Tuesday, January 29, 2019

The View from Flyover Country

This is a review that I posted to Goodreads* in 2018.

I've been telling so many people to read this book, follow Sarah Kendzior on Twitter @sarahkendzior and to listen to her podcast (with Andrea Chalupa,) Gaslit Nation.

This is a compilation of her essays, originally published in newspapers between 2012-2014, organized roughly by theme. This can appear repetitive on the surface, but pay close attention to the dates and the world events she cites.

You can pick up and start reading anywhere.

I highly recommend "The Political Consequences of Academic Paywalls" on pages 136-141. Dr Kendzior received her PhD studying authoritarian regimes in Central Asia. The for-profit journal business model is an inconvenience for physical scientists like myself. But having access to her published research, "Inventing Akromiya: The Role of Uzbek Propagandists in the Andijon Massacre," meant life and death for Uzbeks applying for political asylum.

Russian-backed propagandists honed their skills in Uzbekistan, and then trained their sights on the US. A decade after inventing Akromiya, they invented Antifa.

She is a uniquely qualified voice to explain the larger pattern that we see in current US politics.

Never stop looking critically.

Never stop complaining.

It matters.
* I joined the readers' community before Amazon bought Goodreads and log all my reading and thoughts about the books there. You can see the books I am currently reading on the right and click to see what I'm reading, what I've read, or what I'd like to read. Like fabric, I'm adding more books I want to read than I can read them. ;-)

This book reminds me of the Flyover Country app. Set your route and download geophysical data along your route before you leave the house. If you are sitting in a window seat, the GPS reception on your phone (set in airplane mode) will be able to give you real-time information about features below.  It also works on road trips and when hiking.  It even works in remote areas without cell phone access.

This app has a great backstory. Some geologists at the University of Minnesota came up with the idea and decided to apply for a small grant from a National Science Foundation program. They got approval in 15 minutes instead of the more normal 15 months.
Flyover Country® is a National Science Foundation funded offline mobile app for geoscience outreach and data discovery. Learn about the world along the path of your flight, hike, or road trip with inflight maps and GPS tracking. Offline maps with interactive points of interest and geologic data reveal the locations of landscape features, fossils digs, cities, and more that are visible from your airplane window seat, vehicle, or hiking trail vista.

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