Ease The Tension ~ Public Entity St. Eustatius And The Netherlands

POND ISLAND/ST. EUSTATIUS – The tensions between the administrators on Statia and those in The Hague are flaring up again, and we are afraid that this time around not even that sweet tune of the Mighty Shadow, “Ease the Tension” can calm the hearts and the modern day chiefs in Statia and the Netherlands.

The Dutch Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations, the honourable Dr. Ronald Plasterk, has made it clear that he has had enough of what he considers the inept and corrupt local government on the Caribbean island. Higher supervision it is! Statia’s Coalition Leader, the honourable Mr. Clyde van Putten, has responded in kind calling the Dutch administrators racists who continue to act as colonial overlords. Massa day done!

The question on many persons’ mind, those who aren’t hastened to judge or choose sides immediately, is what must be done? But behind that question is actually the question of what exactly is the matter at hand? Only by answering the question behind the question can we hope to ease the tension in the Kingdom.

Read more: http://www.soualiganewsday.com/ease-the-tension

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David Matthews ~ German Research Ministry Demands Open Access

All research funded by the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) will have to be open access, it has been announced, but the strategy does not go as far as open access advocates would like.

The new policy means that BMBF-funded research will come with an open access clause, although scholars will still be able to publish in closed journals and make their work open after an embargo period.

Read more: https://www.timeshighereducation.com/german-research-ministry

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Welcome To Masdar City: The Ultimate Experiment In Sustainable Urban Living

Ten years ago in the United Arab Emirates, a new settlement was started from scratch, with the aim of becoming “the world’s most sustainable city”. Masdar City was designed to be zero-carbon and zero-waste, home to a population of 40,000 people, with an additional 50,000 commuters, in an area of six square kilometres. Today, it’s playing a crucial role in the development of sustainable design and technology.

Around the world, access to a reliable and plentiful energy supply is becoming increasingly critical. Urban populations continue to grow and demand even more energy. At the same time, vital resources such as water are becoming increasingly scarce, and rising levels of CO₂ and a warming global climate are adding to the stress on the Earth’s system.

All of this means that Masdar’s function as a test bed for innovations in fuel efficiency and renewable energy is more important than ever before. As part of a recent study, my colleagues and I took a closer look at the new technology on show in Masdar. Here’s what we found.

Read more: https://theconversation.com/welcome-to-masdar-city

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Mark Binelli ~ Meet Architect Bjarke Ingels, The Man Building The Future

The convoy of buses departed from the Palazzo on a cloudless spring morning, rolling onto a muted Las Vegas Strip and toward the Nevada desert. The buses carried a group of tech journalists, venture capitalists, curious engineers and startup-culture hype merchants – along with, not incidentally, one of the world’s most celebrated architects, Bjarke Ingels – passing sere mountain ranges and spiky yucca trees and a shimmering field of solar panels before finally arriving, after nearly an hour, at their destination: a compound of trailers and shipping containers surrounded by a barbed-wire fence. Someone made a nuclear-test-site joke.

We’d come to witness the first-ever public demonstration of a new super-sonic transportation venture called Hyperloop One. Tech billionaire Elon Musk had roughed out the concept in 2013 and given his blessing to the founders, though he wasn’t directly involved himself. Essentially, the plan was for Hyperloop to revolutionize freight and passenger travel by shooting pods through pressurized tubes at speeds of more than 700 mph – faster than a commercial airplane! – using a zero-emission electric-propulsion system. This could mean half-hour trips from Los Angeles to the Bay Area.

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/meet-architect-bjarke-ingels

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Noam Chomsky On The Evolution Of Language: A Biolinguistic Perspective

Photo: en.wikipedia.org

Photo: en.wikipedia.org

Truth-out.org ~ September 2016. Human language is crucial to the scientific quest to understand what kind of creatures we are and, thus crucial to unlocking the mysteries of human nature.

In the interview that follows, Noam Chomsky, the scholar who single-handedly revolutionized the modern field of linguistics, discusses the evolution of language and lays out the biolinguist perspective — the idea that a human being’s language represents a state of some component of the mind. This is an idea that continues to baffle many non-experts, many of whom have sought to challenge Chomsky’s theory of language without really understanding it.

Journalist and ”radical chic” reactionary writer Tom Wolfe was the latest to do so in his laughable new book, The Kingdom of Speech, which seeks to take down Charles Darwin and Noam Chomsky through sarcastic and ignorant remarks, making vitriolic attacks on their personalities and expressing a deep hatred for the Left. Indeed, this much-publicized book not only displays amazing ignorance about evolution in general and the field of linguistics in particular, but also aims to portray Noam Chomsky as evil — due to his constant and relentless exposure of the crimes of US foreign policy and other challenges to the status quo.

C. J. Polychroniou: Noam, in your recently published book with Robert C. Berwick (Why Only Us: Language and Evolution, MIT Press 2016), you address the question of the evolution of language from the perspective of language as part of the biological world. This was also the theme of your talk at an international physics conference held this month in Italy, as it seems that the scientific community appears to have a deeper appreciation and a more subtle understanding of your theory of language acquisition than most social scientists, who seem to maintain grave reservations about biology and the idea of human nature in general. Indeed, isn’t it the case that the specific ability of our species to acquire any language was a major theme of interest to the modern scientific community from the time of Galileo?

Noam Chomsky: This is quite true. At the outset of the modern scientific revolution, Galileo and the scientist-philosophers of the monastery of Port Royal issued a crucial challenge to those concerned with the nature of human language, a challenge that had only occasionally been recognized until it was taken up in the mid-20th century and became the primary concern of much of the study of language. For short, I’ll refer to it as the Galilean challenge. These great founders of modern science were awed by the fact that language permits us (in their words) to construct “from 25 or 30 sounds an infinite variety of expressions, which although not having any resemblance in themselves to that which passes through our minds, nevertheless do not fail to reveal all of the secrets of the mind, and to make intelligible to others who cannot penetrate into the mind all that we conceive and all of the diverse movements of our souls.”

We can now see that the Galilean challenge requires some qualifications, but it is very real and should, I think, be recognized as one of the deepest insights in the rich history of inquiry into language and mind in the past 2500 years.

The challenge had not been entirely ignored. For Descartes, at about the same time, the human capacity for unbounded and appropriate use of language was a primary basis for his postulation of mind as a new creative principle. In later years, there is occasional recognition that language is a creative activity that involves “infinite use of finite means,” in Wilhelm von Humboldt’s formulation and that it provides “audible signs for thought,” in the words of linguist William Dwight Whitney a century ago. There has also been awareness that these capacities are a species-property, shared by humans and unique to them — the most striking feature of this curious organism and a foundation for its remarkable achievements. But there was never much to say beyond a few phrases.

But why is it that the view of language as a species-specific capacity is not taken up until well into the 20th century?

There is a good reason why the insights languished until mid-20th century: intellectual tools were not available for even formulating the problem in a clear enough way to address it seriously. That changed thanks to the work of Alan Turing and other great mathematicians who established the general theory of computability on a firm basis, showing in particular how a finite object like the brain can generate an infinite variety of expressions. It then became possible, for the first time, to address at least part of the Galilean challenge directly — although, regrettably, the earlier history [for example, the history of Galileo’s and Descartes’ inquiries into the philosophy of language, as well as the Port-Royal Grammar by Antoine Arnauld and Claude Lancelot] was entirely unknown at the time.

With these intellectual tools available, it becomes possible to formulate what we may call the Basic Property of human language: The language faculty provides the means to construct a digitally infinite array of structured expressions, each of which has a semantic interpretation expressing a thought, and each of which can be externalized by means of some sensory modality. The infinite set of semantically interpreted objects constitutes what has sometimes been called a “language of thought”: the system of thoughts that receive linguistic expression and that enter into reflection, inference, planning and other mental processes, and when externalized, can be used for communication and other social interactions. By far, the major use of language is internal — thinking in language. Read more

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Towards A New Spur For EU Democracy Building Learn And Engagement ~ Final Report Phase 1

europeNew forms of Societal and intercultural engagement and volunteering as a New Spur for civic and democratic participation at EU level

The project was an initiative of Nea Smyrni municipality, a municipality located about 4 km southwest of central Athens, Greece, named so after the city Smyrna (today’s İzmir in Turkey), from where a large number of refugees arrived and settled in the Nea Smyrni area following the 1922 population exchange between Greece and Turkey.
The municipality implemented the project with the support of the “Europe for Citizens” programme of the European Union.

The main goal of “SPUR” program was to highlight and assess both the value of solidarity and volunteering in the current context of economic and humanitarian crisis inside United Europe as well as to improve the conditions for civic and democratic participation of citizens providing them,as a New Spur, New forms of Societal and intercultural engagement for the enhancement of civic and democratic participation at national and European level.

These forms – away from extremist or populist movements and radicalized behaviors and beyond xenophobia, intolerance and any discrimination against the vulnerable or excluded people within EU societies and underprivileged and disadvantaged populations, which often include youngsters and people of non – EU origins :
a) Stabilize the social welfare, health, employment, education, environment, culture, etc. systems, which brutally affected in times of economic recession and poverty,
b) Protect further the fundamental rights, in particular of minorities,
c) Help restore law and civil parity for a decent living,
d) Promote and foster the economy and the development and finally,
e) Consolidate the faith, to the principles and values on which the European ideal is founded, in particular of the different types of Eurosceptics, and put forward the achievements of the United Europe and the cost of no Europe creating a new positive narrative for Europe and Europe integration.

Information about the four (4) non-formal education events: 
[Also visit the website of the project “SPUR” http://dnsspur.gr/en for the analytical programmes, videos and photos. Presentations: http://dnsspur.gr/en/presentations/

afisa-spurTowards a New Spur for EU Democracy Building learn and engagement.
New forms of Societal and intercultural engagement and volunteering as a New Spur for civic and democratic participation at EU level was funded with the support of the European Union under the Programme “Europe for Citizens”

Event 1
Participation: The event involved 155 citizens, including 119 participants from the city of Nea Smyrni but also from various areas of the city of Athens, capital of Greece, and its suburbs and municipalities of Athens (Greece), 5 from the Greek entity-partner IMEPO/Greece, 4 participants from the city of Brossac but also from other cities of France (France), 3 participants from the city of Porto de Mós, (Portugal), 8 participants from the city of Mali Lošin but also from other cities of Croatia, (Croatia), 2 participants from the city of Gdynia but also from other cities of Poland, (Poland), 2 participants from the city of Česká Třebová (Czech Republic), 2 participants from the city of Pazardzhik Region (Bulgaria), 1 participant from the city of Comune di Castel Goffredo (Ιτaly), 5 participants from the city of Primaria Municipiului Bucuresti (Romania), 3 participants from the city of Strovolos but also from other cities of Nicosia region (Cyprus), as well as 1 participant from the city of Amsterdam (Nederland)

Location / Dates: The event took place in Nea Smyrni (Greece), from 21/04/2016 to 22/04/2016

Short description: The aim of the event was “Citizens on the Move” for a New Europe with the following Topics for development
• Development of citizens’ understanding of the EU policy making-process, EU history, values and diversity
• Deepening of the discussion on the future of Europe and on what kind of Europe citizens want.

Event 2
Participation: The event involved 151 citizens, including 117 participants from the city of Nea Smyrni but also from various areas of the city of Athens, capital of Greece, and its suburbs and municipalities of Athens (Greece), 5 from the Greek entity-partner IMEPO/Greece, 4 participants from the city of Brossac but also from other cities of France (France), 5 participants from the city of Porto de Mós, (Portugal), 2 participants from the city of Gdynia but also from other cities of Poland, (Poland), 1 participant from the city of Česká Třebová (Czech Republic), 3 participants from the city of Ljubljana (Slovenia),5 participants from the city of Pazardzhik Region (Bulgaria), 2 participants from the city of Comune di Castel Goffredo (Ιτaly), 3
participants from the city of Primaria Municipiului Bucuresti (Romania), 3 participants from the city of Strovolos but also from other cities of Nicosia region (Cyprus), as well as 1 participant from the city of Amsterdam (Nederland)

Location / Dates: The event took place in Nea Smyrni (Greece), from 11/05/2016 to 13/05/2016

Short description: The aim of the event was “Defining the local good – Searching the European good” with the following Topics for development
• Promoting innovative opportunities of democratic and civic participation
• Reinforcement of already existing instruments for participation in civic dialogue at local and EU level.

Event 3
Participation: The event involved 152 citizens, including 122 participants from the city of Nea Smyrni but also from various areas of the city of Athens, capital of Greece, and its suburbs and municipalities of Athens (Greece), 5 from the Greek entity-partner IMEPO/Greece, 2 participants from the city of Porto de Mós, (Portugal), 4 participants from the city of Gdynia but also from other cities of Poland, (Poland), 1 participant from the city of Česká Třebová (Czech Republic), 1 participant from the city of Ljubljana (Slovenia) ,5 participants from the city of Pazardzhik Region (Bulgaria), 1 participant from the city of Comune di Castel Goffredo (Ιτaly), 3 participants from the city of Primaria Municipiului Bucuresti (Romania), 3 participants from the city of Strovolos but also from other cities of Nicosia region (Cyprus), 4 participants from the city of London (United Kingdom) as well as 1 participant from the city of Amsterdam (Nederland)

Location / Dates: The event took place in Nea Smyrni (Greece), from 14/06/2016 to 16/06/2016

Short description: The aim of the event was “Creating long immersion volunteering youth networks” with the following Topics for development
• Local community-minded young citizens as educated and experienced in dealing of the European sides of social issues, empowered to make more informed decisions and take meaningful action as members of the European society who weigh in on issues that impact the democracy in EU

Event 4
Participation: The event involved 179 citizens, including 145 participants from the city of Nea Smyrni but also from various areas of the city of Athens, capital of Greece, and its suburbs and municipalities of Athens (Greece), 5 from the Greek entity-partner IMEPO/Greece, 2 participants from the city of Brossac but also from other cities of France (France), 5 participants from the city of Dublin (Ireland), 5 participants from the city of Mali Lošin but also from other cities of Croatia, (Croatia), 4 participants from the city of Gdynia but also from other cities of Poland, (Poland), 1 participant from the city of Česká Třebová (Czech Republic), 3 participants from the city of Ljubljana (Slovenia), 1 participant from the city of Comune di Castel Goffredo
(Ιtaly), 3 participants from the city of Strovolos but also from other cities of Nicosia region (Cyprus), 4 participants from the city of London (United Kingdom) as well as 1 participant from the city of Amsterdam (Nederland)

Location / Dates: The event took place in Nea Smyrni (Greece), from 11/07/2016 to 12/07/2016

Short description: The aim of the event was “Learning critical EU social and political issues” – “Particular Interests and Social Partnership” with the following Topics for development
• The Disability, Ecology and Migration Strategies based on societal and intercultural engagement and volunteering as a new spur for EU Democracy
• How people with particular interests harmed by the EU could be equal active citizens in Union
• The accessible pathways for Eurosceptic individuals to ensure an inclusive and participative democratic life at EU level
• Innovative models of cooperation between state, governmental and national institutions, the economic sector and voluntary unions of citizens

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