How Microsoft and NBC have helped me boycott the Olympics...

I won't get into the political reasons, but I've been trying to take a very small personal stand and boycott the Olympics (*cough* *Free Tibet* *cough*). However, for a sports junkie like me this is extremely difficult. My main strategy has been to go instead of for my daily fix. However, technology has conspired against me... but it has also saved me.

First, how technology conspired to make me watch the olympics...

Mixing the Commons and Open Culture: Soup or Salad?

Over the last year, as I've mulled over various thesis topics, I've often returned to two imprecise concepts, "commons-based approaches" and "open culture", which I am now faced with sorting through in order to focus my research. In particular, now that I'm locking into "open culture" as my central topic, I need to decide whether to incorporate "the commons" or discard it altogether.

Emergent anarchies in the classroom

I just took a quick coffee break to read Wading in the Deep: Supporting Emergent Anarchies, a short article by Naeem Inayatullah at Ithaca College, which was given to me last week by a close friend of mine and a former student of Naeem's. Quite frankly, I was blown away... it has been at least three years since I read such a provocative piece on pedagogy in higher ed.

LETTUCE : PHOTOVOLTAIC CELLS :: snickers: ______

I'm no environmental economist, but something doesn't seem quite right about this quote:

"[Sugar] is a vital ingredient in the nation's food supply and you do not want to turn that over, in a great portion, to foreign suppliers... then you [will] end up being dependent, as we are on foreign oil."

-- Luther Markwart, American Sugar Alliance
(transcribed from this NPR segment)

Cross Post: Collective Nostalgia meets Religious Fundamentalism

I just posted over at gnovis on one of my pet topics: nostalgia. The meat of the post concerns a discussion of religious fundamentalism that I read today in "Empire" by Hardt & Negri, but I also pull in some comments on iPods, public transportation, bowling, the 1989 NBA finals, and heterosexual man-kisses. How could you possibly NOT read it?

I have long had a vaguely secretive fascination with what I'm going to call, in this post, "collective nostalgia," though I am often more inclined to call it "false nostalgia," emphasizing that the object of this nostalgia is generally something imaginary.

To scholars of nationalism and nation building, this concept is quite familiar, in principle if not in name -- the public memory that underlies national histories is characterized by a collective memory (and collective forgetting) that is selective, essentialized, and at times imagined.
-Full Article at

Sustainability, Environmentalism & Green Politics

As with many other young liberals, the environment has exploded into my consciousness in the last few years. Everyone likes to point to Al Gore as the catalyst for this trend, but I actually think he was merely an indicator of a trend that was already in existence... although I don't have any data to back that up, except for the anecdotal fact that, when I saw An Inconvenient Truth my thought wasn't "Oh, now I get it" but, rather, "Finally!