Post-Olympic Blues: Crockpot 08.17.12

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Our weekly guide to what you may have missed.

“A science fiction fantasy from
the sixties with a view to the sea.” We tend to forget about the Olympics once
they’re over, but the games often leave behind quite a lot. In a series of
vignettes in Granta, writers living
in Beijing, Athens, and elsewhere recall the changes the
Olympics brought to their
communities
, and what remains of the spectacle. “I happen to live in the
Olympic neighborhood, built twenty years ago for the games,” says Santiago
Roncagliolo, from Barcelona.
“This is the point where past meets present, and you wonder which is the real
one. I still have no answer.”

And check out this Sociological
Images
post on “the
life of Olympic infrastructure
once all the spectators pack up and go home,”
from John Pack and Gary Hustwit’s Olympic City Project.

One thing that’s clear about post-Olympic London, however: “the gloves come
off
,” says Dave Zirin in Edge of
Sports
(thanks, ZNet). International
spectacle could hardly distract many Londoners from a crumbling economy, harsh
austerity, and a blossoming national security state, and London politics are
about to get messy. What will the city remember 20 years from now?

***

Video: The Center for Investigative
Journalism
takes on industrial ag in The
Hidden Cost of Hamburgers
, a new animated short (reposted by Civil Eats). Bottom line: beef
is a big rip-off
. For every ounce of beef that’s made, a pound of
greenhouse gases are also produced. And that says nothing for other
externalized costs, like health risks, water pollution, and mistreatment of
workers, to name a few. Oh, and we’re addicted to it.

***

From Colossal: Recreating Van
Gogh masterpieces
with colored newsprint and pieces of wood.  

***

Climate change has been the forefront of a lot of people’s minds this
summer, along with a lot of very difficult questions about our role in
confronting crisis and adapting to change. But for Sarah Gilman, one of the
biggest questions is how to deal with a loss of this magnitude. Writing in High Country News, she wonders how we
“grasp the obliteration of so much we have
known and loved
,” as we move very quickly from world to another entirely
different one. Reflecting on creative responses like Maya Lin’s “What
is missing
” project, Gilman’s own answer points toward the future. “Looking forward, grieving for
what has been,” she says, “we must remember that loss is not new to the world,
and that loss is also possibility.”

***

President Obama may have put the kibosh on Keystone XL, but that didn’t
stop TransCanada from trying to make it happen in smaller pieces, especially in
the southern plains. But activists in Texas
have no intention of letting that happen, says Forrest Wilder in The Texas Observer. Construction on the
pipeline could begin very soon, which is why Tar
Sands Blockade
got into gear on Thursday with “a sustained campaign of
civil disobedience” to block the project in East Texas.
Dozens of people have signed on, marking a new chapter in what Wilder calls “one of the biggest environmental fights of
our time.”  

The blockade in Texas makes a powerful
statement
, says Bill McKibben in Think
Progress
(via Grist), and
invokes the civil disobedience last year that eventually spurred action from Washington. What’s more,
the actions come at an appropriate time, as similar protests have erupted in
places like West Virginia, Montana,
and the Pacific Northwest over coal exports
and mining. The fight over Keystone XL united a lot of disparate groups of
people last year, says McKibben, and that can happen again.  

Image by Kiko Alario Salom,
licensed under Creative
Commons

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