Whenever I look around me, I wonder what old things are about to bear fruit, what seemingly solid institutions might soon rupture, and what seeds we might now be planting whose harvest will come at some unpredictable moment in the future. The most magnificent person I met in 2013 quoted a line from Michel Foucault to me: "People know what they do; frequently they know why they do what they do; but what they don't know is what what they do does." Someone saves a life or educates a person or tells her a story that upends everything she assumed. The transformation may be subtle or crucial or world changing, next year or in 100 years, or maybe in a millennium. You can’t always trace it but everything, everyone has a genealogy. Rebecca Solnit in TomDispatch: The Arc of Justice and the Long Run: Hope, History, and Unpredictability [more inside]
posted by davidjmcgee
on Dec 23, 2013 -
Australia has just had an election and the new Prime Minister, Tony Abbott
, has pledged himself to be the first Prime Minister for Indigenous Affairs. But has he properly consulted?
'The Other Election', run by the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME), features over 600 Indigenous kids from around Australia in years 10-12 putting themselves into the hypothetical role of delivering a speech as Australia's first Indigenous prime minister.
Ten finalists were announced today. Voting for the top 3 closes 29 January, 2013. The three best are then headed to Canberra to deliver their speeches in parliament. [more inside]
posted by de
on Sep 22, 2013 -
are best known for their hazy, shoegazer album So Tonight I Might See
(Grooveshark stream), which contained the single Fade Into You
(YouTube). That album was released in 1993
, and went platinum
, providing an odd counter-point to the popular grunge sounds of the day
. As a band, they made three albums in the 1990s, though neither hit the peak of their sophomore album. They disbanded (as far as the public was concerned*) in 1997, though there were a series of reunion tours in 2000. Eleven years later, they released a new single
, Common Burn b/w Lay Myself Down
, and the group toured in 2012
. This week, they release their fourth album, Seasons of Your Day, and they aren't any cheerier (in responding to interview questions). [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief
on Sep 22, 2013 -
The thrill and rush of possibly winning started to wear off after about the twentieth losing ticket. Each card had a couple of “Life” symbols on them, and every time you got a second you just dreamed of seeing the third one under the remaining graphite. However it never appeared and never will and it just kind of turned depressing. How could people put themselves through this humiliation and teasing every day of their lives?
posted by Jasper Friendly Bear
on May 18, 2013 -
The classic criticism of the lottery is that the people who play are the ones who can least afford to lose; that the lottery is a sink of money, draining wealth from those who most need it. Some lottery advocates . . . have tried to defend lottery-ticket buying as a rational purchase of fantasy—paying a dollar for a day's worth of pleasant anticipation, imagining yourself as a millionaire. But consider exactly what this implies. It would mean that you're occupying your valuable brain with a fantasy whose real probability is nearly zero—a tiny line of likelihood which you, yourself, can do nothing to realize. . . . Which makes the lottery another kind of sink: a sink of emotional energy. [via]
In 2008 the late Robert Fitch
, author of "The Assassination of New York
", was asked to foretell an Obama presidency
before the Harlem Tenants Association:
If we examine more carefully the interests that Obama represents; if we look at
his core financial supporters; as well as his inmost circle of advisors, we’ll see that they represent the primary activists in the demolition movement and the primary real estate beneficiaries of this transformation of public housing projects into condos and townhouses: the profitable creep of the Central Business District and elite residential neighborhoods southward; and the shifting of the pile of human misery about three miles further into the South Side and the south suburbs... Obama’s political base comes primarily from Chicago FIRE—the finance, insurance and real estate industry. And the wealthiest families—the Pritzkers, the Crowns and the Levins.
posted by ennui.bz
on May 8, 2012 -
Now the future is a kind of attenuating peninsula; as we move out on it, one side drops off to catastrophe; the other side, nowhere near as steep, moves down into various kinds of utopian futures. In other words, we have come to a moment of utopia or catastrophe; there is no middle ground, mediocrity will no longer succeed. So utopia is no longer a nice idea, but a survival necessity. "Remarks on Utopia in the Age of Climate Change,"
from Kim Stanley Robinson. Previously.
posted by gerryblog
on Dec 22, 2011 -
Seattle mourns the passing of Electron Boy
, otherwise known as Erik Martin. Erik died at home on Friday, from a rare form of cancer called paraganglioma. He was 14. Previously
posted by Sublimity
on Sep 18, 2011 -
She agreed to be filmed for 90 days.
A woman with AIDS is filmed briefly, every day, for 90 days, and the changes she undergoes are dramatic. The very end may make you weep, but perhaps not for the reasons you expect...
[Link is a single video hosted on Vimeo.]
posted by Slap*Happy
on Aug 27, 2010 -
Among American Jews today, there are a great many Zionists, especially in the Orthodox world, people deeply devoted to the State of Israel. And there are a great many liberals, especially in the secular Jewish world, people deeply devoted to human rights for all people, Palestinians included. But the two groups are increasingly distinct. Particularly in the younger generations, fewer and fewer American Jewish liberals are Zionists; fewer and fewer American Jewish Zionists are liberal. One reason is that the leading institutions of American Jewry have refused to foster—indeed, have actively opposed—a Zionism that challenges Israel’s behavior in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and toward its own Arab citizens.The Failure of the American Jewish Establishment
posted by y2karl
on May 18, 2010 -
Speaking in Tongues
is a terrific piece of writing by Zadie Smith
. It's a little bit about Barack Obama
. Mostly, though, it's about "world"-traveling and polyvocality.
The first stage in the evolution is contingent and cannot be contrived. In this first stage, the voice, by no fault of its own, finds itself trapped between two poles, two competing belief systems. And so this first stage necessitates the second: the voice learns to be flexible between these two fixed points, even to the point of equivocation. Then the third stage: this native flexibility leads to a sense of being able to "see a thing from both sides." And then the final stage, which I think of as the mark of a certain kind of genius: the voice relinquishes ownership of itself, develops a creative sense of disassociation in which the claims that are particular to it seem no stronger than anyone else's. There it is, my little theory—I'd rather call it a story. It is a story about a wonderful voice, occasionally used by citizens, rarely by men of power.
posted by anotherpanacea
on Feb 26, 2009 -
In 1972, Herman Wallace and Albert Woodfox were convicted of murdering a prison guard in Louisiana's notorious maximum-security prison, Angola. The warden sentenced them to solitary confinement, where they remained for the next 36 years. Until March 2008, the men had spent at least 23 hours per day in cells that measured only 6 x 9 feet.
Woodfox's conviction was recently overturned, evidently through a federal habeus
proceeding, and he is awaiting a new trial. NPR did an outstanding job of tracking down people involved and telling a riveting story: Part I
, Part II
, Part III
. No doubt that much of the attention brought to the case is due to the efforts of Jackie Sumell and her Herman's House
project. [more inside]
posted by ajr
on Nov 9, 2008 -
Privacy is dead - get over it
] is a talk by private investigator Steve Rambam. It's a talk he has been giving for a number of years where he shows how privacy is being taken away, not by sinister plots but because people are giving it away. With people putting up everything and nothing on MySpace, Facebook, Twitter and so on, as well as a growing quantity of data held in private databases, he shows how easy it is to find out enormous amounts of data on just about anyone. [more inside]
posted by bjrn
on Sep 2, 2008 -
Adam Savage's talk at The Last HOPE: Fascination with the Dodo Bird
parts: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B C
(YouTubeFilter with a great audience Q&A session) [more inside]
posted by Chuckles
on Aug 29, 2008 -
is a global project for people around the world to share their innermost hopes - and fears - through prayer. Some photos NSFW.
posted by ColdChef
on Apr 13, 2008 -
, the goal is to bring together people who nurture a passion for an old, and yet exquisite, form of literature: The writing of letters.
posted by netbros
on Aug 28, 2007 -
Not just a condiment, salt is a major force
shaping our world. In Australia, what do you get
when you combine ancient salt-pans with European farming practices? In one state alone, we're losing a football field an hour to the salinity crisis. What do you farm
when all you have is salt?
posted by ninazer0
on Nov 25, 2006 -
The Ballad of Big Mike. “Where are you going?” he asked. “To basketball practice,” Michael said. “Michael, you don’t have basketball practice,” Sean said. “I know,” the boy said. “But they got heat there.” Sean didn’t understand that one. “It’s nice and warm in that gym,” the boy said. As they drove off, Sean looked over and saw tears streaming down Leigh Anne’s face. And he thought, Uh-oh, my wife’s about to take over. ... “One night it wasn’t going so well, and I got frustrated,” Mitchell says, “and he said to me, ‘Miss Sue, you have to remember I’ve only been going to school for two years.”’
posted by caddis
on Sep 24, 2006 -
. A collaborative work by former members documenting The Family
/Children of God
religion/cult. Uniquely reflecting the sexual revolution
, they encouraged prostitution
as a means of gaining converts
they had comic books
for the kids
. But in concordance with other cults, abuse
, charismatic leaders
, and irreparable harm
were in full swing
. (No more inside. There may be PDFs involved. Please note that much of this material is not safe for work, or anywhere else.)>
posted by cytherea
on Feb 10, 2006 -
Have you ever had one of those times
where you lose your job, then your VA benefits are cut (even though you were wounded seven times in Vietnam), then your son dies in Iraq and homophobic protesters hold up a sign at his funeral that says “Thank God for Dead Soldiers”
then just after Christmas the candle you light for your dead child burns your house down and your family (including your grandchildren) is homeless, and your wife needs surgery for gallstones?
Yeah, that’s tough when that happens.
But sometimes people come through for you.
posted by Smedleyman
on Jan 31, 2006 -
occurred on January 20, 1942.
The Holocaust had been going on for at least one year; the camp at Dachau had been in operation for several years. The Final Solution
was already underway. At issue at Wannsee, in the relaxed and distinctively upper middle-class atmosphere
of that SS guest-house for the fifteen highly placed Nazis was the best strategy
Less than one year after the conference a little girl who had been hiding in Holland is sent to the Bergen camp in northern Germany. She spends more than six years looking for four perfect pebbles
posted by Smedleyman
on Jan 18, 2006 -