Is Consumerism Sustainable?

Kai RyssdalKai Ryssdal

Our consumer culture often produces several unfortunate side effects. Given all those negative effects, can we sustain our consumerism for much longer? That compelling question will be addressed by none other than Kai Ryssdal, host of the NPR business & finance program Marketplace, in a panel discussion next week. Kai will be joined several other notable folks at the event, which is co-sponsored by Michigan Radio and the University of Michigan Stephen M. Ross School of Business.

Interested? The panel will be held on Friday, November 16th, from 11.00a to noon at the Ross School of Business. Find out more on Michigan Radio's events page.

Aging In Place

Do you have an aging family member or friend who wants to age in place for as long as possible? Perhaps you are thinking about downsizing from your current home to a smaller house or condo to live in after retirement. Take advantage of the University of Michigan Housing Bureau For Seniors, a resource for housing and care options for anyone 55+.

Mentoring kids in need

Need help getting through to your teenagers? A mentor for your child may be just the answer. Mentors along with parents can provide support, answers and influence over kids. Consider reading A Fine Young Man: What Parents, Mentors, and Educators Can Do To Shape Adolescent Boys Into Exceptional Men by Michael Gurian for a better understanding of the mentoring process. If you are looking for a mentor or would like to become a mentor yourself, contact The Insite Project or the Washtenaw Youth Mentoring Coalition, an alliance of twenty mentoring and youth focused organizations.

Much ado about black swans

Fans of quirky business books, rejoice! In the vein of Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point and Blink and James Surowiecki's The Wisdom of Crowds comes Nassim Taleb's The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable. The title already ranks #2 on Amazon's business bestseller list.

Like Gladwell and Surowiecki's thought-provokers, The Black Swan starts with a simple concept - that big, society-altering events are unpredictable - and shows how this concept affects business, history, and predicting the vagaries of the market. Not surprisingly, things like markets and history don't move in easy-to-spot patterns, so we have to come to expect the unexpected.

Also, check out The Long Tail author Chris Anderson's thoughts on Amazon.com.

Amazon.com, the iTunes killer?

Amazon.com and EMI recently announced that they're launching a new online music store a la iTunes, and that announcement set music and copyright watchers atwitter. Why? Because the songs will lack digital rights management. This means audiophiles will be able to copy and burn songs onto whatever and however often they want: mp3 players, cds, other computers, etc.

Many record companies (aside from EMI, of course) feel that such a move will be the death of their industry. Or maybe, as Wired editor Chris Anderson says in The Long Tail, open access and niche markets are the logical progression of the internet. Regardless, digital media like mp3s are changing the way we interact and do business. And we're have to change the way we think about copyright in the digital era.

What do you think? Will less copyright protection mean more sales for Amazon and EMI? Could Amazon become the iTunes killer?

Happy 46th birthday, Peace Corps

On March 1, 1961, President John F. Kennedy stood on the steps of the Michigan Union and by executive order announced the beginning of the Peace Corps. This experiment in activism was a huge success with many young people out of college as well as older retirees venturing to far off countries to teach, help with farming and start health clinics. The Peace Corps is alive and well today, still offering those who want to serve exciting and challenging opportunities.

Embracing Eatonville at UMMA Off/Site

EMbracing EatonvilleEMbracing Eatonville

There is still time to visit the photography exhibition Embracing Eatonville at the University of Michigan Musuem of Art Off/Site (through March 18th).

Located in Orange County, Florida, Eatonville was the first incorporated African-American community in the nation. Today, it is perhaps best known for its annual showcase of arts, literature and culture that celebrates native daughter Zora Neale Hurston.

The current exhibition "celebrates the spirit and character of Eatonville through the work of contemporary photographers Dawoud Bey, Lonnie Graham, Carrie Mae Weems, and Deborah Willis, each of whom have created a new body of work for this exhibition as they explore the importance of place to individual and collective identity".

“I am not so bad a person once you get to know me . . .”

Iggy gets kicked out of high school and there’s no one at home for him to tell. His mother has been gone for days, his father is stoned on the couch and the phone’s been disconnected, so even his social worker can’t get through.

Walking away from his public housing, Iggy sets out to make something of his life. Not an easy task when he has no skills and his only friend is mixed up with the dealer who got his mom hooked.

Iggy’s got problems galore, but Iggy also has the kind of wisdom that lets him see what no one else can. Try Saint Iggy.

South Africa Remembered

Explore social issues in the mid-20th centry of South Africa in , Cry, The Beloved Country, by Alan Paton. Paton, a native white of South Africa explores the power of ideas in this story of a old Zulu parson as he searchs for his son. The murder of a white man, devoted to helping the native South African, results in far reaching changes in both a white and a black family, along with a rural native tribe.

Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid"

Jimmy Carter ex president appeared on the Diane Rehm show on 11-28 to discuss his book "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid". Certainly a timely and important read from, I believe, a vastly underrated president. The library has an extensive number of books on the subject Palestine

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