Archived entries for

Bonneville Salt Flats

Misrach Encrusted Tracks Bonneville Salt Flats 1992

Wikipedia: The Bonneville Salt Flats is a densely-packed salt pan in Tooele County in northwestern Utah. The area is a remnant of the Pleistocene Lake Bonneville and is the largest of many salt flats located west of the Great Salt Lake. The property is public land managed by the Bureau of Land Management and is known for land speed records at the “Bonneville Speedway”.

“the American Ruhr”

Moreover, there were so many big industries between the two cities that at night they made the river glow like a worm. As a result of settlement patterns, this reach of the Mississippi had long been known as “the German coast,” and now, with B. F. Goodrich, E. I. du Pont, Union Carbide, Reynolds Metals, Shell, Mobil, Texaco, Exxon, Monsanto, Uniroyal, Georgia-Pacific, Hydrocarbon Industries, Vulcan Materials, Nalco Chemical, Freeport Chemical, Dow Chemical, Allied Chemical, Stauffer Chemical, Hooker Chemicals, Rubicon Chemicals, American Petrofina—with an infrastructural concentration equalled in few other places—it was often called “the American Ruhr.”

via Fighting the Mississippi River : The New Yorker.

Southern Louisiana exists in its present form because the Mississippi River has jumped here and there within an arc about two hundred miles wide, like a pianist playing with one hand—frequently and radically changing course, surging over the left or the right bank to go off in utterly new directions…

“The Mississippi River, with its sand and silt, has created most of Louisiana, and it could not have done so by remaining in one channel. If it had, southern Louisiana would be a long narrow peninsula reaching into the Gulf of Mexico. Southern Louisiana exists in its present form because the Mississippi River has jumped here and there within an arc about two hundred miles wide, like a pianist playing with one hand—frequently and radically changing course, surging over the left or the right bank to go off in utterly new directions. Always it is the river’s purpose to get to the Gulf by the shortest and steepest gradient. As the mouth advances southward and the river lengthens, the gradient declines, the current slows, and sediment builds up the bed. Eventually, it builds up so much that the river spills to one side. Major shifts of that nature have tended to occur roughly once a millennium. The Mississippi’s main channel of three thousand years ago is now the quiet water of Bayou Teche, which mimics the shape of the Mississippi. Along Bayou Teche, on the high ground of ancient natural levees, are Jeanerette, Breaux Bridge, Broussard, Olivier—arcuate strings of Cajun towns. Eight hundred years before the birth of Christ, the channel was captured from the east. It shifted abruptly and flowed in that direction for about a thousand years. In the second century a.d., it was captured again, and taken south, by the now unprepossessing Bayou Lafourche, which, by the year 1000, was losing its hegemony to the river’s present course, through the region that would be known as Plaquemines. By the nineteen-fifties, the Mississippi River had advanced so far past New Orleans and out into the Gulf that it was about to shift again, and its offspring Atchafalaya was ready to receive it. By the route of the Atchafalaya, the distance across the delta plain was a hundred and forty-five miles—well under half the length of the route of the master stream.”

ATCHAFALAYA by John McPhee

 

On the racial zoning system in Birmingham & Warren Manning

“The 1920s brought continued efforts to fashion a legally defensible racial zoning system in tandem with comprehensive city planning. Also, race-based planning spread into new places. Birmingham, Alabama, was one of the new converts to racial zoning as well as the broader version of race-based planning. Although the city lacked an official planning body, it hired Warren Manning, a Boston landscape architect, as its planning consultant and released the “City Plan of Birmingham” in 1919. The Manning plan offered a series of general recommendations about land use, transportation, and civic improvements for a city that during the previous decade increased its land area sevenfold and its population by 150,000 persons.”

From THE RACIAL ORIGINS OF ZONING IN AMERICAN CITIES by Christopher Silver in Urban planning and the African American community: in the shadows

a radical resource-based plan which included “multiple neighborhood-based centers determined by available resources”

In 1919, Manning’s talents took him to Birmingham, Alabama, where he worked on a new design for the city. He recommended a radical resource-based plan which included “multiple neighborhood-based centers determined by available resources” (Karson, 2001). He also makes note of the importance of parks throughout the city stating that “the cities that are best designed have about one-eight of their area in parks and about one acre to 75 people” (Manning, 1919). This approach was in direct contrast to the then popular City Beautiful movement which emphasized monumental civic centers and Beaux Arts architecture style public buildings (Karson, 2001). The architectural design of the Chicago Columbian Exposition was based in the City Beautiful movement, but now, on his own, Manning decided on a different course following his own landscape theories which were based on the natural available resources. This idea was the basis for his creation of the “wild garden” which he applied to many of his landscape designs.

via Warren H. Manning – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

I believe that I have found in him the mental root of what I want to fight against the most

Hobbes. Thinkers not bound to any religion can impress me only if their thinking is extreme enough. Hobbes is one of these; at the moment, I find him to be the most important. Few of his thoughts strike me as correct… Why, then, does his presentation so greatly impress me? Why do I enjoy his falsest thought as long as its expression is extreme enough? I believe that I have found in him the mental root of what I want to fight against the most. He is the only thinker I know who does not conceal power, its weight, its central place in all human action, and yet does not glorify power, he merely lets it be.”

Elias Canetti on Hobbes, as quoted by Roberto Esposito in Communitas

Letter to Francesco Vettori, January 31, 1515 (Machiavelli)

“Anyone who saw out letters, my friend, and noted their diversity would be quite amazed, for at one point he would think that we are very serious, involved in weighty matters, and that we never entertained a thought which was not lofty and honest. But then, turning the page, he would discover that these same serious men are frivolous, inconstant, lustful, and occupied with trifles. Although to some this way of being may appear disgraceful, it seems worthy of praise to me because we imitate nature, which is various, and anyone who imitates nature cannot be criticized.”

in a democracy there is less danger of a government behaving unreasonably, for it is practically impossible for the majority of a single assembly, if it is of some size, to agree on the same piece of folly… unless?

Spinoza in the Theologico-Political Treatise, XVI: “in a democracy there is less danger of a government behaving unreasonably, for it is practically impossible for the majority of a single assembly, if it is of some size, to agree on the same piece of folly”, unless of course, it is the Spanish Parliament and there is such a stupid thing as party discipline.

Florentine Histories III.13 (Machiavelli)

“Do not be dismayed by the antiquity of the blood they berate us for; because everyone, having the same beginning, is equally ancient, and nature has made us in a single fashion. Strip us bare: you will see our similarity; dress us in their clothes and them in ours: no doubt, we will appear noble and them ignoble; because poverty and wealth are the only things that makes us unequal.”

the shame, theirs and ours for tolerating such power over us, is made more shameful by publicizing it

Back in 1843, the young Karl Marx claimed that the German ancien regime “only imagines that it believes in itself and demands that the world should imagine the same thing.” In such a situation, to put shame on those in power becomes a weapon—or, as Marx goes on: “The actual pressure must be made more pressing by adding to it consciousness of pressure, the shame must be made more shameful by publicizing it.” And this, exactly, is our situation today: we are facing the shameless cynicism of the representatives of the existing global order who only imagine that they believe in their ideas of democracy, human rights, etc. What happens in Wikileaks disclosures is that the shame, theirs and ours for tolerating such power over us, is made more shameful by publicizing it.

What we should be ashamed of is the worldwide process of the gradual narrowing of the space for what Immanuel Kant called the “public use of reason.” In his classic text What is Enlightenment?, Kant opposes “public” and “private” use of reason: “private” is for Kant the communal-institutional order in which we dwell (our state, our nation…), while “public” is the trans-national universality of the exercise of one’s Reason:

The public use of one’s reason must always be free, and it alone can bring about enlightenment among men. The private use of one’s reason, on the other hand, may often be very narrowly restricted without particularly hindering the progress of enlightenment. By public use of one’s reason I understand the use which a person makes of it as a scholar before the reading public. Private use I call that which one may make of it in a particular civil post or office which is entrusted to him.

We see where Kant parts with our liberal common sense: The domain of State is “private,” constrained by particular interests, while individuals reflecting on general issues use reason in a “public” way. This Kantian distinction is especially pertinent with the Internet and other new media torn between their free “public use” and their growing “private” control…

via Slavoj Zizek: Freedom in the Cloud – In These Times.



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