It's a couple of months now since the first press release announcing plans to rebuild the Crystal Palace. My initial response was amazement that it may be possible in coming years to see the rebuilding of one of the most important buildings of the nineteenth century; but as further details unfurl I, like many others, am increasingly ambivalent about the project, which would see a £500 million investment by a private Chinese corporation into the building and surrounding parkland.
This image attracted a lot of attention around the web today:
The text on the left is from a story in the Washington Post which discusses the FBI's ability to exploit laptop cameras without enabling the indicator light. The text on the right is from Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four discussing the dystopian state's capability to view any given citizen unknowingly through their telescreen.
A recent talk on the Canadian petrostate. It is interesting to follow journalist Andrew Nikiforuk's take versus those of industry, the government or academics who don't think the idea of seeing Canada as a petrostate holds.
Proverbial “Door to Hell”, Derweze, Turkmenistan: Check out a video here.
The Door to Hell is a natural gas field in Derweze (also spelled Darvaza, meaning “gate”), Ahal Province, Turkmenistan. The Door to Hell is noted for its natural gas fire which has been burning continuously since it was lit by Soviet petrochemical scientists in 1971, fed by the rich natural gas deposits in the area. The pungent smell of burning sulfur pervades the area for some distance (Wiki).
Not the first time we talked about disasters on the blog. For example, about how Google worked in Japan post-Fukushima disaster to use Google-cars to help find missing persons. About how the intersection of infrastructure studies and disaster studies will likely grow in future years. More recently, we featured “Philip Mirowski’s Never Let a Serious Crisis Go to Waste … an important and distinctive contribution to debates around the politics and economics of the economic crisis”.
Dissertation Reviews is a site that features overviews of recently defended, unpublished doctoral dissertations in a wide variety of disciplines across the Humanities and Social Sciences. Their goal is to offer readers a glimpse of each discipline’s immediate present by focusing on the window of time between dissertation defense and first book publication. This review of Nikhil Anand's dissertation, Infrapolitics: The Social Life of Water in Mumbai, written by Tarini Bedi, will be of interest to discard studies scholars because of the methodological approach and how it highlights the politics of infrastructure:
This is a short excerpt from my essay-in-progress for the Metatheory anthology I am contributing to:
Certainly, we can call this tradition “speculative” in the etymological sense that we are concerned with capacities to contemplate, anticipate, or grapple with the subtle dimensions of reality; that is, those questions which concern being, time, space, causality, substance, change, process, identity, or difference. But the tenets of this fictional tradition, as we will see, do not so much connote a meta-physics, meta-theory, or meta-language so much as they do an infra-physics, infra-theory, and infra-language.