Category Archives: politics

Fast fashion: European Union reveals fast fashion crackdown

For every person in the EU, textile consumption requires nine cubic metres of water, 400 square metres of land, 391kg of raw materials, and causes a carbon footprint of about 270kg.

In the UK, politicians have called on the government to change the law to require fashion retailers to comply with environmental standards.

The government rejected most of the Environmental Audit Committee’s recommendations in 2019, including making clothes producers pay for better clothing collection and recycling, but has made textile waste a priority.

https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-60913226

Does Dalle think it makes more sense that men should drive than women?

Here is a quick study into the narrative tropes within AI and some interesting work for semiotics. Apparently, #Dalle thinks it makes more sense that men should drive than women. In a simple experiment using an image of my daughter taking me for a drive to generate variations (the last image in this series) – in all instances, #Dalle switched the man to the driver’s seat. Even imparting imagined active gestures for the male and passive gestures for the female in the image. #ai #bias #tropes #gesture #semiotics

https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6978117340840259584/?commentUrn=urn%3Ali%3Acomment%3A(activity%3A6978117340840259584%2C6978839553402912769)&dashCommentUrn=urn%3Ali%3Afsd_comment%3A(6978839553402912769%2Curn%3Ali%3Aactivity%3A6978117340840259584)

Activists take over billboards to call out impact of flying on global carbon

Billboards in 15 European cities have been covered with satirical artwork highlighting the role of airline marketing in driving up greenhouse gas emissions.

https://www.euronews.com/green/2022/09/22/activists-take-over-billboards-to-call-out-impact-of-flying-on-global-carbon-emissions

Shinique Smith and the Politics of Fabric

“It is undeniable and inescapable,” she said recently. “It is a mirror image of what is happening with clothing now and who the clothing is going to…There are whole cultures existing off of our used things. It’s even more complicated now. Now there are so many different people who are oppressed. Fast fashion goes right into a ditch and into another bale.”2 In the physical act of gathering colorful found materials for her work, Smith enfolds layers of dark history into beautiful untidiness, conjuring pasts and presents of labor and toil.

https://sculpturemagazine.art/shinique-smith-and-the-politics-of-fabric/

Richard Powers: “Climate change is a psychological problem”

There is something mystical about Powers – his surname adding to the sense of an other-worldly persona. Yethe is wary of the individualistic notion of “self-reliance”, as emphasised in the American literary tradition of Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson. “I want transcendentalism without that focus,” he said, warning that, unless we can reconnect with the wider ecosystems we depend on, so much that is meaningful in life risks being lost. “Today’s stage of capitalism is increasingly intoxicated with the idea of increasing our power through technological control of time and space. When I was living in Silicon Valley, I’d go to dinner parties and people would say, ‘Just hold on a little bit longer, because we’re going to cure death.’”

https://www.newstatesman.com/encounter/2022/08/richard-powers-interview-climate-change

K-everything: the rise and rise of Korean culture

The global success of Psy’s rap could be traced back to the dramatic rises and falls in fortune that have characterised Korean history (the peninsula has been invaded and colonised many times, without ever encroaching on its neighbours). After the Korean war, South Korea was ranked among the poorest nations in the world. With a mixture of authoritarian repression and collective will, the “hermit kingdom” had by the late 1990s turned that around to look like a tech and manufacturing success story. That rise came to an abrupt end with an economic crash in 1997, when the Korean government was forced to ask the IMF for an emergency loan of $57bn. The day of that request is still known as the Day of National Humility. In order to pay off the debt there were many collective sacrifices (including a drive for gold that saw tens of thousands of ordinary Koreans donate wedding rings to the national cause).

https://amp.theguardian.com/world/2022/sep/04/korea-culture-k-pop-music-film-tv-hallyu-v-and-a

How car culture colonised our thinking – and our language

We say this because we’ve become accustomed to thinking about the street in “traffic logic”. For centuries, streets used to be a place with a multiplicity of purposes: talk, trade, play, work and moving around. It’s only in the past century that it has become a space for traffic to drive through as quickly and efficiently as possible. This idea is so pervasive that it has colonised our thinking.

Why are roads you can’t live next to, cycle on, or walk along called main roads? Why do we speak of “segregated” or “separate” cycle paths, when it’s actually motorists who’ve been given a separate space of their own? The language of traffic instils a “windscreen view” of the world, as the Belgian mobility expert Kris Peeters wrote a good 20 years ago.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/bike-blog/2022/aug/31/how-car-culture-colonised-our-thinking-and-our-language

California’s new emissions rule speeds up the future of cars

What makes this such a big deal — aside from the fact that if California were a country, it would be the 10th-largest automobile market in the world — is that 15 other states follow the zero-emissions standards set in Sacramento. If they sign on to this mandate, too, the rule would cover more than one-third of all new vehicles sold in the country, essentially giving California the power to set emissions policy for the whole nation.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/08/29/2035-california-electric-vehicles-future/

Penn Station Plan Makes a High-Stakes Bet on the Future of Office Work

Financial analysts have warned that a permanent change in office-building use could profoundly affect cities like New York, leading to a decline in the value of those properties and the property taxes collected. According to the security company Kastle Systems, which tracks employee card swipes in office buildings, just 37 percent of workers in the city went into the office during the third week of August.

Yet the Penn Station development would be even bigger than the build out of Hudson Yards and include a similar mix of retail, residential and hotel space — as well as lots of offices. At 33 acres, it would surpass the size of Rockefeller Center, the last comparable development in Midtown, completed 80 years ago.