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Thoughts and Hallucinations

Blog from Mayday

A new article was just accepted by a journal called Water History, the story of a water district created in Albuquerque as population exploded after World War II and how it eventually led to a flood control system that continues to this day. It's sort of a conflict-based nonlinear dynamic version of recent literatures on the "hydrosocial cycle." I'm turning into a water geek. It's right under the book cover picture if you'd like to take a look at it.

Since the last home page, another piece in the New Mexico Mercury appeared, next in line after the water article. I put together a panel at the recent meetings of the Society for Applied Anthropology with four of the most experienced and savvy water researcher/activists in New Mexico. Their collective wisdom needed to be summarized, so I wrote my angle on it. The frequency of high profile events in the state calling for collective action on water is getting a little out of hand. But most of the ones I've seen or heard about don't get past chicken little rhetoric. This group did and then some.

Just returned from the University of Kansas. Their anthropology department, already populated with well-known applied anthropologists, wants to remodel their program to have a coherent and comprehensive organization that includes traditional, applied and practicing anthropology under the same umbrella. At the same time, like the department in South Florida did with their governor, they want to connect with changes in the state and the university to show that concerns with health, infrastructure, environment and economic opportunity need to know about the people's live that they are supposedly concerned with. Why the private sector is hiring anthropologists like crazy, realizing that "user experience" is critical, while at the same time governments and universities have a problem with this obvious fact--I don't get it. Maybe because governments and universities see their humans as inconvenient obstacles while business sees them as the reason for their success and failure? At any rate, I was honored that the Consortium of Practicing and Applied Anthropology Programs provided the support that led the Kansans to invite me to come for a week, interview faculty and students, and help shape a way to start the change. If this ambitious transformation works, it will be a model for social science and humanities departments everywhere in the face of the STEM induced delusion that no people are involved.

Speaking of the private sector, an organization called Qual360 asked me to do a workshop based on The Lively Science in Toronto on April 1, an auspicious day if ever there was one. I decided to experiment and give it a try. In the early qualitative days I used to do this kind of thing until the term and the trend wore me out. But this is different, a mix of the new book and more of a business oriented gathering. I put a blurb at the top of the column on the right before it happened. Now it's over and it went well, this with an audience from advertising and marketing. I liked and learned from colleagues at the workshop. I still don't like the fact that consumerism is the major driver of the economy, even though I buy my share of things, mostly shirts and computers. One day I'll write about the event, one way or another.

A couple of other additions are in the column on the left hand side of the page. The design and anthropology item is an e-interview I did with Gavin Melles for a special issue of Arts and Humanities. The topic was design and anthropology, something I know nothing about, but one colleague in the area said it raised a lot of good issues. I mentioned it in an earlier rant about publishing that's now on the blog page. In the end, they did let me write the way I wanted to. The ubereditor even allowed as to how he liked it.

The next item, called "Water dialog meeting," is something I forgot to put on the page earlier. It's another piece I did for The New Mexico Mercury, also an outlet I praised on that earlier blog, about a concept of "water sharing" that was featured at the Water Dialogue annual meeting in January. I saw a glimmer of hope in New Mexico's struggle to handle the future. I think it's the best piece I've done for them so far. Like the e-interview, the editor and publisher, VB Price and Benito Aragon, let me write how I like, but then they always do.

A little further down the list, Kites from Drug Research Rehab also featured in the previous publishing rant. Editors of a special issue of a criminology journal asked me to reminisce about the old days in the drug field. What old timer won't reminisce with the slightest encouragement? The main thing I've learned is, stories from the old days are interesting to the extent that they pass on experience that younger people can build on. The worst thing you can do is the "Fer Krissake, we knew that back in the nineteenth century" routine. That kind of attitude just shows how you don't understand where the new generations are and what it is they need from you to help skip some of the mistakes you made. This article shows, with the perspective of hindsight, how serious errors in policy and treatment during the formative years of the "war on drugs" help explain its obvious failure in 2014, and how at least some of those errors might have been avoided by attended to addict perspectives and realities.

It's been a busy Spring. Now back to Puebla to visit with colleagues around another water project. Life is interesting.
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