Going to London for news of the US

For parts of my childhood on a sunny wooded hillside in California, we got our international news from this damp country where I now live, in the overseas weekly edition of what was then called the Manchester Guardian. We got that paper not because my parents had any connection to England – neither of them had even been there, or done any foreign travel at all other than my father’s time in the Pacific during the war. But it was still the depth of the Cold War and the escalation of the Vietnam war and the perspectives on international affairs published in US daily newspapers were, shall we say, limited. Hence the subscription.

So my breast wells warm with nostalgia to see in today’s Guardian that the US Army is blocking access to the Guardian on large parts of its network: the paper is still playing the same role of bringing in news that’s a bit hard to find at home.

Such a linear, ordered, minimalist …. purposeful graffito

Book him, Danno.

Anthony Cardenas was arrested by Vallejo police for felony vandalism. … Cardenas is in [jail] for painting one crosswalk and adding cross-hatching to the three official ones…. [jail] time, …. $15,000 bail …

Read from the whole story from David Edmondson at Vibrant Bay Area.

Zoe Heller award nominee

Zoe Heller’s book reviews are skillful, gleeful demolitions, and fun to read. Hence the title of this post, which has no other connection to Heller. This artilce by Afiya Shehrbano comes close to Heller’s standard, and does so in the difficult territory of polygamy, provoked into action by Jemima Khan’s recent BBC program.

Carbon footprints smaller in city centers

Image

Carbon footprints in metropolitan Philadelphia

The basis for comparison is not entirely clear from the picture: it says “population + employment”, so if we use less carbon on the job than at home, the city center gets a bonus. But something similar has been found in other cases: for central vs. suburban Toronto, see Norman, Jonathan, Heather L. MacLean, and Christopher A. Kennedy. 2006. Comparing High and Low Residential Density: Life-Cycle Analysis of Energy Use and Greenhouse Gas Emissions. Journal of Urban Planning & Development 132 (1):10-21; for Dortmund, see Wegener, Michael. 1996. Reduction of CO2 emissions of transport by reorganization of urban activities. In Transport, Land-Use and the Environment, edited by Y. Hayashi and J. Roy. Dordrecht: Kluwer. There’s some discussion of this in my paper on road traffic externalities and the competitiveness of walkable retail.

For more discussion of the study behind the map, see Brendon Slotterback at streets MN.

Go Glenda

Glenda Jackson’s stirring eh, tribute, to the recently deceased Margaret Thatcher. As you’ll learn at the finish, “nothing unparliamentary has occurred here”.

Also note: on news of Thatcher’s death, Ding Dong the Witch is Dead rocketed to number one in iTunes download chart. Normally this would lead to BBC Radio One (the public broadcaster’s pop music channel) putting it at the culmination of its Sunday chart countdown, but precedent may be broken in this case.

How can we explain all this giddy disrespect for the deceased?
Continue reading

Eric Hobsbawm – late interview

When I was first at Birkbeck, this guy was still a regular in the staff canteen – so I must be getting on a bit myself! The interviewer is the current Master of Birkbeck, David Latchman. The revelation that several of Hobsbawm’s best books were essentially his Birkbeck lecture notes does raise the bar for the rest of us, just a bit.