un incroyable talent
Une photo prise à Nice par Jonadan.
à cause de Seb Parraud :)
Since the beginning of 2015, thousands of refugees and migrants have landed on European shores, fleeing desperate circumstances to try to make a new life. They end up stranded in the places that Westerners like to use as holiday destinations and are now to be seen nightly trying to pass through the Channel tunnel – a thoroughfare more generally used for leisure. When they do so, they are dismissed as “swarms” and treated as “aliens”.
Instead of complaining about migrants disturbing our holiday plans by having the cheek to fall under lorries or drown in the same sea in which celebrities bathe, Europe needs to reconsider the notion of hospitality.
If we want to be welcomed as tourists, then we need to work on our hosting skills. A good place to start might be Middle Eastern ideas of hospitality.
All travel, whether temporary or permanent, involves an encounter between strangers and locals. Europeans and North Americans enjoy a privileged status when they travel. If it is for leisure they are tourists and if they also work they are business travellers or expats.
Travellers from Africa, Asia and the Middle East are called migrants if they’re lucky and other less flattering terms if they’re not. Recently we’ve seen them called “illegal” and even a “swarm” by British prime minister David Cameron.
Hospitality is a social pact. The host territory is kept safe because services are rendered to the guest that oblige the recipient to express gratitude and open the way for reciprocity at a later date.
However there has always been tension and concern that the system is open to abuse. Philosopher Jacques Derrida warned of the fear of parasites inside the practice of hospitality and now European governments talk of migrants coming from afar to abuse their generous welfare systems.
European tourists – and British travellers in particular – could also be seen as parasitic swarms who degrade the environment and spoil pristine paradises. Yet, they hold power because they pay for the goods and services they receive.
But is this a good holiday? For most people, the best holidays are the ones that involve bonding with hosts and receiving a form of hospitality that came without a price. There is a reason that websites like Tripadvisor consistently rate tourist facilities by the positive feelings of friendship and generosity experienced by visitors.
In the Middle East, hospitality is a way of staying in control. It is often done with food and a common saying is that feeding someone means you have captured their heart. The parasite guest still exists – in my research on European women’s encounters in Egypt, one respondent told me her ability to exploit her hosts' hospitality ethic meant that she “came with $100 and stayed six months”.
But strategies have also evolved to mitigate the potential for exploitation. Bedouins, for example, have developed a tradition obliging anyone to look after a stranger for three days without question. On the third day you are entitled to ask what their business is – and they either have to move on, or start to contribute to their keep.
Democratic European countries such as the UK claim superior moral values and sign up to helping others through international conventions but have taken in 187 Syrians. Since 2011, more than 97% of displaced Syrians have been taken in countries criticised for their authoritarian governance such as Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt. Kurdish Iraq now has more refugees than locals, a situation that is far from ideal, but you do not hear them saying they are full.
As academic Janroj Keles argues in his research, these countries have flexible visa systems, allowing Iraqi migrants to adopt an “in-out" and “out-in” strategy. Germany has a similar multiple entry visa for Syrian refugees. Classifying refugees as “temporary guests” limits their right to permanent residence, citizenship and often the right to work – but allows access to health, some form of work, and a legal right to cross-border mobility.
Of course it’s not perfect, but at least a system like this offers a safe haven and means that if and when it is possible, people caught up in wars and crises that are not of their own doing have the possibility to return home. And they do go home if they can.
Preliminary research suggests more than 10,000 Kurdish migrants in the UK have moved back to Iraqi Kurdistan. Yet many more migrants fear leaving the UK in case they are not allowed back in and hosts fear being overrun if they offer more.
More than 15 years ago, Mireille Rosello noted how European countries “have turned into supposedly weakened hosts who can no longer welcome the huddled masses gathering on our uncertain shores”. The system is paralysed. To make it move again, hospitality is the key.
Jessica Jacobs does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond the academic appointment above.
Let us all save the planet!
Hovertext: No I will NOT use a handcrank.
Pour Poutrick : des gros bateaux avec des gros tubes.
In many ways, it’s an obvious solution. For many centuries, world trade over the oceans was propelled by wind power alone. Now that we’re seeking an alternative to the fossil fuel-burning vehicles that enable our modern standard of living, some people are turning again to renewable solutions such as wind to power our tankers, bulk carriers and container ships. Globalisation and economic growth might mean a direct reversion to the wooden sailing boats of yore makes no sense, but there are several 21st-century ideas that could make wind-powered shipping commonplace again.
Ship design certainly has a way to go to return to its heritage and take advantage of the wind’s free, renewable resource in the same way we have reinvented the windmill to produce electricity. However, it’s worth remembering wind turbines took a long time to evolve into the structures optimised and deployed at scale we have today. In fact, they’re still developing. Scientists and engineers have debated for years about the relative merits of two, three or more blades, of horizontal versus vertical configurations, and of onshore versus offshore generation.
For ships, the design process for wind technologies is potentially even more complicated and multi-dimensional. There are soft sails, rigid “wing” sails, flettner rotors (a spinning cylindrical vertical column that creates lift using the Magnus effect, originally conceived by Flettner in the 1920s) and kites all vying for a share of this market. Soft sails are fabric sails, most reminiscent of existing sailing ship designs, examples include the Dynarig and Fastrig. Rigid wing sails replace the fabric with a rigid lifting surface like a vertically mounted aircraft wing - for example the oceanfoil design.
A flettner rotor is a vertical cylinder rotated by a motor. The rotation modifies the air flowing around the cylinder to generate lift much like the lift generated by an aircraft wing (it’s referred to as the Magnus effect). While there are many examples of all four, so far it’s the kites and the flettners that have seen the most significant implementation on large merchant ship designs.
Notable examples include the work that Cargill and Wessels have done trialing kite systems , and the experience of two separate operators, Enercon and Norsepower with installations of different flettner designs on different ships. These trials have produced important full-scale experience, lessons about costs, performance data, and evidence for investment cases. All of which are undoubtedly taking us closer to the tipping point when wind once again becomes a ‘no brainer’.
Trials of these new technologies, in combination with the history of wind turbines, can help us understand why any transition to modern wind-powered ships won’t happen overnight. For one thing, no one yet knows which of the many candidate designs will be the most successful.
Modern wind-powered shipping technology also carries a significant engineering challenge that wind turbines don’t: it needs to be mobile. It’s not as simple as bolting a rig to the deck. The highest safety standards have to be maintained and the rig must pose no constraints to loading and unloading cargoes in an uncertain and wide range of different ports (many of which might be obstructed by bridges).
Resolving these issues will take time, money and investors with the appetite for risk and stamina to see an emerging technology from a prototype to a fully developed new product. But I believe the change will happen because of the price of fossil fuels and environmental regulation. Wind power is free so the technology will become a worthwhile investment once it can be clearly evidenced that the saving from moving away from fossil fuels outweighs the costs of installing and operating a wind-powered ship.
Many think that threshold oil price has already been achieved and exceeded, as evidenced by the large and growing number of projects proposing wind propulsion solutions, even allowing for the recent fall in oil prices.
While there is currently only weak regulation on shipping’s greenhouse gas emissons, the sector – like all those producing carbon dioxide – is likely to face more stringent controls as its emissions continue to grow. Exactly what form such controls will take remains the subject of further ongoing work. But any meaningful regulation would reinforce the case for wind-powered shipping as a favourable investment.
Shipping is a vital, if somewhat hidden, part of modern economies. Decarbonising those economies is the only way to avoid destroying them (and the environment). Wind power presents an astoundingly obvious and elegant solution to these combined challenges. But it will languish in the sidelines until we see rapid change from investors, politicians, or ideally both.
Tristan Smith consults to a number of organisations on the subject of wind assistance technologies. He receives funding from both the UK government, and a number of industry and NGO parties, to undertake work to understand the mix of technologies (including wind assistance) and policy solutions which might enable shipping to transition to lower carbon emissions.
Nishatabbas Rehmatulla works for UCL Energy Institute and receives funding from the UK government (EPSRC) and a number of industry parties and NGO's to undertake research on barriers to implementation of technologies that enable shipping to reduce its CO2 emissions.
La forme papy!
In today’s mobile media environment, an incredible amount of information is available to every one of us, every minute of every day.
With our cell phones close by, we can easily search for answers to trivia questions, word definitions or find the perfect recipe for the confetti eggplant bought at the farmers’ market. When traveling, we have instant access to the conversion rate between the euro and the dollar and can map directions to any location. And then there is all the personalized information posted by our Facebook friends.
So, how do we keep up with and understand the wide array of information? How do we integrate this into our lives as we participate in a connected world? And how do we make meaningful additions to these spaces as originators of information in the online venues that matter to us?
As researchers of library and information science, we use the term metaliteracy as a way to look at literacy in the social media age. Previously, the usage of the term metaliteracy was mostly in connection with literacy studies.
We expand the idea further in our book: Metaliteracy: Reinventing Information Literacy to Empower Learners. We use it as a way to recast information literacy for reflective learning with social media and emerging technologies.
So, what exactly is metaliteracy, as we define it?
To understand it, let’s consider some common web-based situations that we encounter daily.
When browsing the web or scrolling Facebook, you may have noticed the ads that appear often align very closely to searches you’ve performed previously.
For instance, after searching for consumer products such as a new sofa, you probably encountered the same exact products and stores you originally sought out. At times, this might be just what you want. But after a while, it might start to feel a bit intrusive.
Yes, you can adjust your ad settings to increase the chances that relevant advertisements appear only when you are on Google sites such as YouTube. But did you also know that you can opt out of this feature?
Here is where metaliteracy comes into play.
A metaliterate learner would always dig deeper into the search process, ask good questions about sources of information, consider privacy and ethical issues, and reflect on the overall experience, while adapting to new technologies and platforms.
There is more going on here than we might think we know.
For instance, did you know that often the information we see online is being filtered for us, by someone else?
Google has been personalizing your search results since 2005 if you were signed in and had your web history enabled. If you were being cautious and didn’t sign in, starting in 2009 they began using 180 days of your previous search activity to accomplish the same thing.
Google might call it personalizing, but others see it as constricting.
Filtering results in isolated information ecosystems of our own making.
If we are willing to break away from the convenience of Google, we could use other search services. DuckDuckGo and Startpage are just two of several search engines that provide more privacy than some of the big names.
For, instance, DuckDuckGo does not engage in “search leakage,” as that firm calls it. It notes that other search engines save not only individual searches, but also your search history:
Also, note that with this information your searches can be tied together. This means someone can see everything you’ve been searching, not just one isolated search. You can usually find out a lot about a person from their search history.
But worse, search engines may release searches without adequately anonymizing the information, or that information may be hacked.
Startpage allows you to funnel your search in a way that obtains Google results without your personally identifiable information traveling along with the query.
But, how many of us opt to use a search engine other than Google? Google is still the dominant search engine worldwide.
So, then, are we weaving our own webs without carefully thinking about the many implications of doing so?
Look at how we selectively create and share our experiences on the fly, editing and filtering digital information along the way, and making choices about permissions to view and to share. For instance, imagine the millions of selfies that reflect our individual personas while being shared within a larger social mosaic of interconnected audiences.
Sometimes we may not even be aware of who can access our content or how it is distributed beyond our immediate circle of friends. Consider our focused concentration on texting while being in large crowds and ignoring the chance encounters with others or missing the random scenery of everyday experience.
Information-filtering is ongoing in all these contexts and is both internally and externally constructed.
What does metaliteracy do?
Metaliteracy prepares us to ask critical questions about our searches and the technologies we use to seek answers and to communicate with others.
We do not just accept the authority of information because it comes from an established news organization, a celebrity, a friend, or a friend of a friend. Metaliteracy encourages reflection on the circumstances of the information produced.
It prepares us to ask whether or not the materials came from an individual or an organization and to determine the reason for posting or publishing it. As part of this process, the metaliterate learner will seek to verify the source and ask questions about how the information is presented and in what format.
Metaliterate individuals gain insights about open environments and how to share their knowledge in these spaces. For instance, they are well aware of the importance of Creative Commons licenses for determining what information can be reused freely, and for making such content openly available for others' purposes, or for producing their own content.
They also understand the importance of peer review and peer communities for generating and editing content for such sites as Wikipedia, or open textbooks, and other forms of Open Educational Resources (OERs).
The truth is that we can all be metaliterate learners – meditative and empowered, asking perceptive questions, thinking about what and how we learn, while sharing our content and insights as we make contributions to society.
The authors do not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond the academic appointment above.
Hovertext: Your move, people who aren't reductionists.
A bit long, but interesting. The description of internet changing from a "book-web" to a "TV-web" is pretty relevant.
This is a very interesting read on the open web. One of the core ideas here is something that we think and talk about a lot, which is that social media and private networks are killing the open web that blogs played such a huge role in creating.
“Blogs gave form to that spirit of decentralization: They were windows into lives you’d rarely know much about; bridges that connected different lives to each other and thereby changed them. Blogs were cafes where people exchanged diverse ideas on any and every topic you could possibly be interested in.”
And this conclusion:
“New, different, and challenging ideas get suppressed by today’s social networks because their ranking strategies prioritize the popular and habitual.“
I’ve always believed that, given time, people will float back to the decentralized web. Technology moves so quickly these days that I’m really not even convinced that internet providers, social networks, or congress can prevent the open sharing of information.
I gave up Facebook several months ago after reading a few studies about the negative impacts of Facebook on happiness. I was concerned that my real friends would think I was shunning them or that I’d be out of the loop. But none of those things have happened. In the end, the only difference is that I’m spending those precious minutes online reading more blogs. It’s inspiring and enriching and I’m grateful to have made the change.
VOILA! VOILA CE QUI ARRIVE!
Il meurt foudroyé à cause de sa perche à selfie
Hovertext: Inaccuracy: Dark matter doesn't speak English.
Hovertext: Now to shoot everyone on twitter...
We are used to hearing that if everyone lived in the same way as North Americans or Australians, we would need four or five planet Earths to sustain us.
This sort of analysis is known as the “ecological footprint” and shows that even the so-called “green” western European nations, with their more progressive approaches to renewable energy, energy efficiency and public transport, would require more than three planets.
How can we live within the means of our planet? When we delve seriously into this question it becomes clear that almost all environmental literature grossly underestimates what is needed for our civilisation to become sustainable.
Only the brave should read on.
In order to explore the question of what “one planet living” would look like, let us turn to what is arguably the world’s most prominent metric for environmental accounting – the ecological footprint analysis. This was developed by Mathis Wackernagel and William Rees, then at the University of British Columbia, and is now institutionalised by the scientific body, The Global Footprint Network, of which Wackernagel is president.
This method of environmental accounting attempts to measure the amount of productive land and water a given population has available to it, and then evaluates the demands that population makes upon those ecosystems. A sustainable society is one that operates within the carrying capacity of its dependent ecosystems.
While this form of accounting is not without its critics – it is certainly not an exact science – the worrying thing is that many of its critics actually claim that it underestimates humanity’s environmental impact. Even Wackernagel, the concept’s co-originator, is convinced the numbers are underestimates.
According to the most recent data from the Global Footprint Network, humanity as a whole is currently in ecological overshoot, demanding one and a half planet’s worth of Earth’s biocapacity. As the global population continues its trend toward 11 billion people, and while the growth fetish continues to shape the global economy, the extent of overshoot is only going to increase.
As I have noted, the basic contours of environmental degradation are relatively well known. What is far less widely known, however, is that even the world’s most successful and long-lasting ecovillages have yet to attain a “fair share” ecological footprint.
Take the Findhorn Ecovillage in Scotland, for example, probably the most famous ecovillage in the world. An ecovillage can be broadly understood as an “intentional community” that forms with the explicit aim of living more lightly on the planet. Among other things, the Findhorn community has adopted an almost exclusively vegetarian diet, produces renewable energy and makes many of their houses out of mud or reclaimed materials.
An ecological footprint analysis was undertaken of this community. It was discovered that even the committed efforts of this ecovillage still left the Findhorn community consuming resources and emitting waste far in excess of what could be sustained if everyone lived in this way. (Part of the problem is that the community tends to fly as often as the ordinary Westerner, increasing their otherwise small footprint.)
Put otherwise, based on my calculations, if the whole world came to look like one of our most successful ecovillages, we would still need one and a half planet’s worth of Earth’s biocapacity. Dwell on that for a moment.
I do not share this conclusion to provoke despair, although I admit that it conveys the magnitude of our ecological predicament with disarming clarity. Nor do I share this to criticise the noble and necessary efforts of the ecovillage movement, which clearly is doing far more than most to push the frontiers of environmental practice.
Rather, I share this in the hope of shaking the environmental movement, and the broader public, awake. With our eyes open, let us begin by acknowledging that tinkering around the edges of consumer capitalism is utterly inadequate.
In a full world of seven billion people and counting, a “fair share” ecological footprint means reducing our impacts to a small fraction of what they are today. Such fundamental change to our ways of living is incompatible with a growth-oriented civilisation.
Some people may find this this position too “radical” to digest, but I would argue that this position is merely shaped by an honest review of the evidence.
Even after five or six decades of the modern environmental movement, it seems we still do not have an example of how to thrive within the sustainable carrying capacity of the planet.
Nevertheless, just as the basic problems can be sufficiently well understood, the nature of an appropriate response is also sufficiently clear, even if the truth is sometimes confronting.
We must swiftly transition to systems of renewable energy, recognising that the feasibility and affordability of this transition will demand that we consume significantly less energy than we have become accustomed to in the developed nations. Less energy means less producing and consuming.
We must grow our food organically and locally, and eat considerably less (or no) meat. We must ride our bikes more and fly less, mend our clothes, share resources, radically reduce our waste streams and creatively “retrofit the suburbs” to turn our homes and communities into places of sustainable production, not unsustainable consumption. In doing so, we must challenge ourselves to journey beyond the ecovillage movement and explore an even deeper green shade of sustainability.
Among other things, this means living lives of frugality, moderation and material sufficiency. Unpopular though it is to say, we must also have fewer children, or else our species will grow itself into a catastrophe.
But personal action is not enough. We must restructure our societies to support and promote these “simpler” ways of living. Appropriate technology must also assist us on the transition to one planet living. Some argue that technology will allow us to continue living in the same way while also greatly reducing our footprint.
However, the extent of “dematerialisation” required to make our ways of living sustainable is simply too great. As well as improving efficiency, we also need to live more simply in a material sense, and re-imagine the good life beyond consumer culture.
First and foremost, what is needed for one planet living is for the richest nations, including Australia, to initiate a “degrowth” process of planned economic contraction.
I do not claim that this is likely or that I have a detailed blueprint for how it should transpire. I only claim that, based on the ecological footprint analysis, degrowth is the most logical framework for understanding the radical implications of sustainability.
Can the descent from consumerism and growth be prosperous? Can we turn our overlapping crises into opportunities?
These are the defining questions of our time.
Samuel Alexander does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has no relevant affiliations.
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