Saturday, June 28, 2008

Europe's Declining Fertility Rates, and What They Imply for Cities

Another interesting article, from the New York Times Magazine. It's more broad than deep, surveying some of the literature on why fertility rates in Europe are dropping so fast (and not reaching any definite conclusions, though some of its hypotheses surprised me), but gets particularly interesting for city planners about halfway through, discussing the plans of some German cities to shrink their urban footprints. As a bonus for those of us insular Americans: it will give us something to talk about with our new European acquaintances in Chicago, beyond "That Sergio Ramos is something, huh?"

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Some Interesting Climate Change Speculation

I know: we the DSUP cabal have been neglecting you quite seriously of late. Some of us have been looking for jobs; some of us are finishing our dissertations; and some of us have been caught up in a combination of various offline events and changing our operating system three times. (Somewhere, Commenter Nick is laughing.)

So as not to neglect you, I bring your attention to Sustainable Energy--Without the Hot Air, a work-in-progress by David MacKay, a Cambridge professor. There's also a blog and an article in The Register -- the two are related, as MacKay uses his blog to correct some of the impressions a Register reader might get. The nice part about MacKay's work is that he puts it all online, so you can download it, examine it, and argue with it at your leisure. Note that you cannot just read the four-page executive summary and get his full conclusions that way; I tried that already.

(Link originally found at Arts & Letters Daily, though, strangely, not at its sister site, Climate Debate Daily.)

Monday, June 2, 2008

Plug: Lisa Schweitzer

UCLA professor Randall Crane (whose blog you have in your RSS feed just before or after ours, right?) has posted a profile of Lisa Schweitzer, who got her PhD at UCLA, spent some time at Virginia Tech, and is now at USC working on issues of environmental justice and transportation. I got to hear Dr. Schweitzer present in Milwaukee last year, and although she admitted straight off that she was presenting on research (on hazardous waste-related disasters and environmental justice) she'd just begun, it was still a very interesting presentation. Her presentation style was relaxed, friendly, and confident, which can be difficult in a conference setting; that style may not be everyone's cup of tea, but it worked well for me.

And since the Chicago schedule is now posted online, I can now tell you that Dr. Schweitzer will be presenting at 9:45 am on July 8th, moderating a panel on measurements and techniques later that day, and helping with a roundtable on environmental justice (alongside Ann Forsyth) first thing Friday morning the 11th. Even if you are neither a transportation person nor an EJ person, I would recommend you check her out at some point.

(Standard doctoral-student disclaimer: Dr. Schweitzer is not on any committee of mine and is not reviewing any papers I have written.)