Saturday, October 13, 2007

d/visible » Blog Archive » The Rise of Neuro-Architecture
This is a fascinating blog post that I won't even try to summarize. Here is a snippet.

According to Olds, there are genuine neurological connections between behavior and the physical space it takes place in. He reasons that babies learn how to reason their way through the world almost entirely through visual and auditory stimuli, which are intimately connected to the surrounding environment. With new research showing that, even in adulthood, the brain remains remarkably malleable, Olds believes that a strong argument can be made that the architecture and design of a building can possess strong psychological impacts. “A space affects your eyes and it affects your sound, your hearing, and just through those two sensory modalities alone, those signals go into the brain and we can image the brain, non invasively, and see the effect of visual and auditory stimuli in the brain in living adults and we know it’s profound,” said Olds.

Friday, October 12, 2007

9NEWS - Article - School sends home obesity notices with students, parent upset
I've been teaching college students for a long time. The problem with public K-12 education in America is NOT that they need to do a better job of telling parents their kids are fat. The problem is that, on the whole, American primary and secondary schools do a horrible job of educating kids. Every year I see a new crop of freshman with pathetic reading skills, virtually no math skills at all, and a vast reservoir of ignorance about history, politics, and culture. What do they learn instead? I would say they know a lot about styles and fashions and trends; about sports; about the lives of professional entertainers; and about a certain orthdoxy of belief on the environment and some other PC values. Now, of course there is an upper crust of students, and of schools, where this is not true. But for the vast bulk of American students, school is not really about learning. And there are lots of these silly mandates from state legislatures and school boards to do things like tell parents their kids are fat, all of which turn the public schools into big failures.
Private Communities website
I guess this must be the place to do a search for your particular brand of Privatopia.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

It's Official -- Belmont Bans Smoking In Some Homes - News Story - KNTV | San Francisco
Thought to be the first of its kind in California, the ordinance declares secondhand smoke a public nuisance and extends the city's current smoking ban to include multi-unit, multi-story residences. Though Belmont and some other California cities already restrict smoking in multi-unit common areas, Belmont is the first city to extend secondhand smoke regulation to the inside of individual apartment units.
Condo owners told to remove religious statues --
Here is a condo association that knows how to generate bad press.

Gloria Gamarano's statue of the Virgin Mary has been with her family for more than 45 years. Until two months ago, the statue decorated the small garden that wraps around the condominium she owns at Country Pointe at Coram, a Medford gated community. Now, though, it sits behind the home, a casualty of a potentially unlawful community rule at the complex that bans religious statues in gardens and other common areas.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Chimps choose more rationally than humans -
Science makes another great leap forward. Does this mean it is fair to sell homes in HOAs to chimps, but maybe not to people?

LEIPZIG, Germany, Oct. 8 (UPI) -- German researchers have demonstrated chimpanzees make choices that protect their self-interest more consistently than do humans.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Homebuilders use car dealer tactics on new-home lots
How delightful. What's next? Draft board tactics?
City passes camera law --

This means public local governments will be requiring private security measures. Note that crime has been going DOWN.

Hoping to deter crime by expanding the use of surveillance cameras, Aberdeen passed a measure that empowers the city government and police to require cameras in new developments. The Police Department, the Department of Planning and Community Development, and the Department of Public Works will decide whether a new residential, commercial or industrial development must install cameras at "strategic locations" before a development permit is issued.,,Though crime is decreasing in Aberdeen, the city is seeking to prevent crime by expanding the camera program, Simmons said. The city installed cameras this year at two troubled intersections: one on Edmund and Washington streets and the other on East Bel Air and Aberdeen avenues. The cameras can zoom in, rotate 360 degrees, and are monitored from the city's police station.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Homeowners' Associations Operate As Governments. Why Shouldn't They Be So Treated? - Wide Open: Insight and Analysis from Ohio's Premier Political Bloggers -
Here is a perspective from Ohio:

I'm sure there's a lot I've missed. I'm not impressed with the argument that "You agreed to it when you bought your house, now you have to live with it." My view: You agreed to be "governed" by reasonable people, not the petty tyrants and busybodies who have all too often gravitated towards HOA positions. Since the large majority of new homes and condos are governed (there's that word again) by the rules (which are for all practical purposes, laws) of HOAs, their actions and somewhat extra-legal nature deserve more scrutiny than they are receiving. I believe HOAs function as unnacountable de facto governments that need to be reined in. Though I haven't researched it, I would be not surprised to learn that their "trade group" is into big-league lobbying at the state and federal levels to protect their arbitrary interests. I would also suspect that their power to influence any potential legislation is growing. HOAs not happy with assuming the responsibilities commensurate with their power do have a choice: They can vote to disband. Many of them wouldn't be missed.
ABC News: Librarians Under New Management
It seems that privatization of municipal services has now hit one of the last bastions of municipal socialism: the local public library. Maybe now they will decide they run the library without 100 copies of the Alice Walker books.

The county will continue to own the buildings and all the books in them. But the libraries will be managed by an outside company for a profit. And the librarians will no longer be public employees and union members; they will be on the company's payroll. Library patrons might not notice much difference, but the librarians will, since the company plans to get by with a smaller staff and will have a free hand to set salaries and benefits.