We're Still Here!

...apocalypse is still around every corner and the afterculture is still being born. It's becoming so prevalent as to hardly be worth reporting. Hopefully you all notice, by now... Hopefully you're all consciously participating. (continued...)

Global Food Prices Hit New Record High

As riots and rebellions are already rocking northern African nations (and parts of the Arabian peninsula) with the intensity to destabilize and topple governments that have maintained power for decades; the marginalized and disenfranchised people of the world will undoubtedly find increasingly more reasons to organize themselves into enraged mobs. As if decades of political corruption, social injustice, and increasing economic stagnation were not enough, the UN's Food & Agriculture Organization has released their latest figures indicating that the price of staple foodstuffs has risen to an all-time high, surpassing (on average) the last period of crisis (in 2008) that sparked food riots in nations around the world, when the price of corn, soy, and sugar all skyrocketed based partly on speculation of a burgeoning market for biofuels in the world's wealthier 'post-industrial' nations. From Algeria, Fanon's "wretched of the earth" are rising in rage against the new (economic) colonialism. And from other nations, A-to-Z, around the world, we're reminded once again of the great prophet Bob Marley's words of wisdom: "a hungry mob is an angry mob." And with droughts plaguing South America's big commodity-crop exporters. flooding in Australia, and a degree of politico-economic polarization in the United States that is unprecedented in living memory; the global food situation is unlikely to improve any time in the foreseeable future... especially considering that only three countries (the three A's -- America, Australia, and Argentina) supply nearly 80% of the world's cereal exports. (continued...)

How Writing by Hand Makes Kids Smarter

Many early indications were that the increasing prevalence of digital communications -- even those written conversations that take place via mobile devices or instant-messaging services that seem to engender a sort of abbreviated 'txt spk' -- were not apparently having any significant effect on our ability to recall more formal and socially acceptable grammatical styles when the need would arise. In a classroom setting, for instance, or when typing a business letter, it was shown that instant message users could readily 'revert' to the style that was expected of them. However, as digital communications continue to penetrate into our global monoculture, and perhaps ESPECIALLY when encountering other forms of written language that are more ideographic or pictographic than phonetic, we are seeing that these early assumptions could very well be mistaken. The phenomenon of "character amnesia" is becoming much more noticed by the media in Asian nations; where more complicated script leaves children (and tech-savvy adults alike) at a loss when trying to recall the pen-strokes that produce the written forms of language. And so, it's becoming apparent that comparisons of 'instant messaging' with 'email' or even printed documents that are type-written with machine aids is not at all equivalent to comparisons of machine-aided writing versus writing done solely by hand. Reports are now flooding-in, that confirm what should have likely been obvious from the first time humans used a calculator or a spell-checker... digital assistance for actions that were once solely mental & physical actions is leading to atrophy of our innate abilities. Just like most any other part of our body; the less we use our brains, the weaker they become. And so, while exploring this entry on how writing by hand makes kids smarter, perhaps it's worth asking yourself: When is the last time that YOU put a pen to paper? (continued...)

Are suburbs the new slums?

While this source article doesn't explore the issue very deeply (for instance, it's an article about the problems with suburbs in North America and it doesn't even mention the 'car culture' that plagues Suburbia and will surely worsen any blight and hinder any renewal) it does offer a short list of reference articles than can bring a bit more depth to the really rough synopsis of the data that this article provides. So, it's like... if you're interested then you can read more. And so it begins:

"A new report says more poor people now live in suburbs than in cities. What does that mean for those who live there?"  (continued...)

Quotable Sources: John Muir

"Love of pure unblemished Nature seems to overmaster and blur out of sight all other objects and considerations. I know that I could under ordinary circumstances accumulate wealth and obtain a fair position in society, and I am arrived at an age that requires that I should choose some definite course for life. But I am sure that the mind of no truant schoolboy is more free and disengaged from all the grave plans and purposes and pursuits of ordinary orthodox life than mine."

— John Muir

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