On Reaching Their Destination They Chained Themselves to the Perimeter Fence

1 year ago


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The first episode of Containers, my audio documentary series on global trade, capitalism, and technology is now out! We follow the rise of container shipping to its consequences: the automation of the waterfront, massively expanded global trade, the empty-warehouse Brooklyn aesthetic, Oakland’s port crushing San Francisco’s, and the creation of a Vietnamese-American artist’s obsession. You can subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, or Soundcloud.


1. The latest attempt to answer the question: Did US industry get destroyed by competition from Chinese manufacturers? Count this paper in the “No” camp.


“More exposed firms expanded employment by 2 percent more per year as they hired more (i) production workers in manufacturing, whom they paid higher wages, and (ii) in services complementary to high-skilled and high-tech manufacturing, such as R&D, design, engineering, and headquarters services. In other words, although Chinese imports may have reduced employment within some establishments, these losses were more than offset by gains in employment within the same firms. Contrary to conventional wisdom, firms exposed to greater Chinese imports created more manufacturing and nonmanufacturing jobs than non-exposed firms.”


2. Beautiful, beautiful marine traffic around San Francisco Bay.


“Though it may be easy to overlook from life on land, the waters of San Francisco Bay are alive with activity at all hours of the day. To visualize how boats navigate the Bay, I built an animated map using Mapbox GL JS that takes you on a guided tour through 24 hours of marine telemetry data captured by the US Coast Guard.”


3. Everyone should learn more about Claude Shannon.


“‘It would be cheesy to compare him to Einstein,’ James Gleick, the author of The Information, told me, before submitting to temptation. ‘Einstein looms large, and rightly so. But we’re not living in the relativity age, we’re living in the information age. It’s Shannon whose fingerprints are on every electronic device we own, every computer screen we gaze into, every means of digital communication. He’s one of these people who so transform the world that, after the transformation, the old world is forgotten.’ That old world, Gleick said, treated information as ‘vague and unimportant,’ as something to be relegated to ‘an information desk at the library.’ The new world, Shannon’s world, exalted information; information was everywhere.”


+ If you like this story, do yourself a favor and read The Information. It’s exactly the kind of synthesis you want a big book to be.


4. The Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp is one of the most fascinating stories of 80s anti-nuclear activism.


“In September 1981 a Welsh group of 36 individuals opposed to nuclear power, called Women for Life on Earth, walked 120 miles from their headquarters to raise awareness of this issue and to protest against NATO's decision to site cruise missiles at Greenham Common. On reaching their destination they chained themselves to the perimeter fence and subsequently established a 'peace camp' there which was to remain for another two decades. The 'camp' itself consisted of nine smaller camps: the first was Yellow Gate, established the month after Women for Peace on Earth reached the airbase; others established in 1983 were Green Gate, the nearest to the silos, and the only entirely exclusive women-only camp at all times, the others accepting male visitors during the day; Turquoise Gate; Blue Gate with its new age focus; Pedestrian Gate; Indigo Gate; Violet Gate identified as being religiously focussed; Red Gate known as the artists gate; and Orange Gate.”


5. What we know about Saturn’s moon Titan’s atmosphere.


“The combination of organics and liquid, in the form of water in a subsurface ocean and methane/ethane in the surface lakes and seas, means that Titan may be the ideal place in the solar system to test ideas about habitability, prebiotic chemistry, and the ubiquity and diversity of life in the Universe. The Cassini-Huygens mission to the Saturn system has provided a wealth of new information allowing for study of Titan as a complex system. Here I review our current understanding of Titan's atmosphere and climate forged from the powerful combination of Earth-based observations, remote sensing and in-situ spacecraft measurements, laboratory experiments, and models.”
1. columbia.edu | @dkthomp 2. mapbox.com | @mrbaglee 3. newyorker.com 4. nationalarchives.gov.uk 5. arxiv.org


5it by Alexis Madrigal
Fairview Park Oakland, CA 94618 USA
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