My review of California Design, 1930-1965

April 4, 2014 at 5:41 pm | In yulelogStories | Comments Off

Here’s a link to my article about the exhibition California Design, 1930-1965, which originated at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (aka LACMA) and is currently on view at Salem’s Peabody Essex Museum. It will be published in North Shore Art*Throb next week, but you can read an advance copy on my blog: Living and Selling the Dream: Exploring Lifestyle Aspirations through California Design.

Did anyone notice that there was no Sunday Links Post?

February 26, 2014 at 2:30 pm | In yulelogStories | Comments Off

For years I’ve been using Diigo, another third-party service (and a very good one), to gather links to interesting articles. They would then get published to my Berkman blog once a week as the Sunday Links Post. But the other week I noticed that something wasn’t working, and consequently nothing got bookmarked. I missed that Sunday’s entry. (I’ve missed other Sunday entries, but those were on purpose. This one wasn’t.) It made me think about how Boris Mann is on the right track when he controls his links directly, via his blog. (See his comment on my blog post here.)

That “fail” with the Sunday links post seems to me part of the conversation about keeping stuff on your own site(s).

Oddly, most of the conversation sparked by my Feb. 20 post happened on Facebook.

So I took all those words and re-posted them to my blog. Check it out – and you don’t even have to log in to FB…

Blogging has changed for me. A lot. But maybe not enough.

February 20, 2014 at 5:00 pm | In yulelogStories | 3 Comments

It’s not really bye-bye Berkman blog, but I have had my own domain for ages – and today I decided to post something there.

It’s about my perceptions of how blogging and online conversations have changed over the years.

The Sunday Diigo Links Post (weekly)

February 16, 2014 at 3:30 pm | In links | Comments Off
  • Must-watch.
    QUOTE
    David Simon, creator of the TV series ‘The Wire,’ talks with Bill about America’s capitalism crisis. It’s a reality check from a journalist who uses TV drama to report on America from the bottom up. “The horror show is we are going to be slaves to profit. Some of us are going to be higher on the pyramid and we’ll count ourselves lucky and many more will be marginalized and destroyed.”
    UNQUOTE

    tags: bill_moyers david_simon socialcritique socialjustice video vimeo

  • Ugh. And also: If my data is so valuable (and it is!), why should I get paid a measly $8 per month for it? Hmm?
    QUOTE
    But Hogan claims that what Datacoup collects can be especially useful to advertisers because few data providers can combine traces of a person’s online activity with a record of their spending activity. “Both of those are valuable; when you layer one on the other you unlock more value, and there’s no way to do that other than from the user themselves,” he says. Validation for this idea—and competition for Datacoup—comes from Twitter and Facebook, which work with data broker Datalogix to link people’s social media activity and the things they buy (see “Facebook Starts Sharing What It Knows About You”).
    UNQUOTE

    tags: big_data data mit_techreview startups

  • Good stuff.
    QUOTE
    “In 1981,” explains Giordano, “LEGOs were ‘Universal Building Sets’ and that’s exactly what they were…for boys and girls. Toys are supposed to foster creativity. But nowadays, it seems that a lot more toys already have messages built into them before a child even opens the pink or blue package. In 1981, LEGOs were simple and gender-neutral, and the creativity of the child produced the message. In 2014, it’s the reverse: the toy delivers a message to the child, and this message is weirdly about gender.” (…)
    “Because gender segmenting toys interferes with a child’s own creative expression. I know that how I played as a girl shaped who I am today. It contributed to me becoming a physician and inspired me to want to help others achieve health and wellness. I co-own two medical centers in Seattle. Doctor kits used to be for all children, but now they are on the boys’ aisle. I simply believe that they should be marketed to all children again, and the same with LEGOs and other toys.”
    UNQUOTE

    tags: lego gender toys girls opportunity

  • This is great: curb extensions or neckdowns are ways to make streets safer for pedestrians. With the many snowfalls we’ve had this winter, it’s possible to document how plowed snow creates neckdowns, called sneckdowns (and documented via hashtag on Twitter), proving that streets don’t need to be as wide as they all too often are.
    QUOTE
    Way back in 2006, New York–based Clarence Eckerson of Streetfilms shot a video showing how heavy snowfall creates natural neckdowns, as plows push snow to the curb and cars take only the space that they need — leaving the untouched snow to mark the space that maybe isn’t all necessary for cars. He expanded on the concept in another film in 2011. Then, this winter, thanks to frequent heavy snowfalls across most of the country, Eckerson and a few like-minded people started talking about the concept again. They decided that they needed a catchy name for the snowy neckdowns in order to help spread the concept on social media. Soon enough, a hashtag was born.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: curb_extensions neckdowns sneckdowns snow pedestrians atlantic_cities sarah_goodyear

  • Our relationship to the present does seem altered by the omni-availability of the past…
    QUOTE
    This omnipresence of the past has weird effects on contemporary culture. Take any genre of music, from death metal to R&B to chillwave, and the cloud directs you not just to similar artists in the present but to deep wells of influence from the past. Yes, people still like new things. But the past gets as much preference as the present—Mozart, for example, has more than 100,000 followers on Spotify. In a history glut, the idea of fashionability in music erodes, because new songs sit on the same shelf as songs recorded five, 25, and 55 years ago, all of them waiting to be discovered. In this eternal present, everything can be made contemporary.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: history wired_magazine paul_ford internet_archive

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

The Sunday Diigo Links Post (weekly)

February 9, 2014 at 9:01 am | In links | Comments Off
  • Zoning.
    QUOTE
    As mechanization of transit made it ever cheaper, safer, and cleaner, reformers and idealists seeking to overcome the “congestion evil” pushed for lower residential densities and deliberate suburbanization for more than a century. In 1909, at the First National Conference on City Planning and the Problems of Congestion, speaker after speaker advocated the introduction of zoning ordinances and the extension of transit routes to outlying areas, hoping to lower urban densities by enabling people to travel longer distances to work.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: zoning cities commuting transit cars martin_wachs atlantic_cities

  • Zoning (again). This is reason #9, and it seems the most compelling.
    QUOTE
    Zoning laws. There are many differences between land-use planning systems in the United States and Europe. Europeans tend to allow a greater mix of uses in their residential zones, thus keeping trip distances shorter. For example, in Germany, a residential zone can include doctors’ offices, cafes, corner stores, or apartment buildings. By contrast, single family residential zones in the United States typically forbid those uses. Zoning in Germany also occurs for smaller land areas—almost at the block level—facilitating shorter trips than in U.S. cities, where zones tend to be much larger. And while most U.S. zoning codes still require a minimum number of parking spots, many European countries operate with maximum numbers to limit parking.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: zoning parking cities cars atlantic_cities ralph_buehler

  • Fascinating (and not too surprising).
    QUOTE
    Apparently there is something about typing that leads to mindless processing. And there is something about ink and paper that prompts students to go beyond merely hearing and recording new information — and instead to process and reframe information in their own words, with or without the aid of asterisks and checks and arrows.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: wray_herbert note_taking studying analog

  • “Structured” parking as an alternative to the awful parking lot? Good idea. Not so sure about the “horizontal skyscraper” idea, aka the “fatscraper”…
    QUOTE
    Building structured parking is thus seen as an intermediary step in that process. In the ParkingPLUS Design Challenge, architectural firms were asked to be creative in their designs, to conjure places that would not simply store the cars, but open up new possibilities for public use of the space. Roger Sherman Architecture + Urban Design envisioned a “horizontal skyscraper” relating to Main Street in Ronkonkoma; dub Studios submitted a shared parking scheme in Patchogue; LTL Architects rendered a parking garage with a landscaped terraced rooftop cascading towards the rail line in Westbury.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: parking garages retrofit atlantic_cities anthony_flint transit_oriented_development suburbs

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

The Sunday Diigo Links Post (weekly)

February 2, 2014 at 4:02 pm | In links | Comments Off
  • Wow… Interesting implications also (aside from data/ algorithms) for online v. “irl” shopping/ consumption/ commerce.
    QUOTE
    …would it be worth it for businesses to subsidize the trips of individual customers? That’s exactly what Google has invented, an algorithm that determines “the cost of transportation and the potential profit from a completed transaction using a number of real-time calculations.” According to the patent, it would determine that using information like the customer’s location, the customer’s route to the store and most likely form of transportation needed to get there, and the price competitors are willing to pay to get customers in their stores.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: google big_data algorithm retail commerce irl

  • Well, debates about gentrification aside, it’s clear that SF certainly did NOT build enough housing to accommodate the influx of new residents. (Note: in the article, the paragraph below is studded with links to sources.)
    QUOTE
    Gentrification, the term of art for an influx of new residents into an urban neighborhood that typically drives up rents, is controversial in many wealthy cities. It’s often blamed for driving out poorer residents. But when researchers try to prove it, facts are hard to find. Any number of outlets have reported on studies by Columbia University’s Lance Freeman and researchers at the University of Colorado and Duke University who find that gentrification doesn’t drive out a rising neighborhood’s former residents. It even stands to benefit them financially.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: gentrification quartz san_francisco rents housing affordability

  • Excellent piece from Morozov.
    QUOTE
    …as everything becomes interconnected – with tiny sensors and modems – “the Internet” will literally be everywhere. But if one accepts the thesis that the “Internet” is just a never-ending exercise in purification, whereby domains that were previously contentious and political are converted into uncontroversial technological domains that are supposed to behave in accordance with the out-of-control logic of the “Internet”– it’s not so hard to see what awaits us: the end of politics altogether, as the only remaining reason for regulating this newly “interconnected world” would be to promote “innovation” (a nice euphemism for the business interests of Silicon Valley) rather than an ambitious social and political agenda. When “the Internet” is everywhere, politics is nowhere.
    (…)
    …the only way to promote alternative uses of ebooks or search engines or social networks in ways that would not depend too heavily on the seemingly free services offered by Silicon Valley is by developing a new industrial policy that would inject billions of dollars into public information infrastructure. And we don’t want that infrastructure to be managed by the same oligopolies only with European names; it has to be run in a decentralized and civic manner, with citizens owning their own data from the start. It’s not digital optimism that we must cultivate – rather, it’s optimism in public institutions and a renewed faith in politics. Not exactly a very popular messages during the times of austerity.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: politics democracy internet evgeny_morozov faz

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

The Sunday Diigo Links Post (weekly)

January 26, 2014 at 12:14 pm | In links | Comments Off
  • This article is about an expressway in Toronto, but Christopher Hume’s closing sentences apply to so many other places and situations: low expectations, self-perpetuating, lack of will to re-invest…
    QUOTE
    A reason was the low expectations Torontonians had for that part of town. It is viewed as a wasteland, largely because that’s what it has been for so long. Ironically, the Gardiner is at least responsible for that.

    But as the waterfront comes back to life, it’s time to demand more. People now live in neighbourhoods that until recently were industrial.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: toronto christopher_hume highways urban_design urban_renewal thestar

  • A Circular economy: selling a product’s benefits instead of the product itself…
    QUOTE
    With this in mind, my company is redesigning its products and considering how to capture their residual value. At the same time, it is shifting from a transaction- to a relationship-based business model – one that entails closer cooperation with customers and suppliers. And it is changing its corporate culture to emphasize long-term solutions. None of these changes is easy to implement, but all of them are necessary.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: economies economy economic_development circular_economy davos leasing renting

  • Interesting historical background here:
    QUOTE
    Economists think German housing policy struck a much better balance between government involvement and private investment than in many other countries. For instance, in the UK, when the government gave housing subsidies to encourage the building of homes after the war, only public-sector entities, local governments, and non-profit developers were eligible for them. That effectively squeezed the private sector out of the rental market. In Germany, “the role of public policy was to follow a third way that involved striking a sensitive balance between ‘letting the market rip’ in an uncontrolled manner and strangling it off by heavy-handed intervention,” wrote economist Jim Kemeny, of the German approach to housing policy.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: germany housing affordable_housing renting

  • Ok, but we’re still being mediated *by* technology, subtly primed to respond to its dictates. Would be interesting to think about how that manifests in a supposedly more people-oriented computer technology as depicted in Her… (I’m just thinking about this in the terms laid out by Ursula M. Franklin, viz. growth-oriented and production-oriented technologies, whereby the former is holistic, people-centered, and the latter is geared toward efficiency and fulfilling the needs of production.)
    QUOTE
    It’s not just that Her, the movie, is focused on people. It also shows us a future where technology is more people-centric. The world Her shows us is one where the technology has receded, or one where we’ve let it recede. It’s a world where the pendulum has swung back the other direction, where a new generation of designers and consumers have accepted that technology isn’t an end in itself–that it’s the real world we’re supposed to be connecting to.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: technology film movies spike_jonze her userinterface design

  • Is it true?
    QUOTE
    The Atlantic has called “peak car”—not once but twice. We have repeatedly explained why young Americans “don’t care about owning” a vehicle. We predicted a long-term decline of auto sales, and, in a dramatic moment, essentially announced “the end of car ownership,” generally.

    We had strong data. Perhaps we had strong biases, too.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: cars cities

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

The Sunday Diigo Links Post (weekly)

January 19, 2014 at 11:28 am | In links | Comments Off
  • Susan Crawford gets it.
    QUOTE
    The theoretical downside is that the Internet devolves into a kind of “pay to play” system, with smaller companies tending to be squeezed out, and prices tending to rise overall.

    That is the dystopia envisioned by people like Susan Crawford, a visiting professor of law at Harvard University and a co-director of Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society. “We’ve got very powerful market actors in America who want to make more money from the same infrastructure, without expanding it,” Crawford says. “The way they do that is to divide markets and then steadily charge more. And on the other side, they want to charge people who want to reach subscribers different rates.”
    UNQUOTE

    tags: net_neutrality mit_techreview susan_crawford politics internet

  • What with Google buying Nest (learning about people’s private preferences for how they heat or cool their homes – potential privacy invasion, much?), and apps like this (NameTag), you have to wonder where we’re headed. Creepy creepy.
    QUOTE
    Perhaps the most cynical part of the whole idea, though, is that the creators do plan to offer people a way to avoid being face-scanned like this—but it looks like you have to sign up to their site to do it. “People will soon be able to login to www.NameTag.ws and choose whether or not they want their name and information displayed to others,” Tussy explained in the release. Is the true idea behind NameTag, then, a social network that you have to opt out of?
    UNQUOTE

    tags: privacy apps google glass facial_recognition socialnetworks victoria_turk

  • Something worth reading from Kunstler (for a change).
    QUOTE
    To me, the danger of a President Christie is that he is about the last politician one might expect to recognize the nation’s tragic predicament and he is exactly the figure who will mount America’s deadly final campaign to sustain the unsustainable. He represents what amounts to a sort of national debt slavery: We will pay any price to stay where history has marooned us. One vivid example of this was Governor Christie’s decision in 2010 to cancel New Jersey’s participation in building a new commuter train tunnel under the Hudson River to relieve the unsustainable pressure on the existing 100-year-old train tunnels. He derided the project as “a tunnel to the basement of Macy’s.” Christie then diverted $4 billion from the tunnel project to New Jersey’s transportation trust fund in a bid to keep the state’s gas tax the second-lowest in the country. (New Jersey’s transit system, meanwhile, ranks among the country’s worst, and Christie has cut its funding.)

    This little maneuver highlights one of the nation’s most lamentable political failures of recent decades: the lack of will to invest in public transportation, in particular, upgrading and rehabilitating our conventional passenger railroad system. Governor Christie represents the majority of Americans who have no idea how close we are to the twilight of mass automobile motoring.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: chris_christie james_kunstler motordom peak_oil

  • File under “Uh-oh”?
    QUOTE
    NASA scientists, along with others, are learning that the Arctic permafrost—and its stored carbon—may not be as permanently frosted as its name implies. Research scientist Charles Miller of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory is the principal investigator of the Carbon in Arctic Reservoirs Vulnerability Experiment (CARVE), a five-year NASA-led field campaign to study how climate change is affecting the Arctic’s carbon cycle. He told NASA, “Permafrost soils are warming even faster than Arctic air temperatures—as much as 2.7 to 4.5 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5 to 2.5 degrees Celsius) in just the past 30 years. As heat from Earth’s surface penetrates into permafrost, it threatens to mobilize these organic carbon reservoirs and release them into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide and methane, upsetting the Arctic’s carbon balance and greatly exacerbating global warming.”
    UNQUOTE

    tags: climate_change methane global_warming

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

The Sunday Diigo Links Post (weekly)

January 12, 2014 at 12:27 pm | In links | Comments Off
  • QUOTE
    Rather than just sustaining and delivering public goods, government can evolve from regulating “the tragedy of the commons” to fostering its triumph. In other words, government can be most efficient at delivering value when structured primarily to facilitate the capacity of a community to drive and sustain its own shared value.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: ethan_kent place_making project_for_public_spaces

  • There’s a video embedded in this article that nicely sums up the negatives associated with “stroads” by explaining the positives associated with “streets” and “roads.”
    QUOTE
    If you want to … truly understand why our development approach is bankrupting us, just watch your speedometer. Anytime you are traveling between 30 and 50 miles per hour, you are basically in an area that is too slow to be efficient yet too fast to provide a framework for capturing a productive rate of return.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: charles_marohn stroads atlantic_cities urban_design

  • Morozov quotes Mary Dennett here. “He must make what his machine is geared to make” is a very potent phrase, but it also reminds me of “program or be programmed” somehow.
    QUOTE
    “The modern man, who should be a craftsman, but who, in most cases, is compelled by force of circumstances to be a mill operative, has no freedom,” she wrote earlier. “He must make what his machine is geared to make.”
    UNQUOTE

    tags: evgeny_morozov newyorkmag makerspaces socialcritique socialtheory

  • It’s all part of the plan to make throw-away people. Of course it will cost us dearly in the end.
    QUOTE
    We live in an era of planned obsolescence, in which designers deliberately make a thing limited in its useful life. Now this planned obsolescene includes human beings. Is it really an efficient use of our human capital to turn experienced workers into Walmart greeters?
    UNQUOTE

    tags: socialjustice socialtheory ageing aging ageism workforce lynn_parramore jobs

  • Full-on indictment of the public housing sell-off in the UK (initiated by Margaret Thatcher).
    QUOTE
    Housing in the UK is a microcosm for everything wrong with neoliberalism: corruption, cronyism, grinding human misery, and funny accounting to prove that it’s all working, honestly.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: affordable_housing housing england

  • Exigency / decline / disaster IS addictive. And self-fulfilling. Good article.
    QUOTE
    In all, it has become the background drone of our politics, the dull hum of impending doom. Let’s understand why this thinking appeals. Envisioning decline is addictive. It offers us the chance to imagine our times as extraordinary and to cast ourselves in heroic roles to meet them. And the thrill demands a higher dose of doom each year.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: rome republic politico_magazine rob_goodman usa politics

  • omg, and YIKES.
    QUOTE
    A white paper on “Embedded Governance from the Institute for the Future is even more direct:

    Laws, now written on paper and enforced by people, will be carried on software and enforced through electronically updated and immediately downloadable rules woven into the fabric of our environment. Governance will become automatic, and lawbreaking much more difficult…. Embedded governance will prevent many of the crimes and violations we see today from happening. Firearms will work only when operated by their rightful, registered owners. Office computers will shut down after 40 hours of work unless overtime has been authorized. Disasters and quarantines could also be managed more effectively if information about citizens were known and if laws were downloaded to change behaviors immediately.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: evgeny_morozov algorithm socialcritique salon.com andrew_leonard big_data big_brother

  • Good summary.
    QUOTE
    At bottom, Morozov says his work is an attempt to integrate the debates about technology into the broader debates about politics, economics, history, and culture—areas of study with much richer traditions and far greater intellectual resources for tackling the many challenges that technology presents. Such a shift in discourse, he feels, would limit the influence of those advocating narrow technological solutions to what are essentially non-technological problems—like spreading democracy—and would rob a word like “disruption” of the positive connotation it has acquired as a force for progress, allowing it to be seen instead as a painful example of neoliberal economics. When discussed in purely digital terms, for instance, letting a company like Uber transform a city’s taxi service is a no-brainer. When the digital is integrated into the political, however, this becomes a more complicated debate about regulation and infrastructure and the rights of cab drivers.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: evgeny_morozov socialcritique

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

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