Phil Lesh & Friends Wrap ‘Day In Dead History’ Run With Grateful Dead Performance From 1972 [Videos]

first_imgPhil Lesh & Friends completed their “On This Day In Dead History” concert series on Sunday evening, which had started on Wednesday and continued over the weekend with a second performance on Friday. The series welcomed Deadheads and curious onlookers into Lesh’s Terrapin Crossroads concert venue in San Rafael, California for a run of performances recreating the setlists of notable Grateful Dead shows initially played on that day in history. The first two installments of the live series saw Phil and his band recreate shows from Long Beach Arena on 11/14/87 on Wednesday, followed by the Uptown Theater from 11/16/78 on Friday. With yet another strong show last night, Lesh and company confirmed the fact that regardless of how crazy the weekend may have been, one should never miss a Sunday show.For the final installment at Terrapin Crossroads on Sunday night, the former Dead bassist brought back the setlist from the Dead’s show at Houston’s Hofheinz Pavilion on 11/18/1972. Phil took the stage once again with the same lineup he’s used throughout this run, with Anders Osborne and Stu Allen on guitars, Steve Molitz on keys, Nathan Graham on drums and Elliott Peck helping out on vocals. The band started out with “The Promised Land”, “Sugaree”, and “Mexicali Blues”, and continued into “Black-Throated Wind” and “Tennessee Jed”.The band was then joined onstage by Phil’s son and Terrapin Family Band guitarist Grahame Lesh, who sat in for a mid-set run of “El Paso” of “Big Railroad Blues”. The band continued with Phil singing his own “Box of Rain” ballad from 1970’s American Beauty before welcoming Grahame back to the stage for “China Cat Sunflower” > “I Know You Rider”. The set would close out with a string of Dead hits in “Brown Eyed Women”, “Around & Around”, and “Casey Jones”.Set two began with a lively rendition of “Bertha”, which was still a setlist staple in many of the Dead’s performances from that era. The set then transitioned into “Greatest Story Ever Told” from Bob Weir‘s then-new solo album, Ace, before the band welcomed Grahame back to the stage for a pair of Dead ballads, “He’s Gone” and “Jack Straw”. Set two was, of course, filled with an abundance of lively dance tunes including “Playing In The Band”, “Sugar Magnolia”, and a weekend-appropriate “One More Saturday Night” closer. The one-song encore would also allow the band to showcase their vocal harmonies on “Uncle John’s Band” to close out the successful run.You can watch pro-shot videos from the performance below:Phil Lesh & Friends – “The Promised Land” – 11/18/18[Video: Nugs.net]Phil Lesh & Friends – “Bertha” – 11/18/18[Video: Nugs.net]With the success of these three time-traveling concerts, fans can assume that Phil and his friends will mount more of these “On This Day In Dead History” shows again in the near future. Until then, fans can tune into the second set audio from the original performance from 11/18/1972 to see how the band performed on Sunday compared to the Dead.Grateful Dead – 11/18/72 – Set Two[Audio: Uploaded by Jonathan Aizen]Setlist: Phil Lesh & Friends | Terrapin Crossroads | San Rafael, CA | 11/18/18Set One: The Promised Land, Sugaree, Mexicali Blues, Loser, Black Throated Wind, Tennessee Jed, El Paso*, Big Railroad Blues*, Box Of Rain*, China Cat Sunflower* > I Know You Rider*, Beat It On Down The Line, Brown Eyed Women, Around & Around*, Casey JonesSet Two: Bertha > Greatest Story Ever Told, He’s Gone*, Jack Straw*, Deal, Playing In The Band*, Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo*, Sugar Magnolia*, One More Saturday Night*Encore: Uncle John’s BandNotes: * with Grahame Leshlast_img read more

The Infamous Stringdusters Brings Bluegrass Brilliance To Los Angeles’ Troubadour [Photos]

first_imgLoad remaining images One rarity deserves another, like a Blue Moon on Friday the 13th or the Golden State Warriors erasing a 3-1 deficit in the NBA playoffs only to give one right back the next round. On Wednesday night, that double rainbow came by way of a hootenanny on a rainy night in Los Angeles, courtesy of The Infamous Stringdusters at the Troubadour in West Hollywood.The band kicked off their 2019 tour, in support of their upcoming album entitled Rise Sun, with two blistering sets in front of an intimate but jubilant crowd. On Wednesday, the Stringdusters had yet to officially debut their new single, “Rise Sun”, so those who attended were at once blissfully ignorant to what dropped the very next day and perfectly locked into a vintage set from the Nashville bluegrass quintet.The Infamous Stringdusters did well to showcase their talent at every position, passing the leadership hat from one microphone to the next. Jeremy Garrett gave the spotlight a ride while fiddling through “Big River,” “Soul Searching,” “Let It Go” and a cover of U2’s “In God’s Country.” Andy Hall took his dobro for a spin while singing to “Night on the River” and “You Can’t Stop the Changes.” Travis Book took his double bass for a stroll through “Rockets,” “Get It While You Can,” “It’ll Be Alright,” “How Far I’d Fall For You,” “Thirsty in the Rain” and a cover of Sly and the Family Stone’s “I Want to Take You Higher.” And of course, Andy Falco and Chris Pandolfi had their turns at the helm—the former flashing his guitar and vocals on “Peace of Mind,” the latter banging on his banjo to “Machines,” which he wrote at a friend’s place in nearby Santa Monica.And as a unit, they teased attendees with a “2001: A Space Odyssey” jam and joined up to close out the show with “Gravity.” In truth, that synchronicity was evident throughout the sets. As much as each member did to carry his lode in the lead, they were at their best lifting up one another by flexing their collective musical muscle. The most striking rarity of the night, then, wasn’t so much how The Infamous Stringdusters summoned the spirit of a barnyard hoedown in the middle of a sprawling metropolis. It certainly wasn’t that fans still flocked to the Troubadour, despite a (relatively) torrential downpour bringing LA traffic to even more of a standstill than usual. Rather, the greatest anomaly of all was really no anomaly at all. It was just The Infamous Stringdusters doing what they do: trotting out a lineup wherein each member has top-flight ability, both instrumentally and vocally, but from which, somehow, the whole is still greater than the sum of its parts. So, if The Infamous Stringdusters coming to your neck of the woods is a rarity, and they’re passing through on this tour, best believe you shouldn’t wait for an actual Blue Moon to check them out.Checkout a beautiful gallery of photos below from Wednesday night’s show courtesy of photographer Brandon Weil.For ticketing and a full list of The Infamous Stringdusters’ upcoming tour dates, head to the band’s website.The Infamous Stringdusters | The Troubadour | Los Angeles, CA | 1/16/2019 | Photos: Brandon Weillast_img read more

Watch The Empire State Building Synchronize Lights To Steely Dan’s “FM (No Static At All)”

first_imgOn September 3rd, 2017, we received the saddening news that Steely Dan guitarist and co-founder Walter Becker had passed away at the age of 67. The music world will long remember the innovative songs he wrote with longtime friend and lone surviving original member Donald Fagen. The New York band, formed in 1967 while the two were at Bard College, was well-known for being meticulous in their songwriting process in the studio, creating numerous brilliant albums over the years. Steely Dan’s prolific creativity earned the band a devoted cult following, several Grammy Awards (including “Album of the Year” for Two Against Nature in 2001), and an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001, in addition to selling tens of millions of albums sold worldwide.Another notch in the duo’s belt came back on October 29th, 2015, when the Empire State Building celebrated the 50th anniversary of it’s Master FM Antenna, which sits atop the world-famous skyscraper and anchors the iconic Manhattan skyline. Legendary lighting designer Marc Brickman—who also orchestrated an ESB light show for the Grateful Dead‘s Fare Thee Well show on July 4, 2015—fittingly choreographed the LED Tower Lights to the band’s 1978 hit “FM (No Static at All).” The song was written as the lead single for the film FM, which was about disc jockeys working at a popular radio station fighting to keep radio freeform. Take a look at pro-shot aerial footage of the memorable Empire State Building Steely Dan light show display below in all its glory:Steely Dan – “FM (No Static At All)” – Empire State Building Light Show[Video: Empire State Building]This was not the only time that Walter Becker was honored in high-profile fashion by the Big Apple. On Saturday, October 28th, 2018, the City of New York held a ceremony to officially rename a Queens city block in Becker’s honor. The street sign for Walter Becker Way is now posted on the corner of 112th Street and 72nd Drive. According to an early release about the re-naming that mirrored Becker’s sly sense of humor, “This represents the kind of street credibility that Becker truly would have appreciated!”Fans of Steely Dan can catch a very special late-night tribute their music in at Republic NOLA in New Orleans during Jazz Fest on Thursday, May 2nd (technically early-morning May 3rd). Led by musical director Joey Porter (The Motet), the lineup will feature Lyle Divinsky (The Motet), Nick Cassarino (The Nth Power), Nate Edgar (The Nth Power), Michelangelo Carubba (Turkuaz), Craig Brodhead (Turkuaz), Shira Elias (Turkuaz), Sammi Garett (Turkuaz), Josh Schwartz (Turkuaz), Greg Sanderson (Turkuaz), Chris Brouwers (Turkuaz), Nate Werth (Snarky Puppy, Ghost-Note), and Bryan McNamara.For more information on the New Orleans Steely Dan tribute, head here.You can grab your tickets here.last_img read more

Bob Weir And Wolf Bros Welcome Tom Hamilton, Honor International Women’s Day In Philadelphia [Videos]

first_imgThe performance kicked off with a pair of proven fire-starters in “Hell In A Bucket” and “Bertha”. Bob Dylan‘s “Queen Jane Approximately” came next, followed by the first-ever Bob Weir and Wolf Bros rendition of the Memphis Jug Band‘s “K.C. Moan”, a song Bob Weir and Jay Lane frequently played during their RatDog days.Next, Weir, Lane, and Don Was welcomed a fourth member to their City of Brotherly Love party: local native guitarist Tom Hamilton. Hamilton helped the group through a rendition of “Gonesville” (from Weir’s 2016 solo record, Blue Mountain) and an uplifting reading of Daniel Lanois‘ “The Maker” (a Wolf Bros first) before ceding the stage back to the trio for “Black-Throated Wind”, “Corrina”, and “Deal” to cap set one.When the Wolf Bros returned to the stage for their second set, they clearly had International Women’s Day on their mind. Weir, Was, and Lane kicked off set two with another Wolf Bros debut, “Man Smart, Woman Smarter”. The set continued with a seamless run of jams including “Scarlet Begonias”, “He’s Gone”, RatDog’s “Two Djinn”, “New Speedway Boogie”, “The Other One”, and “Days Between”. As “Days Between” faded out, Tom Hamilton returned to the stage to help lead the group into a reprise of “Man Smart, Woman Smarter”, followed by a set-closing rendition of “Not Fade Away”. When the band returned for their encore, Hamilton joined them once again, augmenting a beautiful “Brokedown Palace” to help send the Philly faithful home happy.Below, you can watch a selection of videos from the performance:Bob Weir and Wolf Bros – “Hell In A Bucket” [Pro-Shot][Video: nugsnet]Bob Weir and Wolf Bros – “Man Smart, Woman Smarter” [Pro-Shot][Video: nugsnet]Bob Weir and Wolf Bros w/ Tom Hamilton – “Not Fade Away” [Partial] On Friday night, Bob Weir and Wolf Bros continued their early-2019 prowl with a performance at the newly renovated and reopened Metropolitan Opera House Philadelphia. The show featured a handful of Wolf Bros debuts in addition to guest spots by local hero Tom Hamilton (Ghost Light, JRAD) and a nod to International Women’s Day. Bob Weir and Wolf Bros tour continues tonight, Saturday, March 9th, with a performance at the State Theatre in Portland, ME. For a full list of Wolf Bros’ upcoming tour dates, head to Weir’s website here.Setlist: Bob Weir and Wolf Bros | Metropolitan Opera House Philadelphia | Philadelphia, PA | 3/8/19Set One: Hell In A Bucket, Bertha, Queen Jane Approximately, K.C. Moan, Gonesville*, The Maker*, Black-Throated Wind, Corrina, DealSet Two: Man Smart, Woman Smarter, Scarlet Begonias > He’s Gone > Two Djinn > New Speedway Boogie > The Other One > Days Between > Man Smart, Women Smarter (Reprise) > Not Fade AwayEncore: Brokedown Palacecenter_img Bob Weir and Wolf Bros w/ Tom Hamilton – “Brokedown Palace” [Partial]last_img read more

The New Mastersounds Announce Three-Night Colorado Run With Ghost-Note

first_imgFunk-rock quartet The New Mastersounds have added an upcoming three-night Colorado run to their 2019 20th-anniversary tour featuring vocalist Lamar Williams Jr., son of former Allman Brothers Band bassist Lamar Williams. Ghost-Note, the brainchild of master drummers Nate Werth and Robert Sput Searight, will join them for the three-night jaunt.The New Mastersounds and Ghost-Note will open up the run at Boulder’s Fox Theatre on Thursday, October 10th, followed by a two-night run at Denver’s Cervantes’ Masterpiece Ballroom on Friday and Saturday, October 11th and 12th.The New Mastersounds Announce New LP, ‘Shake It’, Share New Single, “Let’s Go Back”, Add 2019 Tour DatesOn Monday, The New Mastersounds announced their forthcoming studio album, Shake It, set to arrive on September 13th via Color Red. Shake It will follow the 2018 releases of Renewable Energy and The Nashville Session 2, and marks the band’s first full release through guitarist Eddie Roberts‘ Color Red Music. To go with the album’s announcement, the group shared a new single, “Let’s Go Back”, featuring Lamar Williams Jr., which you can listen to below:The New Mastersounds ft. Lamar Williams Jr. – “Let’s Go Back”Tickets for The New Mastersounds’ upcoming Colorado run with Ghost-Note go on sale this Friday, May 17th at 10 a.m. (MST) via the band’s website.See below for a full list of The New Mastersounds’ 2019 tour dates.The New Mastersounds 2019 Tour Dates:5/15 – Portland, ME – Aura5/16 – Fairfield, CT – Stage One5/17 & 5/18 – Brooklyn, NY – Brooklyn Bowl6/7 – Cambridge, MA – The Sinclair6/8 – Central City, CO – Central Jazz7/4 & 7/5 – Quincy, CA – High Sierra Music Festival7/6 & 7/7 – Mill Valley, CA – Sweetwater Music Hall7/9 – Richmond, VA – The Broadberry7/10 – Raleigh, NC – Lincoln Theatre7/11 – Washington, DC – Union Stage7/12 – New York, NY – Rock Off Concert Cruise7/13 – Ardmore, PA – Ardmore Music Hall9/13 – London, UK – Jazz Cafe9/20 – Leeds, UK – The Wardrobe9/26 – Atlanta, GA – Terminal West9/27 – Charleston, SC – Charleston Pour House9/29 – Asheville, NC – Isis Music Hall10/2 – Bend, OR – Domino Room10/3 & 10/4 – Seattle, WA – Nectar Lounge10/5 – Portland, OR – Wonder Ballroom10/10 – Boulder, CO – Fox Theatre10/11 & 10/12 – Denver, CO – Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom10/17 – Chicago, IL – Bottom Lounge10/19 – St. Louis, MO – Atomic Cowboy PavilionView Tour Dateslast_img read more

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder knows no international boundaries

first_imgThe diagnosis and treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder has comea long way since the 1970s, with research now showing it is both morecommon and more treatable than once thought.While early doubters dismissed the condition as a Western phenomenonthat arose because researchers pathologized a nonmedical condition,subsequent research identified physiological changes to the brainbecause of extreme trauma and led to the development of a consistentability to diagnose the condition, both in Western and other nations.In fact, while surveys show that 7.8 percent of Americans haveexperienced post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the numbers are farhigher in some other nations, particularly those that have experiencedintense violence. In Algeria and Cambodia, for example, which sufferedthrough long civil wars, 37 percent and 28 percent of their populations,respectively, have experienced PTSD, studies say.TerryKeane, a longtime PTSD researcher, Boston University psychiatry professor,and associate chief of staff for research and development at theVeterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System, described progress in recentdecades in understanding PTSD during a talk at the HarvardSchool of Public Health (HSPH) Tuesday (March 23). Keane deliveredhis remarks as part of the BarryR. Bloom Public Health Practice Leadership Speaker Series,sponsored by the HSPH Divisionof Public Health Practice.Though rates of PTSD are not as high in the United States as in somewar-torn nations, Keane said surveys show that PTSD is nonetheless asignificant problem. Further, he said, studies show that the numbers andthe levels of disability of those suffering from PTSD are higher thanthose of conditions such as major depression and obsessive-compulsivedisorder.In the United States, women tend to develop PTSD at higher rates thanmen, something Keane said is not fully understood but that may berelated to the personal nature of violence against women. About 60.7percent of men experience trauma severe enough to potentially triggerPTSD during their lifetimes, with 8.1 percent of them developing PTSD.For women, 51.2 percent experience trauma, with 20.4 percent developingPTSD.PTSD is caused by an extreme trauma, which Keane described as a“massively disturbing event” that sparks intense alarm, anger, ordistress. The condition is marked by apprehension and avoidancebehaviors.PTSD also imposes an economic burden on society, Keane said, with itssufferers missing 3.6 days a month from work, costing an estimated $3billion in lost productivity annually.“Can you imagine trying to hold down a job when you miss one day aweek?” Keane asked.The biggest cause of PTSD is the sudden and unexpected death of aloved one, Keane said. In that case, PTSD is different from the normalgrieving that such a loss would cause and is triggered by particularlyhorrific or difficult conditions surrounding the death. Other majorcauses of the ailment are wartime combat, sexual violence, and communityviolence.Those suffering PTSD can feel its effects for decades, Keane said.Progress in treating the condition has resulted in several therapeuticapproaches and medicines that can help. Keane said he is very hopefulabout the prospects of identifying and treating patients. One of thebiggest challenges, though, is education to raise awareness.“I am so hopeful,” Keane said. “[We can] turn around a devastatingcondition, a costly condition … if we can just get this [information]out.”last_img read more

Nieman Foundation and Berkman Center announce joint fellowship

first_imgAddressing the growing need for fresh ideas and research in news reporting, the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard and the Berkman Center for Internet & Society announce the creation of the joint Nieman-Berkman Fellowship in Journalism Innovation.Candidates for the new yearlong fellowship will be asked to propose a specific course of study or project relating to journalism innovation. The proposal may deal with any issue relating to journalism’s digital transformation. Examples might include ideas for new revenue streams to fund journalism, the construction of new tools for reporting or research into news consumption patterns. The candidate must indicate clearly how his or her proposal will benefit journalism.Nieman and Berkman share a set of common interests around journalism, innovation and the development of digital space, and both run fellowship programs that offer professionals a year to learn and collaborate with others in the Harvard community.“We are excited to marry the resources of Nieman with the expertise of our colleagues at Berkman,” said Nieman curator Ann Marie Lipinski. “This partnership offers an excellent opportunity for a fellow to use these assets in support of a project that will help journalism in a meaningful way. We think this sort of collaboration with a great Harvard partner holds much promise.”“While a great many challenges to journalism and news remain, there is tremendous energy and innovation among the diverse journalists and news organizations embracing digital opportunity,” added Colin Maclay, managing director of the Berkman Center. “This fellowship is a promising step toward catalyzing and deepening our relationship with the Nieman community – and in our joint efforts to better understand and support journalism’s digital future.”On campus, the Nieman-Berkman Fellow will be a full participant in the Nieman and Berkman fellowship programs and serve as a conduit of information between the two. The fellow also will be expected to share the results of his or her work online through the Nieman Journalism Lab.The Nieman-Berkman Fellow will be able to draw upon the wealth of resources available at Harvard and in the surrounding area including such institutions as Harvard Business School, the Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations, the Shorenstein Center for Press, Politics and Public Policy, the MIT Media Lab, MIT’s Center for Civic Media and other organizations concerned with journalism’s ongoing evolution.The Nieman-Berkman Fellowship is open to both United States citizens and citizens of other countries. Working journalists, including independent journalists, and those who work for a news organization in a business, technology, or leadership capacity are welcome to apply.The deadline for applications for the 2012-2013 academic year is Feb. 15, 2012. American citizens may apply for both the standard Nieman Fellowship (deadline: Jan. 31) and the specialized Nieman-Berkman Fellowship.The Nieman Foundation and the Berkman Center share a commitment to diversity and encourage applications from members of underrepresented groups.The Nieman-Berkman Fellow will receive the standard Nieman Fellowship stipend, which is $60,000 over 10 months. Fellows also receive additional allowances for housing, childcare and health insurance. More details about the new fellowship are available on the Nieman Foundation website at www.nieman.harvard.edu/nieman-berkman/Questions about the application process may be sent to Nieman fellowship administrator John Breen at john_breen@harvard.edu.last_img read more

Critical preoccupations

first_imgArchitect and urban theorist Rem Koolhaas is doing a lot of critical thinking these days, about architects in popular culture, the West’s irrational moroseness, the transformation of Swiss landscape, and global warming.Koolhaas, who recently told The Guardian newspaper he’s his own “criticism machine” when it comes to analyzing his own work, dove head-on last night into a host of thorny issues – including criticism.“Everything we do and say is critical,” Koolhaas said. “But architecture itself can’t be critical of anything.”Koolhaas, a professor in practice of architecture and urban design at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD), shared his thoughts on those and other subjects before an overflow crowd at Piper Auditorium with a presentation titled “Current Preoccupations.”Koolhaas, a Pritzker Prize-winning architect, featured a slide-show sampling of insights into the intertwined spheres of architecture, environment, history, and politics during his talk at the GSD.The Pritzker Prize-winning architect’s wide-ranging program riffed off his exhibition by the same name at London’s Barbican art center, and featured a slide-show sampling of insights into the intertwined spheres of architecture, environment, history, and politics.He also took questions from panelists Sanford Kwinter, a GSD professor of theory and criticism, and K. Michael Hays, Eliot Noyes Professor of Architectural Theory at the GSD.Tall, lean, and bespectacled, Koolhaas hunched over a microphone and, speaking in a rapid clip with a slight Dutch accent, began picking the world apart.Koolhaas pointed to the sinking status of architects in the public eye, noting they appeared on the cover of Time magazine regularly from 1920 through the 1940s, but never again after 1979 when Philip Johnson last graced the cover. From then, Time and other publications were bullish for Wall Street moneymen.His next target was Francis Fukuyama, who morosely declared “the end of history” in 1992. Koolhaas said “moroseness” is a Western problem, while exuberance characterizes other parts of the world.A champion of unique urban design — such as his innovative glass-and-steel Seattle Public Library building, Koolhaas also critiqued star architects who design anonymous buildings without character.Over the past 10 years, Koolhaas watched a Swiss village where he lived transform. The original inhabitants moved away, and foreign laborers were imported. Scenic meadows were landscaped, and modern architecture replaced traditional.“I’m not saying all this is bad, but it’s ironic that such drastic transformations are barely or rarely taught in our schools,” Koolhaas said. “I want to find ways to discuss and think about it.”Global warming also is on his radar. Recently returned from Vladivostok, Koolhaas ventured that Russia could be the big winner from global warming, with its cold climes transformed into the breadbasket of the world – if only its corrupt politics allowed it.“The irony is there are no Russians to exploit this new condition,” Koolhaas said.Koolhaas, co-founder of the Office for Metropolitan Architecture, also discussed his new book on the Japanese Metabolists: “Project Japan.”The Metabolists were members of an architectural design movement arising from the ashes of post-World War II Japan.However, Koolhaas and co-author Hans Ulrich Obrist traced the movement’s origins to Japan’s invasion of Manchuria, where imperial architects’ imagination was fired by the tabla rasa of the conquered Chinese province’s wide-open spaces. No longer confined by Japan’s cramped island, these architects began designing modernist buildings.Ironically, a Japan devastated by U.S. bombing served as a similar blank slate for Metabolists like Kiyonori Kikutake and Kenzo Tange, whose technocratic and avant-garde designs were on the cutting edge of architecture from the late 1950s into the early 1970s.The Metabolists’ legacy includes innovative megastructures, floating cities, and capsule towers.Koolhaas said that although much of his work has focused on Europe and Asia, he hopes to tackle an African film project he began years ago but shelved because it was “politically incorrect.”“I was intimidated to tell my story,” Koolhaas said. “Only now am I confident enough to say what I have to say.”Asked by a student if his feeling that Western civilization has gone morose meant he was folding up his drafting table, Koolhaas would have none of it.“I don’t feel I’m approaching the end of my career,” Koolhaas said. “Otherwise, I wouldn’t be playing these kind of games.”last_img read more

Spoiled opportunity

first_imgIn 1990, Northeastern lakes were becoming more acidic, threatening fish and other aquatic life and conjuring images of a future where lakes — even those in remote wilderness — were barren.The culprit was acid rain, generated by fossil fuel burning in automobiles and power plants that spewed sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere, where it became sulfuric acid, falling in rain and as dry particles into lakes and forests.Today, the acid rain problem is greatly reduced. Bipartisan legislation passed in 1990 cut sulfur dioxide emissions over the next 17 years to half the level of 1980, reaching the legislated target three years ahead of schedule and providing health and environmental benefits estimated to outstrip costs by tens of billions of dollars.The sulfur dioxide regulatory system was adopted as part of the Clean Air Act of 1990. In it, total sulfur dioxide emissions were capped — enforced by a $2,000 per ton fine for excess emissions — and then permits were given to power plants across the country to emit a certain amount. Financial incentives for power plant cleanup came by making the emission permits tradable. That meant a plant that lowered emissions below the limit could sell the right to emit more sulfur dioxide to a plant that was having trouble meeting its target. The result was a system that provided incentives for power plant operators to switch to cleaner fuels, install smokestack scrubbers to clean emissions, shut down aging plants, and take other steps to clean emissions beyond the legal requirement.The program’s success made it a model of how a cap-and-trade regulatory scheme should work — everywhere but in the United States.A detail of one of the graphics used during the talk.Harvard environmental economist Robert Stavins said last week that national politics have “tainted” cap and trade, making it unlikely the country will adopt such a scheme to fight climate change anytime soon, even though similar plans are being adopted by other nations around the world.Stavins, the Pratt Professor of Business and Government at the Harvard Kennedy School (HKS), talked about lawmakers’ solution to acid rain Sept. 13 during a seminar held by the Kennedy School’s Regulatory Policy Program, led by Joseph Aldy, assistant professor of public policy.“I think it is fair to say that it offered … a compelling demonstration of cap and trade and, more generally, of market-based interventions for environmental problems,” Stavins said.Drawing on a working paper he authored with Massachusetts Institute of Technology Professor Richard Schmalensee, Stavins outlined the program’s success as well as four “ironies” — one of which is today’s conservative opposition to an idea that had wide support among Republicans.“Conservatives have demonized their own policy innovation,” Stavins said.Other ironies include that the government did the right thing — reduce sulfur dioxide emissions — for the wrong reason: to clean up the environment. Estimates of the program’s benefits put the price of health improvements from improved air quality far higher than benefits to lakes and forests.Another irony was that unrelated government action — rail deregulation — helped ensure the success of this environmental policy. Deregulation lowered the cost of shipping lower-sulfur coal around the country, making a more environmentally friendly fuel cheaper. Stavins’ fourth point was that what the government gives, it can take away. Despite the program’s success, recent judicial decisions and regulatory changes have essentially brought it to an end.Cap and trade was considered a possible way to lower U.S. carbon dioxide emissions to fight climate change until the 2009 battles in Congress, which saw legislation pass the House and then die in the Senate. Republican opponents focused on a key difference between the 1990 and 2009 plans. In the cap and trade proposed for carbon dioxide, rather than giving away emission permits to get the system started, the law would have auctioned them off to emitters. This caused Republicans — some of whom doubt climate change science anyway — to fight against it as a tax.Objections based on fact or approach could have been negotiated, Stavins said. But instead of seeking explanation or compromise, the opposition mounted a campaign to demonize the legislation, labeling it “cap and tax” and in the process tarnishing the whole approach, he said.The political demise of a cap-and-trade system leaves a straight-out carbon tax as an alternative, which Stavins said has even less chance of passage.“If it is easy to demonize cap and trade as a tax, it’s a lot easier to demonize a tax as a tax,” Stavins said. “That probably means, given the political challenges of a carbon tax, the outlook for national policy is not good.”last_img read more

Pop-up innovation space showcases library projects

first_imgThe Labrary, open for public exploration through December 21, is a storefront space envisioned and realized by students in Harvard’s Library Test Kitchen course. Projects that explore and celebrate the library of the future include:Bookface, Nicholas RivardBookface is an online photo opera that invites Labrary visitors to reflect on their relationship with the digital while posing in a murder mystery photo booth–death by technology.Recon-Texts, Gabrielle PatawaranRecon-Texts is a platform for publishing literary mix-tapes, composed by copy and paste collections gleaned from the ‘library’ that is the Internet, and takes the form of a textbook/notebook hybrid for the creation of new narratives.Graham Grams, Rola Idris, Pablo RoqueroThink information lasts forever? Print an edible telegram with Graham Gram, a graham cracker and icing printer.The Speaking Library, Chris MolinskiThe Speaking Library is an online archive at www.speakinglibrary.org. The anonymous audio recordings document an oral history of the library. What is your earliest memory of a library?Digita Table of the Present Time, Arielle Assouline-LichtenDigita is a snapshot of the way we digitize information today, freezing the speed of digital technology into the physical reality of a wood table top.last_img read more