Berfrois

Thomas Dunlap: Guiding Birders

Thomas Dunlap: Guiding Birders

From The World of Birds, Roger Tory Peterson, 1977 by Thomas R. Dunlap Even people with no interest in field guides know about them; they lie on friends’ shelves and windowsills (the one near the bird feeder, usually), and people stand in the park, binoculars around their neck, thumbing...

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Planet Earth as Spaceship

Planet Earth as Spaceship

by Joe Linker “Now there is one outstandingly important fact regarding Spaceship Earth, and that is that no instruction book came with it,” says Buckminster Fuller, explaining the title of his 1969 book, Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth, in the chapter titled “Spaceship Earth.” The whole idea is a metaphor, comparing...

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‘The aim is to produce maps that governments cannot ignore’

‘The aim is to produce maps that governments cannot ignore’

Villagers in DRC being trained to use GPS systems. Photograph by The Rainforest Foundation From Environment 360: Deep in the African rainforest and three days from home, a tribal hunter, punting down a backwater, puts aside his spear and takes out a GPS handset. He doesn’t need the Global...

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Leslie Paul Thiele: Sustainability

Leslie Paul Thiele: Sustainability

King Midas turns his daughter to gold, from A Wonder Book for Boys and Girls by Nathaniel Hawthorn, 1893 by Leslie Paul Thiele Sustainability is quickly becoming the lingua franca of public discourse. It is endorsed by government agencies around the globe, championed by increasing numbers of international non-governmental...

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The Editorial Climate by Keith and Orrin Pilkey

The Editorial Climate by Keith and Orrin Pilkey

This good intentioned attempt to warn society has led to an unanticipated hailstorm of criticism and a loss of credibility across a broad spectrum of science. In Virginia, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli launched a civil investigation into renowned climate scientist Michael Mann.

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‘Manure is the flashpoint of exurban consciousness’

‘Manure is the flashpoint of exurban consciousness’

Thoreau’s Cove, Concord, Massachusetts From Design Observer: Currently, the town is embroiled in a minor controversy, played out on the municipal listserv, about a local pond that has been purchased by the town and preserved under a conservation easement. Where there used to be a clothing-optional beach and a...

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‘A quarter-mile of corkline and mesh writhing and splashing’

‘A quarter-mile of corkline and mesh writhing and splashing’

Bristol Bay, Nick Hall From N+1: About half the world’s supply of wild salmon comes from a system of rivers, lakes, and streams in western Alaska that empties into Bristol Bay, a relatively shallow body of water roughly 250 miles long and 180 miles wide. Every summer, 40 million...

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Mark Hudson: The Fires Will Come

Mark Hudson: The Fires Will Come

Bitteroot National Forest, Montana, 2000  by Mark Hudson Readers may have noticed, either from perusing the newspaper or having their house burn down, that wildland fires seem to have been getting worse lately.  The National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC), which tracks the number of acres burned in wildfires every year,...

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Does George Monbiot live in Sector 7G, Fantasy Island?

Does George Monbiot live in Sector 7G, Fantasy Island?

In Fukushima's Wake | by Alexander Cockburn

New Left Review 

The reactions to Fukushima from the nuclear industry’s shills have been predictable—if still scarcely believable—sallies into cognitive dissonance. Thus Paddy Reagan, professor of Nuclear Physics at the University of Surrey: ‘We had...

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Energy Infatuations

Energy Infatuations

Illustration by Milo Winter, from Gulliver’s Travels, Jonathan Swift, 1930 edition  From American Scientist: To follow global energy affairs is to have a never-ending encounter with new infatuations. Fifty years ago media ignored crude oil (a barrel went for little more than a dollar). Instead the western utilities were preoccupied...

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‘It’s we who decide what nature is and what it will be’

‘It’s we who decide what nature is and what it will be’

Henry J. Fair, December 2005 From Environment 360: Human population will approach ten billion within the century. We spread our man-made ecosystems, including “mega-regions” with more than 100 million inhabitants, as landscapes characterized by heavy human use — degraded agricultural lands, industrial wastelands, and recreational landscapes — become characteristic...

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Jerry Moore: Feverish Rivers

I learned that Gerardo Reichel-Dolmatoff had been a Nazi when I was in a Santa Marta supermarket. I had just stepped into the Exito...

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Lauren Berlant
Lauren Berlant flies

Most of the writing we do is actually a performance of stuckness. It is a record of where we got stuck on a question...

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Robyn Ferrell on Balthus

The pitfalls of identification, hero-worship, envy and malice can beset the most patient writer in the throes of five hundred-plus pages of attention to...

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Michael Munro on Spinoza

Immanence is not philosophy, nor philosophy immanence. But there is in the passage from one to the other a modification of sense that is...

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David Beer
David Beer: Broadcastwerk

Writing at sometime around 1930 or 1931, Walter Benjamin suggested that the voice on the radio is a like a visitor in the home,...

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Rose Barnsley: Young, Gifted and Žižekian

At nineteen, it is easy to think that all you're missing is the right movement. But there is something about the young left wing...

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Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei: Rama’s And

While local journalists were once again busy regurgitating worn-down, coma inducing positions about yet another spectral appearance of Enver Hoxha at the celebration of...

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Playing the Percentages: Berfrois Interviews Danny Dorling

The portrait of the 1% in your book is one of sociopathic, power-hungry narcissists with a striking lack of empathy. This may seem antagonistic,...

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Joseph Spece
Joseph Spece: When Gamers Attack

Like many ugly controversies, the beginnings of #gamergate are linked to the end of love — well, the end of a relationship, at least....

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Lauren Berlant performs by clicking

Today I introduced Facebook to someone older than me and had a long conversation about what the point of networking amongst “friends” is. The...

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Tinder Times by Bibi Deitz

I am in bed with a man. He has to go home. He is not staying the night. So he pulls out his iPhone...

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Jenny Diski keeps up

Some things are best met with silence. If I were to proceed with this month’s column in an honest way, it would be a...

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From Fashion by Tracy O’Neill

The man who brought us a disembodied protagonist alluringly voiced by Scarlett Johansson has now issued a drama — starring apparel. Recently, Opening Ceremony...

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Philippe Theophanidis on Jean-Luc Godard

At one point near the end of his unfinished novel Jean Santeuil, Marcel Proust describes a painting by Claude Monet from 1897, titled “Bras...

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