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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...

Written by nicoleszucs on Oct 27, 2009

In the year 2055 an old man asks..could we have saved our selves?










YOU are protagonizing  The Age of Stupid, a documentary/fiction/animation film directed by Franny Amstrong .

This movie that gives us a futuristic, apocalyptic yet realistic view of the consequences of our current actions has been shown in more than 50 countries already. The main idea is to spread awareness about climate change and to promote action. It is available in 31 languages and it has generated a new campaign called notstupid.org that gives people some hints on how to change our future history.

I highly recommend watching this film (click on the image to do it). Then draw your own conclusions.  Maybe it is not too late to change our future stupid status.

Written by johncollins on Oct 25, 2009

Israel/Palestine.  Everyone knows it's one of the world's perpetual "hotspots," a place of seemingly endless violence carried out by the Israeli state and, to a lesser but still significant extent, Palestinians seeking to rid themselves of Israeli domination.  Over the years, this deadly dance has come to be known, almost universally, as "the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."  Most journalists, scholars, government officials, and other observers who speak and write about the situation tend to use this phrase reflexively, without even thinking about it.  The phrase has even received the all-important Wikipedia seal of approval.  And why not?  Isn't it an accurate label?  Actually, no.  Far from being a common-sense way to describe what is happening in Israel/Palestine,...

Written by Seanedwardwatkins on Oct 25, 2009

I want to take the time today to mention the passing of Ray Browne , the founder of Popular Culture Studies at Bowling Green State University .


While I was only in his presence a handful of times, his dedication for Popular Culture was always  strong. I first saw him speak at the Battlegrounds conference (a graduate run conference at BGSU) back when I was a prospective student. He spoke of his own infatuation with Moby Dick and how important that book was to the blending of high and low culture.

While he spoke, one could feel the dedication he had to his subject material. His eyes lit up while he talked. He was obviously a man who loved his proffession. 

One must realize that prior to Dr. Browne starting Popular Culture in 1973, there was still much debate in the United States over what was worth studying in academia. High culture was considered to be texts like opera, ballet, paintings, etc, while low culture was the study of items that everyday people enjoyed. Many felt that Popular Culture was not worth studying and therefore had no place at the University level.  

Imagine if the Global Studies department at St. Lawrence University only...

Written by EPG on Oct 25, 2009

Here is a recent NY Times article regarding human trafficking victims speaking out...



Written by awball04 on Oct 25, 2009

Just this past week, the remains of bodies from the Rwandan Genocide were unearthed in the northern part of Tanzania. During the genocide bodies were thrown into tributaries of the grand Lake Victoria in Rwanda, which eventually enter into Tanzania. It has been reported that upwards of nine hundred and seventeen bodies were thrown into rivers and ended up in Tanzania.

Lake Victoria Region

Tanzanian nationals, mainly local farmers, took responsibility for taking care of the remnants. However, now that the bodies have been re-discovered, Rwanda and Tanzania are seeking how to appropriately deal with the bodies that did not receive a proper burial. There is discussion that perhaps a memorial might be the best solution. Whatever is done, it is just another reminder for a region that has had to deal with violence as a part of everyday life. 

The finding comes at interesting time, as the US military continues "Exercise Natural Fire 10" in nearby Uganda. Today, Command Sergeant Major Michael Ripka, who is the senior enlisted advisor for AFRICOM, met with representatives of the five other partner nations in Kitgum, Uganda.