An easy solution to reduce carbon emissions and make concrete that lasts for a really long time.

“The ancient Roman Empire still makes its presence felt throughout Europe. Bathhouses, aqueducts, and seawalls built more than 2000 years ago are still standing—thanks to a special type of concrete that has proved far more durable than its modern counterpart. Now, researchers say they have figured out why Roman concrete remains so resilient: Quicklime used in the mix may have given the material self-healing properties.

The work could help engineers improve the performance of modern concrete, says Marie Jackson, a geologist who studies ancient Roman concrete at the University of Utah, but who was not involved with the research.

The Romans were not the first to invent concrete, but they were the first to employ it on a mass scale. By 200 B.C.E., concrete was used in the majority of their construction projects. Roman concrete consisted of a mixture of a white powder known as slaked lime, small particles and rock fragments called tephra ejected by volcanic eruptions, and water.”

 

“When the team created small cracks in the concrete—as would happen as the material aged—and then added water (as would happen with rainwater in the real world), the lime lumps dissolved and recrystallized, effectively filling in the cracks and keeping the concrete strong, the researchers report today in Science Advances. “This has an incredible impact,” Masic says.

Modern concrete typically doesn’t heal cracks larger than 0.2 or 0.3 millimeters across. The team’s Roman-inspired concrete, in contrast, healed cracks up to 0.6 millimeters across.

Masic hopes the work will inspire today’s engineers to improve their own concrete, perhaps with quicklime or a related compound.”

From Sinfest.

This is a lens shattering essay by Olúfẹ́mi Táíwò who asks us to put aside our current demarcations of African history – Precolonial, Colonial, and Post-Colonial because they obfuscate the rich tapestry that is the history of Africa.

 

 

“When ‘precolonial’ is used for describing African ideas, processes, institutions and practices, through time, it misrepresents them. When deployed to explain African experience and institutions, and characterise the logic of their evolution through history, it is worthless and theoretically vacuous. The concept of ‘precolonial’ anything hides, it never discloses; it obscures, it never illuminates; it does not aid understanding in any manner, shape or form.”

[…]

“Perhaps the most pernicious effect of deploying the various iterations of ‘precolonial’ is the way it marginalises ideas, especially philosophy, in Africa. Because ‘precolonial’ takes colonialism as the dividing line for organising ideas within its temporality and forces us to conceive of spaces relative to how they stand in the arrival and dispersal of colonialism in the continent, we, unwittingly for the most part, end up talking as if ideas, practices, processes and institutions can be understood within frameworks delineated by the precolonial, colonial and postcolonial schema. So, when we are looking at philosophy or modes of governance – to take two arbitrary examples – given our justifiable hostility to things colonial, we construe ‘precolonial’ as necessarily having nothing to do with the colonial, the latter understood as having ‘European’, ‘Western’ or ‘modern’ provenance while, simultaneously, interpreting it as ‘traditional’, ‘indigenous’ and the like.

The misdescription we identified above induces misinterpretation as well as a misrecognition of the genealogy and exchange of ideas, the evolution of institutions, and the identity of thinkers in the area. The problem is profound. Because of the primacy accorded to identity in the business of finding ideas and institutions that could be separated from anything European, Western or modern, African scholars for a long time contorted themselves into finding ‘African philosophy’ that was authentically ‘African’, were even willing to give up on the very term ‘philosophy’ and called their ideational production ‘African Traditional Thought’. The driving question was a matter of whether or not such ideas had been ‘contaminated’ by colonialism and its appurtenant practices, ideas, processes and institutions. When a scholar announces an interest in studying ‘Traditional African Political Thought’, in light of our analysis so far, the first question to ask is whether ‘traditional’ in this formulation has any room for evolution such that we can periodise ‘traditional thought’. Of course, I am assuming what should be obvious: is the thought involved the same throughout history, or were there changes induced by both exogenous and endogenous causes to it, and how are those changes to be understood? The other problem takes us to the next section of this discussion: the problem of facilely deploying an entire continent as a unit of analysis.

Let us recall the temporal framework adopted by Solanke above. Anyone reading his account is immediately enabled to situate his ideas about what transpired in medieval West Africa in relation to what was happening at other places in Africa, nay, the world, within the same temporal boundaries. This enables us to see how similar ideas found in different parts of our world do not have to be explained in terms of influences or common origins. That way, we would have no difficulty identifying African contributions to the global circuit of ideas in ancient times, in medieval times and right to the present. And such contributions would not be limited to so-called ‘authentic’, ‘indigenous’ or ‘traditional’ African fare. The tendency to treat Africa as a unit of analysis motivated by a wrong-headed approach, which took challenging Europe’s ignorant elucidations of African phenomena as the primary object, has issued in genealogies and narratives of intellectual history that bear no resemblance to how things really happened in history, or how African thinkers actually conducted themselves in the global circuit of ideas. This is why Africa hardly ever features in the annals of philosophy, and chronologies in philosophy anthologies do not carry African entries in frameworks demarcated by the Gregorian calendar.”

[…]

“All this would be invisible to the trinity of precolonial, colonial and postcolonial division of African history for organising states and ideas, practices and institutions, processes and thinkers and intellectual movements through time. Tossing the retrograde ‘precolonial’ epithet in the dustbin can bring only gains in expanding our knowledge, enriching our conceptual repertoires, and telling stories that are closer to the truth than the alternative.

It is time to say bye-bye to the idea of a ‘precolonial’ anything in our intellectual discourses respecting Africa.”

I recommend following the link and reading the entire essay, it’s a great read.

This is what brought me to arms. We are fighting against an ideology that not only wants to tear down this society, but to forever live in a state of revolution. It’s unstable bullshit at its finest and must never be allowed to realize its goals.

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