I love seeing and photographing bathroom signs and pictograms during my travels. Signs can often surprise you and tell you a good deal more about the culture and you anticipate. Check out these Flickr groups dedicated to bathroom/toilet signage from around the world.
In his Flags By Color project, Shahee Ilyas uses a list of countries generated by The World Factbook along with the world's national flag images fetched from Wikipedia to produce a series of charts that break down the color proportions for each flag. These proportions of color are then displayed in a single chart revealing the color proportions of all of the flags of the world combined. This project was generated entirely with script.
This dynamic map and the data behind it were compiled by Dr. Henry Niman, a biomedical researcher in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, using technology provided by Rhiza Labs and Google. The map was compiled using data from official sources, news reports and user-contributions.
On Friday 3 October the famous Chinese novelist Yu Hua came to Fabrica for an interesting Lecture titled "My Uncanny and Amusing China".
He told us about China's recent history, traditional mindsets, contradictions, extremisms, and hopes in an enterteining and passionated way.
In particular, he told us about his chilhood, when people could not even use the word "love"; about the fast Chinese economic growth in the last 40 years; and then about the big gaps between people's dreams and desires (from an airplane to a simple pair of shoes!).
In the end, answering to our questions, he talked about the feeling that Democracy is going to be the political goal his country is looking for.
And yet, after having talked about unbelieveble and crazy episodes of his life we can hardly imagine, he could not but smile referring to Italian democracy.
As people sometimes may feel ashamed of what happened in the past, I feel ashamed of "My well known and funny Italy" today!
If you are in Rotterdam and you wanna have an "energetic" dancing night, Watt is finally open and the Sustainable Dance Floor is a reality.
During the last workshop at Fabrica, Cameron Sinclair asked the students to imagine a soccer team club for young people in Zambia. Thinking of the importance of music and dance in that country, Lars, Pushkar, Priya and I tried to think of how to produce electricity and save consumptions.
That's how I discovered Sustainable Dance Club.
SDC invented an Energy Generating Dance Floor that converts the movement of the dancing
crowd into electricity and uses this power to change the
appearance of the floor’s surface.
All visuals are a continuous real-time interaction between the
clubbers on the floor made visible, allowing every individual’s
actions to contribute to the collective experience.
Doing your part for the environment doesn’t have to be boring
but that's spectacular isn't it?
ARS Electronica, Golden Nica Digital Communities
This is a wonderful project. This website is a tool for helping provide rural schools in China with resources they are lacking. The organisation is targeting backpackers in China (of which there are about 300, 000, 000 per year) as their contributors and distributers. They ask them to carry one more kilo in their backpack in the form of books, stationary and other resources to a school along their journey. Backpackers can use the website to get information on the schools in areas they are visiting and connect with them. It's a really nice way for travellers to give back to the places they are visiting, and meet local people.
At the moment the site is only in Chinese, but hopefully we'll see other languages in the future.
The Pictograms of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games integrate pictographic charm of inscriptions on bones and bronze objects in ancient China with simplified embodiment of modern graphics to make them recognizable and easy to use.
Fantasy Maps offers you a whole new world. One that in the past you could only imagine: a collection of maps from various fantasy and science fiction works for your viewing.
From literature, the Bible, television programs, movies to video games. From Atlantis, Lost, Star Wars to Flash Gordon's Mongo, there are many worlds ready to be to explored!
Photographer Jan Jindra presents eminent Franz Kafka from a very different perspective. With beautiful black and white photography, he takes us to the writer's journeys around Europe; his steps, his travels, what he saw, what inspired him.
The photographs are completed with details of Kafka’s relationship with the places, which creates a stronger connection between his life, his unique body of writing and our personal perspective about him. Fascinating!
With the aim to have an identity, countries also have their own logos.
Putting together symbols, colors and typography to represent a whole nation is probably one of the hardest tasks for a designer. See a collection here.
"A Jalousie (French for jealousy) is a window that one can see through but not be seen; barriers that allow us to observe the world without being invited to the table."
Fans of the Ricky Gervais, Steve Merchant and Karl Pilkington podcast, don't stand idly by waiting for the podcast come back on its own. Do something about it and go to this blog and download the poster above, post it and do your part to bring back the record setting show!
It's a somber day at Fabrica, as we mourn Berlusconi's re-election, and the rise in popularity of the Lega Nord (The Northern League) in the region.
A selection of election posters, as seen in Treviso.
Pay particular attention to:
They [Native Americans] couldn't make immigration laws.
Now they live in reserves.
Think about it.
Defend Your Future: Keep Out The Refugees
Vote Lega Nord
If you want more despair, check out this excerpt from a recent Guardian article "Politics of Fear":
And in Treviso, a League councillor recently told a session of the council: "With immigrants, we should use the same system the SS used, punishing 10 of them for every slight against one of our citizens."
The mayor of Treviso, also of the League, once said: "We ought to dress [immigrants] like lepers to go 'bang, bang, bang' with a rifle." The League's election poster showed three white sheep kicking out a black one.
Thanks to Scott for the finding the posters, and Piero for the translations.
Social posters are one of my biggest passions. They communicate, exhort, persuade, instruct, celebrate or warn. Their graphic message has the power to open our eyes, to make us think and perhaps to change our mind.
The Graphic Imperative is a compilation of 121 international posters for peace, social justice and environment, created during 1965 - 2005. It is also an iconic exhibition that travels mostly all around USA.
Here you will find the itinerary and here the inspiring posters.
The Golden Age of Travel occurred between 1890 and the outbreak of World War II. In this period, hotels abounded and the various modes of transport reached their glorious apogee. The labels, which were placed on luggage by railroads, steamships or hotels as advertising, beautifully capture the spirit of the era as small reproductions with vivid colours.
From 1920 until 1933, alcohol sale, manufacture and transportation were banned throughout the United States.
‘Lips That Touch Liquor Shall Not Touch Ours’ was a political slogan used by the Anti-Saloon League, the leading prohibitionist organization, using, once again, the legal system to solve a social problem.
Here you can find (more comical than serious) vintage anti-drinking ads used during those -very scary- days.
Dawn at Waitangi, Bay of Islands, Aotearoa (New Zealand), this morning.
It's Waitangi Day, and I'm homesick. I should be on holiday, soberly reflecting on the Treaty of Waitangi and the effects of colonisation. I should be signing petitions to change the flag and to get rid of the Queen. I wish I was listening to Poi-E, and drinking a beer, at the beach, in an act of low-key biculturalism.
A national strike promoted by truck drivers has brought Italy on the edge of a crisis. Without trucks you don't carry around fuel nor any other good. Consequences? In some cities, fruit and vegetables prices rose as much as 100%. Some industries idled thousands of workers because of a lack of supplies.
Finally, two days ago truck drivers found an agreement with the Government (they were protesting high gasoline prices, long working hours and foreign competition) and everything is now going slowly back to normality. Yet it was pretty impressive to see how fast a country can turn into an absolute chaos and how miserable we would be if we ran out of oil tomorrow.
Via Biagio Rampante
Wieden + Kennedy is seeking for people who can turn thrash into pixelated heat. Old-fashioned thinking for the modern world and vice versa. People whose migraines are made of words and pictures.
This advertising company has offices in Portland, New York, Amsterdam, Tokyo, London, Shanghai and Delhi.
Click here to apply.
Greek station Galaxy 92 put together a set of print ads called "DOGMA" with help from Lowe out of Athens. According to writer Nadia Santorinaiou, the campaign, being inclusive, targets multiple music demos.
The first poster says “Black people are the future of music.” The second: “Hard Rock is the Real Cultural revolution,” and the last one explains: “I bless America for Rock ‘n Roll.” Interesting (and brave) approach.
This poster is part of an anti-discrimination campaign launched by Tuscany's regional government (Italy) and is accompanied by the slogan: "Sexual orientation is not a choice."
But have provoked controversy and conservative politicians have condemned it, saying that "Exploiting newborns to suggest that homosexual tendencies are innate is a misleading and shameful act."
The Centre Pompidou’s Fabrica: les yeux ouverts exhibition goes to China following an invitation by the Shanghai Cultural Development Foundation.
The exhibition will be open until November 11 at the Shanghai Art Museum as part of the Shanghai eArts Festival.
To find more information, click here.
How has the geography of religion evolved over the centuries, and where has it sparked wars? This map gives us a brief history of the world's most well-known religions: Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Judaism. Selected periods of inter-religious bloodshed are also highlighted. See 5,000 years of religion in 90 seconds.
In anticipation of the upcoming issue of Colors, check out this video.
Statement from Scott Wayne Indiana's project site reads:
"Most braille found in public exists as pragmatic directions. This project is an attempt to create a unique moment for a blind person who might happen across one of these bits of braille graffiti. 5 different phrases were peppered around Portland, Oregon in late August, 2007. The visible title is included in an attempt to draw attention to all who pass making it more likely for a blind person to come in contact with the words via suggestion from friends or passersby. This was a strategy that arose in an interview with a blind person who wished to remain anonymous."
Very interesting stuff. enjoy.
If you are looking for figures and statistics, World Clock is an online tool for ticking figurative information about a range of issues. The data updates itself with each passing second. You can look up World population, births, deaths, diseases like AIDS, TB etc. abortion rates, internet points, divorces, earth temperature, species extinct and a lot more.
Rita Botelho, our newest team member in the Product Design department shares this with us.
Jack Goodman from Florida seems to finally have found the proof for a controversial theses:
He built this cart to end an long argument on the Amateur Yacht Research Society website (ayrs.org) about whether DWFTTW (Down Wind Faster Than the Wind) is possible. In the end it led to more discussions, with some believing the video is a hoax. However, for me it looks reasonable. Check also Jack's writeup (PDF).
I am impressed by the google earth feature about the crisis in Darfur. The testimonials, pictures and videos are a good way to start to understand the dimensions of this terrible genocide happening right now.
From our dear friend Matteo Cibic:
If you access to the site with a webcam it will randomly connect you with another person in the world just for 5 minutes. There is no way to meet the other person again if you didn't exchange your contacts during those 5 minutes.This site works only if many many people from around the world keep connecting every moment...
Here comes the second part of the interview with Typographer Wim Crowel from the Netherlands (even he can compete in terms of body language very well with the Italians...).
Via Swiss Legacy
This guy created a fake ad for Gucci using a photo of himself, and asked the Swiss weekly SonntagsZeitung to run it, which it did. He also told the paper to send the $50,000 bill to Gucci, which it did. Now the paper is trying to find the guy, which it can't. Link
Once a week, one cinema in Treviso (cinema Edera) shows a movie in original language. This is the only chance for us to see a movie without struggeling with our miserable Italian skills. This time it was Al Gore's 'An Inconvinient Truth', trying to make people aware of what going on with our planet. And people start to react. Our programmer Julia will not use her car anymore this sommer, celeberties like Pharrell speak up. Here is his statement (I know it's also propaganda, but it's for a good purpose): http://video.msn.com/v/us/fv/msnbc/fv....
My god, the president of the United States has the same pop up book as I do...!!!
The New York Times has published a very interesting diagram of words used by George W. Bush in his State of the Union speeches over the years. See what he's talking about.
The world is edging closer to nuclear or environmental apocalypse, a group of prominent scientists warned as it pushed the hand of its symbolic Doomsday Clock closer to midnight.
The clock, which was set two minutes forward to 11:55, represents the likelihood of a global cataclysm. Its ticks have given the clock’s keepers a chance to speak out on the dangers they see threatening Earth.
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, which sets the clock, was founded in 1945 as a news-letter distributed among nuclear physicists concerned about nuclear war, and midnight originally symbolized a widespread nuclear conflict. The bulletin has grown into an organization focused more generally on manmade threats to civilization.
“The dangers posed by climate change are nearly as dire as those posed by nuclear weapons,” said Kennette Benedict, director of the bulletin.
Stephen Hawking, the renowned astrophysicist, said global warming has eclipsed other threats to the planet. “Terror only kills hundreds or thousands,” he said. “Global warming could kill millions. We should have a war on global warming rather than . . . terror.”
This is the first time the group explicitly addressed climate change dangers.
London Free Press, through our dear miserychick.
And we are back! First this... it was the news on xmas break and a cold hard shock in cosy family Christmas mood: James Brown is dead. James Brown, one of my favorite Singer, died of heart failure Dec. 25 after having checked into the hospital a day earlier with pneumonia.
The Godfather of Soul has gifted us songs like Sex Machine or I Feel Good, lines like "Say it Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud" and is one of the great influences for many other artists like Michael Jackson or Prince.
Here is a video from one of his great concert, where I wish to have been there... Rest in peace James Brown.
Made me smile, what he says about Italy...
More Swiss, and some of it's best. FLAG was founded in Zurich four years ago by Bastien Aubry and Dimitri Broquard. They make mainly books and posters. www.flag.cc
Ad for a mexican Newspaper. Via thefwa.
In Iran you still can get in a lot of troubles for expressing your thoughts. The more impressive it is to find a website dedicated to Iranian artists who do exactly that. And they are good. Please visit their gallery here: www.kolahstudio.com/Underground/?cat=22
Painting by Serhiy Kolyada.
So I'm not really the wedding type and therefore never really think much about what I would want for my wedding... but this cake just made me compile a list...
I would totally have a wedding if the cake is this good:
Check out detailed photos and info of the baker from the Flickr set.
You can do just about everything you ever want to do in a video game: shoot an AK47, drive the best car, save a life, die and reborn (again and again and again) and now, you can go to Harvard Law.
Interesting article from Japan Times
Hardcore manga fans around the world are taking their Japanese comics off the shelf and putting them into the microwave.
"They do that so the glue melts, which allows them to take apart the volume page by page so they can be scanned easily," ...
Why would folks do that to their precious and costly imported comic books? Because they are "scanlators," a growing community of fans whose love of Japanese manga drives them to take each page, scan it into their computer, then translate the material from Japanese into English and upload it to the Internet for a wider audience to enjoy for free.
Read more: Fans lift J-culture over language barrier
(image from a scanlated Naruto Pilot)
Back in March, I blogged about the construction of the Bangkok Mega Bridge which uses the largest movable scaffolding system in the world. This bridge was constructed to help ease the traffic congestion around the BKK port. I'm telling you, the traffic congestion is a mega problem there, such that it requires a mega bridge...
Reader/visitor Suresh has informed me that bridge is now opened:
In his words: "Well the Mega Bridge is finished and the opening held yesterday (9/9/2549 - Thai calendar year. The bridge, despite its size is spectacular and highlighted by low energy digital lighting."
If that's El or LED lights, those are the biggest one I had ever done seen!
More about BKK Mega Bridge from 2Bangkok.
Oh, we love anything that signifies the internationalising of culture and language here at Fabrica, so these BoingBoing posts about Chingrish cracked us up.
Especially loving this:
More Perfect is an interesting new site for collaboration on policy prototypes. Built on MediaWiki the site allows anyone to add or change issues or policies. For example, you can rewrite the United States Constitution, and you can question/discuss changes or additions. This is potentially a great tool for evolving policy with a high degree of openness, transparency, and citizen participation.
Originally from Worldchanging.com
Have a look at this fascinating site with many pictures detailing disused and 'lost' stations on the London Underground Network...
Originally from Digg
Which are the new frontiers of space turism?
Read an interesting article from Usa Today
Originally from Asahi Shimbun (Japan)
There are many haiku poems about split-second movements made by insects. A haiku by Suju Takano, printed in the "Oriori no Uta" (A Poet's Notebook) section of the July 20 issue of The Asahi Shimbun, depicted the moment when a ladybird opens its wings and takes off.
Satoshi Kuribayashi, a 67-year-old nature photographer, captures such scenes on film. Kuribayashi's latest book, titled "Kuribayashi Satoshi no Konchu Wonderland" (Satoshi Kuribayashi's insect wonderland) and published by The Asahi Shimbun, contains photos that invariably wow children and adults alike. There is nothing special about close-up pictures of insects, but what sets Kuribayashi's work apart is that the backgrounds against which the insects are portrayed are also in sharp, crisp focus.
There is an innovative and ecclectic place in Gallipoli, Lecce, Italy. It is an old small villa devoted to be both a gallery and a bed & breakfast. The Artists' House is indeed an exhibition space but it is also a B & B equipped to receive artists from all over the world who want to exhibit here their works and, at the same time, spend a delightful holiday. Each room or suite is named after famous artists of the past such as Mondrian, Van Gogh, Leonardo, D'Annunzio, Canova, Bach.
So if you go to Lecce don't forget to see this unusual but very original B&B!
Is it possible to be both an environmentalist and a super-rich petrolhead?
Read the curious article from Mail & Guardian (South Africa)
Can you say, the future is here!?!?
Japanese roboticist Hiroshi Ishiguro clones himself, android-style. His incredibly lifelike mechanical double, "Geminoid HI-1," sometimes takes his place in meetings and classes.
Geminoid can be operated remotely so the robot reproduces the voice, posture and lip movements of Ishiguro, who wears a motion-capture system. A mouseclick raises a hand or finger.
Ishiguro, whose job is teaching at Osaka University, an hour's drive away, designed Geminoid so he could "robot in" to his classes and skip the commute. As he steps out from behind a curtain like the Wizard of Oz, standing beside his robot self, the shift is disconcerting.
Read the whole story from Wired: Meet the Remote-Control Self
In a world where I can receive news about the middle east conflict, the heatwave in the u.s., the stem cell research, indonesia tsunami, train bombings in india all at once whie sitting in a farm in Italy, it is hard to believe there exist places in the world where no outside media can penetrate its country's border. North Korea is one of those places.
The IHT reported on two North Korean defectors' effort to spread the news to the people locked inside Kim Jong Il territorry using DIY bottle-shaped balloons to drop leaflets containing messages from the South to their people in the North once a week. And everyday, their 30-minute radio program penetrates the North Korean radio signal into the homes of the people, broadcasting from their basement studio.
Once a week, Park Sang Hak and his colleagues travel to the border with North Korea and release bottle- shaped balloons. After soaring to an altitude of 2,500 meters, or 8,000 feet, above North Korea, the balloons release their payload: thousands of "freedom doves" - leaflets that describe leader Kim Jong Il as a greedy, womanizing despot with a protruding belly. The North Korean authorities bristle at the intrusion, condemning Kim's operation as psychological warfare sponsored by the United States. But Kim and Park say they are motivated solely by a desire to deliver messages of hope and freedom to starving people trapped in a garrison state. "My goal is to help North Koreans wake up and realize that they are living in a country built with lies," said Kim, head of Free North Korea Radio, or FNK.
Seoul does not back FNK for fear the these blunt criticism might disrupt its already fragile relation with Pyongyang, causing them to retreat further more. The FNK does not have a radio station license.
"If outside radio opens the ears of the North Koreans, our leaflets will open their eyes," Park said. "When their eyes and ears are open, they will open their mouth, speak out and revolt."
Read the full article: North Korean defectors' stealth protest
"The Bulgarians drink the cheapest beer not only in Europe but worldwide, Vladimir Ivanov, Chairman of the Union of Brewers in Bulgaria," informed yesterday.
Read the full story
From New York Times
CBS’s copywriters are referring to the medium as “egg-vertising,” hinting at the wordplay they have in store. Some of their planned slogans: “CSI” (“Crack the Case on CBS”); “The Amazing Race” (“Scramble to Win on CBS”); and “Shark” (“Hard-Boiled Drama.”). Variations on the ad for its Monday night lineup of comedy shows include “Shelling Out Laughs,” “Funny Side Up” and “Leave the Yolks to Us.”
Another one-and-only Bush moment at the G8:
(also see our earlier post about Bush at the G8 w/ Angela Merkel)
That just reminded me of this video of Berlusconi, and wow wee, aren't we glad this baffoon is not representing at the G8 too. Imagine what a frat house the G8 would have been.
Having started the week with news surrounding war in the middle east, I don't feel like blogging about design, art, funny or weird things today. It is quite hard to chew down all this press, but here's a new item that might be educational...
Pain Ray is a nickname for "Active Denial System", which is a new weapon developed out of "directed energy" research for the U.S. military. The Pain Ray 'fires out millimeter waves -- a sort of cousin of microwaves, in the 95 GHz range. The invisible beams penetrate just 1/64th of an inch beneath the skin, directly affecting the nerve endings, and a 2-second burst can heat the skin to 130 degrees. Charles Heal, a widely recognized authority on nonlethal weapons who has dubbed the ray the "Holy Grail of crowd control," likened it to having a hot iron pressed against the skin. ' (link)
Pain Ray is non lethal. It does not kill, but hurts. Hurts a lot.
The next we have on the agenda is the Death Ray, a weapon that fires out microwave, similar to ones we have in our kitchen. If you have seen what the microwaves can do to a marshmallow, you can probably imagine what a microwave ray gun can do to a living body.
There is an Italian-made documentary about the existence of these weapons: http://www.rainews24.it/ran24/inchieste/guerre_stellari_iraq.asp
(also available in English)
Brett Wanger president of the California Center for Strategic Studies have started an online petition calling for U.S. Congress to oppose the development and deployment of these crazy things. You can sign it too.
If Congress somehow pass these weapons for usage (allegedly they've planned to deploy it in Iraq), I hope they test it on the congressmen and women first.
From Art Newspaper Editorial & Commentary
Venice is threatened by crumbling infrastructure and rising sea levels, and also by the inexorable growth in the number of visitors. But with effective management, one problem could solve the other. The gates that let the tourists in could pay for the gates that keep the waters out.
If you walk through the streets of New York City you can meet Justin Gignac, a guy who picks up trash, boxes it up and sells it as art.
Read more about this project!
The last remaining trouve of Albert Einstein's personal family letters is being opened to the public this week.
Today there’s the start of the tenth antiracist world show in the Enza di Montecchio park in the province of Reggio Emilia. The teams taking part are made up of ultras from all over Europe. Finally they can get rid of some energy on the field. They are people from outside Europe and from European youth associations. The organisers haven’t overlooked any detail. They have decided to invite a French football team to the tournament. A team that is rigorously made of whites who are Catholics. It is well known that French racism has now gone beyond all limits.
Even more attention is given to the study of happiness by researchers, psychologists and Nobel Prize laureates. Is happiness becoming part to rare and valuable goods?
BBC NEWS has recently presented a reportage about Happiness Formula and Happiness Manifesto
Here you can read also an interesting essay by Daniel Kahneman (Winner of the 2002 Nobel Prize in Economics) about Experienced Utility and Objective Happiness
A tiny electric generator engine provides the power, and the passenger accommodation is a bamboo platform that rests on top of two sets of wheels. A dried-grass mat to sit on counts as a luxury.Link (via Neatorama)
It would be a white-knuckle ride - if there were actually anything to hold on to.
The bamboo trains reach about 40km/h (25mph), with the track just a couple of inches below the passengers. Warped and broken rails make for a bone-shaking journey...
Low fares add to the appeal, but the service is not without its quirks. There is only one track - so if two trains meet, the one with the lightest load has to be taken off the rails so the other can pass.
Congrats Italia, now we wait for the final!!!
July 2, 2006 marked the 30th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Gregg v. Georgia, an historic ruling that upheld newly crafted death penalty statutes and signaled the beginning of the modern era of capital punishment.
I really hope we won't celebrate this unusual anniversary anymore..............
An interesting article from Outlookindia about the effect of football frenzy viewed by the Israelian giornalist Ury Avnery .
"So you know, all I had to do was let my Mac run your Windows"
"Yeah, you got me there, why didn't I ever think of that one?"
Wired News has an interesting article about the homeless and their usage of technologies:
Many of those now living without a permanent roof over their heads have cell phones in their pockets or laptop computers at their hips. While people living in shelters and alleys have found it difficult to cross social divides, the digital divide seems to disappear on the streets. Nearly all homeless people have e-mail addresses, according to Michael Stoops, director of the National Coalition for the Homeless. "More have e-mail than have post office boxes," Stoops said. "The internet has been a big boon to the homeless."
Helping the homeless get e-mail addresses has been a priority for years at shelters across the country. And in an age when most every public library in the nation offers internet access, the net has proven a perfect communication tool for those without a firm real-world address.
"Because of technology, people are able to keep in contact with their families," Stoops said. And perhaps most importantly, they are able to get some footing in society regardless of how removed from it they may feel.
Homeless with technologies also earn income online, create MySpace accounts, blog, etc. The blogging scene among the homeless is actually quite a hot topic.
What happens when you combine 200 liters of Diet Coke and over 500 Mentos mints? It's amazing and completely insane.
The first part of this video demonstrates a simple geyser, and the second part shows just how extreme it can get. Over one hundred jets of soda fly into the air in less than three minutes.
It's a hysterical and spectacular mint-powered version of the Bellagio Fountains in Las Vegas, brought to you by the mad scientists at EepyBird.com.
See the video fromhttp://eepybird.com/!
Beijing's historic layout, which dates back six hundred years to the time of the Ming Dynasty, consists of hutongs, narrow alleyways that run in a maze-like fashion around the centre of the city. The hutongs, while revered as a direct link to China's venerated past, are also regarded as a source of shame – representing a backward way of living that Beijing does not want the world to see in 2008 for the summer Olympics.
The character Chai that means "destruction" or "destroy" earmarks the building to be demolished
The destruction of hutongs has been taking place for a number of years, but since Beijing was awarded the Olympics, the rate at which they are now being cleared has increased exponentially.
According to UNESCO, in the past three years a third of the 62km squared area that makes up the central part of the old city has now been destroyed. This has displaced close to 580,000 people.
The overwhelming feeling amongst many locals is one of reluctance that they cannot do anything about what is happening to them. Frustration by some residents escalated in 2003 with a spate of suicide attempts, aimed at highlighting the hutong clearance plight.
The true impact of these events may only be fully seen after 2008, when the construction dust has settled slightly over a post-Olympics Beijing. What is clear now is that a fundamental way of life that has existed for hundreds of years is being destroyed. It is a bittersweet irony that the very 'Chinese flavour' the Communist Party want to project to the outside world in 2008 and beyond, is swiftly disappearing.
The article made me think of Baron Haussmann. Wikipedia writes: "There are two views of Baron Haussmann: One depicts him as the man who destroyed Old Paris, and the other as the man who created New Paris."
A curious website:http://www.nomasfutbol.es/
" "We, the Women for a Football-free Spain/Great Britain, rise against the World Cup tournament".
The Rules for their husbands
1. Stop the World Cup: abolish the tournament, now and forever.
2. We will not tolerate to be left in the offside position any longer.
3. Grass is for cows. They eat it and shit on it.
4. A ball in the house = A ball less elsewhere.
5. Each and every hour of televised football will have to be compensated with two hours of Sex and the City / Friends / Desperate Housewives. Prime Time.
6. The WFE will use any means necessary to publicise its views: demonstrations, public stunts, petitions... We don't exclude any measure.
7. Each goal scored by England will have to be compensated with one afternoon of shopping. At man's expense.
8. Each garment or collection of accessories that is meant to even closely resemble the cross of St George will be punished with a one-week strike. For example: white shirt with red cross + face paint in same colours = not getting any for two weeks.
9. Watching the games with your mates down local boozer will have to be followed by a breakfast served in bed the next morning. For which you will be clean, shaven and sober.
10. All remote controls in the house are subject to WFE's authority.
11. In case of breach of one or several of these rules, we will leave you!
Scientology backs driver at Irwindale, joining retailers and others seeking an audience.
The Church of Scientology is spreading its gospel to NASCAR, starting in Irwindale.
The religion that counts actor Tom Cruise and other Hollywood luminaries among its followers now backs a La Verne stock car driver, Kenton Gray.
Originally from Los Angeles Times
All non-commercial copying and use should be completely free. File sharing and p2p networking should be encouraged rather than criminalized. Culture and knowledge are good things, that increase in value the more they are shared. The Internet could become the greatest public library ever created.Gwax!)
The monopoly for the copyright holder to exploit an aesthetic work commercially should be limited to five years after publication. Today's copyright terms are simply absurd. Nobody needs to make money seventy years after he is dead. No film studio or record company bases its investment decisions on the off-chance that the product would be of interest to anyone a hundred years in the future. The commercial life of cultural works is staggeringly short in today's world. If you haven't made your money back in the first one or two years, you never will. A five years copyright term for commercial use is more than enough. Non-commercial use should be free from day one.
We also want a complete ban on DRM technologies, and on contract clauses that aim to restrict the consumers' legal rights in this area. There is no point in restoring balance and reason to the legislation, if at the same time we continue to allow the big media companies to both write and enforce their own arbitrary laws.
From an Associated Press report we see evidence that Japanese consumers are adapting lifestyles like those TreeHugger embraces. “A U.S. lifestyle concept that combines consumerism with a bit of ecological conscience is proving a hit in shopping-crazy Japan, where workaholic "salarymen" are looking for quick fixes for stress and thinking green is becoming fashionable.” "...A Tokyo department store has a section for LOHAS goods . Magazines are singing the praises of the LOHAS lifestyle, including yoga, organic wine, aroma therapy and the option of bringing your own grocery bag”. Reportedly, “the idea is going mainstream in a much bigger way in Japan than in the U.S..”
Via: the Daily Camera .
WOW! organic wine, aroma therapy, and bringing your own grocery bag is now SO IN! I am so hip, you guys!
Gearing up for the much anticipated World Cup, Berlin's new glass-topped Hauptbahnhof (that means central station for you anglos), opened last Saturday with speech from Chancellor Merkel, free concerts, and over-the-top laser light and firework shows. It is Europe's LARGEST (thus deserving the cap letters) train station, complete with large shopping mall and food court inside.
The opening was well attended by almost 200,000 people, so well attended in fact, that it drew attention of some psycho teenage kid to go and stab some unlucky opening attendees.
Just how cool this station is, we'll wait and see. We're sending some soccer-crazed fabricanti to Berlin during the World Cup and hopefully he'll show us some pics.
"You are invited to join your fellow hitchhikers in mourning the loss of the late great one. Join in on towel day to show your appreciation for the humor and insight that Douglas Adams brought to all our lives."
(via Boing Boing)
Wikipedia is looking for graphic designers and visual thinkers to submit proposals for an overhaul of Wikipedia's "corporate identity"!!!
In Colombia, the Nukak-Makú who have lived in the wild for generations have emerged from the forest and abandoned their old environment. Having no concept of money, clothes or modern living practises, they are set to remain in the city, rather than returning to the forests. It is a strange phenomenon that communities like this still exist and I wonder how the government and its people will handle the changes as the Nukak-Makú's lifestyles will change drastically from hunting and gathering to working for a living.
Seems like a movie plot, only this time it's real.
straight from the jungle book!
i like maps.
i dedicate this clip to Juan
A recent New York Times article gives us an important lesson on the damage incurred by chemical “spills,"—despite the best efforts to clean them up. In 1986, when a plant near Basle, Switzerland had a chemical spill, millions of fish for hundreds of miles downstream Germany’s Rhine river were killed, and Rhine salmon wiped out. Thanks to an initiative by Dutch minister of water resources Neelie Kroes, salmon is back. In some parts, you can actually see them leaping through the air. But this Rhine, as the article’s headline tells us, is “No Longer Europe's Sewer, but Not the Rhine of Yore.” Now, salmon from Ireland, France, Scotland, and Scandinavia call the river home. They share this aquatic turf with immigrants including a small crab, which moved on in when the Danube was connected to the Rhine in 1992 by the Main-Danube canal. It’s frustrating to think, even with a clean-up project carrying a 20-25 billion euro price tag, we can’t quite clean up these “spills.” ::The New York Times
Image Martin Specht for The New York Times.
For reasons that only the dark vengeful lords of hell, dry ice, and mullets know, June 6, 2006 is National Day of Slayer. Link (thanks, Sean Bonner!)
Previously: Numerically cool dates in 2006
A few weeks ago we posted some controvercial photos of street art done in the abandoned city of Pripjat, location of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Now, the artists have put up a website about the project. You can see it here.See yesterday's post for Chernobyl, also the same art project blogged by BenettonTalk.
Today is the 20th anniversary of the Chernobyl Accident. I was only 8 years old when this tragedy happen and vaguely remember the news about a nuclear devastation in what was a super far away place for me.
So to recap for our generation: 20 years ago today, an explosion in the nuclear power plant in the city of Chernobyl, Ukrain (part of the Soviet Union back then) caused a radioactive spillout that spread to the Western Soviet Union, Eastern and Western Europe, UK, and as far as the eastern U.S.
According to one report, the explosion released over 400x more radiation than the atomic bomb of Hiroshima. Today, millions of people are suffering from/will develop some form of cancer due to the exposure.
For more info:
Wikipedia's explanation of the cause, the accidents, and follow up reports done in the past 20 years.
New York Time's article on rising number of thyroid cancer patients, especially amongst the immigrants from the former Soviet Union
Here is amazing picture essay of what the Chernobyl Ghost Town looks like now (picture above taken from this site)
We head for the 'graveyard' itself. The first battered ship, the Lian Run 02 has holes near the waterline. They're so big, I could reach out and put my fist through. The two crewman are cheerful enough - or maybe just happy to see new faces. They'd been waiting there a month, in the hope of getting new crew - so far, there's no sign.JWZ
Next was the crumbling 'Happiness' ship already mentioned, the Zhang Yuan Yu 15. After we wave goodbye to the lone occupant, we head towards the next two ships. They appear roped to each other - the Zhang Yuan Yu 17 and the Lian Run 16. No one answers our calls on the first ship - but I see some movement behind the bridge, a cat... I'm not sure.
We move to the second ship, where again, a bunch of friendly young guys have been sitting at anchor for two months, waiting technical help and a new crew. Their engine doesn't work, and they no safety gear or radio. They can, however, run their watermaker, for desalinating seawater. Lines of drying fish hang over the deck, but they're running out of other food, and are often forced to signal other fishing boats for help. Like everyone else, their future is uncertain.
When I was visiting my sister in Bangkok during the new year holiday, my taxi driver missed an exit on the freeway which resulted in us having to cross a bridge to make a u-turn. While crossing the Rama IV bridge and thinking to myself, 'man, this bridge is huuuge,' I noticed that there's construction going on for another bridge just up the river. And it looked waaaay bigger just as a construction. "HOLY S***, that other bridge is gunnabe HUMONGOUS!" The taxi driver told me what the construction was for, but he certainly didn't seem impressed by the size of the scaffoldings. He was more concerned about how you'd be able to bypass certain roads. And now I know:
In order to relieve the commercial traffic congestion around the industrial areas of Bangkok Port, Poochao Saming Phrai Road and Suksawat Road the King initiated the idea of a ring road system." Now in construction, the Industrial Ring Road Bridge (aka Mega-Bridge) stretches 13 km and required the demolition of 881 houses and factories and the commissioning of the world's largest moveable scaffolding system.(vie Eyeteeth)
It's election time again, in my homeland and Mr. Uribe is struggling to push his most controversial move: Reelection. After he managed to change the law about it (Reelection was not allowed), he is running for president. Again.
I don't know how common this is, but it seems they want to appeal to younger people by getting MySpace accounts?
and another polititian:
Election time is a travesti.
You may have heard by now about the ground-breaking Beastie Boys concert documentary Awesome; I Fucking Shot That! Well, if you werent lucky enough to catch it at Sundance or SXSW, you may still get your chance for a sneak preview. The film opens in limited cites on March 31 but wouldnt it be so much cooler to be the first on your block to see it? And what if you could watch it at the same time as thousands of other fans across the country, or at least in your time zone? On March 23, Awesome will be digitally presented at nearly 200 theaters nationwide at 8pm local time through Big Screen Concerts.
I am really excited by the idea of cinema as a national (regional or global) event moviegoers experiencing the show at the same time as the rest of the country. According to their press release, THINKFilm is pursuing a non-traditional release strategy in keeping with the imaginative style of filmmaking as well as the punk rock nature of the band. Fans who attend the March 23 preview screenings will also see "A Day in the Life of Nathanial Hornblower," a 30-minute David Cross short created specifically for this one-time event, which will then self-destruct, never to be seen again (except online, of course).
The Beastie Boys have long been known for their DIY attitudes and support of mix culture. They encourage fans to download samples and a capella tracks from their website to create mash-ups. They took that sentiment one step further in the creating of Awesome; I Fucking Shot That! Awesome is not your average concert film as you may be able to guess from the title. The majority of the footage was shot by fans themselves. At a concert at Madison Square Garden, the band handed out 50 Hi8 cameras to fans in the audience with the only instructions: Start the camera at the beginning of the show and dont stop it until its finished. The result is a concert film from the view of the fans themselves and celebrating the concert-going experience. The shots are shaky and grainy and you cant always see the band. One fan filmed his trip to the bathroom and another documented his successful attempt to get backstage. Its truly a film about the fans, by the fans, for the fans, and a real model of participatory media. I dont know about you, but on March 23, Im fucking going to see this movie!
(Posted by Micki Krimmel in Global Culture Art, Music, Fashion, and Travel at 10:28 PM)
'El Tiempo' (Colombia's leading newspaper) reported that Mr. Willys had made some strong comments about Colombia, in an interview for his upcoming movie '16 blocks'. It seems he said that the U.S. should invade Colombia and do 'whatever it takes' to stop drugs traffic. I was unable to confirm this story, since i can't find a single link about it on the Internet (?).
Now, Andres Pastrana (Colombian Ambassador in the U.S. and ex-president, famous for his failed talks with F.A.R.C, among other embarassing things....) has written a letter to Willys, basically inviting him over to show him that 'more than 44 million Colombians fight drugs every day' and that consumption as well production need to be solved, if the war on drugs is to be won.
This is a stupid story but funny still. As a kid, i watched all of Mr. Willy's movies and now.... seeing your childhood heroes act like right-wing ignorant idiots... i feel a bit stupid for liking those movies to being with. I recently re watched 'Commando' with mr. Arnold. talk about single-minded, ridiculous stereotypes....
ANNNnnnnnyway.... this is the link to the letter:
BoingBoing reader Jit in Thailand says,
post about today's demonstrations, full blog-coverage here.
Thai television has been notorious for remaining silent when historic events are happening.
Right now history is happening -- a mob is marching on Government House with the intent to overthrow the Thaksin administration.
What is Thai broadcast television showing? This.
Full coverage of the recent unrest is here -- this is what blogs are for!
A robot examines the body of a terrorist/freedom fighter in Bagdad, Irak.
Via 20 minutos.
The China Connection, part 1.
This panel discusses the role that European media arts and technology organisations have been playing in the recent developments of a Chinese media-cultural agenda. It asks how Chinas new electronic media artists deal with the social potentials of globally connected media technologies - from CCTV through cryptography to open source software, with all their attached cultural dimensions.
Here's a few notes on what was being said during the panel (which included only one Chinese and three Dutch speakers!)
As a foreigner, Adriaansens found China very hard to understand, it's very big, there are many cultures, many languages but at the same time, the country is very coherent and is strongly controlled by the governement. People expect China to take a leading edge on technology and economy. So far the US is the strongest in terms of economy and technology and when it imports some of it to us, Americans embed deep cultural elements in them. The same thing will happen when the technology we'll use will come from the East.
Lu Jie: artist and media activist, 25000 Cultural Transmission Centre, Beijing.
The internet power is amazing. Whatever the attempts of the Chinese government, the power of internet is beyond its control or censure. The benefit are immense, especially for grassroot people, think about the agricultural society, people living in remote areas, etc. Example: The Super Girls contest (similar to American Idol), during the 2500 edition 400 million people watched the TV programme continuously during months. They didn't care about war, Tsunami or anything else. On the final night of the competition, 8 million people voted with their mobile phones. It was the most democratic vote in the history of the country. There are clubs, fans and fundations to back the candidates. Some say this new way to bring people together is a revolution.
Today's highly successful new media artists in China are criticised by the young generation. They say that these artists are just producing works to please the curators of art biennales not to investigate or reflect on society. They know what art curators like and make work especially for them. On the other hands, the students of art school admit that they are not being educated to reflect on society only learn the techniques. There's so much money to make in art in China these days that parents are no longer pushing their children to study engineering or law but also art.
The Super Girl contest can also be regarded as a perversion of democracy, as a way to distract people from crucial issues. Or one could stress that it's the first sign of some kind of democracy.
30 000 persons are employed by the government to read blogs to denounce the "bad" ones or counter act (writing long comments explaining how good the government is acting).
Xiao Yu's Ruan
Jie: the media is totally beyond control in China. Think about that artist who cut into pieces and ate an aborted baby. The artist is still walking free in the streets. China's situation is very complex.
On March 30, at 19.00 Tangent:Leap, a meeting at V2_ in Rotterdam about the emergent blogosphere in China. The event will be streamed live.
You guys know im all for doing art about the Colombian conflict. However making a t-shirt of it, giving partialized information about a known terrorist group and pledging to give $5 per t-shirt to them is damn right insulting.
Again, it comes from some Danish group and im sure just like the other Danish who did somthing like this in the past, they also should and will get prosecuted for aiding an international terrorist groups.
its not because its FARC. It's the same thing if it was any other Colombian terrorist group. Any terrorist armed group is just as bad.
C'mon guys, anyone from Colombia will tell you, supporting assasins and kidnappers just ain't right. Do you know how many civilians are killed and kidnapped every day? well thank you for supporting that.
you support murder.
you support kidanpping.
you support cocainn trade.
way to go, assholes.
this is the link and i hope you drop by and tell them what you think:
I'm a sucker. The Harriet Myers supreme court nomination hearings performed its intended effect, much like the ol' fools gold. I was absorbed, and when she was publicly humiliated, vindicated. Once Samuel Alito took her place as the next nominee I could barely care. I paid no attention. And now it seems to me that this was the plan all along. The Bush government selects a decoy. Someone who will cause such an uproar, that the following candidate who is far more conservative and contriversial passes through public opinion without much hurrah.
Thankfully Ted Kennedy stood up last week and summarized brilliantly. I urge everyone to read the contents of this transcript to gain insight into the future of the most powerful military regime in the world.
hmm, so i guess no phone sex business in Bangladesh?
Indian newspaper The Hindu reports today that construction of a five megawatt solar power facility, claimed to be the largest in Asia, is set to beging in the Rashtrapati Bhavan region of India. Most solar power generation in India is currently in the kilowatt or smaller range, providing local and community power in off-grid areas. Programs like the Barefoot Solar Engineers have helped to expand the use of off-grid solar in India. The five megawatt project will be part of an ongoing attempt to increase the use of renewable sources for grid electricity.
(Posted by Jamais Cascio in QuickChanges at 12:57 PM)
What a crappy year indeed.
Best viewed while listening to "Wicked world" of Daniel Johnston
According to one estimate, as many as 20% of all podcasts have a spiritual context. Listeners say they enjoy podcasts of their pastor's sermons when they travel, and on Sundays when they miss church. Instead of seeing it as a replacement for "live" worship, listeners see podcasts as an extension.
For churches, podcasting is a relatively inexpensive way to distribute sermons, music and other material to a wide audience -- especially if that audience consists of tech-savvy young people with hectic schedules. With podcasting, churches can promote themselves and increase their reach far beyond their physical radius.
No less a force than the Vatican itself is jumping on the godcasting trend. Vatican Radio has been streaming media for some time, and both popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI have strongly endorsed the use of technology in support of the Catholic Church (indeed, Vatican Radio has been a major part of the Church's ministry since 1931). "The church should not pass up the opportunity to make liturgies and prayers available via podcast, as well as downloadable sermons by 'podpreachers,'" said the magazine La Civilta Cattolica recently.
RELATED: Japanese Buddhists can now "tele-pray" using a webcam and a remote control to manipulate a sacred artifact called a kin.
gotta love the term!
They did him in, Tookie; it is my first capital punishment in California. They say, however, that Texas held the first place in executions while Bush was the governor.Previous Boing Boing posts on Jasmina Tesanovic: Link.
Now Bush has the whole world to sample, to decree who deserves to live and who to die, who is a terrorist and who is a patriot, who can have scissors and who can have guns. Good and bad guys, it all looks like Hollywood and cowboy films. It not only looks like it, it is really is like it.
This Tookie, this black Californian, I don't care if he is guilty or not, I say when interviewed by a TV, as if my opinion mattered: the death penalty is barbarism and a crime against humanity, like torture.
How do you feel? the reporter asks me with tender feelings. What does that matter, I scream, it is not about feelings, it is about human rights.
Here's a related piece by Michael Krikorian in the LA Weekly: Link to "Tookie’s Mistaken Identity -- On the trail of the real founder of the Crips."
One of the many troubling aspects of global warming is the possibility of feedback effects, where changes resulting from a warming atmosphere serve to further exacerbate the warming. An example of how this could work is the interaction between warming and snow cover. According to Stephan Vavrus at the Unversity of Wisconsin-Madison's Center for Climate Research, if global warming manages to melt off the current snow cover in the far north -- a distinct possibility -- the result would be a further increase in temperature of close to another degree (which would, in turn, further accelerate other effects of temperature increases).
The snow itself does more than reflect the sun's heat; it also serves as insulation for the ground, so that snow-covered soil is warmer than it would be otherwise. As a result, regions now covered in snow would instead see an expansion of permafrost, with resulting damage to structures and roadways in places like Alaska. Of course, as temperatures continue to climb, even that permafrost won't be so permanent...
(Posted by Jamais Cascio in QuickChanges at 01:52 PM)
NYU will begin removing Coca-Cola products from campus today after enacting a campus-wide ban on the Atlanta-based company’s products yesterday because it failed to comply with university demands for an independent investigation into alleged labor violations at its Colombian bottling plant.
About time someone drew the line. Im sad Colombian students never did anything. But very glad to hear this. I hope it catches on 'til someone is forced to give some explanations.
This might interest some of you designer types (and I know you ALL are)...
The Hurrican Poster Project is a collective effort by the design community (in the U.S.) to help raise money for the Red Cross in order to aid the rebuilding of New Orleans after hurricane Katrina.
They're taking donations of limited edition posters from designers and are selling (auctioning, sort of) through their website... The more the poster sells, the higher the prices. The highest price is $300. It looks like you'll have to design the posters, print them out, then ship them to the organization... they take care of raising the money using your work. Could be a nice donation if you want to help but don't have the means.
On the other hand, I think the Red Cross by now had already raised more than a billion dollars in private donations alone during the media frenzy Katrina devastation... but hey, any donation is good money, right? You totally know for sure it's going to be in good hands, right?
And the good news, the Atlantic Hurricane season officially ended yesterday (Nov. 30th).
(thanks filter for the tip on the project)
UK online retailer Good Gifts wants you to buy a Kalashnikov rifle (most likely an AK-47) -- £25. Or perhaps a rocket launcher (£55). Or a tank, for £1000. Not for your own use, mind you, but to provide the raw materials for enterprising blacksmiths and metalworkers in Sierra Leone, who turn the iron and such into "farm implements... hoes and axe heads... pickaxes, sickles and even school bells." A single tank will provide a year's work for 5 blacksmiths, they say, and convert into 3,000 items.
This sounds amazing and clever. Although the Good Gifts site provides few details about how it's accomplished (and how everyone's certain that the AK-47 goes to the blacksmith and not the local militia), the organization behind the site, the Charities Advisory Trust, is reputable, and several UK media outlets have profiled the Good Gifts program.
It's not every day we actually get to turn the modern equivalent of swords into plowshares.
(Posted by Jamais Cascio in QuickChanges at 03:21 PM)
For more than 30 years the 980 people living on the Carteret atolls have battled the Pacific to stop salt water destroying their coconut palms and waves crashing over their houses. They failed.
One week before UN Climate Change conference in Montreal, the Carterets' people became the first to be officially evacuated because of climate change. 10 families at a time will be moved by the authorities to Bougainville, an island 62 miles away. Within two years the six Carterets will be uninhabited and undefended. By 2015 they are likely to be completely submerged.
The Carterets will join many other Pacific islands that are on the point of being swallowed by the sea. According to the Red Cross, the number of people in the Oceania region affected by weather-related disasters has soared by 65 times during the past 30 years. Increased numbers of cyclones, droughts and floods, all predicted by climate change scientists, are making life unviable on many islands. Rising sea levels swamping the islands is the last act of a long, perhaps unstoppable process.
Via The Guardian.
Australian company Energetech is one of the growing number of companies building systems to turn the motion of the ocean into usable energy -- something we've taken to calling "hydrokinetic power." Waves, tides even undersea currents can, in principle, be tapped to generate electricity; the technology is in transition from real-world experiments to early adoption, and the preliminary signs are that the systems can indeed produce usable amounts of power at competitive prices.
Among the first to land in the subcontinent was Kenny Rooney, a 28-year-old from Livingston in Scotland. He had worked in a call centre at home, but after nine months in India says he does not want to return. "This is an incredible country," he said, speaking from Bombay. "I have had a brilliant time and met people from all over the world..."
Young Britons of Indian origin are also finding the jobs offer them a chance to rediscover their roots. Among them is Hasmita Patel, who is also working in Pune. "This has been the best thing I've ever done," said Ms Patel, from Leicester. "It has really allowed me to see the country and get to know people. I've learned so much about myself."
Brilliant! Here\'s your tip to travel India!
The government will finance the finishing of restoration of Tesla's home in a village in central Croatia and turn it into a museum. Conferences and lectures on Tesla's work are also planned.Link (via Fark)
Up to four more eco-cities will be built, though exact locations have not yet been revealed. [...] The eco-cities are intended to be self-sufficient in energy, water and most food products, with the aim of zero emissions of greenhouse gases in transport systems.
Arup's work with the Shanghai expansion, Dongtan, is underway. The first phase, a 630-hectare development intended to house a 50,000-person community, is set to be completed by 2010.
(Posted by Jamais Cascio in QuickChanges at 12:05 PM)
Here's a blogpost with extensive details about the riots in Paris:
In its early days, the rioting appeared to spread spontaneously, but law enforcement officials said it was also being abetted by exhortations on the Internet. Worse, said Patrick Hamon, the national police spokesman, "what we notice is that the bands of youths are, little by little, getting more organized" and are sending attack messages by mobile phone texts.
Some sites on the Internet mourned the two teenagers; others issued insults to the police or warned that the uprisings would only give the anti-immigrant far right an opportunity.
The use of technology may be resulting in less-decentralized disturbances that are harder to control. Whether and how the French authorities will respond to the rioters' use of technology will be an interesting question. If the unrest is indeed more coordinated than most people realize, it would fit in neatly with theories pointed out in the conservative Captain's Quarters blog, which notes accounts of connections with radical Islamic groups sending trained agitatiors to Europe from the Middle East.
RELATED: The futuramb blog notes how the recent disturbances are in line with the forecasts of Peter Schwartz and other futurists of immigration straining not just France, but the entire EU. Unrest, under this scenario, would lead to a reactionary rise in ultranationalism across Europe, a closing of borders, and the ultimate breakdown of the EU.
ALSO RELATED: Blogger Thomas P.M. Barnett believes the long-term solution to unrest and disenfranchisment is to encourage immigrants to create political parties that would create social connectivity and help these groups develop a voice in the government. Read the comments in the earlier-cited Captain's Quarters post for some possible implications of this.
Source: International Herald Tribune (via the New York Times), Smart Mobs
that\'s just madness!
Lots of work happening at WorldChanging central on the book, but that doesn't mean we're not still paying attention to new developments. Here's an update on some recent news in the world of solar power.
DIY Solar Electricity is a UK project to bring low-cost photovoltaic systems to poorer countries and regions. The small panels are intended to replace batteries, but more importantly to provide hands-on experience with photovoltaic systems for people who could adopt solar power technologies for agricultural or telecommunication systems (see below for more on solar telecom support), and to start local businesses.
The organization has projects underway across the developing world, including Peru, Mongolia, Tanzania and Somalia. The group's work in Kenya was featured in a BBC article from last year:
British volunteer John Keane had a hunch the solar panels could be a popular product, after an earlier experience of living in a Tanzanian village with no electricity. "Everyone here seems to have a radio, but many of them don't have the funds to continually buy batteries, as they often don't have a reliable source of income," he says.
Many of the young people working on the solar project have never had a job, or seen anyone in their families have a job. The average wage in Kibera is $1 a day but a small solar panel which takes just a matter of minutes to put together can sell for around $5.e>
Renewable Energy Access reports that the public telecom operator in Tunisia, TunisieTelecom, will be using solar photovoltaics for desert telecommunications network stations. This is a classic case of power leapfrogging-meets-telecom leapfrogging.TunisieTelecom, the public Tunisian telecommunications operator, will build four telecommunication repeater stations powered solely by photovoltaic (PV) solar power in the open desert. In this very remote area of the Great Southern Desert, which is still not connected to the electricity grid and where the climatic conditions are extreme (temperatures in excess of 50 degrees C or 122 degrees F, sand storms, etc.), the choice of solar power was obvious. [...] This project includes system installation with peak power ranging between 9 kW and 31 kW for a total installed capacity of 71 kW.
It's a relatively prosaic project generating a relatively small amount of power, but it's the perfect application of renewable energy in support of expanding the information and communication grid for remote communities.
Moving away from photovoltaics, the SCHOTT Solar Technology company is building a 64 megawatt solar thermal plant near Boulder City, Nevada. Solar thermal power uses parabolic concentrators to focus the Sun's heat on a transfer medium (thermal oil in the SCHOTT system, but could also be water or even liquid sodium); the medium is then used to run a steam turbine, generating electricity.
The project will be completed by 2007.
(Posted by Jamais Cascio in A Newly Electric Green Sustainable Energy, Resources and Design at 12:36 PM)
What do you call a wiki project that isn't online and can't be edited by the users? We're going to find out soon, as Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has announced plans to bring Wikipedia to print. His goal is to make the collaboratively-edited encyclopedia more readily available to people in parts of the world without computers or reliable Internet connections, according to CNN:
"I have always liked the idea of going to print because a big part of what we are about is to disseminate knowledge throughout the world and not just to people who have broadband," Wales said by telephone from St. Petersburg, Florida.
ike funding, distribution and topics were still being discussed but a first printed work could be ready from mid-2006, he added.
Wales also plans a CD/DVD version for use in places with access to computers and local networks.
(Posted by Jamais Cascio in QuickChanges at 01:03 PM)
Via Ned Sublette, snapshots of Hurricane Wilma's impact on Havana, Cuba. Sorry I don't have better metadata, but some of the filenames describe location coordinates. Most appear to be from the city's malecón area.
More evidence of H5N1's swift westward flight. Snip:
Greece has become the latest country to report a case of bird flu as the virus appears to spread across Europe. Twelve swans have also tested positive for bird flu in a second cluster in Romania. And the European Commission has ordered urgent tests on dead birds found in Croatia. Meanwhile in Asia, the deadly H5N1 strain has been detected in sparrows in Thailand.Link to BBC News item (via Warren Ellis)
i hope the treviso swans and ducks gangs stay safe!
The New York Times takes a look at some of the questions we raised last month in "Recycling the City," about the enormous amounts of waste left over in New Orleans after the storms. The Times article gives a good sense of the scale of the problem, which amounts to 22 million tons of garbage:
It is more trash than any American city produces in a year. It is enough to fill the Empire State Building 40 times over. It will take at least 3.5 million truckloads to haul it away. [...] This is not even counting the cars that have been abandoned on sidewalks, or the boats stranded on the streets. It is not counting the more than 1 million refrigerators, stoves and washing machines on curbs all over the area. This is not counting any of the hundreds of homes that will inevitably be demolished.
Unfortunately, while raising many useful questions about just how this clean-up will be accomplished, the article focuses a bit too much on how awful the rotting food smells, and gives scant attention to the question of handling the tons of potentially dangerous materials that should not go into landfills. Worse, it leaves out any suggestion that potentially a large portion of the waste could be recycled. This will not be the last major urban clean-up effort we undertake this century, and possibly not even this decade; we need to get better at not making the situation worse in the long-term.
(Posted by Jamais Cascio in QuickChanges at 11:36 AM)
To protect Buddhist monks in predominantly Muslim southern Thailand from increased violence, new products are being developed, from bulletproof vests in the traditional safron hue to motorcycle sidecars—dubbed "monkmobiles"— encased in protective glass and outfitted with a small window for receiving alms.
Many of the products are devised by "Thailand's Q" (reference to James Bond's gadget guru), Major Songphon Eiamboonyarith who has also invented bulletproof tuk-tuks, net-shooter to entangle would-be agressors, "umbrellas that shoot rubber bullets, bullet-proof baseball caps and a hand-held device to fire a man-sized net 30 feet (10 m) to stop a villain in his tracks."
it's almost like the Popemobile, but not as efficient (ahh asian knock-offs, just like the bags)... what i'm wondering is.. what happens to the dude who rides the motorcycle in case of a real attack??? -- ann
As a recent spate of natural disasters ably demonstrates, thousands of people can be driven from their homes with no place to go other than away from the devastation, and global climate disruption promises to make evacuation for environmental reasons a more frequent occurrence. The United Nations University's Institute for Environment and Human Security is now looking at the issue of environmental refugees, and how best to recognize and support them (PDF). One of the big questions is precisely how to define "environmental refugee."
The UNU says that, by 2010, the world will have as many as 50 million people driven from their homes by environmental crises...(click the header link to read more)