Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Bits and Pieces - October 20, 2009

Part 2 in Errol Morris's latest opus.

A deficit hawk endorses the deficit.

Columbia University is suspending its program in environmental journalism. This isn't environmental journalism, but it is science and a good example of why journalists who cover science (and much in environmental issues is science) need more than English courses.

I discovered Climate Progress this week. It's very good indeed, and I've got it in my feeds now. The rate at which wind power is being installed is increasing (good news, Phila!) And here's an event that's coming up this weekend that I'll bet you haven't heard about.


helmut said...

The Morris work is interesting. Sounds like other work on photography, though, like Sontag's. The argument is that we miss something crucial about the art if we consider photography as, unlike paintings, some sort of capturing of objective reality that the photographer is simply enabling us to see. In other words, the assumption about photography has always been wrong - a sort of positivist assumption about for the arts about a strong separation between fact and value. So when we discover that Dorothea Lange's "Migrant Mother" may have been staged, we end up surprised because we've assumed photography captures spontaneous objective reality.

helmut said...

Sounds to me like Columbia is doing something reasonable, rather than jeer-able. I'm glad to see directors of an academic program actually take their guidance for students as a moral responsibility, or so it appears. Of course, environmental issues are an enormous part of our lives now. So it seems absurb to shut down an enviro journalism program (or "suspend"). But journalism is also a mess and undergoing rapid changes. So, it would be irresponsible to train students in some more traditional approach to journalism.

I have no idea what they've actually been doing, but neither does Joe Romm. If they're reassessing where tje program should try to take students, then it's probably the most appropriate thing they could do at the moment. Not sure why this would require the program to be suspended. But this sort of rarity in academia - suspending a program - usually has something more to do with the banal, like reduced funding or some self-destructive dispute among faculty egos or larger campus politics, etc.