anagnori

Archive for November, 2012|Monthly archive page

Wolfbane by George Monbiot

In animals, biology, community, ecology, Europe, government, nature, politics on November 25, 2012 at 20:45

From: Wolfbane by George Monbiot, http://www.monbiot.com

One of the biggest political shocks of the past decade has been the transformation of Canada. Under the influence of the tar barons of Alberta, it has mutated from a country dominated by liberal, pacific, outward-looking values to a thuggish petro-state, ripping up both international treaties and the fabric of its own nation.

Tomorrow (Wednesday) there will be a meeting between the Norwegian and Swedish governments, at which Norway intends to lay claim to some of the wolves which live on the border between the two nations. This may sound like a good thing. The government’s purpose is anything but.

If it can classify these wolves as Norwegian, even though most of them breed in Sweden, it can go ahead with the extermination of wolves elsewhere in the country. It can claim that, due to the newly-nationalised border population, it is still meeting its international obligations to maintain the species.

Wolves are very popular in Norway: surveys suggest that around 80% of the public – in both urban and rural areas – wants to keep them at current or higher numbers. But as so often with rural issues – in Norway and in many other parts of the world – the dominant voices are those who belong to a small but powerful minority.

Read the article

Reposted with permission from: George Monbiot

Advertisements

Snow Job by Anastasia Taylor-Lind

In Asia, ethnicity, Europe, media, photography, sexuality, society on November 25, 2012 at 20:39

From: Snow Job by Anastasia Taylor-Lind, The Caravan, http://www.caravanmagazine.in

THE BLEMISHLESS SUPERMODELS in the glad-rag mags and the haute runways of the London, Paris, New York and Milan fashion weeks are among the most photographed women in the world. Increasingly, these girls originate in Siberia, that legendarily vast Cold War wasteland associated with the terrifying Stalinist Gulag, which today houses a hyper model-casting industry and training schools for kindergarteners to midteens.

Stalin’s paranoid regime, and those that came after, exiled into northeast Russia entire ethnic groups, the spetsposelentsy (special settlers): Volga Germans (the Russlanddeutsche, invited in the 18th century to immigrate by Catherine the Great), Chechens from the Caucasus, Baltic Latvians, Mongol tribes, Inuit, Tatars, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz….

See the photo-essay

Reposted with permission from: The Caravan

The Asian Super Grid by John A. Mathews

In Asia, economics, government, politics, technology on November 25, 2012 at 20:30

From: The Asian Super Grid by John A. Mathews, Japan Focus, http://www.japanfocus.org

The integration of East Asia is a topic of perennial interest – whether it be monetary integration (much discussed in the wake of the 1997 financial crisis), trade integration (promoted via ever-expanding FTA areas) or even political integration. But what is not widely discussed (as yet) is actually the best hope for effective integration – and that is energy integration, via an Asian super grid linking the enhanced electric power systems of China, Japan, Korea, Mongolia and perhaps Russia.

Just such an Asian Super Grid has been proposed – by the charismatic Softbank CEO Son Masayoshi, driver of Japan’s post-Fukushima shift to a renewable energy pathway. The first steps towards the Asian Super Grid (ASG) were taken in October, when SB Renewables, Son’s new subsidiary specializing in renewable energy, announced an agreement with a company in Mongolia, Newcom, to develop a site in the Gobi desert for a giant wind farm that would feed renewable power into the grid. (See ‘Softbank plans to develop wind power in Mongolia with Newcom’, by Chisake Watanabe, Bloomberg, Oct 24 2012)

By the end of 2012, it is anticipated that SB Renewables and Newcom will have identified the site for the first wind farm in the Gobi desert through a joint venture, Clean Energy Asia established in March 2012. The proposed wind farm would be rated at 300 MW (the equivalent of a thermal power plant), and could be operational as early as 2014. Feasibility studies for three other sites have already been commissioned, with power capacity of 7 GW – or the equivalent of seven nuclear power stations.

Read the full article

Reposted with permission from: Japan Focus

A Traditional Artistic Training Method for Landscape Painting by David Clayton

In architecture, art, Europe, history of art, nature, religion, visual arts on November 24, 2012 at 01:04

From: A Traditional Artistic Training Method for Landscape Painting – How We Can Apply This Today by David Clayton, The Way of Beauty, http://thewayofbeauty.org

Thomas Girtin trained in England in the late 18th century and trained for three years from the ages of 14-19. He was apprenticed to the established artist Edward Dayes and began by doing supporting work (grinding pigments etc) and by watching his master painting. Only later he was allowed to copy his master’s work. He was expected at this stage to pick up the idiosyncrasies of his teacher’s style as a necessary stage in the longer term goal of his emerging with a similar but independent style. From the start he was given talks about art and especially the moral purpose of art. Consistent with academic theory and following Joshua Reynolds in his Discources given to the Royal Academy, Dayes announced that the artist only selects the best parts of the natural world in order to reflect an idealised Nature. In addition, Girtin was expected to read in order to form his taste.

For his painting training, he would be introduced to colour by being asked to colour prints (so don’t hesitate to photocopy and colour-in today!). He then progressed on to his own landscapes by working in the studio and creating amalgamations of different works by Dayes and others and drawings and sketches.

In painting from nature, he would start to observe and sketch doing either line drawings or broad tonal renditions depicting scenes using sweeps in monochrome; through this he could start to control the sense of space by changing the intensity of shadow according the to distance from which it was viewed. He would also do repeated studies of individual items – bushes, trees and so on – both from works of others and direct from nature.

Read the full article

Reposted with permission from: David Clayton (The Way of Beauty)

Announcement: Thank you!

In Announcements on November 24, 2012 at 00:43

anagnori received more permissions. We would like to say ‘thank you’ to:

The Art of Theory
Council on Hemispheric Affairs (COHA)
Cultural Survival
Figure/Ground Communication
First Things
Hypocrite Reader
MercatorNet
The New Humanism
Philip Ball (Homunculus, Water in Biology)

Brilliantly Bad Books by David Bentley Hart

In art, books, literature, uncategorized, writers on November 23, 2012 at 22:57

From: Brilliantly Bad Books. The Back Page. by David Bentley Hart, First Things, http://www.firstthings.com/

Best to begin in medias res, says Horace, so let me start with two exemplary excerpts from the works of the inimitable Irish writer Amanda McKittrick Ros (1860–1939). The first opens the fourth chapter of her debut novel of 1897, Irene Iddesleigh:

When on the eve of glory, whilst brooding over the prospects of a bright and happy future, whilst meditating upon the risky right of justice, there we remain, wanderers on the cloudy surface of mental woe, disappointment and danger, inhabitants of the grim sphere of anticipated imagery, partakers of the poisonous dregs of concocted injustice. Yet such is life.

There has never been another literary figure remotely comparable to “the divine Amanda” (whose real name was Anna Margaret Ross, née McKittrick). She was, many discriminating readers believe, at once the single most atrocious writer who ever lived and also one of the most mesmerizingly delightful. She was supremely talentless—she was wholly incapable of producing a single intelligent or well-formed sentence—and yet her incompetence was so sui generis that it constituted a kind of genius.

Read the article

Reposted with permission from: First Things

U.S. Grants License for Laser-Powered Uranium Enrichment by Sharon Weinberger

In news, North America, research, science, technology on November 19, 2012 at 22:50

From: U.S. Grants License for Laser-Powered Uranium Enrichment by Sharon Weinberger, Scientific American, https://www.scientificamerican.com

The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) this week granted a licence to allow construction of a plant that uses a controversial uranium enrichment process — one that critics fear could pose a serious nuclear-proliferation risk. The plant, which would be built through a partnership between General Electric (GE) and Hitachi in Wilmington, North Carolina, could be used to enrich uranium to make fuel for nuclear reactors quickly and cheaply using a process that involves a laser.

Read the article

Reposted with permission from: Scientific American

Power, Sociologically Speaking by Vincent J. Roscigno

In culture, economics, education, government, political science, politics, sociology, theory on November 19, 2012 at 22:42

From: Power, Sociologically Speaking by Vincent J. Roscigno, The Society Pages, http://thesocietypages.org

We in the social sciences typically think of power as persuasiveness, the ability to get what one wants—this is the essence of the classic definition attributed to Max Weber, and it’s commonly applied across a host of institutional spheres and interactions, from political parties to the power of consumers. But this view is a bit too simplistic—it obscures power’s fundamentally structural, cultural, and relational nature. This is to say, power is too often thought of as something that a particular leader or party has, rather than something rooted in institutional practices, cultural supports, and alternative pathways outside the usual political apparatus.

The problem of power, then, is a prime blind spot; the core, lower-level topics of political science—like individual voting behavior, party politics and alignments, and election outcomes—can direct us away from larger questions about the ends toward which political influence is directed. Sociology is uniquely equipped to look beyond the usual veneer of power, unpack the myths that reinforce it, and see the relational foundations upon which it ultimately rests. A sociological view indeed provides a much-needed corrective, offering a unique glimpse through the myths that veil power’s resilience, uses, and limits.

Read the article

Reposted with permission from: The Society Pages

Two Views of the Storm in Brooklyn by Anya Ulinich and Anya Yurchyshyn

In community, nature, North America, society on November 19, 2012 at 22:25

From: Two Views of the Storm in Brooklyn by Anya Ulinich and Anya Yurchyshyn, n + 1, http://nplusonemag.com

I knew the water came because I saw it from my new apartment, where the lights never went out, not once. I spent the beginning of the storm trying to work while my roommates watched movies. The wind was thumping our rickety windows enough for me to move away from them, but I felt safe. “I love a good storm!” I thought, and I do. I also thought I was going to get a lot of work done. I didn’t.

Why didn’t I leave? I thought I’d be safe—I figured that if the water came up to the fourth floor we’d all be so fucked that it wouldn’t matter where I was. Also, I love Red Hook, and I wanted to be there if something happened to it. People always talk about its incredible community, how it’s a village, and all that’s true. But it’s not like I know everyone there, go out all the time, or am on a first name basis with the old guard, or even the new one. I’m no shut in, but that level of exposure makes me shy. But I’ve always recognized what it is and knew I was living in the best neighborhood in New York City and was surrounded by the best neighbors. Red Hook was the only place I wanted to live, even though, or precisely because, it’s kind of a pain-in-the-ass to live there.

Read the essays

Reposted with permission from: n + 1

America’s Love Affair with Cars by Leigh Donaldson

In civilisation, culture, economics, North America, politics, psychology, sociology, transportation on November 18, 2012 at 22:47

From: America’s Love Affair with Cars by Leigh Donaldson, The Montreal Review, http://www.themontrealreview.com

In his essay, “Driven Societies“, Daniel Miller writes about telling his young son a story about seeing the earth from the sky and discovering that it is the car and the infrastructure associated with it, not the human being, that dominates the landscape. He expounds on what he terms the humanity of the car, what people achieve through its use, and how it is an integral part of our cultural environment within which we see ourselves as human. He writes: “The car today is associated with the aggregate of vast systems of transport and roadways that make the car’s environment, and yet, at the same time, there are highly personal and intimate relationships which individuals have found through the possession and use of cars.” Personally, I resist any implication that a piece of tin, chrome and plastic, in any manner, defines me as a person. Short of having to live in a car because I was rendered homeless, knock on wood, I don’t see how a person could get that intimate with a noisy, gas-guzzling, money-eating machine you can never quite fully rely on. But, I can see that the car can, for many, be an extension of self and a communicative device. These days they are readily available with innumerable credit arrangements, including no money down, so that almost anyone can drive off a car lot in one the same day. Here, we find that the product, especially  the pricier model, represents dreams and aspirations, and this often trumps whether or not a person can afford it or not. Advertisers, more than ever, create and nurture appetites for products outside the consumers pocketbook limitations. Catering to the general buyers’ irrationality, their psychological vulnerabilities, they make the car a “must have” item for everyone.

Read the article

Reposted with permission from: The Montreal Review

Scientists create ‘tree of life’ mapping all known bird species

In biology, ecology, research, science on November 18, 2012 at 22:34

From: Scientists create ‘tree of life’ mapping all known bird species, Mongabay, http://news.mongabay.com

The international team researchers used DNA-sequencing data — when available — to show the evolutionary relationships between living bird species. It also shows bird speciation rates across time and geographies.

“We have built the first ever family tree showing the evolutionary relationship among the species of birds. We used fossils and genetic data to estimate the ages of all the different branches of the bird tree so that we could assess how diversity has accumulated through time,” said co-author Gavin Thomas of the University of Sheffield in a statement. “Our work is indebted to researchers from museums and universities who have collected astounding amounts of genetic data from birds around the world.”

See at Mongabay

Reposted with permission from: Mongabay

Radical Measures: 9/11 and|as Deleuze’s Time-Image by Daniel Ziegert

In academia, film, government, media, North America, philosophy, politics on November 18, 2012 at 22:30

From: Radical Measures: 9/11 and|as Deleuze’s Time-Image by Daniel Ziegert, Rhizomes, http://www.rhizomes.net

Instead of seeing the images as what they were, “we” immediately related them to a register of action-images, specifically those depicting disaster. Additionally, many discourses limited themselves to grappling with epistemological, hard science questons: why and how was it possible to hijack four planes, and why could CIA and FBI not prevent the terrible events? [4] Academic responses from the humanities and especially film and visual studies have been surprisingly sparse until quite recently. [5] But as the number of panels and talks at conferences of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies since 2002 shows, scholarly interest in approaching medial aspects of 9/11 has constantly grown. [6] This development parallels or follows that of Hollywood’s productions dealing with and thereby rendering “fictional” the attacks, such as United 93 and WTC.

[3] A void has opened up between the largely subjective essays written shortly after the attacks, [7] the “discourses of sobriety,” [8] and more recent work focusing on political aspects and effects of the images [9] – therefore, already on a level of what the images mean rather than what they are. This void opens up conceptual [10] approaches to images of 9/11. While there is important work being done on issues of culture, race and gender in relation to a post-9/11 world, scholars must also inquire more basically as to what it is in the moving image(s) that constitutes or supports these issues. It is precisely in this void where this essay – through an appropriation and re-activation of Gilles Deleuze’s “time-image” – may offer a productive perspective on 9/11-images and a post-9/11 mediascape beyond questions of ontology and psychology. [11]

Read the essay

Reposted with permission from: Rhizomes

The Kodachrome Era Ends by Russell Arben Fox

In film, history, media, North America on November 17, 2012 at 18:46

From: The Kodachrome Era Ends, Right Here in Kansas by Russell Arben Fox, Front Porch Republic, http://www.frontporchrepublic.com

Today, Dwayne’s Photo, a family-owned and operated film-processing business that has operated in the small town of Parsons, Kansas, for over 50 years, will stop handling Kodachrome film. After they close shop today for the holiday, there will be no other place on earth still handling what was for many years the absolute standard when it came to color film. According to the NYT article:

Last year, Kodak stopped producing the chemicals needed to develop the film, providing the business with enough to continue processing through the end of 2010. And last week, right on schedule, the lab opened up the last canister of blue dye….

Read the post

Reposted with permission from: Front Porch Republic

Remembering the Dust Bowl by Gabriel Thoumi

In ecology, history, North America, society on November 17, 2012 at 18:33

From: Remembering the Dust Bowl: it could happen again by Gabriel Thoumi, Mongabay, http://news.mongabay.com

By 1880s, the immeasurable bison herds of the Great Plains had been slaughtered and the Beef Bonanza began. Then severe winters killed the cattle herds bankrupting the cattle industry. Next the homesteaders moved in with promises of an Eden where any person, whether a suitcase in-town farmer or a rugged homesteader, could feed their family and make money off the land. Fueled by the global wheat boom of the 1910s and 1920s, the “Great Plow-Up” began when homesteaders plowed under tens of millions of acres of native buffalo grass in the Southern Great Plains for wheat production.

    “This wind-driven dust, fine as the finest flour, penetrates wherever air can go.” – Caroline Henderson, Oklahoma

With too much wheat under crop, most of the native grasses plowed under, and drought occurring, black dirt and sand dust bowl storms began to ravage the southern Great Plains. These storms could be 100 miles long with 60 mile an hour winds and would turn day into night, covering crops, destroying homes, and in the worst cases smothering all life in their path.

    “It was just unbelievable. It’d blister your face. It would put your eyes out.” – Pauline Robertson, New Mexico

Read the article

Reposted with permission from: Mongabay

Are You Smarter Than a Freshman? by Harvey C. Mansfield

In books, government, law, philosophy, political science, politics on November 17, 2012 at 18:22

From: Are You Smarter Than a Freshman? What political philosophy has to say about elections. by Harvey C. Mansfield, Defining Ideas, http://www.hoover.org/publications/defining-ideas/

Aristotle’s Politics calls into question the assumption that elections are democratic. Democracy stands for living as you please, he says, which means as you choose. But choosing means taking better over worse, or a respectable life over doing menial tasks, the noble over the necessary. In choosing to have an election—the word for choice also means “election”—you give your support to someone or a party you admire or at any rate think better of. What is this preference but the choice of an aristocracy, literally, the rule of the best, or of the best in this situation?

Machiavelli believes that human beings are divided into the few who want to rule and the many who do not care to rule themselves but do not want to be ruled by others either. Then those who want to rule must conceal their rule from the many they rule if they wish to succeed. How can they do this? Machiavelli went about conceiving a “new mode of ruling,” a hidden government that puts the people “under a dominion they do not see.” Government is hidden when it appears not to be imposed on you from above but when it comes from you, when it is self-imposed.

Read the essay

Reposted with permission from: Defining Ideas

The Making of Cezanne’s Palette by Philip Ball

In aesthetics, art, Europe, history of art, nature, science on November 14, 2012 at 20:54

From: The Making of Cezanne’s Palette by Philip Ball, http://www.philipball.co.uk

Innovation in art has always been a gamble. While originality may be given lip-serving credit, unfamiliarity has an even chance of breeding contempt. There is no other word to describe the critics’ response to the first independent exhibition by the Impressionists in Paris in 1874. These artists, it was claimed, had rejected “good artistic manners, devotion to form, and respect for the masters”. Part of the outrage was directed at the choice of subject-ordinary people going about their business, for goodness’ sake-and part at the quick-fire style of the brush strokes. But the detractors were also offended by the colours.

The critic E. Cardon said sarcastically, “Soil three quarters of a canvas with black and white, rub the rest with yellow, distribute haphazardly some red and blue spots, and you’ll obtain an impression of spring in front of which the adepts will be carried away by ecstasy.” The second group exhibition two years later elicited similar complaints: “Try to make M. Pissarro understand that trees are not violet, that the sky is not the colour of fresh butter…”. Renoir’s “green and violet spots” in areas of flesh were seen to “denote the state of complete putrefaction of a corpse”.

Yet these were not new charges. In England, the Pre-Raphaelite painters such as William Holman Hunt and John Millais stood accused in the 1850s of using greens “unripe enough to cause indigestion”. J. M. W. Turner, the supreme British colourist of the early nineteenth century, had in 1829 been denounced for producing “a specimen of colouring run mad” in his Ulysses Deriding Polyphemus (Figure 1).

Read the full article

Reposted with permission from: Philip Ball

Witch Killing and the Rule of Law in Africa by Leo Igwe

In Africa, culture, law, society on November 14, 2012 at 20:43

From: Witch Killing and the Rule of Law in Africa by Leo Igwe, IEET, http://ieet.org

The killing of persons accused of witchcraft continues to take place in different parts of Africa despite the existence of enabling laws and human rights mechanisms.

Occasionally there are arrests, prosecutions and conviction of witch killers. But that has not brought this murderous campaign to an end. Alleged witches in Africa are at risk of being attacked, tortured or lynched with impunity by mobs. This regional calamity continues to spread.

Belief that people can kill others through magic or witchcraft is common in Africa. Due to high mortality rate on the continent, suspicion of witchcraft is rife, witchcraft accusation is widespread and witch hunting often erupts. In most cases, vulnerable members of the populati

Read the full article

Reposted with permission from: IEET

Why You’re Crazy: The DSM Story by Mark S. Roberts and David B. Allison

In biology, civilisation, culture, gender, government, history, medicine, philosophy, psychology, sociology on November 14, 2012 at 20:35

From: Why You’re Crazy: The DSM Story by Mark S. Roberts and David B. Allison, CABINET, http://cabinetmagazine.org

Nearly one thousand pages long and boasting over one thousand contributors, the latest version of the manual has an editorial staff that reads like the Who’s Who of clinical psychiatry. In fact, in its current rendition, the DSM is so impressive that it is often referred to as “the Bible” of mental disorders. Yet modern editions of the DSM manuals have grown into virtual monsters of social control, attempting to set the transgressive limits of virtually every human action and capacity. Behaviors such as caring, bereavement, anger, love, hatred, sexual desire, reading, nose-picking, writing, shitting, pimple-picking, nightmares, delusions (both “bizarre” and “non-bizarre” versions), hair twirling, and body odors all have their reasonable limits, which are set strictly by the DSM and its clinical interpreters. Twirl your hair to the extent that the damage is undetectable, and you may not be subject to a diagnosis of Trichotillomania (312.39)—that is, unless you express significant distress about hair twirling. Have a delusion that lasts for only twenty-nine days, rather than thirty, and you may escape being diagnosed with the dreaded Delusional Disorder (297.1). Fail to overcome your fear of mathematics, and you may be tagged with the equally onerous Mathematics Disorder (315.1)—unless, of course, it is medication-induced. But don’t despair. According to the DSM-IV-TR, the fourth and most current edition, you may have the dreaded Mathematics Disorder (315.1) and at the same time sexually abuse a child, but only have that recorded in the manual as a problem (see V61.21, Sexual Abuse of Child) rather than a full-blown disorder.

Read the article

Reposted with permission from: CABINET

Different People Are the Same? by Cat Pierro

In humanities, nature, philosophy, society on November 11, 2012 at 20:30

From: Different People Are the Same? by Cat Pierro, Hypocrite Reader, http://hypocritereader.com

A familiar controversy: are people all basically the same, or basically different? The question seems foundational for ethics, politics, history, and, well, roughly everything, but there’s no consensus on the matter, provisional or otherwise. The argument comes up in its most rudimentary form late at night in college dorms all over the world. Different people’s DNA matches almost exactly (one side says), and yet they say and do such different things (says the other)—but maybe these things aren’t really so different, or maybe people have it in them to do all the same things. Among the many difficulties that would crop up in the attempt to answer the question rigorously, one very basic problem makes the matter unresolvable: just as no absolute measure of similarity can be gleaned from comparing DNA (only a relative one where humans seem more different from bananas than from mosquitos), no absolute measure of similarity inheres in DNA’s expression (or in anything!). Even if I can determine that 70% of my opinions match someone else’s, what does that mean? Are we pretty much the same person? Alas, only an absolute answer would satisfy: not “Canadians are less different from Americans than artists are from jocks,” but “people are all basically the same,” or “people are all basically different.”

Unresolvability does not imply meaninglessness, however, if human interest is at all suggestive of meaning. For some reason, the argument recurs again and again in many forms and with great ferocity. “If you and one stranger were the last two people left on earth, do you really think it would matter which person you were left with?” “Nothing you could ever say would ever convince me to like cities.” Both sides appeal to intuitions they don’t share, evidence they don’t have, and instances that fall short of proving the rule. The very audacity with which the adversaries fly in the face of reason must make us suspect that they’re on to something important. Let’s therefore evoke the question again here, on territory that is neutral and relevant. Are these two adversaries, the advocates of each side, basically the same as each other—or basically different?

Read the article

Reposted with permission from: Hypocrite Reader

Authority and Agency in Stoicism G. Reydams-Schils

In Europe, philosophy, society on November 11, 2012 at 20:15

From: Authority and Agency in Stoicism G. Reydams-Schils, Greek, Roman and Byzantine Studies, http://grbs.library.duke.edu

Seneca mentions a famous statement of Panaetius, who, when he was asked by a young man whether a sage would fall in love, responded: “As to the wise man, we shall see. What concerns you and me, who are still a great distance from the wise man, is to ensure that we do not fall into a state of affairs which is disturbed, powerless, subservient to another and worthless to oneself.”1 Seneca may have had good philosophical reasons for being attracted to this modest selfrepresentation of a Stoic teacher, as a co-learner with others, and one who in his own right is still removed from the ideal he professes. In other words, it may not be a coincidence that precisely Seneca recorded this anecdote.

Why would this kind of humility claim, in which the speaker deliberately puts himself on the same level as the interlocutor, be anything more than a common rhetorical trope and pedagogical device, at best (and false humility, at worst)?3 Later Stoic accounts of the first two centuries A.D. provide a
particularly illuminating answer to this question by consistently establishing a connection between a certain view of teaching authority and individual agency.

Read the essay

Reposted with permission from: Greek, Roman and Byzantine Studies

The Chilean winter by Sergio Villalobos-Ruminott

In academia, economics, government, history, politics, South America, universities on November 11, 2012 at 19:58

From: The Chilean winter by Sergio Villalobos-Ruminott, Radical Philospshy, http://www.radicalphilosophy.com

Since the beginning of 2011, student mobilizations in Chile have occupied the centre of public debate. On the one hand, most of the population, along with most of the political parties currently opposed to Sebastián Piñera’s government, agree on the crisis of secondary and higher education in a country that has been widely praised for fostering democratization and economic prosperity after the dark decades of Pinochet’s dictatorship (1973–89). On the other hand, there seems to be little agreement on what this crisis actually means, and even the government recognizes the necessity for substantial changes in the relationship between the state and the general system of education. At the same time, this new series of protests complements and further radicalizes those that took place in 2006, protests called the ‘Penguin Revolution’ with reference to the secondary students who played a crucial role in the demonstrations. What appears to be new in the present conjuncture is the involvement of students from both secondary and post-secondary institutions, public and private. The breadth and scale of participation are an indication of the nature of the crisis.

Read the essay

Reposted with permission from: Radical Philosophy

Remembering Elizabeth Cotten by L. L. Demerle’

In history of art, music on November 9, 2012 at 00:31

From: Remembering Elizabeth Cotten by L. L. Demerle’, Eclectica Magazine, http://www.eclectica.org

Nine years after the death of folk guitar legend Elizabeth Cotten, her music is still heard everywhere–from Peter, Paul and Mary to The Grateful Dead, movie soundtracks and even the jukebox band on PBS’ Shining Time Station. Cotten, who began her public career at the age of 68, became a key figure in the folk revival of the 60’s, a National Heritage Fellow and a Grammy-winning recording artist.

Turning her instruments upside-down to play them left-handed, so that she played the treble strings with her thumb and the bass strings with her other fingers, she developed a truly distinctive guitar style and sound. Her song, Freight Train, is a fingerpicker’s classic, and her arrangements of tunes like Oh, Babe, It Ain’t No Lie, are staples of her folk repertoire.

Read the essay

Reposted with permission from: ECLECTICA Magazine

It is a duty that we should save seeds for the future by Vandana Shiva

In Asia, biology, community, culture, ecology, ethics, nature, research, science on November 9, 2012 at 00:16

From: It is a duty that we should save seeds for the future by Vandana Shiva, America Latina en Movimiento, http://alainet.org

(…) Biodiversity is not empty, it is not pure nature, none of the varieties that have been evolved over centuries by peasant societies, particularly the women, are landrace. I think it’s just a wrong term to use because there’s intelligence in every bit of their breeding.
And as we think of how do we achieve systems of development, particularly rural development, there can be objectives of providing food of high quality, good nutrition, how do we assure that rural communities are not excluded, that women are not excluded, I think the first step along with development [is] food security as well as social inclusion, it is to start removing the boundaries and walls that have lead to exclusion. In my view the most important wall is a very invisible wall that gets higher and higher and higher.
This is a wall I have called the creation boundary. This is a wall that is destroying our biodiversity, that is pushing our rural communities to marginalization and poverty, and it is a wall that has discounted the knowledge of peasant societies, especially the women.
And this wall started to get put in place when knowledge was suddenly demarcated between scientific knowledge and other [types of] knowledge that aren’t knowledge.

Read the article

Reposted with permission from: America Latina en Movimiento

Does a Liberal Education Still Have Value? by John von Heyking

In academia, economics, philosophy, science, universities on November 9, 2012 at 00:02

From: Does a Liberal Education Still Have Value? by John von Heyking, CARDUS, http://www.cardus.ca

The recession has renewed our attention to the number of liberal arts graduates from universities and the difficulty they often encounter in finding work that matches their skill sets. There are numerous stories of English or History majors who have to work in low-paying jobs because their skills simply do not match the needs of employers with higher-paying jobs. Conversely, employers in Canada’s energy sector and even in its struggling manufacturing sector regularly complain they have difficulty finding workers with necessary skill sets to fill their job openings. It seems that Canadian higher education needs to be geared more toward producing workers with strong vocational skills than the ability to write essays on Virginia Woolf or Plato’s metaphysics.

As pressing as these concerns are to us now, the debate between the liberal arts and the “worker bees” has been around since the days of Socrates. The exemplar of the liberal arts, Socrates, was viewed by the Athenians as a parasitic lay-about that is, when he was not undermining the allegiance of Athenian youths to the laws of Athens. He embodied the liberal arts by not getting paid for his work not because he was lazy, but because knowledge is first and foremost for its own sake, not for its utility. To reverse these is to forget that the liberal arts enable one to be free (liber).

Read the essay

Reposted with permission from: CARDUS

Gaza, Goats, and the Art of Patience: A Conversation with Jeff Talarigo by Jennifer De Leon

In humanities, interview, literature, writers on November 8, 2012 at 03:24

From:  Gaza, Goats, and the Art of Patience: A Conversation with Jeff Talarigo by Jennifer De Leon, AGNI Online, http://www.bu.edu/agni

Jennifer De Leon: Your story “The Night Guardian of the Goat” (AGNI 74) is set in the Gaza Strip. What was your impetus for building a fictional world in this location?

Jeff Talarigo: On my second trip to the Gaza Strip, back in 1993, I went with the mindset of a journalist, but I returned with the desire to be a novelist.  What happened was, one May afternoon, I was sitting outside along School Street in Jabaliya camp, where I was living with a Palestinian family, and I saw two boys with an injured bird and a piece of string tied around its neck. The boys would toss the bird into the air and the bird would flap its wings and fly a few feet until the string ran out and the bird would be yanked back.  Watching this, I thought that it was a striking, almost prophetic image.  As a journalist I could write about it just as I have told you, but by a novelist, so much more could be done.  I jotted in my notebook—Bird on a string—and I carried this image with me for nearly a year before I wrote a story about it.  This was my first published piece of fiction.

JD: The story’s narrator is responsible for taking care of Ghassan Abu Majed’s last remaining goat every night during curfew. Ghassan calls his precious goat “the last link to the land.” Yet Ghassan’s wife says, “the link has long been severed.” In what ways are they both right?

JT: For the most part the refugees in the Gaza Strip have been there since 1948.  Most, and for many years, believed that someday they would return to the over 400 towns and villages that they fled in 1948. I believe that the large majority of those in the Gaza Strip have become resigned to the fact that this “return,” which they have held onto so dearly, will never happen; that Gaza is where they will die.  Still, the Palestinians, like all of us really, cling to these “links” or “connections” to the past.  Many Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, Jordan, the West Bank and Gaza still have the keys to their homes, the deeds to their land, and in my story, a goat.

Read the story

Read the full interview

Reposted with permission from: AGNI Online

The dark side of TESOL by Kimie Takahashi

In Asia, economics, gender, languages, politics, sociology on November 8, 2012 at 03:14

From: The dark side of TESOL by Kimie Takahashi, Language on the Move http://www.languageonthemove.com

The latest issue of Cross-Cultural Studies (published by the Center for Cross Cultural Studies, Kyung Hee University, Korea) includes an article about the dark side of TESOL authored by Ingrid Piller, Kimie Takahashi, and Yukinori Watanabe. Based on case studies from Japan and South Korea, this review paper explores the hidden costs of English language learning (ELL). In a context where English has become a commodity and ELL a form of consumption, we focus on the personal and social costs of (a) studying abroad as a much-touted path to “native-like” proficiency and (b) sexualization of language teaching materials in order to reach new niche markets. The hidden costs of ELL are embedded in language ideologies which set English up as a magical means of self-transformation and, at the same time, an unattainable goal for most Japanese and Koreans. We end with the call to expose debilitating language ideologies in order to shed light on the hidden costs of ELL.

Read the full article

Reposted with permission from: Language on the Move

Announcement: Thank you!

In Announcements on November 8, 2012 at 02:56

anagnori received more permissions. We would like to say ‘thank you’ to:

Africa Spectrum (GIGA)
AGNI Online
Analecta Hermeneutica
Cardus
Eclectica Magazine
Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies (GRBS)
Grist
Image [&] Narrative
InKoj Philosophy and Artificial Languages
Japan Focus – Asia-Pacific Journal
Language on the Move
Literary Review
Ludwig von Mises Institute
NONSITE.org
Past Horizons
Radical Philosophy
Searchlight Magazine
Social Science Research Network (SSRN)
This Side of the Pond (Cambridge University Press Blog)
The Way of Beauty (David Clayton)

LIVE Election Night 2012 Coverage with Democracy Now!

In Announcements, North America, politics, video on November 6, 2012 at 20:06

Please follow this link to watch the Coverage at Democracy Now! website

Amy Goodman and Juan González, along with investigative reporter Jeremy Scahill, offer real-time results from presidential and congressional races, ballot measures, and reports of voter suppression. Correspondents and guests will join us from Florida, Ohio, Colorado, Virginia, Massachusetts, Washington, D.C., New York City and more.

Join the discussion by using the hashtag #DNvote on Twitter to submit comments, photos and videos, sharing your voting day experiences and reflections on our Facebook page or sending email updates from your polling place and to stories@democracynow.org with “election” in the subject line.

Alan Turing creator of Artificial Languages by Federico Gobbo

In humanities, languages, philosophy, research on November 5, 2012 at 21:43

From: Alan Turing creator of Artificial Languages by Federico Gobbo, InKoj, Philosophy & Artificial Languages, http://riviste.unimi.it/index.php/inkoj/index

ABSTRACT. In this paper an evaluation of the contribution to philosophical investigation by Alan Turing is provided in terms of creation of Artificial Languages (ALs). After a discussion of the term AL in the literature, and in particular within the theoretical model offered by Lyons, the legacy of Turing is  presented with a special attention to what remains after a century by his birth and what is still to be investigated in this area.

The definition of AL highly depends on two factor: the ambiguity of the English word ‘language’; the (scientific) context in which AL is used. In fact, unlike other so-called ‘natural’ languages – such as French – in the English language the word ‘language’ indicates both artificial and ‘natu ral’ languages – only when that adjective is expressed. In French, langage is the general term, which includes both artificial and natural languages, while langue explicitly denots ‘natural’ ones. Esperanto follows the French model in this respect. This lackness had great consequences on the antonym of the expression ‘natural language’, that is ‘artificial language’ (AL). From the point of view of linguistics and philosophy of language, Lyons (1991) ad- dresses this question in detail, giving a taxonomy of languages in terms of degree of naturalness.

Read the article

Reposted with permission from: InKoj

The cruel irony of an Emily Dickinson biopic by CambridgeBlog

In film, history of art, literature, poetry, privacy on November 5, 2012 at 21:28

From: The cruel irony of an Emily Dickinson biopic: “Fame is a bee./It has a song—/It has a sting—/Ah, too, it has a wing” by CambridgeBlog, This Side of the Pond, http://www.cambridgeblog.org

We know that she was an avid, almost obsessive reader. We know that she had intense emotional changes with each new season—present-day doctors would probably diagnose her with seasonal affective disorder and put her on medication; scholars call it her mystic day cycle. We know that she was deeply affected by the supposed spiritual salvation of her classmates at Mt. Holyoke Female Seminary (a component of Calvinism, they believed that one was damned until he or she had an extremely painful yet enlightening ‘conversion experience’ brought on by God) and suffered a nervous breakdown when she wasn’t saved. We know that she spent the last half of her life in her bedroom, seldom seeing anyone other than her family, furiously writing poetry and letters. We know that she loved dogs and that the Civil War’s death toll broke her heart. We know that she published only a handful of poems in her lifetime because she refused to dumb down her language and imagery for the general public and because of her disdain of the idea of fame.

Read the post

Reposted with permissions from: CambridgeBlog

%d bloggers like this: