James Hamblin – Living Simply In A Dumpster



theatlantic.com. September 2014. Tucked behind the women’s residence halls in a back corner of Huston-Tillotson University’s campus in Austin, Texas, sits a green dumpster. Were it not for the sliding pitched roof and weather station perched on top, a reasonable person might dismiss the box as “just another dumpster”—providing this person did not encounter the dean of the University College Jeff Wilson living inside.

Professor Wilson went to the dumpster not just because he wished to live deliberately, and not just to teach his students about the environmental impacts of day-to-day life, and not just to gradually transform the dumpster into “the most thoughtfully-designed, tiniest home ever constructed.” Wilson’s reasons are a tapestry of these things.

Until this summer, the green dumpster was even less descript than it is now. There was no sliding roof; Wilson kept the rain out with a tarp. He slept on cardboard mats on the floor. It was essentially, as he called it, “dumpster camping.” The goal was to establish a baseline experience of the dumpster without any accoutrements, before adding them incrementally.

Read more: http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2014/09/the-simple-life-in-a-dumpster/379947/

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Barbara Ernst Prey – The Value And Importance Of The Arts And The Humanities In Education And Life

Ills.: wikihow.com

Ills.: wikihow.com

A number of my summer conversations have centered around the importance of the arts and the humanities. I spoke with my friend Dr. Mitchell B. Reiss, the President of Washington College, about the humanities and arts as an essential part of a college curriculum. He was the President’s Special Envoy to the Northern Ireland Peace Process from 2003-2007, when we made historic progress towards ending the “Troubles” and realizing the promise of the Good Friday Agreement as well as Director of the Office of Policy Planning for Secretary Colin L. Powell, from 2003-2005. He will become the President and CEO of The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation later this fall.

Why are you a strong advocate for the arts?
Most of us consider the arts to include the literary arts: fiction, creative nonfiction, essays and poetry; the performing arts, such as dance, theater and film; and the visual arts, which include painting, sculpture, mixed media and installation art. The arts encompass a broader spectrum of our lives.

At Washington College, we believe the education we provide our students is far more than just career prep for their first job. We challenge our students to develop life-long skills such as analytical thinking, clarity in written and spoken expression, collaboration, and creativity. These skills can all be developed through the arts and are valuable in any career.

Just as importantly, we believe that our mission is to help students prepare for a rich, meaningful and engaged life that goes well beyond job titles and salary levels. Exposure to and understanding of the arts is key to developing qualities of responsible citizenship.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/barbara-ernst-prey

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Watch This Film About How Simple Solar Lamps Can Transform The Developing World

Photo: phys.org

Photo: phys.org

fastcoexist.com. September 2014. If you were to pick a social invention with greatest bang-for-buck value, you might plump for a solar lamp. These cheap simple devices are life-changing because they’re relatively cheap, simple to use, and have so many knock-on benefits for communities that have traditionally used kerosene lamps and candles.

This nicely made film comes via Great Lakes Energy, a solar supplier in East Africa, and the Global Brightlight Foundation, U.S. nonprofit that developed a lightweight lamp powered with a portable solar panel. It focuses on the Kiziba Refugee Camp in Rwanda and shows how 3,700 households there have benefited from the technology.

Read & watch:  http://www.fastcoexist.com/watch-this-film

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Patrícia Vieira On The Work Of Art In The World : Civic Agency And Public Humanities and The Humanities And Public Life

What Are the Humanities For?
Work-of-Art-in-the-WorldLos Angeles Review of Books. September 2014. Debates about the “Future of the humanities” frequently revolve around the suspicion that the humanities might not have one. Yet despite the direness of this anxiety — an anxiety especially personal for every academic worried about professional choices or mortgage payments — conversations on the topic are often dull, long-faced affairs. Every professor has sat through one or another of these depressing discussions. The conversation proceeds according to a familiar set of pieces: there are passionate apologias of work in philosophy, literature, history, and the arts; veiled criticism of the anti-intellectualism of higher education administrators and society at large; and vague pledges to do more interdisciplinary research and extend a fraternal hand to the social and natural sciences, who remain largely unperturbed by this plight. The whole thing wraps up with the reassuring conviction that, if the humanities go down, they will do so in style (we study the arts, after all), and that truth is on our side, all folded in a fair dosage of indulgent self-pity.

Read more: https://lareviewofbooks.org/review/humanities

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Nairobi Noir – A Street Photography Project

©Msingi Sasis.

©Msingi Sasis










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Mwaura Samora – Why Living In Nairobi Slums Is A Living Hell For The Young, Old And Pregnant

250px-Kiberastandardmedia. September 2014. Kenya is still grappling with the affliction of ignorance, disease and poverty 50-plus years after independence. Those living 100 metres below the poverty line in slums are particularly worse off, according to a recent report by African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC).

A bed of roses is never found in the slums. And so is access to medication, clean water or school that can churn out ‘national school materials.’

A girl in the slums is easily made aware of her sexuality when she’s barely as high as her mother’s waist. By then, she would have elicited excitement amongst boys who lust for her. These are boys who are hardly in their teens and would be already familiar with ‘bomu’ (bhang), small kids who are likely to end up in the slammer by the time they are 12. These are the unfortunate lot brought and bred in the sprawling slums of Jangili, Kosovo, Kibera Laini Saba, Kisumu Ndogo, Soko Mjinga and other informal settlements that choke Nairobi.

Disadvantaged lot
In these settlements, life is short and brutal and you are likely kick your ice bucket before time, thanks to crime and the unforgiving violence in the neighbourhoods, where abortion, alcohol-related deaths and police brutality are commonplace.

Read more: http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/pregnant/thenairobian/

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