Sunday, March 21, 2010

Pre-Monday Linkages

Ali Farokhmanesh
It isn't often you get a glimpse at the subconscious of others. In this case, it would be the nightmares of KU fans; alums.

Sorry for the absence, but it is my favorite week of the year. Even when I worked a regular 9-to-5 job, I found my way to Christie's Sports Bar on McKinney by 11 AM Thursday and Friday every year to ensure I had all four games at once within view without any unnecessary head turning. I love the first round of the NCAA tournament. I love it so much that even now that I am my own boss (and thus far more motivated), I did all my work before 11 AM and after 11 PM last week to get things done. So my spare time often spent blogging has been replaced with screaming, drinking, and basketball watching concurrently.

If you've been disappointed visiting this site and finding nothing new over the last week, fear not. Sometimes, you have to build a mental damn between thoughts and outlet to build up enough material to be worth writing about. I have at least four posts written on the digi-note pad on the iphone, one of which is already 1800 words of loosely connected thoughts. I'm really looking forward to fleshing them out onto this site.

So as for both basketball and thought generation, this week has not disappointed.

I was in first place in all of my brackets until the Kansas catastrophe. I picked Kansas to win it all. That'll teach me the lesson I apparently forgot when I bet a friend against my own beloved Tar Heels in 1989 vs. #1 in the nation Oklahoma. UNC won the game. I suppose, either way I won. Kind of like yesterday. My bets were hedged. Bracket riding on KU, but wholeheartedly pulling for every upset imaginable. I hate when people root for the bracket over history. Their invested $5 on Goliath vs. David. As I tweeted:
Ppl rooting for Kansas right now also cheered for USSR during miracle on ice and Kentucky vs Texas western in 1960.

Other teams that ppl cheering for KU cheered for death star vs alderaan. Nazis. And lions vs Christians
Now, to make the transition between hoops and this blog, Kaid Benfield at NRDC does a bracket based on walkability, using WalkScore to do so. The final 4? Not too unpredictable Georgetown, Wisconsin (Madison), and Vanderbilt (Nashville) and the cinderella Purdue (Lafayette - never been).
While that one wasn't terribly illuminating or interesting, the rest of the articles are:

National Geographic looks at Shanghai:
And now comes Expo 2010, part of a fading franchise Shanghai hopes to resuscitate as a global launching pad. It's a gamble, but the city has reportedly anted up $45 billion, more than Beijing spent on the 2008 Olympic Games. The bulk of the money has gone into infrastructure, including two new airport terminals, a subway expansion, and a Bund makeover. But amid a global economic crisis, will the projected 70 million visitors come? Shanghai hopes to outshine rivals Beijing and Hong Kong, but it also harbors a loftier ambition: to be the global capital of the 21st century. "If any city has a chance, it's Shanghai," says Xiangming Chen, a professor at Fudan University in Shanghai. "But the city can't just build its way to greatness. The bigger question is, How does it rebuild a sense of community that's been lost in tearing down the old and building up the new?"
More on the conservative intelligentsia coming around to the side of sense, despite the direction of their "base." This time it is David Brooks discussing Brit writer Phillip Blond:
Economically, Blond lays out three big areas of reform: remoralize the market, relocalize the economy and recapitalize the poor. This would mean passing zoning legislation to give small shopkeepers a shot against the retail giants, reducing barriers to entry for new businesses, revitalizing local banks, encouraging employee share ownership, setting up local capital funds so community associations could invest in local enterprises, rewarding savings, cutting regulations that socialize risk and privatize profit, and reducing the subsidies that flow from big government and big business.

Britain is always going to be more hospitable to communitarian politics than the more libertarian U.S. But people are social creatures here, too. American society has been atomized by the twin revolutions here, too. This country, too, needs a fresh political wind. America, too, is suffering a devastating crisis of authority. The only way to restore trust is from the local community on up.
Left or Right, you have to like the idea of the opposition party gaining some sense, clarity, and positive vision. Otherwise, you are just in it for the "team game" of partisan politics.
At, they bring up what I've been harping on regarding the illusion of choice in the American Marketplace:
Kevin has earlier noted our research on the indirect land use carbon cost of biofuels. But building suburbs in farmland has precisely the same carbon effect, as does anything that competes with food for land; I have estimated (not published, and I might change the number either way with more analysis) that if there were a $20/ton carbon tax, and we counted land use change, the land price of suburban housing around most cities would double. People who say they like living in the suburbs are not expecting to pay a lot of what it really costs to do it. Furthermore, a lot of them are having second thoughts: the fastest-growing demographic in Manhattan is now children: people who can afford to live anywhere they want are increasingly deciding that a real city is the best place to raise a family. My fair city of Berkeley, no transit paradise, has built hundreds and hundreds of downtown rental units without parking spaces, something wise heads predicted would be a disaster of vacancies and parking wars at the curbs of nearby residential streets, but neither of those things has happened.
They also cite the book, The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less, which highlights that it is more beneficial to have two, or three, or four, very real and distinct choices than it is to have what might seem like a million varieties of what is really the exact same thing.
Lastly, keep an eye out for some D Magazine articles citing yours truly. Not sure if they'll be in print version or web (or both), but I will certainly link them when published.