Program Archives

Mon 8.30.10| Green Panaceas?

Carbon offsets, organic food, and biofuels all promise to help us save the planet, by compensating for greenhouse gas emission, replacing petroleum, and reducing the pesticides and fertilizers that are poisoning our waterways and bodies. Unfortunately, says Heather Rogers, such products may be less green than they seem. She traveled around the world to investigate and her conclusions are devastating.

Wed 8.25.10| Disasters and Mutual Aid

Rebecca Solnit, A Paradise Built in Hell Viking, 2010 (paper)

Rebecca Solnit, "When the Media is the Disaster: Covering Haiti" Huffington Post

A.C. Thompson, "Katrina's Hidden Race War" The Nation

Five years ago, Hurricane Katrina touched down on the Gulf Coast. What followed was a very human-made disaster, whipped up by a media that favored hype over accuracy. Yet it was also a moment of human-created solidarity and mutual aid. Award-winning writer Rebecca Solnit speaks about how disasters can make us step out of the isolation and fragmentation of our daily lives and give us a glimpse of how a society based on collectivity might look.

Tues 8.24.10| Language, Translation, and Empire

What do language and the act of translation have to do with the projection of imperial and military power? Vicente Rafael makes important connections and points to efforts to Americanize the English language in this nation's early years. He also discusses the politics of monolingualism, the notion of the melting pot, and the US military's use of interpreters in Iraq.

Mon 8.23.10| The Coast, On and Off

California has 1100 miles of coastline; most of it is eroding and all of it is changing in myriad ways. Gary Griggs has written a book about the coast's history, geology, climate, and resources. He also addresses the impact of rising sea levels and the history of oil extraction off California's coast.

Wed 8.18.10| New York City's Past, California's Future?

William K. Tabb, The Long Default: New York City and the Urban Fiscal Crisis Monthly Review Press, 1982




In the mid-1970s, New York City teetered on the edge of bankruptcy, faced with a constrained tax base and unable to pay its bills. President Ford, as the Daily News famously paraphrased it, told the city to "drop dead." Economist William Tabb wrote a book at the time about what he termed "the long default." He discusses the parallels between that fiscal crisis, which was resolved through massive layoffs and cuts to public services, and what is taking place in California and other U.S. states today.

Tues 8.17.10| Knowing the Climate

How do we know climate change is happening, and will happen? Are climate skeptics correct when they argue that computer modeling, upon which global climate knowledge largely rests, is speculative and unreliable? In his new book, Paul Edwards describes the process of making global climate knowledge and the nature of the scientific consensus that has emerged.
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