This year has been one for the record books in Nebraska — at-least meteorologically . As the Omaha-World Herald reports, the period between September through February was the fifth-wettest fall-winter on record, this February the eighth-coldest on record. Thats not to mention that this recent deluge is responsible for Nebraska’s worst flooding in 50 years.
This flooding is due to a bomb cyclone, the meterological equivalent of a bass drop. When a low pressure system drops at-least 24 millibars in 24 hours, it undergoes the rather terrifyingly named explosive cyclogenesis. This pressure drop makes the ensuing storm stronger and can even approach a category 1 hurricane in terms of wind and rain.
As the waters recede, Its hard not to notice the how utterly un-drivable many of the roads underneath are. And it seems that this is not just the case of a single storm’s damage but indicative of a legacy of poor infrastructure management.
But it seems that this is part of a larger narrative of how poorly infrastructure has been managed in Nebraska recently. Take, for example, the snow storms of this past season:
In the heightened national attention, perhaps pressure to fix the roads will finally lead to serious investment. As it seems, the current government is slow to admit fault and responsibility.
BOSTON — The dust is still settling from the ongoing restructuring of the Middle East known as the Arab Spring. What started with the self-immolation of Tunisian street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi in 2011 has tapped a well of civil disobedience that has trickled throughout North Africa and the Middle East for nearly a decade.
In Egypt, the protests led to the ouster of then President Hosni Mubarak. His nearly thirty year rule came to an end after eighteen days of sustained demonstrations, both in the streets and online. In the upheaval since, Mubarak’s successor and Egypt’s first democratically elected president, Mohamed Morsi, was replaced after a term of just a year, in a coup d’état led by the military general Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
While comprehensive death tolls have been difficult to tabulate; over eight-hundred civilians were killed and six-thousand injured in the eighteen days between the start of the protests and Mubarak’s ouster and conservative estimates place the death toll at over eight-hundred on just one day in 2013 during the Rabaa massacre by Egyptian security forces led by el-Sisi. The protestors, the people of Egypt at large, who have catalyzed the political upheaval in Egypt have also channelled their energies into alternative methods of civic engagement.
Amin Marei, a native Egyptian and a current Teaching Fellow at Harvard and the Associate Director for Professional Education for the Harvard Graduate School of Education, actively participated in the the Arab Spring by co-founding Mashroo3 Kheir (The Good Deed Project). I interviewed him to get his perspective on the Arab Spring, and what has happened since its first peak.
Wakanene Sebastian Kamau: What motivated you to participate in the Arab Spring? What was your thought process behind starting Mashroo3 Kheir?
Amin Marei: For me, it was an opportunity to eradicate corruption in the country and to achieve social justice, freedom of expression and equity.The thought process behind Mashroo3 Kheir, which translates to (the Good Deed Project) was to capitalize on all the energy that was clearly present during the Arab Spring and try to channel it towards civic engagement and community development. The theory of action as, that if we provide the youth with opportunities to learn more about their communities and positively influence their society, then they can be actively engaged citizens who are able to tackle the challenges of their communities.
WSK: How would you describe the mission of Mashroo3 Kheir in your own words?A
M: To provide the youth with an opportunity to develop themselves while working with fellow citizens and learning from them.
WSK: What were some of the successes/challenges in maintaining the growth of Mashroo3 Kheir?
AM: The successes include supporting the development of hundreds of volunteers who have been the part of Mashroo3 Kheir many of whom have become active members in their own communities. I hope that another success is supporting fellow members of the community in a thoughtful way. The challenges include navigating our way through complex laws and regulations. They also include working with volunteers, which has an element of unpredictability that makes it hard to sustain the work. The other challenge is how to support other members within your community without being condescending or making them feel that you’re better than them. This is a real challenge in Egypt, and in the Middle East where classicism is a serious issue.
WSK: How involved are you in post-peak Arab spring activism?AM: I’m involved in projects that I would like to believe are related to activism, not necessarily in the traditional sense. Through my work at Harvard, I support the learning of phenomenal educators all over the Middle East. I also do my best to be as supportive as I can be to any person who is interested to support others within his/her community.
WSK: How involved you with activism in Egypt now that you are abroad?
AM: Again it depends on the definition, I’m definitely less involved since I’ve been living abroad for some time, but I do my best to stay connected and to support anyone who asks for my support.
Early last Friday, a sunny morning, a truck fatally struckTess Rothstein on Howard Street in San Francisco on her commute to work. A bystander who witnessed the event explained that as Rothstein rode along the parallel-parked cars along the strip, a door opens unexpectedly. As she dodges the car door, she swerved into the truck’s path. Within two hours, a group gathered in memoriam and in advocacy.
Any city cyclist knows the dangers that come along with cycling when they feel the first multi-ton bus fly by and test their balance. But in San Francisco, crashes are prevalent and can be deadly. Howard Street alone, in the blocks without protected bike lanes, has claimed 8 lives.
Outraged, San Francisco cyclists have formed advocacy groups. One of the most successful, People Protected, just two months before this crash celebrated a major win illustrated in newly opened protected bike lanes on Valencia and Howard Street. With the victory of that project, bike lanes started on 6th street. Rothstein was struck only two blocks before, on 4th.
Within two hours, People Protected gathered at the spot of Rothstein’s death in memoriam of her life and in protest to be sure she did not “die in vain.”
Protestors lined up a few feet from the parallel parked cars. With cars whizzing by, these advocates acted as human barriers between cyclists and the vehicles of the busy street. The group gathered 3 times throughout the day, with the support of local media and politicians.
Other advocacy groups such as Our Bikes further guided the way for cyclists and concerned political participants throughout San Francisco to act in dissent against anti-bike policies. An instagram post highlights a call to action.
The group offers further instruction on their website, offering a template for individually crafted, personal emails to the Mayor and members of the MTA Board. So far, over 1,000 emails have been sent from their page. A few sample emails offered by the site are here:
“To Mayor Breed and the San Francisco MTA Board,
Last year New York City installed more than 25 miles of protected bike lanes. This year they’re planning to install more than 30 miles. How many miles are you going to install this year?
Had you completed the protected bike lane on Howard to Embarcadero—or at a minimum, 4th Street—Tess Rothstein would be alive today. We need to be proactive in the installation of protected bike lane infrastructure to reach our Vision Zero target of zero fatalities by 2024.
Finish the protected bike lane on Howard by the end of March.
“Dear Mayor Breed, Board of Supervisors and SFMTA,
Tess Rothstein was killed this week after a driver opened their door into her path, forcing her under a truck which ran her over.
A protected bike lane on Howard would have saved her life.
We need the SFMTA to be proactive and install protected bike lanes on every stretch of the high injury network by the end of this year.
Other cities have taken swift action and expanding their protected bike lane networks rapidly. Why does the SFMTA under Ed Reiskin’s leadership only install protected bike lanes after someone is killed? That is not leadership.
Extend the protected bike lane on Howard to 3th Street within the next 21 days and to the Embarcadero by the end of 2019. These deaths cannot continue in our city.
Outraged bikers from many groups cycled in and out of the protest, including Janice Li of the San Francisco Bike Coalition who stated, “If we keep designing streets for fast moving cars and don’t acknowledge that there is so many people walking and biking on our streets today, people will die.”
He attempts to explain a bit how: “The mayor issued a directive on Wednesday that the MTA should move quickly with projects to increase safety around the city on our high injury network. So we are certainly doing that. This will be on of the areas we are exploring options to get those improvements in by this year.”
The Board of Supervisors representative from the district of the crash, Matt Haney, paid respects and expressed grief and a great sense of urgency: “This is the second fatal crash that we’ve seen on our streets this week… And, so this is one of the most urgent crises that we face in our city.”
Finally, San Francisco Mayor, London Breed, also visited the site. She reiterated that the city plans to improve safety, “but while we wait for these capital improvements, we need to make short-term safety enhancements, which I have instructed the SFMTA to do without delay.”
The city sees this is a problem, and each group has expressed commitment to action. Citizens were in peaceful protest, politicians promised to make political changes, and in the spirit of SF and Silicon Valley, techie cyclists advertised their cyclist apps.
Applications like Blocked show where bike lanes are currently blocked by construction in the city. Some visualizations show the most dangerous and at-risk crash sites of the city. Others like Bikesy simply route a rider on a bike-safe route to their destination in an attempt to promote ease and safety of bike travel. And throughout most of these advocacy group sites, there are seemingly endless tools, workshops, maps, among other resources and projects to help the average cyclist.
Personally, the initial fear instilled in me by the first bus that passed too closely has been enough to end my bike-to-work days. But so many of my friends have been “tapped” by cars, and a few seriously hit. One told of a time just outside our space at the Media Lab where he was hit at the intersection. He fell off his bike, his wheel was completely bent, the driver of the car was flustered, fearful, and angry, and all he could think about was that he could have died.
Stories like my friends are frightening, and stories like Tess’s are tragedies. However, I feel hopeful and inspired by the response of those in San Francisco, and hope the outcry of protests and groups like these ensure that safety measures are put in this city and many others across the US and beyond to protect people like Tess.
Lion Air Flight 610 crashed on October 29, 2018. All 189 passengers and crew died. Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed on March 10, 2019. All 157 passengers and crew died.
(For some reason the embed for original post isn’t working) Facebook’s translation:
March 10, 2019-my lucky day Running to catch flight et 302 Addis Ababa – Nairobi, which crashed 6 minutes after taking off, I had my nerves because there was no one to help me go fast. I lost it for two minutes, when I arrived, the boarding was closed and I watched the last passengers in tunnel go in – I screamed to put me in but they didn’t allow it. In fact, the flight lost it because I didn’t give a suitcase (otherwise they would expect me for 10-15 minutes or more, because finding a suitcase loaded wants at least 40 minutes). Also, as I learned later, I lost her because I came out first and very quickly from the plane and the connection ambassador who came to receive me didn’t find me
Airport people, kind, promoted me to the next flight that would leave at 11:20, they apologized for the inconvenience and transferred me to a nice lounge for the-waiting.
On 10:50, as we joined the next flight, two security officers informed me that for security reasons that a senior officer will explain to me, they will not allow my boarding. In my intense protests they left no margin of discussion and led me to their superior, to the airport police department.
He told me gently not to protest and say thank you to God, because I am the only passenger who did not enter the flight et 302 which is missing. And that this was why they can’t let me go, until I determine who I am, because I didn’t get on the flight and everything. At First I thought he was lying, but his style left no margin of doubt.
I felt the ground lost under my feet, but I came back in 1-2 seconds because I thought something else would happen, some communication problem maybe. People were kind, they asked that they had to ask, they my elements and let me wait.
They made me sit in a living room and they told me to wait there until they warn me.
I was looking on the internet to find elements for the flight, friends from Nairobi informed me that 30 minutes after the expected time had not landed and there was no information about her luck and suddenly all the wifi of the airport.
Fortunately there are sms – from close friend I learned that the flight crashed almost just took off and that the issue was going out in the Greek media.
Then I realized that I must immediately contact my own people and tell them that I was not in and that for two small random circumstances I lost the flight – the moment I made that thought i collapsed because then exactly I realized how lucky I stood.
This text I wrote to manage my shock. I’m posting it because I want to tell everyone that the invisible and, nēmatídia of fortune, the out-of-plan circumstances knit the web in which our life is taken. It’s millions of small threads we almost never feel – but one to break is enough to feed the whole web instantly.
Really, it’s the first time I’m so glad I wrote a post and I’m grateful to live and that I have so many friends that made me feel their love – kisses to all and a warm thank you for your touching support. Special citation reference for early surgery and support to Jeroen Par DijkPanos FragiadakisHaris Kamariotakis and a big sorry to my family for the shock you’ve been looking for.
Maybe not too old to rock n roll – but certainly too young to die…
Sunday 10/3/2019, 13:00 Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
(the post went up from Nairobi to which I finally arrived)
Both planes were Boeing’s 737 MAX 8, which flew its first commercial flight between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore on May 22, 2017.
Boeing was optimistic about its new plane even after the Lion Air crash.
Since Sunday’s crash, many countries have responded quickly by grounding all of their 737 Max 8’s. Here are snapshots from around the world. In India…
Two brand new Boeing 737 Max 8 airplanes flown by #EthiopianAirlines and #LionAir crashed in 5 months. Now, China has grounded all 96 of its 737 Max 8s. In India, #JetAirways and #SpiceJet fly this plane 👉🏿 DGCA must act and reassure that these planes are airworthy or ground them
DGCA has taken the decision to ground the Boeing 737-MAX planes immediately. These planes will be grounded till appropriate modifications and safety measures are undertaken to ensure their safe operations. (1/2)
China’s civil aviation regulator said in an official statement on Monday that it will ban the commercial use of Boeing 737-8 planes by domestic airlines until safety confirmations from the US Federal Aviation Administration and the Boeing company are available. pic.twitter.com/vkOudTZFR3
Here’s NYTimes’ flight map of existing routes flown by the 737 Max 8.
For good measure, let’s toss in news about Trump:
NEW: @Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg spoke by phone with TRUMP this a.m., urging him not to ground 737 Max 8s after Sunday’s crash. * Muilenburg has tried to cultivate Trump. He visited Mar-a-Lago after AF1 dust-up, & Boeing donated $1M to Trump inaugural.https://t.co/OUXRGBsE5T
In the “iconic” MTV hit series, the characters and their love lives were as riveting as their drama and fashion choices. To properly gear up for the revival, I created this collection, curated with text, video and social. For the fans—may this excite you. For the novice—may this do some…errr…educating.
For the first time in history, Dublin Jerome HS made it to the Ohio high school ice hockey final four, beating neighboring Olentangy Liberty HS 1-0 for their spot to represent Central Ohio.
In the state semifinal game, they played University School, a private school in Cleveland that had won the state championship twice, most recently in 2009.
The close game eventually went to overtime.
Jerome wins in dramatic fashion! (This clip ends up getting picked up by ESPN and makes it to #3 on the SportsCenter top 10.)
As the first Central Ohio school to make the ice hockey state championship game, the team had already accomplished a lot.
The game turned out to be an uphill battle, as Jerome played St. Ignatius high school, a private, all-boys school in Cleveland that has won 7 ice hockey state championships, including the last three (2016, 2017, 2018.)
The Jerome team made it close, but eventually came up short.
Despite the loss, the Jerome team has lots to be proud of, and the fourth consecutive championship for St. Ignatius raises questions about fair competition among Ohio high schools. After the fact, local news picked up the story.
In the wake of the 2016 presidential election, US media has focused much of its scrutiny on the Trump Administration’s possible ties to the Russian government. Although mainstream media coverage of possible ties between the Trump Administration and the PRC has been sparse, China experts have paid close attention to official and unofficial signs of the dynamics of emerging US-China relations.
When would Xi visit the United States, and where was the follow up to the New York Times revelations about deals between Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and China’s Anbang Insurance Corporation?
Jared Kushner, a Trump In-Law and Adviser, Chases a Chinese Deal – The New York Times dinner w anbang founder https://t.co/SKxhpjOvWX
Twitter has always been one of the more politically conscious social networks. But in the age of the Trump administration, politics seems to pervade even the most seemingly neutral subjects. The snowstorm which hit the Eastern Seaboard today – giving students and workers an unexpected day at home – yielded a wide range of conversation on the #SnowDay hashtag,
What began as a 15,000-person protest against oppression and inequality in New York in 1908 is now a global event, with thousands of people from around the world marching, walking out, and demonstrate for women’s rights.
On March 8th, women and men in small towns and large cities participated in International Women’s Day. Despite the shared goal among the protestors, each community celebrated the event in its own way. Below are snapshots of how International Women’s Day was celebrated, discussed, and, in some cases, questioned.
Typically, there is not much protesting or marching in Japan, as people tend to avoid engaging in public discourse about politics or issues about women, especially in public spaces.
But at 2:30 PM on March 8th in Tokyo, marchers took to the street. The event was organized bythe Women’s March Tokyo Organizing Committee and took place between Aoyama and Shibuya in the center of Tokyo. Though the 300 people who participated did not match the thousands who marched in New York, Dublin, or other large cities, the protesters were passionate and drew attention of the press.
Translation: “My first ever march!”
Translation: “Thank you! All the rage, concerns, and frustrations which I had experienced in the past… Thanks to everyone, I now realize that I am no longer alone and am energized by all of you. Let’s voice our anger together, and make Japan and the rest of the world a better place!”
Though may news organizations covered the protest, including a livestream from Huffington Post Japan, the national public broadcaster NHK chose not to. Many expressed their frustration with the decision:
Translation: “NHK sucks! They showed marches abroad, no mention about Japan!”
Serbians also held a march for International Women’s Day, with news outlets estimating that as many as 600 people attended, though the Facebook post shows only 45 publicly said they attended:
In Serbia, many popular singers turned to social media to comment on women’s equality:
But not all Serbians agreed with the meaning behind International Women’s Day and the march. For some, gender equality was not an issue worth protesting:
Translation: (comment 1)“What right do we lack??? If I am, as a woman, fed up from these feministic things, I wonder how men feel when they sleep with women with silicones but eat normal food only on Sundays at their mom’s’ house!!!…”
(comment 3) “Foolishness. You can vote, you have jobs, you can chose your careers, what do you want more? Stop bothering people.”