In the first part I talked about the current challenge we are confronted with regarding the transformation of our economic system to fight climate change. I argued that we have to move from a linear take-make-waste economic model to a circular economy in which as many resources as possible stay within in the cycle, where they are re-used and re-“cycled”. I argued that this system changes will cause a shift in the roles of its actors. Rather than being focused on one single role with a limited set of objectives, private citizens, companies and the government have to widen their perspective and become much more strongly involved in every aspect of energy production and consumption. Glocalization leads to the civil society becoming prosumers – consumers and producers at the same time which requires a much stronger sense of personal autonomy amongst private citizens. In what follows, I want to continue by giving some ideas of why strong collaboration between actors is particularly necessary for moving on to a sustainable energy production system and which implications this might have for individuals, politicians and firms.Read More
Feeling a bit jazzy today? Not in the Soviet Union.
The USSR and jazz had a love-hate relationship ever since the country’s formation in the early 1920s; the officials hated it, the youth loved it.
To put into perspective, during his fruitful career, Dmitri Shostakovich, Russian composer and pianist, wrote three ballets: The Golden Age, op. 22 (1929-30), The Bolt, op. 27 (1931), and The Bright Stream, op. 39 (1935). The Bolt follows the story of a worker in a Soviet factory, Lazy Lyonka, who, together with an anti-Soviet plotter, plans to sabotage the factory’s machinery by putting a bolt into it. Their plan is quickly foiled by Komsomol, a political youth organization of the USSR. Soon after premiering on April 8, 1931, The Bolt was banned; Lyonka’s “languid waltz”, its tango and jazz-inspired tunes, were all too ‘Western’ and a bit too much for the Soviet cultural elites to handle (1).Read More
The energy transition is one of the most important challenges of our century. In fact, it is one of the most important challenges of our millennium. As Prof. Jan Rotmans – a leading academic in the field of climate change and sustainability – in his much too less watched speech at TEDxMaastricht states, it is one of these transformative changes on our planet that happens only every few centuries. Rather than living in an era of change we are, in fact, experiencing a “change of eras.” As this period is so transformative it requires action by each and every one of us, be it the government, businesses or private citizens.Read More
Between having ramen as dinner for the third day in a row and spending all-nighters unblinkingly focused on the glowing screen of a laptop, many students tend to overlook the importance of maintaining physical and mental health in their everyday lives. An increasingly popular solution to this issue is the use of mobile apps designed to help them form healthy habits, whether with a friend suggesting a useful healthy recipe app or a Top Universities article inviting you to check out the “Best Health & Safety Apps for Students” (1). In the light of this development, for better or worse concerning personal and public health efforts, could the future bring about a new spin on an old saying with “An app a day keeps the doctor away”?Read More
All right, let’s say you’re an avid reader and love F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby (1925). Or maybe Fitzgerald isn’t really your thing, but you simply can’t get enough of E. A. Poe’s short stories.
Now, how would you react if Jay Gatsby suddenly started walking down the streets of Yokohama and, or wait, let me slightly rephrase this. How would you react if Jay Gatsby suddenly started flying above the streets of Yokohama in Moby Dick with Herman Melville, E. A. Poe and Mark Twain aboard, while H.P. Lovecraft is wading somewhere in the Tsurumi river below them, after having transformed into a giant, humanoid octopus?
Well, these are all pretty mainstream events in Bungo Stray Dogs.Read More
Walking through the library during the exam period, simply searching for your own study spot, makes it quite clear what the opinion of most Groningen students on joining music and studying together is. Headphones and earphones are omnipresent in the study areas just as much as they are present at gyms; allowing everyone to immerse in their music of choice to help them perform the task at hand better.Read More
For many people, the start of a new year symbolizes an opportunity for new commitments, especially regarding self-improvement of not only the body, but also the mind. According to a recent Elliptical Reviews survey (3), the goal to read more books is among the top ten New Year’s resolutions, whether “more” means “more” compared to past reading habits or marking a newfound desire for intellectual growth. However, reflecting on the potential obstacles for reaching this goal, the time that could be spent reading often goes to other recreational activities: watching movies or TV, browsing the Internet or playing video games. While literature is not inherently superior to these types of entertainment in the sense of gaining new experiences and knowledge, it may seem like the newer media are replacing books in the stores, technologies and minds for many of the post-Internet generation. This begs the question: could the fate of digital era books truly be summarized as “out with the old, in with new”?Read More
Anyone who has ever read Sui Ishida’s popular dark fantasy manga series Tokyo Ghoul or watched at least one episode of its anime adaptation probably noticed that the series largely builds its plot around the theme of the so-called ‘(evil) double’ or ‘the Doppelgänger’.Read More
The 24th UN Climate Change Conference (COP24) has just wrapped up in Katowice, Poland. The conference’s main objective was to reach a decision that will ensure full implementation of the Paris Agreement (the so-called Katowice Package) and this way further lower greenhouse gas emissions globally. However, reaching a decision which will appeal to all the signing-parties of the Paris Agreement is not a piece of cake, as different national actors are still tackling the issue of climate change at their own pace, while the discrepancy in terms of technological possibilities of controlling climate change between developed and developing countries is still enormous.Read More
Song recommendations, video suggestions, related articles – these are just some of the curated features we have come to rely on when using platforms like Spotify, YouTube and online news sites. All of these strategies for making us consume more and more media material draw upon the much-debated concept of personalisation: tailoring content to suit personal preferences. It might sound luxurious, but there are darker consequences to individuals and their communities indulging in the custom-made appeal inherent to many aspects of today’s world.Read More