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Written by Matiwos09 on Nov 1, 2009

What made me happy in Ethiopia?

It’s been nearly four months since I returned from Ethiopia and I seem to miss it more with every day. Despite all the friends and family I have here in the US, something about Ethiopia clings to everything in my life; my job working with kids, my social life, and my future aspirations. Before I left Ethiopia, many of the people I had grown to know, my students, the shop-owners on my street, the kids living in my neighborhood, taxi drivers, teachers I worked with, and perhaps most of all the people who worked at the juice house that I would visit every day kept asking me the same question; when are you coming back? Every time I was asked this question it was not are you coming back but when? The truth is, then as now, they were right. I will go back someday, but alowokum meche (I...

Written by Seanedwardwatkins on Nov 1, 2009

This week I want to look at a brief article entitled "'Fix' Facebook's New Home Page  " by Rick Broida on The Washington Post.

As some of my loyal readers may already know, I wrote my undergraduate thesis on Facebook. I haven't really touched the topic of Facebook since, but recently have been thinking about presenting at a conference on how the site has changed in the past three years.

In my paper, I argue that Facebook fosters an uncritical space where users don't really think about what or why they post the things they do. Also, I argued that because Facebook (and most of the internet) has no recorded history, users really only have their own memories to remember an 'old' Facebook. So, someone who starts using the site today would have no knowledge of what came before.  I have received mixed reviews on my thesis, but it seems that in terms of memory, Facebook is still up to its old tricks.

 In the above story, an author explains how to recreate 'old' Facebook by changing some settings. I find it interesting that Facebook users keep having these same sorts of upsetting episodes where the site changes, they are angry, they 'protest', and then the site changes and they adapt....

Written by EPG on Oct 31, 2009

As I mentioned before the New York Times  isn’t just one source that reports human trafficking issues, but I would like to point out that they do a great job bringing to light this issue in its many forms.  For example, this article  talks about the issue of adolescents and youth in the US who run away from home, making them easy targets for coercion into prostitution.  Once entangled in this deadly process of trafficking, it’s usually very difficult for them to get out.  What this article highlights is the young age at which these adolescents fall victim to this...

Written by brianlind on Oct 30, 2009

 

To refer back to the Cornel West quote from my last post, it's not easy to be a war president under "the pressure of peace."  As NATO moves to commit more troops to Afghanistan, Obama is still weighing his options on adding more US troops to the Afghan war effort .  Either way, the pressure of peace and the pressure of war are dividing opponents and supporters of Obama around the world and around the country.  The presidential candidate, now president, who promised to close Guantanamo, end the war in Iraq and do right by Afghanistan has yet to accomplish any of these things.  The war in Afghanistan is escalating, Guantanamo remains open, and withdrawal from Iraq looks more and more like a consolidation of military forces to bases than an exit plan.  

There are those on the Left that feel they were misled, thinking that electing Barack Obama president would dramatically alter the course of US policy and history.  Obama has continued to fight Bush's wars in Afghanistan and in Iraq, while expanding the more nebulous "War on...

Written by DrP on Oct 30, 2009

              US poverty is on the rise, says the US Census Bureau. The question that remains, then, is: What will Americans do to stop it?

            As I mentioned in an earlier post, Buffalonians have approached the problem of urban poverty from above and below. In the former case, Mayor Byron Brown responded to the US Census Bureau's reports in a press conference announcing his "plan." This plan entails the formation of an Anti-Poverty Taskforce, purporting to improve the city's employment opportunities, educational services, neighborhood security, and social environment (see video).

         ...

Written by DrP on Oct 30, 2009

              US poverty is on the rise, says the US Census Bureau. The question that remains, then, is: What will Americans do to stop it?

            As I mentioned in an earlier post, Buffalonians have approached the problem of urban poverty from above and below. In the latter case, citizen activists like Joseph Augstell have chosen to raise awareness through art. His film, "Buffalo, New York" (see video), offers a visual representation of Buffalo's urban poverty. What do the images accomplish that government reports and statistics do not? What kind of story is Augstell trying to tell in his film? Can a film like this affect political, economic, and social changes or does...

Written by johncollins on Oct 29, 2009

This week on the perpetually interesting and funny Daily Show with Jon Stewart, we witnessed a significant event that illustrated how the public discourse on Palestine is changing, slowly but surely.  Stewart hosted Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, a prominent Palestinian democracy activist, and Anna Baltzer, an American Jewish activist and author who has advocated openly for Palestinian rights.  The two have been working together to promote a nonviolent approach to the struggle for justice in Israel/Palestine.  Such an appearance would have been almost unimaginable on a major cable program even a few years ago! 

At the same time, the interview also revealed...

Written by Khady on Oct 29, 2009

For many Shanghai fits into the category of an international cosmopolis. However abiding by strict definition of Saskia Sassen's concept of the “global city”, Shanghai still has a long way to go. The economic reforms of 1978 allowed Shanghai to grow and regain its significance as a major coastal city with links to different parts of the world. Yet, it is still not a “global city” with world wide economic, cultural and symbolic roles. This is to say that it is not on par with the favored few megacities of the world - New York, London and Tokyo.

Historically speaking Shanghai has always been an important city with numerous...

Written by DrP on Oct 27, 2009

Poverty: As American as apple pie...About a week ago Forbes.com writer, Joshua Zumbrum, reported that the current recession has "redrawn the contours of poverty." Whereas abject poverty had once been primarily the scourge of the South, Zumbrum explained, poor cities on the US-Mexico border and in the North Midwest in recent years have shown "comparable levels of poverty." In turn cities like McAllen and Brownsville, Texas, El Centro, California, Yuma, Arizona, and Saginaw and Flint, Michigan, comprise six of "America's 10 Poorest Cities." The southern cities of Pine Bluff, Arkansas, Rocky Mount, North Carolina, and Albany and Macon, Georgia complete the list. With climbing unemployment and poverty rates the suggestion is that urban poverty has been rising and will continue to in the coming years. 

            To support his claims Zumbrum cited a report recently released by the US Census Bureau's 2008 American Community Survey. Written by Carmen Denavas-Walt, Bernadette D. Proctor, and Jessica C. Smith, "Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the...

Written by dshafer on Oct 27, 2009

Population distribution map of France

Whether it's getting people to better understand the distribution of people throughout France or more contentious variables such as life expentancy, fuel consumption or violent crimes throughout the world, the field of explaining data is progressing, and with it hopefully greater understanding.

One relatively new way of explaining information are cartograms. A cartogram is a map in which some thematic mapping variable is substituted for land area. The geometry or space of the map is distorted in order to convey the information of this alternate variable.

As seen below in the world represented by the variable global fuel consumption in 2002.

Global Fuel Consumption (oil, wood, gas, etc.)

At worldmapper.org you can find around 700 maps ranging from variables such as  income, disease and mortality to urban slums, HIV and exports, etc.  They even have...