitter. What we found was that behavior on the small mobile screen was different from behavior on the PC. Searching became harder to do, meaning that people clicked on the top links more often. The local environment was also more important. Ads for stores in close proximity to a user’s home were more likely to be viewed. For every mile closer a store was, smartphone users were 23 percent more likely to click on an ad. When they were on a PC, they were only 12 percent more likely to click close-by stores.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: mit_techreview avi_goldfarb retail etail shopping mobile

  • QUOTE
    You might sit for a drink at the stylish café on Medienhafen, gazing in wonder at Frank Gehry’s incomparable forms and all the rest of it. But then, acting on countless hidden cues in the context of those who don’t do context, you feel compelled to move on. In the Altstadt, though, you want to linger. You decide on one more Altbier, you follow the flow of the crowd down this street or that one, you find a comfortable spot down on the riverfront and stay later than you planned, sinking deeper into a conversation with a friend or reading another chapter of the book you brought. You disappear into the context. You become context.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: chris_turner mother_nature_network architecture starchitecture placemaking cities

  • Not a fan of Rockwell’s work, but Solomon’s article has lots to think about: depression, New England, the “national” character (or at least its regional variant)…
    QUOTE
    I thought of his [Robert Frost’s] poem “Mending Wall,” in which the speaker recounts his impatience with his next-door neighbor, who each spring mends the stone wall separating their properties. The neighbor insists, “Good fences make good neighbors,” which, frankly, is not the most inspiring proverb. Certainly there are more important things to endorse in this world than distance and standoffishness.

    But the wall-building neighbor represents another New England, not the caring and concerned Rockwellian society where people gain strength from their neighbors and look each other in the eye when they talk. No, this was the Frost version, in which townspeople went out of their way to put up barriers, where neighbors electrify fences. I suppose the Frost version is closer to everyday life in America than the idealized Rockwell version. But then “art is no less real for being artifice,” as the critic Clive James once observed, and Rockwell clearly dwelled in the kingdom of his imagination.

    In October of 1953, Rockwell and his wife abruptly left Vermont. They moved to western Massachusetts, to Stockbridge. It, too, seemed on the surface like a perfect New England town, with tranquil pastures and grazing cows. What few people realized is that Rockwell moved to Stockbridge to live near the Austen Riggs Center psychiatric hospital. His wife already was an inpatient there, and he was an outpatient. In his final months in Vermont, he had begun seeing the legendary psychoanalyst Erik Erikson, a German-born intellectual who coined the phrase “identity crisis.”

    In the ’50s, Rockwell continued to paint pictures of a mythic New England, where contentment and community ties prevailed. But the national unity bred by World War II was already unraveling. The growing inclination among Americans was to define their battles in psychological terms rather than in political ones.

    Over the years, their searching gave rise to yet another image of New England, one that had little in common with that of Rockwell, Frost or Grandma Moses. Rather, in James Taylor’s telling, New England was a place where people had nervous breakdowns and openly bemoaned their sorrows. He sang of it in 1970 when he described “the turnpike from Stockbridge to Boston,” “covered with snow,” with 10 miles behind him and 10,000 more to go.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: norman_rockwell robert_frost deborah_solomon new_england james_taylor mental_health

  • Thoughtful; important read. Agree with the author’s characterization of shows like Breaking Bad as “nihilism porn”…
    QUOTE
    There were only so many times I could be told that Breaking Bad was the most amazing show on television before I finally overcame my lack of desire to see Bryan Cranston as anything other than Hal/Tim Whatley and gave the show a go. Though it took a similar process for me to finally start watching The Wire, a show that I could not stop watching and immediately became obsessed with, I found instead that I not only did not want to keep watching Breaking Bad, but that I had to force myself to go through the agony of watching more. From the acting to the storyline to the cinematography, I can certainly see why so many would marvel at the show’s accomplishments, but at the same time I cannot get over what to me appears to be the core of the show, a core that I fear is actually what most of the audience is truly marveling at, the core that I will refer to as nihilism porn.

    From episode to episode Cranston’s Walter White “broke bad,” but once the terminal cancer and fear for his family’s well-being was revealed to be a red herring as motivation, the true motivation of his descent seemed instead to be: I can, therefore I will. Likewise, the audience’s motivation for watching seemed to be: He can, therefore I will. Walt can let a girl die, I can watch. Walt can poison a child, I can watch. Walt can lie, I can watch. Walt can torture his wife, I can watch. Yet this worked both ways, for the writers of the show operated under a similar imperative: They can watch, therefore we will give them a Walt worth watching. To see Hal kill, to see Whatley destroy, is apparently what the audience wanted and it is definitely what the audience got.

    I bring this up not to suggest that we have become distrustful because we have been traumatized by this television show, but rather that the success of the show reveals just how untraumatized we are. Death and destruction were not a cause for alarm but were a cause célèbre. If anything, this seemed to be the show’s point: We want to see a nice sitcom dad as a possible meth dealer, we want to see an annoying dentist as a possible crime kingpin. Why do we want these things? Because we’re desensitized to violence? Because we’re bored by sitcoms? Maybe it’s because we have not lost our faith, but rather have re-discovered it, a faith in He did, therefore I could.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: nolen_gertz nihilism nihilism_porn medium socialcritique philosophy

  • This.
    QUOTE
    Lest the conference organizers think I’m putting all the responsibility on them for those all-male speaker lineups (and let me just reiterate that I’m not just talking about conferences here—this applies to hiring, promotions, compensation, status—in short, all the ways we rank people professionally), there’s a whole other side to this, which is the stuff that prevents women, non-white people, and other marginalized groups from entering into “meritocratic” competitions in the first place.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: laura_bacon meritocracy technology gender_gap diversity

  • Ethan Zuckerman live-blogged the conversation (intro’d and moderated by Tom Levenson) between Ta-Nehesi Coates and Hendrik Hertzberg at MIT on 10/29/13. Interesting point re leadership, politics, and its failures …and consequent shift of blame onto media:
    QUOTE
    Levenson persists: as a science writer, he’s seen the polling shift on climate change and wonders to what extent that shift (away from a belief in human-influenced climate change) is the responsibility of opinion journalism. Hertzberg notes that the blame is more properly placed on the political system. If we’d not faced filibuster, we’d have had a cap and trade system for carbon emissions. How can we take climate change seriously if our government doesn’t do anything about it? “Our politican institutions can’t give us what we want, and eventually we stop wanting it. We blame the failure on the media,” rather than on the actual machinery of government that is supposed to solve our problems. Hertzberg explains that the filibuster is his “unified field theory” – he writes about it as much as his editors will allow him to.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: mit ethan_zuckerman ta-nehesi_coates hendrik_hertzberg journalism blogging opinion

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

The Sunday Diigo Links Post (weekly)

November 3, 2013 at 12:25 pm | In links | Comments Off on The Sunday Diigo Links Post (weekly)
  • Love the illustration for Betty Bates, Lady-at-Law (ha!). As she slugs a perp (knocking his gun out of his hand in the process), she tells him,”I’ll teach you to lie to a reputable attorney!” Needless to add, not one of her hairs is out of place. Sigh. 😉
    QUOTE
    …Betty Bates, Lady at Law, a beautiful but tough attorney with jiu-jitsu skills. This lady lawyer spent more time investigating cases than she did in the courtroom, and often wound up taking the law into her own hands. Two-fisted Betty hadn’t completely left her working class roots behind, and wasn’t afraid to punch a crook in her role as “purveyor of justice.” Eventually Betty became a crusading district attorney and enjoyed one of the longest careers for a female hero, appearing in “Hit Comics” for an impressive run from 1940-50.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: comics heroines mike_madrid dames_divas_daredevils

  • Must-read article.
    QUOTE
    We have begun to glimpse how it’s all being done. The NSA and its British counterpart, GCHQ (Government Communication Headquarters), work closely with Internet service providers and telecom companies to amass enormous quantities of data on us. Some of it is done through the front door—formal legal requests. Some of it is done “upstream” of tech companies and phone companies—i.e., intercepting signals in transit. The agencies have attached probes to transatlantic cables, enabling them to vacuum up data on millions of users on both sides of the Atlantic. By last year GCHQ was handling 600 million “telephone events” each day, had tapped more than two hundred fiber optic cables, and was able to process data from at least forty-six of them at a time.

    We have also learned about how the agencies have spent vast sums of money on subverting the integrity of the Internet itself—weakening its overall security in ways that ought to concern every individual, public body, or company that uses it. A trapdoor that lets the NSA into your messages is, most cryptologists agree, quite exploitable by others. If you’re anxious about your bank details or medical records sitting online, you’re probably right to be.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: snowden nsa surveillance democracy privacy

  • More on the wretched temp economy:
    QUOTE
    Surowiecki doesn’t say this, but the “world of work” isn’t just “changing.” Like ice floes and Miley Cyrus, its changes over time are the product of human intervention. In this case, the human error has been a jobs-destroying financial crisis, short-sighted fiscal policy, a credit crunch, and a well-funded deficit-reduction movement that has drawn attention away from the jobs crisis. If these things hadn’t happened, we might not be in the position of needing to mortgage decades of future earnings for the chance at a one-time loan. We’d work hard at full-time jobs with benefits, get fixed-rate loans when we needed to buy stuff, and keep our wages for ourselves once the loans were paid off.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: gig_economy economy nymag kevin_roose

  • So damn true. And as for professors writing books about gift economies, no matter how eloquently: it’s easy enough to wax poetic about gift economies when you have the assurance of a tenured job that provides a regular salary…
    QUOTE
    I have read Lewis Hyde’s “The Gift,” and participated in a gift economy for 20 years, swapping zines and minicomics with friends and colleagues, contributing to little literary magazines, doing illustrations for bands and events and causes, posting a decade’s worth of cartoons and essays on my Web site free of charge. Not getting paid for things in your 20s is glumly expected, even sort of cool; not getting paid in your 40s, when your back is starting to hurt and you are still sleeping on a futon, considerably less so. Let’s call the first 20 years of my career a gift. Now I am 46, and would like a bed.
    UNQUOTE
    I’d like to add that someone once told me that if you work for free, you must really hate yourself.
    Also, this:
    QUOTE
    Practicalities aside, money is also how our culture defines value, and being told that what you do is of no ($0.00) value to the society you live in is, frankly, demoralizing. Even sort of insulting. And of course when you live in a culture that treats your work as frivolous you can’t help but internalize some of that devaluation and think of yourself as something less than a bona fide grown-up.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: nyt tim_kreider gift_economy free_economy economy

  • Too true, all too true.
    QUOTE
    Twelve years after September 11, 2001, the United States’ obsession with al Qaeda is doing more damage to the nation than the terrorist group itself.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: usa nsa terrorism surveillance democracy_deficit

  • “The story of L.A.’s hyper expansion is by now a familiar one. With more than a dozen miles sitting between downtown and the beach, Moeller explains, for the city’s budding school of developers, planners and modern architects, at the beginning of this period “it looked like they had as much space as they wanted.” But within this narrative of expansion and experimentation there is an embedded history of how a feverish pace of building changed the face of a city that was actually far from empty.”

    tags: los_angeles exhibitions sprawl urban_development

  • Great to see Salem’s Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) get featured billing in this thoughtful piece:
    QUOTE
    Trevor Smith described artists’ roles as change agents, highlighting their ability not only to create new forms, but to recognize connections between topics and to remix cultural DNA, keeping this DNA “alive in the present tense.”
    UNQUOTE

    tags: boston art_reception

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

The Sunday Diigo Links Post (weekly)

March 10, 2013 at 1:55 pm | In links | Comments Off on The Sunday Diigo Links Post (weekly)
  • More on the transportation bias (it’s pro-car and pro-vehicle speed):
    QUOTE
    The weight of this hidden hand doesn’t fall on San Francisco alone. “Intersection LOS [level of service] is one of the most widely-used traffic analysis tools in the U.S. and has a profound impact on how street space is allocated in U.S. cities,” writes Jason Henderson, geography professor at San Francisco State University, in the November issue of the Journal of Transport Geography. As Henderson argues, it’s about time cities addressed the problem, and San Francisco is doing just that. It’s currently in the process of drafting a new sustainable transportation metric that will replace LOS and promote livability. Still, the fight is far from over.

    “Every city I’ve ever come across has some use of [LOS],” says Henderson, who has conducted an extensive review of LOS and is writing a book on the politics of mobility in San Francisco. “LOS and the privilege of the car is the incumbent. The way the political process is set up is you have to disprove the incumbent.”
    UNQUOTE

    tags: transportation eric_jaffe atlantic_cities cars cities

  • Important article. The following is a quote from Victoria BC’s Todd Litman of the Transport Policy Institute. Amazing…
    QUOTE
    Because it [a vehicle-based planning method] evaluates transport system performance based primarily on travel speeds, conventional planning favor faster but more costly transport modes, such as automobile travel over slower but more affordable modes such as walking, cycling and public transit. This tends to create automobile dependent transport systems which increases total costs.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: transportation planning todd_litman atlantic_cities eric_jaffe cars automobile

  • Interesting article (and the usual vitriol in the comments). An aside: I had to laugh at the washing machines comparison (below) because it reminded me of a conversation between undergrads at UBC in 1981: One young woman (student) described renting a room from an older lady (yes, matron) in a really upscale Vancouver neighborhood. There was no washing machine in the house, and the older woman told the young student that she had objected when her husband wanted to buy her one back in the 40s. She told him, “If you bring that into the house, you’ll be wanting me to do the laundry next.” She always had someone pick it up and deliver. Now that’s an idea I can get behind. All these appliances at home also mean more work at home. Now back to the article:
    QUOTE
    We’re used to the notion of sharing libraries, public parks, and train cars. But in many ways, American culture in particular drifted away from sharing as a value when we spread out from city centers and into the suburbs. Molly Turner, the director of public policy for short-term rental lodging website Airbnb, evokes the iconic image of Richard Nixon, in Moscow, introducing Nikita Khrushchev to the modern marvel of the state-of-the-art washing machine, available for private consumption in every American home. Beginning with the era of that washing machine, Turner argues, we forgot how to share.”

    tags: atlantic_cities sharing_economy economies emily_badger

  • Walkability. (But then again, the car’s not dead, either, and there are also signs that Millennials do move to suburbs when they want a bit more space to raise families. However, even those suburbs – which often are small cities ringing a larger metro – benefit from walkability…)
    QUOTE
    There’s another important way that most suburbs remain suburban: They continue to lack walkable commercial districts, viable public spaces and public transit systems that allow people of all ages to be together without driving a car. Americans accepted this arrangement 60 years ago, when we valorized domestic life and stigmatized the street. Back then suburban kids played in backyards and culs-de-sac and their mothers spent most of their days around the house. These days, however, women work outside the home and children pursue their individual interests in specialized classes. Moreover, downtowns are desirable. People want to walk and shop and sip coffee on busy sidewalks, but suburbanites need automobiles to reach them. Walking requires driving, which means everyone winds up sitting in traffic or searching for parking.

    Suburbia sentences all those who move there to an unending series of car rides: to school, to work, to the train station. To the grocery store, mall, car wash. To soccer practice, tennis lessons, music classes. To the Olive Garden, movie theater, mall. To go to the city, to come home from the city—and preferably not during rush hour, though these days it’s rush hour most of the time.

    Suburbanites who have moved to the city are evangelical about their liberation from car culture. Parents are especially adamant about the virtues of city living, since they no longer spend afternoons and weekends chauffeuring children nor evenings praying that their teenagers don’t drink and drive. So are cash-strapped car owners who didn’t plan on spending $4 a gallon on gasoline and who know that in coming years $4 will seem cheap.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: walkability playboy cities suburbs eric_klinenberg urbanism

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

The Sunday Diigo Links Post (weekly)

February 24, 2013 at 3:25 pm | In links | Comments Off on The Sunday Diigo Links Post (weekly)
  • Sadly, EveryBlock was shut down. Its founder, Adrian Holovaty, comments.
    QUOTE
    More than six years ago, I wrote a blog post that got some attention about how newspaper (and, really, journalism) sites needed to change. EveryBlock was an attempt at that kind of change — in my eyes, a successful attempt. EveryBlock was among the more innovative and ambitious journalism projects at a time when journalism desperately needed innovation and ambition. RIP.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: everyblock adrian_holovaty citizen_journalism local_news localnews

  • And now, a contrarian view of density – it’s not magic after all? (But what about walkability in those sprawling places in TX or AB?)
    QUOTE
    Cheaper condos may not be enough to save Toronto or San Francisco. More importantly, sprawling Texas metropolitan regions are becoming more productive. What’s all this fuss about the magic of density?

    Alberta and Texas are attracting a lot of migrants. Birthplace diversity is increasing, rapidly. Up goes productivity and innovation. The magic is migration, not density.

    We needn’t worry about cramming more people into Toronto or San Francisco. The spiraling cost of real estate is forcing relocation, across all incomes. People of modest means are fleeing Los Angeles and putting down roots in San Antonio. Yet the urban core is hollowing out in that Texas metro. San Antonio isn’t booming, converging in terms of productivity, because of density. Talent is pouring in from elsewhere. People develop, not places.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: walkability urbanism density demographics population migration sustainable_cities jim_russell

  • Walkability as a public health issue; lack of walkability as contributor to the obesity epidemic.
    QUOTE
    Key Findings:
    *The odds of a student being overweight or obese decreased if they lived in communities with higher walkability index scores.
    *The average prevalence of adolescent overweight and obesity was 15 percent and 12 percent, respectively.
    *The mean walkability index across communities was 6.38.
    *Key street features associated with reduced prevalence of obesity included increased presence of sidewalks and public transit.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: walkability urbanism communities public_health obesity

  • More walkability.
    QUOTE
    [Julie] Campoli acknowledges that having destinations nearby is essential for getting more people walking, but she adds to this several other key qualities of walkable urban neighbourhoods:

    * Connections – a fine-grained network of sidewalks and footpaths with plenty of intersections;
    *Tissue – Great architecture with small human-sized buildings, not big boxes!
    * Density – of housing and population;
    * Streetscape – well designed streets with wide sidewalks and crossings, that are easy and safe to walk in;
    * Green networks – plenty of street trees and green spaces.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: walkability thisbigcity urbanism

  • Walkability. All over the web lately.
    QUOTE
    As a follow-up to my review about Jeff Speck’s Walkable City, I invited Brendan Crain, communications manager for the Project for Public Spaces, to have an online chat about the new book. Crain has broad experience working to expand civic involvement in planning urban spaces and had his own review of Walkable City published today.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: next_city walkability brendan_crain urbanism

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

The Sunday Diigo Links Post (weekly)

February 3, 2013 at 2:05 pm | In links | Comments Off on The Sunday Diigo Links Post (weekly)

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

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