Tag Archives | Globalization

Abandoned Walmart Now America’s Biggest Library

Picture: McAllen Public Library (C)

From destruction comes regeneration. A photo essay via Web Urbanist

There are thousands of abandoned big box stores sitting empty all over America, including hundreds of former Walmart stores. With each store taking up enough space for 2.5 football fields, Walmart’s use of more than 698 million square feet of land in the U.S. is one of its biggest environmental impacts. But at least one of those buildings has been transformed into something arguably much more useful: the nation’s largest library.

Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle transformed an abandoned Walmart in McAllen, Texas, into a 124,500-square-foot public library, the largest single-floor public library in the United States.

The library even has an acoustically separated lounge for teens as well as 6 teen computer labs, 16 public meeting spaces, 14 public study rooms, 64 computer labs, 10 children’s computer labs and 2 genealogy computer labs. Other new features include self check-out units, an auditorium, an art gallery, a used bookstore and a cafe.

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Study Pinpoints JFK, LAX, Hawaii Airports As Disease-Spread Hot Spots

In today’s globally interconnected world, terrifying illnesses from across the sea are just a flight away. These are the airports connecting us to them, via Scientific American:

A new study finds that [JFK and LAX], along with Honolulu International Airport, are the most likely to facilitate the spread of a major pandemic.

Researchers at M.I.T. used real traveler patterns, geographical information and airport waiting times to predict what U.S. airports are most likely to spread an epidemic from its origin.

The surprise is that the key airports are not necessarily the largest or busiest. Previous research had focused on how easily pandemics can spread globally via air travel once they were in late stages. In those cases, the largest and best-connected airports are indeed the deadliest hubs. But the new work shows that in the first 10 days of an epidemic, other travel centers might be the spreading hot spots.

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Will Multinational Corporations Eventually Own Everyone’s Land?

Imperialist OctopusGood question. Julian Whitcrosse writes at io9.com:
Hundreds of years ago, European colonists took possession of much of the surface of our planet through unsubtle means: murder, subjugation, and their special move, bringing horrific new diseases. Nowadays, the wealthy and powerful expand their domains less confrontationally, but the effects can still be pretty harmful. Interests in rich countries — mainly multinational corporations (MNCs) make deals with local governments to attain land for their own big-money projects, sometimes evicting locals from their traditional homes and farmland, and contributing to food insecurity. Over the past 10 years, almost 800,000 square miles of land has been bought or leased (eight times the size of Britain), mostly in Asia and Africa....
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The Axis of Indifference In The Media World

BlogothonThe following is an excerpt from my new book Blogothon. It was originally given as a speech to a media conference and has been updated slightly.

Foreign correspondents have always been revered within journalism. That’s why covering Iraq or other wars are assignments so many reporters cultivate. Many see them as a ticket up the media pecking order.

Being “under fire” promise excitement, danger and—let’s face it, on TV —precious “face time.” Going overseas is often a route to more visibility and  better jobs at home on the strength of your “bravery.” War reporting can be the macho oxygen of ambition.

Just as covering a turbulent world is attractive in the ranks, up in the suites of media power  “foreign news” is, according to Michael Wolff, a “nostalgist’s beat” said to turn  off American audiences and tune them out. That’s why decision-makers shutter bureaus and redefine news of the world as news of American power in the world.  (They also realize financial savings by doing so, of course.)

In an age of globalization, as global news grows more important, it is covered less.… Read the rest

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Secret City: Illegal Architecture of Taiwan

TaipeiMany cities in Asia proper, have captured the imaginations of authors, specifically science fiction writers, due in large part due to their disjointed, chaotic, and multi-layered nature. These cities have a tendency to map their histories, migration patterns, linguistic groups and associated economic levels onto the very architecture and design of the city. In Taipei much of the building is done illegally, in ‘secret’ places all around the city, particularly by rural migrants, artists and experimental architects. This has resulted in some very dynamic and cyber-punk worthy designs that further colour the fabric of Taipei. Via Web Urbanist:

Beyond the ‘official city’ of Taipei, where modernization and beautification efforts are glossing over the city’s natural and historical origins, there’s Instant City. Using Taipei’s conventional modern architecture as a platform and energy source, this network of illegal architecture attaches itself ‘like a parasite’ to create unsanctioned urban farms, night markets and other social gathering places.

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Colonialism and The American Diet

Jill Richardson writes on Alternet:

It is hardly news that the United States faces epidemic health problems linked to poor diets. Nearly two out of every five Americans are obese. But according to a press release from the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Olivier de Schutter, “The West is now exporting diabetes and heart disease to developing countries, along with the processed foods that line the shelves of global supermarkets. By 2030, more than 5 million people will die each year before the age of 60 from non-communicable diseases linked to diets.”

De Schutter, whose work usually focuses on ending hunger, just published a new report saying, “The right to food cannot be reduced to a right not to starve. It is an inclusive right to an adequate diet providing all the nutritional elements an individual requires to live a healthy and active life, and the means to access them.” In other words, the right to a healthful diet must be included in the human right to food.

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Sweet Home Chicago: G8 Meeting Moved But Protests Will Continue

G8 mapWho called whom first?

Did the Obama alumni Association in Chicago — David Axelrod, Rahm Emanuel, and Bill Daley — get nervous and call the White House, or was it Barack himself, having disposed/co-opted one threat by the name of Netanyahu, who recognized he had a more serious problem the horizon.

The President has been playing Ronald Reagan these days, talking tough while feinting towards the center. What he most decidedly does not want to do is play Hubert Humphrey and relive the summer of 1968 in Chicago.

That’s why the G8 meeting was shifted from contested ground there to safe space by in the ultra secure, well-guarded environment of Maryland’s Camp David. The last thing The President needs in the middle of his campaign is another police riot in the second city

Someone must have pointed out that the Occupy Movement was already in the process of planning another battle ala Seattle in the very heartland of the Obama Empire.… Read the rest

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Breaking Apart An iPhone’s Cost

It’s still shocking to see just how little of the profits from an item go towards those who made it. From a piece on the power of transnational corporations, via Reports from the Economic Front:

The production of the iPhone offers one of the best examples of the logic and operation of these transnational corporate controlled cross border production networks.

Not surprisingly, the division of profits, as shown below, reflects the overall hierarchy that structures this and other cross border production networks.

iphone

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Occupy Wukan? or A Chinese Spring

The village of Wukan in Guangdong province has staged a massive protest over local officials seizing land without compensation for development projects. This type of issue has been sticky in China for quite some time, similar to eminent domain in the U.S. but without much recourse or a court to appeal to. Here is a video posted on YouTube, its in Mandarin but the images are worth it: The Financial Times also has a decent article and video.
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147 Companies ‘Own Everything’

Source: New Scientist

Source: New Scientist

New Scientist reveals the capitalist network that runs the world:

As protests against financial power sweep the world this week, science may have confirmed the protesters’ worst fears. An analysis of the relationships between 43,000 transnational corporations has identified a relatively small group of companies, mainly banks, with disproportionate power over the global economy.

The study’s assumptions have attracted some criticism, but complex systems analysts contacted by New Scientist say it is a unique effort to untangle control in the global economy. Pushing the analysis further, they say, could help to identify ways of making global capitalism more stable.

The idea that a few bankers control a large chunk of the global economy might not seem like news to New York’s Occupy Wall Street movement and protesters elsewhere (see photo). But the study, by a trio of complex systems theorists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, is the first to go beyond ideology to empirically identify such a network of power.

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