Assimilation – in the 21st century?

What does "assimilation" (in its socio-cultural sense) really mean in an age of globalization, easy digital communication, international integration, migration, and recently in the wake of recrudescent nationalisms? On a vary basic level, we know that assimilation refers to a process by which individuals of a more or less distinct group (perhaps indigenous, immigrant, or … Continue reading Assimilation – in the 21st century?

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Reframing “renewable energy” & “bioenergy”

Popular usage of the term "renewable energy" is problematic, because it includes two distinct classes or sub-categories of energy sources: On the one hand, forms of bioenergy that serve as fuels for vehicles, feedstock for power plants (i.e., biomass, biofuels, etc.), and all the way down to firewood for cookstoves; and on the other hand, a set … Continue reading Reframing “renewable energy” & “bioenergy”

An International Year of Millets?

India is celebrating 2018 as its National Year of Millets. This follows a proposal by the government of India to the United Nations (UN) in late 2017 to make 2018 the International Year of Millets (which I'll abbreviate IYOM). The purpose of IYOM would have been to highlight the importance of diverse millets for for … Continue reading An International Year of Millets?

Concluding 2017, looking forward to 2018

This year has been one of some personal transitions, hence less posting on this blog than originally planned. As 2017 comes to a close, I wanted to touch on a couple of topics among several related to the blog content. First, 2017 is the U.N. Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. Usually I try to … Continue reading Concluding 2017, looking forward to 2018

[LI] Limits of leadership; dangers of charisma; impossible job

There are limits to an individual's competency, and in large and complex organizations or countries, the role of executive tests those limits. The single leader paradigm is a fixture in our thinking, but are there cases where it is no longer functional? On the flip side, there is a danger in how the charisma of … Continue reading [LI] Limits of leadership; dangers of charisma; impossible job

Late Ming China & the contemporary United States

Listening to a recorded course on Chinese history* a few months ago, I was struck by how descriptions of "gridlock" in the late Ming dynasty government of China sounded much like the US government in recent years. Typically, Americans draw comparisons - apt or not - with ancient Rome, but perhaps late Ming China (which … Continue reading Late Ming China & the contemporary United States