Knowledge, then, is cumulative, not in the sense of adding to some otherwise fixed pile but rather because it accumulates through a process in which current researchers assume a critical attitude towards past research.

For some, this critical attitude has a moral dimension and is applied not only to the work of other researchers but also to the human world being researched. The point of research, on this view, is not simply to add to knowledge but to change the world for the better.


— Elspeth Graham (1997) Philosophies underlying human geography research. In Flowerdew R and Martin D (eds.) Methods in Human Geography, Prentice Hall: New Yorkp. 29 (via geogthoughts)

(via origamiunicorn)

"The arrival of the middle class at the center of the American political debate is a long overdue step forward, but Obama and Gingrich steered clear of an ugly truth. Revitalizing the American middle class in a transformed global economy is a staggeringly complex task. And neither Democratic nor Republican orthodoxy alone is the answer."

— Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Rohde on how Washington has failed the American middle class. Read more.  (via theatlantic)


A sobering visual guide to income distribution in the US, part of a larger infographic

"It’s not uncommon for great companies to be humbled by what the Austrian economist Joseph Schumpeter called the forces of ‘creative destruction.’ Technology, especially digital technology, has been the most potent whirlwind sweeping away old markets and old strategies for many decades. Changing economics and global competition have reduced behemoths of the past, such as General Motors, into mice of the present."

Kodak’s long fade to black, fantastic LA Times read by Michael Hiltzik (via curiositycounts)

(via curiositycounts)

» Let Citizens Engage in The Maintenance of Infrastructure


“Simple systems for creating alerts when something goes wrong can be a first step toward greater familiarity with and appreciation for complex urban systems.” from UrbanOmnibus.net

» Geog Thoughts: I received a reply to this post: “Well, this seems self-contradictory:...


I received a reply to this post:

“Well, this seems self-contradictory: Livingstone can’t both claim that there’s no essence to geography and that it is ‘always negotiated.”

I think Livingstone wouldn’t have been so careless as to have made such an obvious internal contradiction. Of course,…

Forgetting that a place is not solely about itself as a container, such a utopia of a state is an impossibility for its relational (geographic) position means it would need it would have to make compromises to function, rendering it less free than envisioned. 


Offshore Libertarian State: FAQ
Q. Where is it?
A. The free market.
Q. The free market isn’t really a place?
A. Not right now, but leave that to the free market.
Q. What?
A. The … freeness.
Q. Freedom?
A. That.

Since The Economist regrettably labelled Africa “the hopeless continent” a decade ago, a profound change has taken hold. Labour productivity has been rising. It is now growing by, on average, 2.7% a year. Trade between Africa and the rest of the world has increased by 200% since 2000. Inflation dropped from 22% in the 1990s to 8% in the past decade. Foreign debts declined by a quarter, budget deficits by two-thirds. In eight of the past ten years, according to the World Bank, sub-Saharan growth has been faster than East Asia’s (though that does include Japan).
Even after revising downward its 2012 forecast because of a slowdown in the northern hemisphere, the IMF still expects sub-Saharan Africa’s economies to expand by 5.75% next year. Several big countries are likely to hit growth rates of 10%. The World Bank—not known for boosterism—said in a report this year that “Africa could be on the brink of an economic take-off, much like China was 30 years ago and India 20 years ago,” though its officials think major poverty reduction will require higher growth than today’s—a long-term average of 7% or more.

"[The] lack of ready intelligibility [in scholarly writing], I believe, usually has little or nothing to do with the complexity of the subject matter, and nothing at all with profundity of thought. It has to do almost entirely with certain confusions of the academic writer about his [sic] own status […] In large part sociological habits of style stem from the time when sociologists had little status even with other academic men [sic]. Desire for status is one reason why academic men [sic] slip so easily into unintelligibility […] To overcome the academic prose you have first to overcome the academic pose."

C. Wright Mills, The Sociological Imagination

Hmm. Or it’s a peer review and p&t committee issue. Which I suppose puts a fine point on his point about status. The writing isn’t just belabored, it is labor. Alienated. Abject…

(via ghoulmann)

Howard Becker (in a range of article / books in collaboration with various other academics) has looked at both how students aspire towards ‘classy’ prose from the hierarchy within academia and that only established academics have the reputation to escape the imposition of form by peer-review.  Bourdieu, Passeron and De Saint Martin as well looked at Academic Discourse (title of the work in English) finding amongst other things that adoption of jargon and over-complex means of articulating an argument were rewarded with better grades. 

(via robert-brydie)

In (my) geography, this is summed up in two words: Nigel Thrift.
(Or three: Anderson and Wylie)
Stop trying to write like Nigel Thrift. But it’s a difficult habit to overcome, when all you read is prose like that. 

(via geogthoughts)

(Source: thepovertyoftheory, via geogthoughts)

"The Internet isn’t really a technology. It’s a belief system, a philosophy about the effectiveness of decentralized, bottom-up innovation. And it’s a philosophy that has begun to change how we think about creativity itself."

— MIT Media Lab director Joichi Ito on innovating by the seat of our pants. Related, the untold story of how MIT Media Lab became a mecca for innovation. (via curiositycounts)

(via curiositycounts)