ISA HOPKINS

Raconteur. Adventurer. Kimchi Enthusiast.

The Way We Live

My head remains too congested for any serious analysis.  Until then, some interesting bits and pieces about the various environmental damages we’ve wrought as unintended consequences of our pursuit of modernity.  Also, a fascinating discussion of FarmVille, the egregiously popular Facebook game in which users obligate themselves to maintaining a virtual farm. I’ll admit it, I’m not much of a gamer in general, but I particularly do not understand the appeal of FarmVille:.. Read More

American Self-Deception

Two good posts (both short) about America’s particular resistance to sensible regulations: this one, from Grist, discusses plastic bag use; this excellent piece, from Mother Jones, looks at the differing approaches between the US and Europe when it comes to regulatory policy.  The European version, I must say, seems to have a lot more logic behind it.

Eat It

I can’t stop ruminating about this article. I think my obsession stems from several sources.  The first time I ever encountered food stamps, it was at a farmers’ market; Cleveland’s West Side Market, to be specific, long hailed as a model for a market which manages to capture upper-class income and interest without losing its lower-income customer base.  When I was eight years old I inquired about what the stickers on vendor cases.. Read More

I Am A Genius!

Well, maybe not.  But a couple recent pieces have me feeling like a smarty-pants anyway. First up: this essay, excerpted in the Harvard Design Magazine, about ecological urbanism as a new design paradigm.  Initially, I was put off by the “OMG, cities and sustainability can go TOGETHER?  Whaaaa?!?!” tone of the introduction, but it turns out it’s just a framing device to explain all the different ways in which urbanity is inherently more.. Read More

Catalog Living

As a comedian, I am jealous that I did not come up with this concept first: Catalog Living, my favorite new piece of the Interwebs, which brilliantly and succinctly punctures our aspirational, consumerism-fetishizing culture each and every day.  It is pretty much made out of awesome, so you should go check it out.

Americana

James Kunstler, author of the thoroughly enjoyable (in a depressing kind of way) Geography of Nowhere, gives a mean TEDTalk.  He’s a polemicist, but a witty and well-informed one.  For a more measured (and more recent) discussion of suburban remediation, check out this TEDTalk by Ellen Dunham-Jones.  If they both seem to be making desperate pleas for the audience to care, I’d suggest that the reason is that place-making is often given short.. Read More

Roundup? Ready!

Both of these were headlines today: U.S. Supreme Court Overturns Ban On GM Alfalfa [ScienceInsider] High Court Leaves Ban On Planting Of GE Alfalfa In Place [Civil Eats] There was much confusion in my Google Reader, but perhaps more so amongst the media coverage, with each side in a major legal battle over genetically modified crops claiming victory.  As so often happens, the excellent online magazine Grist gives us the real story.  The.. Read More