Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Utopian communities

Tuesday Morning Links

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* From the archives: The university is no longer primarily a site of production (of a national labor force or national culture) as it was in the 1970s and 80s, but has become primarily a site of capital investment and accumulation. The historical process through which this transformation was implemented is long and complicated, and we cannot give a detailed account of it here. Instead, we want to describe the general shape of this new model and the consequences it might have for political action in a university setting. We take as paradigmatic the case of the University of Michigan, where this model has been worked out in its most developed form and from which it is spreading across the United States, as university administrators across the country look to and emulate what they glowingly call the “Michigan model.” In this new university, instruction is secondary to ensuring the free flow of capital. Bodies in classrooms are important only to the extent that money continues to flow through the system. It is a university that in a global sense has ceased to be a university—its primary purpose is no longer education but circulation. This is the new logic of the university. If we want to fight it, we have to understand it.

Merit, Diversity and Grad Admissions.

* Big Data and Graduation Rates.

* Teaching the controversy in California, Holocaust edition.

* Another absolutely botched college investigation of a sexual assault.

* Violent Abuse of the Mentally Ill Is Routine, Widespread at Rikers Island.

* Bullshitting about Gaza.

* Malcolm Harris on redheads and playacting racist.

* Why it’s time we talked about the sex lives of humanitarians.

* Shouting About Diving, but Shrugging About Concussions. How to stop FIFA from being such a parasite. Could the World Cup Champion Beat the Best Club Team in the World? Stadiums and/as prisons. Another World Cup Is Possible.

* That’s… ominous. Parts of Yellowstone National Park closed after massive supervolcano beneath it melts roads.

* Buzzfeed has a longread about the behavior of a long-term predator in an elite California private school.

* Meanwhile, Pope Francis’s back-of-the-envelope calculation of the number of predators in the clergy is utterly horrifying.

* Demolition unearths legacy of toxic pollution at Milwaukee plant.

* Is Milwaukee the No. 1 city for tech? Not so fast.

* The July effect is real: new doctors really do make hospitals more dangerous.

* Joss Whedon has written more Buffy the Vampire Slayer. True fact!

Behind-The-Scenes Footage Of Buffy Stunts Is the Ultimate Time Suck.

On the legacy of Dungeons & Dragons.

* Against natural gas as a “transition fuel.”

* If you pretend precedent is meaningful and the rule of law is an operative concept in America, and squint real hard, here’s a way Hobby Lobby could be good news for liberals.

There is, Steve estimates, room enough on the ark for 23 people to live comfortably. And Australians are welcome. Singles, couples, families, believers. All that’s required is a $300 one way ticket from Brisbane to Luganville and a commitment that means forever.

* A bit on the nose, don’t you think? Two Fruitland Park, Fla. cops have lost their jobs after an FBI source named the two as members of the Ku Klux Klan.

* Uber and rape: Seattle Police Clear Uber Driver of Rape Charge, But Not Sexual Assault.

* When Park Middle School cheated on a high-stakes test.

* The goal of ethics is to maximize human flourishing.

* And the new Doctor Who trailer fills me with a little bit of sadness: I was really hoping the Capaldi era would be more swashbuckling than brooding. I guess I’m looking forward to Moffat moving on.

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Still So Many Tabs

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Still so many tabs.

* Gmail has a new ‘offline’ feature. I’m about to give it a whirl.

* Vermont: the least religious state. If only it weren’t so cold…

* Lesbian separatist communities are dying out.

* A Republican who gets it: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky – one of the country’s highest-ranking Republicans – will warn his party leadership later this afternoon that the GOP is rapidly turning into a regional party that can’t compete with Democrats at the national level.

* Having become a recent acolyte of This American Life, I can now say taht Kasper Hauser’s TAL parodies are fairly well-executed.

* The alternative comics apocalypse has begun.

Written by gerrycanavan

February 2, 2009 at 3:08 pm

Earthaven

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We’ll eventually be doing a full writeup for our Indy article on energy issues in the Triangle and North Carolina, but for now let me say that Earthaven Ecovillage near Asheville is easily one of the more interesting and inspiring places I’ve visited in six years in North Carolina. Nearly fifteen years old, and one of the largest communities of its kind in America, the project serves as a model for sustainable living and alternative, off-the-grid mode(s) of life.

I’m not going to lie to you: I was thinking about Mars the whole time we were there.

I’ve been up since six, so that’s about all the coherent thought I can manage at the moment. For a lot more useful background on Earthaven, check Think or Thwim’s report from a year or so ago. (There’s always the Washington Post, too.)

Lots and lots of photos—over a hundred!—at my Flickr site. Just a few favorites below…

One of the many signs greeting you as you enter the community.

A painting inside the community’s Council Hall.

A characteristically Ecotopian home.

Good advice.

Also good advice.

Delicious berries.

Delicious solar-powered golf cart.

Ducks.

Sometimes this happens. That’s part of it, too.

The name of the main thoroughfare in the community and a succinct expression of their mission statement—there really is one. And in fact, as our tour guide was quick to remind us, emphasizing the diversity of the community and the many approaches to sustainability to be found inside Earthaven, there’s not just another way, but other ways.

Written by gerrycanavan

August 7, 2008 at 4:29 am

Piedmont Biofuels

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We spent most of the morning out in Pittsboro with Lyle Estill at Piedmont Biofuels, one of the largest renewable energy projects on the East Coast. Literally begun as a garage project in Estill’s backyard, Piedmont Biofuels grew into a cooperative for approximately 600 local users before incorporating as an industrial site that sells biodiesel for blending with commercial petroleum.

Estill’s a great guy and Piedmont’s a fascinating and important project, which I’ll have a lot more to say about in an longish Indy article we’re working on about responses to Peak Oil in the Triangle. (One of the things that won’t be in the article are some more Kim-Stanley-Robinson-inspired, science-fictiony thoughts on Utopia, particularly Robinson’s critique of enclavism and his advocacy of distributed Utopian nodes, dispersed in a network and immanent to the system they oppose. That’s the switch from the biodiesel cooperative to Piedmont Biofuels Industrial, LLC, and I think it’s pretty interesting.)

In the meantime, here’s the FAQ, and here are the pictures Jaimee took while we were out there. What’s impressive is not just how clean everything is, but the lengths to which the group has endeavored to make the project both sustainable and ecologically friendly—alongside the biodiesel plants are sustainable farms, hydroponic greenhouses, biodiversity gardens, waste-product reclamation, and a huge vermicomposting bin.

All in all, it’s a pretty ecotopian place.

Written by gerrycanavan

July 24, 2008 at 4:28 pm

Arcology

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As promised, I threw up a brief culturemonkey post with links and pictures about arcology, a central concept for our study of Utopian architecture this week. Don’t miss the fifth culturemonkey’s first post, either, Google Video of a talk with Kim Stanley Robinson on climate change—it’s been open in my browser for half a week now, but I definitely plan to watch it tomorrow morning…

Written by gerrycanavan

January 17, 2008 at 5:00 am

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I, _________________ do voluntarily agree to abstain from all intoxicating liquors as beverages, from tobacco in every form, and from the flesh of animals; to promote social, moral, and political freedom; to maintain the observance of all good and righteous laws, and to otherwise conform to the rules adopted by a majority of the Vegetarian Settlement Company.
—Declaration from the Constitution of the Vegetarian Settlement Company

MetaFilter has a great post up this morning about the history of Kansas’s Vegetarian Settlement Company, including a memoir from one of its settlers (Went To Kansas: Being A Thrilling Account Of An Ill-Fated Expedition To That Fairy Land, And Its Sad Results).

Written by gerrycanavan

June 4, 2007 at 1:18 pm

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