"How does an apparently intelligent person end up suggesting a solution that might, at best, constitute unethical medical experiments on prisoners? How does a well-meaning person suggest a remedy that likely constitutes torture?" -- Are the questions Ethan Zuckerman asks, triggered by a particularly dumb article on using Soylent Green and Oculus Rift in prison reform, using it as a kick off point to discuss the wider problem of techno optimism and the inevitable reaction it brings.
"The search for scientific bases for confronting problems of social policy is bound to fail, because of the nature of these problems. They are 'wicked' problems..."[pdf] [more inside]
Style Gone Wild: Why We Can't Shake the 1970s
Collectors Weekly: What prompted such radical changes in popular fashion?[more inside]
Lutyens: One reason was that people in the West were becoming increasingly affluent, and this gave young people the confidence to question their parents’ values. Because they had money, they could be more independent. Society was also becoming much more liberal as well because you had things like the legalization of homosexuality and the legalization of divorce. People were allowed to be themselves more without being judged by other people.
Then the three main minority movements — feminism, black civil rights, and gay liberation — all these minorities had been marginalized until the late ’60s. In the ’70s they began to assert themselves more and become more visible. So their style became more visible, and it influenced mainstream fashion.
The Victoria & Albert Museum is hosting Disobedient Objects, an exhibit on 'out-designing authority.' [more inside]
Shigeru Ban’s Pritzker win proves that building hope is finally in vogue
The architecture world has a new laureate, and he builds in cardboard. Japan’s Shigeru Ban was named this week as the winner of the Pritzker Prize, an annual award that is often called architecture’s Nobel – and his win sends a clear and timely message. Social change, sustainability and improving the lives of the many: This is what matters now to the world of architecture. With Ban’s Pritzker, the global design elite is marking that shift.Take a Tour of Pritzker Winner Shigeru Ban's Paper Tube Structures [more inside]
'As the business matures in India, companies are setting up offices in rural areas.' 'In the process, they're bringing middle-class values and modern aspirations to the tradition-bound heartland.' While we are all familiar with the arguments over the impact of outsourcing on Western countries, the impact of outsourcing on Indian society has also long been debated, and there is no doubt that it 'is spurring profound economic and social change, bringing middle-class values and modern aspirations to the tradition-bound heartland.' [more inside]
Solidarity Economics. (pdf) Strategies for Building New Economies From the Bottom-Up and the Inside-Out. [more inside]
Can social networking be used to effect positive social change? Ushahidi (meaning "testimony" in Swahili) is one such project that harnesses mobile technology to empower local citizens to report on crucial and crisis situations in their area. [more inside]
Canadian historian Rob MacDougall, on how Americans present movements for social change as the self-evident intentions of the nation's founders:
"[Martin Luther] King went on: 'When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note … a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.' And here Sancho [Panza] or Sacvan [Bercovitch] whispers to the guy standing next to him, 'Were they? Really? If we went back in time and asked the architects of the republic–Jefferson and Madison and Washington and the rest–did you mean for this to apply to your slaves too, would they agree? … Because it would have saved a lot of trouble if they’d spelled all this out in 1789.'"(via)
Teams of student entrepreneurs around the world had six days to add value to a stack of Post-It notes as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week. The results are documented in Imagine It!, which aims to promote creative thinking. [more inside]
A memorial to the many dead. Here in Oakland, California, the murder rate has gone out of control. The incoming mayor has not articulated any clear plan for reducing violence. And the current one, having only seen violence increase here, is going on to become the state Attorney General. Amid the challenges Oaklanders face - gentrification, a lack of meaningful work opportunities, and a history of a devistating drug trade, there are some efforts to make change: here, here, here, and here.