Friday, July 15, 2011

The Tangible Costs of Polluted Air and Climate Change (Link Round-Up 7/16/11)

[via Inhabitat]

Tragedy of The Commons
If someone offered you an investment that would pay out $25 for every $1 you paid you would probably take it.

It turns out that investing in clean air generates exactly those returns in health benefits to the American public. The rules that keep our air safe to breathe raked in annual benefits of $1.3 trillion compared to costs of only $53 billion in 2010. Things like avoided doctors’ visits, increased property values, and pollution-related deaths postponed add up to major money in the pockets of families around the country.
Indonesians are expected to experience warmer temperatures, increased precipitation (in the northern islands), decreased precipitation (in the southern islands), and changes in the seasonality of precipitation and the timing of monsoons. These phenomena could increase the risk of either droughts or flooding, depending on the location, and could also reduce biodiversity, lead to more frequent forest fires and other natural disasters, and increase diseases such as malaria and dengue, as well incidences of diarrhoea.
The political, economic, and social impact of this will be significant for an archipelago-based country with decentralized governance, poor infrastructure, and a history of separatist and radical conflict. According to a World Bank report, the greatest concern for Indonesia will be decreased food security, with some estimates projecting variance in crop yields of between -22 percent and +28 percent by the end of the century. Rising sea levels also threaten key Indonesian cities, including Jakarta and Surabaya, which could stimulate ‘disruptive internal migration’ and result in serious economic losses. Unsurprisingly, the poor likely will be disproportionately impacted by all of this.
Private Discourse
Ethiopian self-censorship
The MPs noted that state media, especially the Ethiopian Radio and Television Agency (ERTA) is not transmitting to the public about the weaknesses of the executive organs (ministries, authorities and agencies) which are identified by the standing committees because it is afraid of the executives.
“Whenever we meet some folks, they always teeth at us as if we are not worthy and do nothing at the parliament, except raising our hands to approve laws,” said one angry MP.

“You, state media journalists, don’t have the moral and professional integrity, like doctors and other professionals. Yon only report good parts of the executive organs,” he said adding that he never expects any improvements from ERTA in the future. The MP rather suggested that the best solution for the parliament is to have its own media, like some countries such as India.
In the the private sector, a creative director is actually in charge. In the public sector, a wide variety of agencies and private institutions are doing their own thing. What would the creative director for a city actually control? Logos? Signage? Street design? Planning reviews? It strikes me that in almost any case, the creative director would be a classic “czar” – that is, someone with nominal responsibility for something, but no real portfolio. The job of a czar is virtually impossible, as anyone who has held one can attest. If you don’t own bodies or budgets, you are basically reduced to begging people to do what you want. This requires deft salesmanship and relationship skills, but are those what creative director types are known for?
Indian Gigolo
Last year, 21 boys under 18 contracted HIV in Bombay. Seven succumbed to 'professional hazards'. Migration of men from the mofussils to the metros has been a centuries-old transition, and while patterns and compulsions of movement remain more or less unbroken, motives have got distorted. Young boys (mainly heterosexual), who in the throes of these times mature sooner and show physical signs of such ripening, have discovered a new inroad to money, and contrary to belief, it isn't easy money. This is a profession where youth and physical beauty have high stock. To understand this, process the recent commoditisation of masculinity, where smooth figures with waxed chests and shining hair move with a sensuality previously only imputed to femininity in the ads. Men sell sexuality as well as women today, if not better. (Perhaps that's why we see so much of John Abraham .)
Internet Killed The Periodical Star
“It is really interesting to me that Pitchfork has reached the level of prominence without having the bylines that you die to read,” he says. “I think it’s partly about the brand. Make the brand as big as possible. Take Lollapalooza. That fest has nothing to do with the name it comes from. Pitchfork has been really good at building a name. What does that mean for criticism? The jury’s out.”

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