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.