To celebrate the launch of the new Archnet, I’m presenting a Spotify playlist on the theme of architecture and the built environment. It explores various themes, ranging from an appreciation of great cities and monuments, to architecture as a spiritual metaphor. Check it out and let me know what you think?
I’m missing are. This is just what happened to come to mind at the moment, so I’m missing a lot, I’m sure. What would you add? Leave a comment and let me know.
In: AKDC@MIT, Music, Professional, Recommendations, Uncategorized · Tagged with: architecture, Archnet, MENA, Middle East, Music, North Africa, Playlist, pop, Spotify, World Music
An email I received today from MoveOn puts the case for the Student Borrowers’ Bill of Rights very well. This is a very important piece of legislation.
Did you know that, like murder and treason, there is no statute of limitations on the collections of student loan debt?
Did you know that student loans do not enjoy bankruptcy protections just like any other type of debt in America, including gambling debts?
Did you know that defaulted borrowers face the potential of having their professional licenses suspended, as well as having their wages, Social Security benefits, tax returns and other benefits garnished, without a court order?
It’s well past time we right these wrongs and that’s why Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL) has introduced the Student Borrowers’ Bill of Rights (H.R. 3892).
Please sign the petition and share it widely!
In: Uncategorized · Tagged with: debt, economic justice, Higher Education, legislation, politics, Student Loans
The Wellesley College statue story is making news in New Zealand, and I just saw it on Al Jazeera, too! It’s clearly blown way out of proportion, so much that I now regret doing my insignificant part to give it legs in my social media presences.
Let’s be clear, only 713 people have signed the petition to move the statue as of this writing. Wellesley has approximately 2500 students. The petition is open to the public so anyone can sign. I can’t see the signatures, but I suspect that many of the signatories are not from the campus community at all. Still, even if we assume that everyone who signed is a Wellesley student, the vast majority of students have no problem with the statue being where it is. That is consistent with what I am hearing.
I have spent my entire adult life in higher education environments of various sorts: public and private, large and small, technical and liberal arts, foreign and domestic. Student protests are frequent and healthy. They seldom get much traction in the media, even when they are much larger and even when they work for it. What is it about this one that has caused such buzz? Would this story have gotten so much attention if it had happened at a coed liberal arts college? Or is it the fact that Wellesley is such an highly rated college, so there’s delight in knocking it down? Or is it that people delight in seeing a students at a liberal arts college behaving so narrow-mindedly? Whatever it is, the story has been carried way beyond whatever legs it should have had.
In: Education, Higher Education, Journalism and Media, Massachusetts · Tagged with: Art, education, Ethics, Higher Education, journalism, media, social media, Wellesley College
Check out this article from Inside Higher Ed highlighting comments made by President Obama about the discipline of Art History. It ends with a chart of politicians that have attacked liberal arts disciplines, only 4. I’m pretty sure it could be much longer than it is.
This article by Virginia Postrel in Bloomberg argues that Art History was a particularly bad major for President Obama to use in his comparison, noting that it’s a major for the elite and that people who have degrees in Art History are wildly over-represented in the top 1% of wage earners. Be that as it may, and whether he intended it or not, the President’s remarks were an implicit attack on liberal arts education in general. I take exception to that.
I do agree with the first part of his statement. It is possible to get a good, high-paying job without a college education. They are decent jobs and if that is what you know you want to do, you should do it. I see many people go to college who don’t need to, and arguably shouldn’t go, often accumulating debt working toward degrees they’re unable to complete, only to end up in a job they wouldn’t have needed it for. Read the rest of this post »
In: Education, Higher Education, Politics and Society, Rants · Tagged with: careers, Higher Education, liberal arts
The funny thing is, I don’t think Happy Holidays came into popular usage in an effort to be more inclusive. I’d have to investigate this more systematically to say definitively, but we have examples going back to the 19th century from newspapers and magazines. For those young enough to remember classified ads and newspapers, you were charged by the word or by size. Happy Holidays is half the characters and takes half the space of Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! It really gained currency after 1942 with Irving Berlin’s song “Happy Holidays,” simply because it was cool and brief. You can find depicting nativity scenes on the front, that say Happy Holidays inside. If you are seeing someone for the last time in December and you know you won’t see them again until January, it’s just easier to say “Happy Holidays” than it is to say “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.”
On the other hand, insisting that people say Merry Christmas in reference to a particular holiday that occurs on December 25 could be interpreted as somewhat un-Christian, or at least demonstrable of an ignorance of the diversity within Christian tradition, especially if we consider how commercial and secular Christmas has become. Though it’s use has been largely secularized in our era, the word “holiday” is obviously derived from “holy days.” In most Christian traditions Christmas has not been a single day, but a season beginning with the birth and ending with the Epiphany, 12 days later. This is the origin of the 12 days referred to in the popular traditional carol “The 12 Days of Christmas.” Each of those 12 days is the feast day of a Saint, or a “Holy Day.” This year the Feast of the Epiphany is January 6, so we are still in the midst of the Christmas season, even if people are taking down their decorations and going back to work.
Moreover, not all Christians in America celebrate Christmas on December 25 as Catholics and Protestants do. We too often forget about Orthodox Christians who follow the Orthodox calendar. They won’t even celebrate Christmas until January 6, and there are a lot of them in his country. So before we’ve even stopped talking about Christians, we’ve got a lot of Holidays already! So why not say Happy Holidays and console yourself that you are referring to the holidays of the Christmas season?
Of course, that’s only relevant if you are a Christian and everyone you interact with in your life is too, and that they celebrate Christmas. (Believe it or not, some of our more Puritanical founding fathers didn’t and, in fact, outlawed it!) Or maybe you just don’t care, because the fact that you are celebrating is enough. If you really think about it, wishing non-Christians Merry Christmas is like wishing other people Happy Birthday on YOUR birthday.
Our Town Hall puts a crescent moon on its lawn beside a menorah and a star during the holidays, even though Hanukkah was over on December 5 this year, and there is no Muslim holiday that falls in the Holiday season this year. Why not also have a statue of Buddha, Vishnu, the Spaghetti Monster, etc. Though not religious myself, I admire the sentiment. Happy Holidays stems from the same impulse, a desire to recognize the plurality in our society. It would be better to put the symbols on the lawn during the appropriate time in the corresponding religious calendar, but it’s a start.
So in that spirit, I close by saying to you all, Happy Holidays! May 2014 bring us wisdom and understanding!
In: Journalism and Media, Personal, Rants, US News · Tagged with: cultural policy, Holidays, politics
Bikes of Cambridge in the winter. Hubway Bikes remain available in Cambridge as a pilot program.
In: Bicycling, Boston, Commuting, Massachusetts, Sports · Tagged with: bicycles, Cambridge, Massachusetts, Winter
Bikes in the Fan of Richmond, Virginia during the Winter Break.
In: US News, West Virginia · Tagged with: Bicycling, digital photography, Richmond, Virginia
It seems like shops, restaurants, schools and libraries and other public places are increasingly leaving the lights on after dark. I don’t mean a few lights so as to deter thieves or vandalism, but I mean literally every light in the place. Why is this?
When I was growing up our we got scolded for leaving the lights on in rooms because electricity costs money and dad, wasn’t made of it. As I got older and started paying my own bills, I knew exactly what he meant. I was quite young when the oil crisis hit, but I remember it well. I remember being told to conserve our resources because they were finite, expensive and because we did not want to be beholden to foreign powers.
The same period also saw the rise of the environmental movement. Most electricity was produced by generators that polluted the air of our cities, and the meltdowns. Accidents at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl provided that even “clean” nuclear energy was dangerous. So I have always turned off all anything that uses electricity that was not in use in order to economize, and because it was better for the environment.
Some of those reasons were overstated, but have they all evaporated? Has electricity become that cheep? Or is it that new light bulbs and appliances are so much more efficient that it doesn’t matter if they’re left on? Seriously, I’m wondering. Because when I see every light left on in a place like a library or school where people should know better, I have to wonder.
In: Environment, Rants, US News · Tagged with: conservation, electricity, environmentalism, global warming, lights, power
A sampling of the bikes in the Boston Metro Area, taken October 17-20.
In: Bicycling, Boston, Commuting, Sports · Tagged with: Bicycling, bikes, Boston, Cambridge, gallery, MIT, photos
Just some bikes. I realized I had a lot of pictures of them, and thought I’d share some in their element.