About Me

Currently a graduate student at the University of South Carolina, I study urban sociology and inequality. Originally from Western Pennsylvania, I am particularly interested in how changes in regional economic structures effect stratification and mobility opportunities, particularly for the working class. I also participate in the scholarship of teaching and learning.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Some Interesting Links, 11/7/11

So, I spent some time over the weekend re-working the format on the Postcards of Place blog. The blog now highlights the postcards of certain regular contributors.  I'm preparing to add a few other things, too, because a special collection will soon be coming to Postcards of Place...

Speaking of the mail, a friend of mine shared this article with me about how the USPS deals with bad penmanship. Apparently Salt Lake City and Wichita are home to two "Remote Encoding Centers" where the deciphering is done. Also, there are folks who's job title is "peak-and-poke clerk" which is fun.

This is a really compelling article about the future of competition between Google, Amazon, Apple, and Facebook. It looks like it's going to be more complex and more intense than you might guess.

Speaking of large corporations, I stopped by and talked with the Occupy Columbia folks a bit last week.  Thinking about the distribution of food at the protest, I wondered if these protests were becoming soup kitchens for food insecure and homeless populations.  I mentioned this on Twitter/Facebook and a couple of friends shared links to news stories about  how Occupy protesters and the homeless have developed a variety of relationships in different settings.  Some positive, some not so much.  Of course, there are obvious reasons for these two populations to align.  At the same time, it's a shame that in many of these cities there is so much need that protests movements are taking up the task.

Speaking of Occupy, Kyle Cassidy spent a week with the folks at Occupy Philadelphia.  He encourages you to go meet the Occupy folks in your city.  He encourages you to talk with them, find out why you agree or disagree with them, and tell them your story.  Meeting new people and talking with them sounds like a quality afternoon to me.

My colleague Matt and I went to see the documentary World's Largest over the weekend.  It is a great documentary about fading small towns attempting to use their World's Largest sculptures to lure tourists.  It is folksy, quirky, heart-wrenching, and real.  I may have more to say about the movie in the future. And, this movie may or may not have something to do with the special collection coming soon to Postcards of Place.

It looks like Buffalo is working to be the next Pittsburgh.  But while these cities are seeing improvements, Youngstown, OH is really struggling, and now has the nation's highest concentrated poverty rate. Cleveland barely seems relevant to this discussion, but I wanted to share that Anthony Bourdain has plenty of positive things to say about Cleveland.  This frustrates me because he doesn't seem to find anything particularly interesting about Pittsburgh. If you can find Cleveland interesting, it should be pretty easy to be enthralled with Pittsburgh.

Speaking of Pittsburgh, I like that the city is using local jargon like "redd up" to encourage folks to participate in local clean up initiatives.

This defense of subsidies for arts majors was an interesting read. I appreciated most this paragraph:
"What is economic growth for, anyway? It's for expanding our choices and making life better. Is it really so surprising that, as we grow wealthier as a society, more and more of our young people, when amazing resources of he modern university are put at their disposal, choose to use them learning something satisfying and enriching and not for anything except cherishing the est of their lives? Is it really so surprising that taxpayers are not in revolt over the existence of poetry professors?"
I'll add that the poetry professors that I happen to know are among the most interesting people I have come in contact with, and they have each had a distinct, and positive, impact on my life.

Bobby McFerrin is good at having fun with music.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Some Interesting Links, 11/1/11

The CBO released a report recently on trends in US household income from 1979 to 2007.  Here is a thoughtful summary and response to that report, and a quick, thoughtful blog post about the report with informative graphics.  Both response articles probe the data to ask why and how the income gap has increased so much over these years.

National data shows that the recession has slowed internal US migration, with many sun belt destinations now losing population.  At the same time, evidence is showing that Pittsburgh has reversed its brain drain, with the metro area getting younger and smarter.

Speaking of Pittsburgh, folks from the NHL really seem to want to spend time in the Steel City, as they have announced the 2012 NHL draft will be held there.  Local reports suggest this will bring about 17,000 people, and of course their wallets, to the city.

National Geographic Traveler Magazine recently ranked Pittsburgh among the top destinations in the world in 2012.  Among several exotic locations, the city is listed as an "Extreme Metropolitan Makeover."  Also on this list is cottage country in Ontario, Canada, which is a beautiful area of the world, especially in late July and early August.

I don't always read The Onion, but when I do, I prefer the articles that make jokes about the rust belt.  "One of its most bizarre customs involved workers being employed at the same job at the same location day in and day out for their entire adult lives."

Among other things, Justin Timberlake says, "Let's be clear, no one walks around Los Angeles. We all drive. It's ridiculous."

The drug war in Mexico is bad.

If you've ever wanted to drink George Washington's whiskey, now you can.

Halloween is an interesting holiday.  STARS students at Ohio University want their peers to rethink costumes which function as caricatures of race or ethnicity.

My brother's senior art show will open Monday, November 21st at the AABC Art Center in Butler, PA.

"No real than you are."