Castells is a professor of urban geography at Berkley. He has written a number of books and articles about geography, the city, and the information society, including a three-volume analysis of contemporary capitalism, titled The Information Age. Garnham (2004, p. 165) refers to this as “the most sophisticated version” of the theory of the information society.
Castells' analysis involves economic, social, political, and cultural factors. I will focus on the economic, with a brief introduction to his analysis of space and the changing role of the nation state, and follow with an outline of some critiques of his work. Regrettably, this leaves much unmentioned, such as his theory of timeless time, of the social divides in modern cities and societies, or his examination of specific cases of social action in the context of what he calls the information city.
Islamabad, Friday, February 24, 2012: The Government of Pakistan has repeatedly exhibited the obsession to lock up the Pakistani cyberspace at every given chance. The reasons for doing so are myriad and diverse, but mostly, they revolve around the same unjustifiable excuses like upholding national security, war on terror and/or religious morality. In order to do these, the government continuously impose and compromise citizen’s fundamental rights including freedom of expression, opinion and access to information hampering all socio-economic activities connected with the Internet. In an under-developed country like Pakistan this becomes the sheer wastage of resources and tax payers’ hard earned money. Unfortunately, there are no legal protections available for citizens or any mechanisms to regulate such actions by the Government & civil society’s engagement for transparency and accountability.
Well, the Times writers did not use the word “scam”, however, they did promote the thought by quoting a disgusted Kiyoshi Sakurai, nuclear critic and former researcher for the old Japan Atomic Energy Agency.
“It’s a scam. Decontamination is becoming big business.”
Beyond that, it seems that the proficiency of the clean-up efforts falls well short of what is considered the normal Japanese attention to detail, concise planning, and dedication ot the job at hand.
As 500 workers in hazmat suits and respirator masks fanned out to decontaminate this village 20 miles from the ravaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactors, their confusion was apparent.
“Dig five centimeters or 10 centimeters deep here?” a site supervisor asked his colleagues, pointing to a patch of radioactive topsoil to be removed. He then gestured across the village square toward the community center. “Isn’t that going to be demolished? Shall we decontaminate it or not?”
A day laborer wiping down windows at an abandoned school nearby shrugged at the work crew’s haphazard approach. “We are all amateurs,” he said. “Nobody really knows how to clean up radiation.”
Yes, the citizens of the Fukushima area, who are being lured, begged, and coerced by threats of loss of compensation benefits to return to their hometowns to complete the image the government and nuclear industry wants the world to see, which is that the situation is under control and that there was really nothing to worry about the whole time, are in good hands…right?
Back to the scam.
Nobody may really know how. But that has not deterred the Japanese government from starting to hand out an initial $13 billion in contracts meant to rehabilitate the more than 8,000-square-mile region most exposed to radioactive fallout — an area nearly as big as New Jersey. The main goal is to enable the return of many of the 80,000 or more displaced people nearest the site of last March’s nuclear disaster, including the 6,500 villagers of Iitate.
It is far from clear, though, that the unproved cleanup methods will be effective.
Even more disturbing to critics of the decontamination program is the fact that the government awarded the first contracts to three giant construction companies — corporations that have no more expertise in radiation cleanup than anyone else does, but that profited hugely from Japan’s previous embrace of nuclear power.
It was these same three companies that helped build 45 of Japan’s 54 nuclear plants — including the reactor buildings and other plants at Fukushima Daiichi that could not withstand the tsunami that caused a catastrophic failure — according to data from Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center, a watchdog group.
One of them, the Taisei Corporation, leads the consortium that sent out the workers now tramping around Iitate in hazmat suits. Consortiums led by Taisei and the other two big companies — Obayashi and Kajima — among them received contracts for the government’s first 12 pilot decontamination projects, totaling about $93 million.
The people of Fukushima are counting on these companies to provide a safe place to live. The Japanese taxpayer is counting on the government not wasting their money. The construction companies are taking the money and giving the nation “on-the-job-training”. It seems to be an environment in which only the construction companies – and their supporters in the bureaucracy who will undoubtedly have nice jobs waiting for them when they retire from being public “servants”, and the politicians who will receive nice campaign donations and under-the-table gifts – will get what they want.
But there is little consensus on what cleanup methods might prove effective in Japan. Radioactive particles are easily carried by wind and rain, and could recontaminate towns and cities even after a cleanup crew has passed through, experts say.
“No experts yet exist in decontamination, and there is no reason why the state should pay big money to big construction companies,” said Yoichi Tao, a visiting professor in physics at Kogakuin University who is helping Iitate villagers test decontamination methods on their own. He is also monitoring the effectiveness of the energy agency’s decontamination projects.
Well, no reason except that no one is forcing the government to stop feeding this corruption. The media doesn’t run banner headlines about the corruption (it has to come from a foreign newspaper). There no politicians making too much noise for the media to ignore about the corruption. The people are not marching on the government offices en masse demanding a stop to the corruption. The Japanese legal system does not investigate nor prosecute government/corporate corruption unless a politician falls out of favor (Ozawa).
Given these facts, why would the government or these construction companies or the yakuza or the nuclear industry or anyone else even worry about participating in such massive corruption? Do the Japanese people expect that politicians and bureaucrats will suddenly realize that they work for the people and put a stop to it? Or perhaps they will discover some sense of morality within their tiny hearts and decide to do the “right thing” and stop it. Does anyone thin that is possible?...
En Portugal, miles de personas salieron este sábado a las calles de Lisboa para protestar contra las nuevas medidas que pretende implantar el Gobierno bajo presión de la llamada “Troika” (Unión Europea, Fondo Monetario Internacional y Banco Central Europeo).
Preoccupied by 24/7 entertainment and inhabiting a world surrounded by LCD screens on a variety of devices, the millennial generation was on its way to becoming completely virtualized, digitized, and distracted. But then something caught their attention — reality. They realized that the power of physical presence is a more potent force than adding your name to an online petition or making a one-click donation. The power of the Occupy movement is its persistent, dramatic, and effective presence.
Muslims across Europe belong to many different ethnic groups and follow diverse cultural, religious or traditional practices. They are discriminated against for different reasons, including their religion or belief, ethnicity and gender. This report highlights discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief and illustrates some of its consequences. Restrictive dress-code policies and legislation are enforced in several states. Muslims, and especially Muslim women, who express their cultural or religious background by wearing specific forms of dress or symbols have been denied employment or excluded from classrooms.
Marielle Gallo MEP (EPP, France) has published her draft report (only in French for the moment) for the Legal Affairs Committee (JURI) on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). As one would expect, she is urging her colleagues to support ACTA. She is also launching the counter-strategy described in an article published on the EDRi website on 5 March. In that article, we explained the plan of the pro-ACTA faction to create a fake “compromise” where the Commission would be required to undertake to do certain things, in return for the Parliament voting “yes” to ACTA. This is exactly what Ms Gallo is now proposing.
Self-acceptance as the 18 transsexuals in this video blog attest is not a democratic choice. Rather it is an individual’s decision. These courageous people exlode a number of gender myths. Indeed, these are exciting time to be transgerder in Turkey but as is apparent on some of the faces some of us transsexuals fght daily to be ourselves. Even in the UK while walking up a street with a massive police sation in the middle of it two black women (a carer and her client) moralise at my trans expense. The carer does the pointing out. The client tosses a tag, “liar,” she shouts and I register how society has lied its way into our hearts and minds. Proud Trans Turkey is the alpha in the endless evolution of the omega of change. A film by Gabrielle Le Roux depicts a gender identity utopia in place of past violent transphobic hub or tries to say at least. I feel the celebration and vulnerabilities and I wonder when transsexuals elsewhere will take the initiative? Indeed what are we doing in our respective necks of the wood to say we are transsexual we exist and we are here to stay?
My gratitude goes to the courage of everyone featured in the making of this vlog seen and unseen. Thank you all.
I'm going to claim that this can be classified as street photography and therefore deserves to be Scooped. His images really do have a very special quality that draws you in and begs you to explore more in the photo.
A wind of disgruntlement is blowing across Nigeria. There are fears that, unless President Jonathan steadies the ship of state, divisions within the polity and the rising discontent could be hijacked by political opportunists to cause something more catastrophic.
This blog comes to you from Cork City. Earlier today Big Marshall got a fine send off from all of his friends and comrades in the Upper Springfield/Ballymurphy area and the many others who attended the funeral from across Belfast and farther afield. I was very honoured to deliver the funeral oration