In the 80s Japan became a seemingly unstoppable electronic powerhouse. It came to an end, but in the day the focus was strong. Chet sent links to some videos of how they got there. I've only watched the first, but will look at the others as time permits -- fascinating...
The concept of white people is relatively recent - part two of a series on whiteness by Quinn Norton
America and the Caribbean Islands they found themselves rich in land but desperate for labor to work the land. The answer they struck upon was importation of bond labor, initially mostly Irish. The Irish had not been considered fully human under English law for centuries, and they ended up in plantations and working sugar under the Caribbean sun. The easy part of importing Irish (and Scottish) slave labor was that they were right next to England. The downside is there wasn’t enough of them for the amazing amounts of land laid before the eager English settlers, and thus the Atlantic slave trade with Africa was born. This is the story we hear in school, but the abridged version we get, intentionally or not, hides the scam of it. Initially the bond terms of convict, Scotch-Irish, and African labor was a set period of time, at the end of which they received bond money and their freedom in this new land. In fact, not that many bondsmen and women lived to be free, but some did, and established themselves as a mixed-race, free peasantry of the new world. If you’ve ever wondered where the free blacks of so many stories of early America came from, a large number were the families of freed African bond laborers.
As time went on, the labor needs of the land holders continued to grow, and desperate to cultivate the land, they were loathe to let go of their bond servants and the bondsmen and bondswomen’s children (whom they kept in bondage for a legally defined time as well). In the mean time, a growing American peasantry was proving as difficult to govern as the European peasantry back home, periodically rising up in riot and rebellion, light skinned and dark skinned together. The political leaders of the Virginia colony struck upon an answer to all these problems, an answer which plagues us to this day.
The Virginians legislated a new class of people into existence: the whites. They gave the whites certain rights, and took other rights from blacks. White, as a language of race, appears in Virginia around the 1680s, and seems to first appear in Virginia law in 1691. And thus whiteness, and to a degree as well blackness, was born in the mind of America.
There is a considerable amount of continued warming baked into global warming even if we stopped emitting carbon dioxide. It still makes sense to limit the input, but adapting to a rapidly changing world is critical - if we don't it is the stuff of suffering and possibly war.
Dan Gillmor sent a notice of a media literacy course he's been working on. A MOOC designed to help people manage information overload. Free unless you want a certificate.
Week 1 – How media have changed; key principles for becoming an active user of media; and why media/news literacy is so important in a data-saturated environment. What it means to be a critical thinker.
Week 2 – Be skeptical of everything, but not equally skeptical of everything. Why judgement is so important. More on why we all need a personal credibility scale. We’ll look at the two-sides fallacy, understanding risk (statistical), social media and the velocity of information.
Week 3 – BS detection with Howard Rheingold. Slant vs. opinion; astroturfing and native advertising, where to find credible information.
Week 4 – Opening our minds: Escaping echo chambers and filter bubbles. Recognizing “confirmation bias” in ourselves, not just others. Seeking out opposing views and other cultural worldviews.
Week 5 – Literacy is also creation: Principles of creating media with integrity: Ownership of media, tools for creating media, legal and ethical issues in media creation, integrity in creating media.
Week 6 – Trust and reputation in a saturated media landscape. How media providers engender trust (or mistrust), fact-checking, transparency, community. How we in the audience can help our information providers be more trustworthy. Why we – audiences and information providers alike – need to adopt a “slow news” approach.
Week 7 - Next steps: How you can put all of this into long-term action; why you should be a media literacy advocate (and how to do it). Plus: resources for parents and teachers.
Vanilla is one of the most desirable custom bike brands with a wait list on the order of a decade. They have a hand-built limited production division called Speedvagen that reduces price and gives a wait time of less than a half year. Not cheap, but still beautifully made.
Speedvagen has a minimalist urban racer - you can get a made to measure frame, but it has a two speed coaster brake rear hub. No cables and almost nothing to adjust. One of the odd features of Speedvagen's is the optional first scratch. They realize people obsess about keeping their bikes perfectly clean until it has its first scratch -- so they will artfully install the first one at the workshop if you like. Started at a bit under $5k, it seems targeted for urban folks with a lot of money. I suspect San Francisco is a good market for them these days.