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kylebrittain has commented on (7) products.

Brew to Bikes: Portland's Artisan Economy (Openbook) by Charles Heying
Brew to Bikes: Portland's Artisan Economy (Openbook)

kylebrittain, February 24, 2011

Charles Heying (prof. Urban Studies at Portland State University) has published what may be the first academic study of a functioning cultural economy.

“Brews to Bikes” (Ooligan Press) presents the artisan economy as a valid alternative to the Fordist economic model. Three key features of a Fordist economy are: the standardization of the product, the use of Special-purpose tools and/or equipment via the assembly line, and the elimination of skilled labor in direct production. Contrast this with what Heying describes as features of an artisan economy: “local self-reliant enterprise, reinvestment in social and ecological infrastructure, lower transaction costs through shorter chains of accountability, higher trust levels between producer and patron, and importantly, the commitment to the maxim ‘less is more’.”

Clearly, this is an academic book, but it is by no means dry. Heying is a great writer whose voice (which is often humorous) leaps off the page. The working examples of artisans in Portland are also compelling and well researched.

Although “Brew to Bikes” is a study of Portland, it is more importantly a clarion call for people everywhere to invest in the improvement of their communities.
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Cataclysms on the Columbia: The Great Missoula Floods by John Eliot Allen
Cataclysms on the Columbia: The Great Missoula Floods

kylebrittain, February 24, 2011

"Cataclysms on the Columbia: The Great Missoula Floods" tells story of an exceedingly large geological event that began when an ice-impounded lake in Montana began to melt. When the water level rose high enough, the ice dam broke and a colossal volume of water was rapidly unleashed. This flood created the striking channeled scablands of Eastern Washington.

"Cataclysms" is also the story of geologist J Harlen Bretz, who first posited the cataclysmic flood hypothesis. Bretz began postulating his theory in a hostile academic period, when uniformitarianism was the dominant paradigm. The authors of Cataclysms tell the Bretz’s thrilling biography, detailing the history of his research, his critics and his eventual vindication.

I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this book for anyone interest in the geology of the Pacific Northwest. Three authors working on separate sections wrote the book, but it feels like an organic whole; John Elliot Allen, Marjorie Burns, and Scott Burns each have distinct voices and perspectives, but all show a profound respect for the work and legacy of Bretz.

This book, with its detailed maps and photographs, also serves as an indispensible tour guide for anyone interested in visiting the areas around the Columbia and Grand Coulee rivers.
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