Sport and Poverty

This is an odd concoction of contrasts: a downhill mountain bike race, sponsored by Red Bull, and staged in what is described as a "Brazilian slum." At one point in the vid, cheerleaders line the course. Filed alongside the EcoChallenge.


Blog Action Day: Climate Change

I learned a little late that today is "blog action day" where bloggers are asked to take a singular focus: climate change. This vid hypes the event:

I'm not a climate change specialist, but I have been paying attention to the various arguments used to promote environmental awareness around this issue. Yesterday on this blog, for instance, I was chatting a bit about this video about the effect of climate change on the oceans. In the documentary, titled "Acid Test: The Global Challenge of Ocean Acidification," you see a range of arguments for saving the planet. Earth should be saved because it's beautiful. Animals should be saved because they're like works of art. We need to save the planet to save ourselves. Climate change matters because it's hurting industry. Things like that.

What really bothers me about the film, though, is the ending, where the claim is made (cue optimistic music) that only our energy sources need to change. We can still drive cars. Cities can remain illuminated. We simply need to rely on wind and solar power. This is an appealing fantasy, I think, and one that is pro-science, pro-industry, and pro-consumer society. I don't buy it, though, thinking that reducing green-house-gas emissions is just one of many environmental agendas, and it's not going to happen fast enough (or at all) if all we do is gradually shift to windmills.


Acidic Oceans

After spending the day writing letters of recommendation, I took a few minutes to watch the now YouTubed film Acid Test: The Global Challenge of Ocean Acidification.

It's another startling call for change making a non-anthropcentric argument for saving, in this case, the oceans. Well, I guess not entirely non-anthropocentric, as one argument is that "we need to save oceans to save our fishing industries." But that's only part of the video, much of which relies on a kind of earth-for-earth's sake logic, which I like.


What's a Blog?

Dennis Baron has a thoughtful post about the new FCC guidelines regarding blogging and product endorsements. Basically, the new ruling speaks to blogs like Gizmodo—places you go to read about things you may buy.

You can read about the new rules at http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2009/10/endortest.shtm. The rules themselves are at http://www.ftc.gov/os/2009/10/091005endorsementguidesfnnotice.pdf.

Specifically, the ruling addresses messages "conveyed by bloggers or other 'word-of-mouth' marketers." What strikes me about this is the assumed stability around the terms blog and blogger. Instead of referring to "websites" that hype junk, the ruling speaks to blogs.

We know blogs to be websites typified by routine posting; newer posts generally appear at the top and older posts scroll down to the bottom. Blogs have such elements as blogrolls and comments and dated entries. We know blogging to mean the creation of content on such a site.

Note that static websites are either outside or on the margins of this ruling. Even static-looking websites; so if I create a new .html page each day to hype junk, am I blogging? I'd say not, which produces quite a nice loophole in the ruling.


Michael Atkinson's "Parkour, Anarcho- Environmentalism, and Poiesis"

A few years ago I got into parkour; not so much doing it, but watching cinematic representations of it and writing about it some in this blog.

Give it time, and an outstanding academic article will come out on just about any topic. Today I got the chance to read Michael Atkinson's "Parkour, Anarcho- Environmentalism, and Poiesis" in the Journal of Sport and Social Issues.

Atkinson's piece is outstanding, involving a study of traceurs in Toronto (he ran with the dudes) and developing an argument about the practice as anti-capitalist, environmentalist, and just downright in touch with urban spaces. A terrific piece.