The Sunday Diigo Links Post (weekly)

by Yule Heibel on July 22, 2012

  • Rethinking food shopping:
    In most places today, at least in many Western countries, shopping is a chore; our food system has stopped being about food, and has become entirely about convenience. Food spoils, meaning that we used to have to shop at markets every few days; freezers and preservatives have freed us from those constraints, but in the process food has become disconnected from the natural cycle of daily life–and, thus, the communities of people that we shared our markets with. “There’s a lot of talk about food deserts today, but what many neighborhoods really have are place deserts,” says PPS’s Steve Davies. “As a result, we’re seeing a movement back to this idea of the Market City, with markets acting as catalysts for creating centers in neighborhoods that have lost their sense of place.”

    tags: markets food_security farmers_markets project_for_public_spaces communities

  • Even if big agri-business was perfect (and of course it isn’t), this is such a great use of space and well worth replicating:
    Rising energy costs and concerns about food security have led some Canadian entrepreneurs to reconsider and reimagine local farms. Farmland has long since been paved over, but there’s plenty of space for rooftop greenhouses.

    Lufa Farms is on the verge of an urban greenhouse-building spree. It proved its concept in Montreal, breaking even on operations earlier this year, and is negotiating Series A financing to build at least four more multi-crop facilities in Canada and the U.S.

    Being successful in cold Montreal, the “most hostile” environment for a greenhouse, proves that the model will be sustainable closer to the equator, said co-founder Kurt Lynn. The tricky part is turning a profit by scaling a “farm” to the right size and carefully managing energy efficiency.

    tags: lufa_farms greenhouses montreal farming smartplanet

  • Bang on.
    Oddly, most economists see their subject as divorced from morality. They liken themselves to physicists, who teach how atoms do behave, not how they should behave. But physicists do not teach to atoms, and atoms do not have free will. If they did, physicists would and should be concerned about how the atoms being instructed could change their behavior and affect the universe. Experimental evidence suggests that the teaching of economics does have an effect on students’ behavior: It makes them more selfish and less concerned about the common good.

    tags: bloomberg luigi_zingales economics business b_schools ethics morality

  • Great speech.
    Very few problems can be solved by the private sector alone. Those of you who will engage in private or non-NGO careers to effect needed change will leverage that change many times over if effective government is your partner. It is simply too important to leave it entirely to others.

    The task is immense. Public sector work needs to generate pride again, as it once had. Public sector rewards must increase, including financial rewards. Why are teachers paid so relatively little in the U.S.? Because while our rhetoric respects teachers, our values do not match.

    And for those of you who do go into politics, go with your eyes open but your values firm. For today—in most countries, certainly in the U.S.—it is ugly. There is too much preening to the rich and often ignorant, narrow-minded and prejudiced, while there are few rewards for dedication to the dispossessed who for at least some are still unlikely even to vote, let alone contribute to your campaign.

    Public governance needs your extraordinary talent, reach, ambition and problem-solving skills. Much of what you do will be frustrating. But if you stick to it, while preserving your values, the personal satisfaction and pride you will have will surely compensate for the pain and slog getting there.

    Just as young people were animated by the Civil Rights movements in the 60s, perhaps your generation can animate a movement to make government trusted and respected again.

    tags: elliot_gerson usa politics socialjustice aspen_institute

  • Why really dense crowds are dangerous (physics, my dear Watson, physics…):
    …21 people died at Love Parade inside a crowd that had essentially been standing still. There was no real crowd rush or dramatic “stampede.” And this is the heart of the mystery to non-scientists as to how such a thing could happen.

    “Why do people think it’s panic that causes crowd disasters?” Helbing asks. “They just cannot understand how it can happen that people can die although nobody is behaving in a ruthless way.”

    Traditionally, we’ve explained such disasters as resulting from the forces of a panicked crowd (or, worse, an angry or violent one). “But these are just the forces that are transferred from one body to the other,” Helbing says.

    tags: crowds density socialtheory atlantic_cities

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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