Connecting people & ideas | evangelist @gbtc http://gb.tc | writer | talk show co-host | Fan @tummelvision | Co-founder @createbaltimore | http://google.com/+andrewhazlett
“…the action most worth watching is not at the center of things but where the edges meet. I like shorelines, weather fronts, international borders. There are interesting frictions and incongruities in these places, and often, if you stand at the point of tangency, you can see both sides better than if you were in the middle of either one.”
Anne Fadiman in the preface to The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down
With the end of the Grand Prix in Baltimore, maybe we should seize the moment to propose some new models for encouraging visits, business, and better quality of life for all Baltimore. What are your ideas? Can you think of one or more events or programs that would cost the city little and greatly enhance our surroundings?
Here’s one idea to kick it off:
Turn Charles Street between North Avenue and Pratt into a no-cars playground for Labor Day weekend. Run busses in a loop around the area. Let the existing businesses sprawl on to the sidewalk. Fill empty storefronts with pop-up galleries, handicrafts, etc. Give arts and community groups space as well. Food trucks and restaurants will serve everyone. Create pop-up parks and games along the way.
Fight Baltimore Blight
Throughout Baltimore (and many other cities), decaying vacant homes have been marked with a white “x” on a red background. Fire departments, wary of losing their brave firefighters, have determined these buildings are so unstable that they should not be entered unless lives are at stake. It’s a haunting icon of decay and resignation.
For armchair sociologists, haters of the NY Times, and the flat out envious, the Times’ wedding announcements is a revealing projection and a finely-tuned barometer of what high status people think is high status. Of course the results are often unintentionally funny, irritating, or depressing, but what has changed over the years?
WASPs and debutantes have declined precipitously (Whit Stillman was right) and “bourgeois bohemian” values have made an appearance, but here are the trends over time as documented by word frequency analysis:
Michael Roth is the president of Wesleyan–a college that values teaching first. In the Wall Street Journal he writes about his experience teaching a massive online course on a subtle, sophisticated topic. His verdict?
Where Wesleyan philosophers usually teach
When I mention online learning to my colleagues at Wesleyan University, most respond initially with skepticism. But based on my experience, I know that real learning can take place on the Web.
I am currently teaching a massive online open course, or MOOC, on Coursera. Most MOOCs have great attrition, and mine is no exception: There were almost 30,000 students registered at the start, yet 4,000 remain active as we near the end of the semester. Unlike most MOOCs, which focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics, mine is a classic humanities course. “The Modern and the Postmodern” starts off in the 18th century with Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Immanuel Kant, and we work our way toward the present.
It’s been a long, long, long time since I fancied myself an athlete, but on May 11 I’m running the Maryland Half Marathon in memory of my dear friend Matt Hilburn. If I can wheeze my way through 13.1 miles, can you help me raise money for people fighting head and neck cancers?
…Science has learned a good deal in recent years about the habits and requirements of introverts. It has even learned, by means of brain scans, that introverts process information differently from other people (I am not making this up). If you are behind the curve on this important matter, be reassured that you are not alone. Introverts may be common, but they are also among the most misunderstood and aggrieved groups in America, possibly the world.
My post at gb.tc on sexism, privilege, and “diversity” vs.”inclusiveness” in the tech community.
An inclusive innovation scene?
Baltimore’s tech scene looks like most cities’ – it’s overwhelmingly male. Are techies sexist? Is it outright chauvinism? A result of subtle exclusionary signals? Or is this imbalance simply a symptom of deeper, global problems?
These questions are perennial and much-debated at the national level. At the moment, there’s a local outburst of frank discussion…
The presence of French troops in Mali may help to protect a priceless cultural legacy which has been under siege by Islamist fighters. The BBC reports on the fate of the ancient city of Timbuktu:
The historic city is a World Heritage site, renowned for its architecture, manuscript libraries and centuries-old shrines to Islamic saints – revered by Sufi Muslims but which the Salafi militants consider idolatrous.
Mali crisis: ‘Timbuktu joy after life of fear’
Following France’s intervention in Mali last week, a Timbuktu resident, who asked to remain anonymous, tells the BBC about reaction in the city to the Islamist fighters’ apparent withdrawal.