Beirut stands shaken, devastated, stripped, and alone today. Besides facing a collapsing economy and a deadly pandemic, Beirut has been hit by an apocalyptic explosion that has left the city bathed in glass, ruins, and blood. Many are stripped of their homes, safe spaces and livelihoods, as everyone is trying to figure out how best to help a city so rich in music, culture and energy albeit it’s sad history. Text VIA
Individuals and organizations in the country’s music industry, or who have worked with Lebanese artists, have compiled a list of musicians, labels and festivals in the country that listeners can support directly through purchasing their music.
Here you have our weekly selection of 7 (recent and not so recent) Bandcamp releases that have been orbiting around our heads lately:
Kaloli is the debut full-length LP from Kampala’s darkest electro-percussion group Nihiloxica. The album marries the propulsive Ugandan percussion of the Nilotika Cultural Ensemble with technoid analog synth lines and hybrid kit playing from the UK’s pq and Spooky-J. The result is something otherworldly. Kaloli journeys through the uncharted space between two cultures of dance music, where the expression of traditional elements mutates into something more sinister and nihilistic.
Oblique Russian sound strategist Natalia Salmina’s latest forking path portfolio as Atariame, Voiceless, arose in the wake of a dissociative relocation to Moscow, where she found herself adrift amidst a manic metropolis, alone in a skyscraper staring out at trees: “It made me lose faith in my ability to communicate, in my ideas about life.” Days without speaking turned to weeks. Even in private she felt estranged from her voice, and soon ceased singing.
Barker makes solo debut on Ostgut Ton with new experimental dancefloor EP. Sam Barker has had a long ongoing relationship with Berghain and Ostgut Ton, having released two LPs and various EPs as one half of Barker & Baumecker and hosting regular nights at the club since September 2008 as co-founder of the label Leisure System. 2017 marked the beginning of his solo residency, 2018 sees his first solo release with Ostgut Ton.
Michael Morley is an experimental musician and visual artist from New Zealand. Morley sings and plays guitar and laptop as a member of The Dead C, but also records on his own as Gate. Earlier, in the 1980s, Morley was a member of Wreck Small Speakers On Expensive Stereos.
Michael Manring is a bassist and composer known for his innovative approach. He studied with Jaco Pastorius, has appeared onhundreds of recordings and toured throughout the world. He has received Grammy and Bammie nominations, the Berklee School of Music Distinguished Alumni Award, two Gold Records, two Just Plain Folks awards and the Bassist of the Year award from Bass Player Magazine.
“…The album is a sparse slice of American Primitive folk – cut from the cloth of Fahey and Basho, but tied tight with the discarded threads of Loren Connors, Tashi Dorji, Bill Orcutt, and Scott Tuma. There’s not the same type of fluidity that would befit a Fahey acolyte, but there’s more movement here than Connors usually lets take hold. Hay falls somewhere between the ripple-pickers and the 4AM dirge hunters…” – Raven Sings the Blues
“Guy Buttery is something of a National treasure”, says South Africa’s leading newspaper The Mercury. Guy’s distinctunification of South African guitar music is the musical advocate for everything positive and beautiful about the place he calls home. An ambassador of South African music, Guy inspires people across the world with his homegrown style at the very heart of his talent and tenacity.
don’t think I’m a gloomy person,” Katie Mack said. She just likes thinking about the end — the annihilation of Earth, the solar system, our galaxy and especially the universe. Apocalyptic topics that can put even these uncertain times into perspective. “The destruction of the whole universe: There’s nothing bigger and more dramatic than that,” she said.
Change is in the nature of her career. As she began her undergraduate studies at the California Institute of Technology, cosmologists were processing the 1998 discovery that some mysterious entity called “dark energy” was pushing galaxies apart from one another. While working toward her Ph.D. at Princeton University, the first results from the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) came out, providing “our first really detailed accounting of the contents of the universe,” she said. “Since WMAP was partly led by people at Princeton, it was a big part of life there, and hugely exciting; I felt like I was right at the ground floor on some of the most exciting discoveries in cosmology.”
As a creative response to both the COVID-19 pandemic and the continuous destruction of the planet’s natural resources, Nicolas Abdelkader presents a series of photo montages that question our relationship with mobility. By turning planes, ships and trucks into huge green planters, ‘the urgency to slow down’ imagines an alternative future after lockdown, one in which these symbols of excessive energy consumption have been left behind, only to become something beneficial for the environment.
Dense clouds of starlings dip and soar, congregating in undulating curtains that darken the sky; hundreds of thousands of wildebeests thunder together across the plains of Africa in a coordinated, seemingly never-ending migratory loop; fireflies blink in unison; entire forests of bamboo blossom at once. Scientists have studied these mesmerizing feats of synchronization for decades, trying to tease apart the factors that enable such cooperation and complexity.
Yet there are always individuals that don’t participate in the collective behavior — the odd bird or insect or mammal that remains just a little out of sync with the rest; the stray cell or bacterium that seems to have missed some call to arms. Researchers usually pay them little heed, dismissing them as insignificant outliers.
But a handful of scientists have started to suspect otherwise. Their hunch is that these individuals are signs of something deeper, a broader evolutionary strategy at work. Now, new research validating that hypothesis has opened up a very different way of thinking about the study of collective behavior.
Hayv Kahraman was born in Baghdad, Iraq 1981, now lives and works in Los Angeles. A vocabulary of narrative, memory and dynamics of non-fixity found in diasporic cultures are the essence of her visual language and the product of her experience as an Iraqi refugee/come émigré. The body as object and subject have a central role in her painting practice as she compositely embodies the artist herself and a collective.
Over the past decade, researchers have used such techniques to pick apart topics that social scientists have chased for more than a century: from the psychological underpinnings of human morality, to the influence of misinformation, to the factors that make some artists more successful than others. One study uncovered widespread racism in algorithms that inform health-care decisions; another used mobile-phone data to map impoverished regions in Rwanda
“The biggest achievement is a shift in thinking about digital behavioural data as an interesting and useful source”, says Markus Strohmaier, a computational social scientist at the GESIS Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences in Cologne, Germany.
Not everyone has embraced that shift. Some social scientists are concerned that the computer scientists flooding into the field with ambitions as big as their data sets are not sufficiently familiar with previous research. Another complaint is that some computational researchers look only at patterns and do not consider the causes, or that they draw weighty conclusions from incomplete and messy data — often gained from social-media platforms and other sources that are lacking in data hygiene.
Here you have our weekly selection of 7 (recent and not so recent) Bandcamp releases that have been orbiting around our heads lately:
A companion piece to 2018’s Listening To Pictures, this second volume in the pentimento series presents eight new tracks by the music visionary, continuing his lifelong exploration of the possibilities of recombination and musical gene-splicing. Pentimento is defined as the “reappearance in a painting of earlier images, forms, or strokes that have been changed and painted over” and this is evident in the innovative production style that ‘paints with sound’ using overlapping nuances to create an undefinable and intoxicating new palette.
toiret status is Isamu Yorichika from Yamaguchi, Japan. His new work Otohime is his first vinyl record and his second album on Orange Milk following ◎omaru◎ in 2016. Otohime includes collaborations with Co La, and Yoshitaka Hikawa. He has also released music on the labels Noumenal Loom, Plus 100 Records, Pedicure Records, Wasabi Tapes, and Slagwerk.
DePlume is a Manchester-born, London-based bandleader, composer, saxophonist, activist and orator. He’s a resident at the legendary London creative hub Total Refreshment Centre, a recording artist for the off-grid, Scottish Hebridean island label Lost Map, and now the latest arrival into Chicago-based International Anthem’s growing family of progressive musical explorationists. Whilst much of his music contains vocals – often whispered imperatives – this is a collection of instrumentals, drenched in feeling and recorded over four albums and eight earth years in cities across the UK.
Love All Day is proud to present the debut release from Deep Space Duo, a recent collaboration between Chicago underground music stalwarts, Whitney Johnson & Matt Jencik. While both were enrolled as members of the Circuit Des Yeux live band they bonded over their shared love of the Acetone Top 5 Organ; a small, portable vintage organ whose tones will be familiar to followers of early American Minimalist music.
For an artist whose career is almost entirely improvisational, TALsounds has refined a stunning style of music that sounds as meticulous as it does surprising. Since picking the moniker nine years ago, Natalie Chami has been flitting between experimental electronica, mood-driven minimalism, and classically trained choral singing as a solo artist in Chicago. On her fifth album, Acquiesce, she dives inward without constraints and invites the listener to do the same, to lose track of time, and to let emotion dictate what happens next.
“His sound is a perfect amalgam of elements from the hardcore continuum – at times a dark and malevolent brainstorm of grubby drums dragged through crusty samplers, future-weary textural scrapes, moody splashes of pads and of course bucketloads of crushing subs, lows and low mids all designed to rock you from the waist down. You’ll hear spectres of culture past lurking in the shadows – a trip hop skit from a gaunt figure here, a riotous brawl of grime MCs there – and feel the decades of soundsystem absorption seeping off the platters. It’s like the LEA reached capacity and these productions were what happened when the sponge got squeezed.”
Piotr Kurek’s A Sacrifice Shall Be Made / All The Wicked Scenes is comprised of pieces composed specifically to accompany theatre performances directed by Tian Gebing (500m and The Decalogue) and Grzegorz Jarzyna (Two Swords). Kurek attended performance rehearsals in Beijing and Shanghai, with additional preparations and recording sessions taking place back in Warsaw.
There continues to be an impressive appetite for conceptual and philosophical explorations of psychiatry. The publishing field is now populated by a diverse array of backgrounds and perspectives. The general public seems mostly interested in decrying the medicalization of normal and the transformation of our woes into neatly packaged mental disorders. The academic literature is dominated by philosophers and philosophically-trained professionals; while the intellectual discourse is of high caliber, it unfortunately remains largely inaccessible to mental health professionals and much of the general public, and resultantly it has had little influence outside the academic community. There is also a cohort of individuals with a critical interest in the subject but whose philosophical focus remains stuck on classical critical figures such as Thomas Szasz, Michel Foucault and R.D. Laing, with little engagement with contemporary philosophy of science. The philosophical work of Kenneth Kendler and his various collaborators (John Campbell, Carl Craver, Kenneth Schaffner, Erik Engstrom, Rodrigo Munoz, George Murphy, and Peter Zachar) assembled in a specially curated volume occupies a unique and special position in this contemporary landscape and there is much to be said in its favor.
Here you have our weekly selection of 7 (recent and not so recent) Bandcamp releases that have been orbiting around our heads lately:
Retep Folo – aka Peter Olof Fransson is a musician and artist from Sweden, he has been involved in the Gothenburg underground music scene since the late 1990s, firstly in experimental electronic duo Exhadley, then the more theatrical project Ester Elster, and is currently in 60’s psychedelia inspired ‘The Owl Report’.
Cosmic Chicago modal organ grinder Jimmy Lacy developed the dexterous dialect of SiP some years back while helming a happy hour residency at a Logan Square cocktail lounge that required he vamp rambling three-hour sets nightly.
On this seven track album we hear MinaeMinae (alias Bastian Epple) playfully scurry through his dense soundscapes on a tightrope. The sounds lying somewhere on the crossroads of psychedelic trance, exotica, ambient and melodic dance music – veering further off orbit with nontypical rhythms and dystopian percussive patterns.
Project by Keith Mason. Melbourne, Australia.
Warui Musuko is the project of Tsuyoshi Fujimori (1958-2000), a former Gagaku musician who lived the last years of his life in isolation and without leaving his apartment in the busy ward of Shibuya, Tokyo.
“Echos+ brings together three of Ferreyra’s most engaging compositions. Each of the works are deeply personal, but transcend that position, effortlessly welcoming us inside them. They collectively chart out a broad framework that not only defines her philosophical interests as a composer, but also marks out critical moments in her creative and technical approaches; shifting from her roots in tape music to more digital approaches.”
Tau Ea Matsekha (‘Lion Of Matsekha’) is one of the great Sotho accordion groups and compilation Mohlape Oa Litau is made up of tracks from three of the band’s early albums – all long since out of print and whose masters have either been destroyed or lost.
One of the least expected aspects of 2020 has been the fact that epidemiological models have become both front-page news and a political football. Public health officials have consulted with epidemiological modelers for decades as they’ve attempted to handle diseases ranging from HIV to the seasonal flu. Before 2020, it had been rare for the role these models play to be recognized outside of this small circle of health policymakers.
Some of that tradition hasn’t changed with the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. International bodies, individual countries, most states, and even some cities have worked with modelers to try to shape policy responses to the threat of COVID-19. But some other aspects of epidemiological modeling life clearly have changed. The models, some of which produce eye-catching estimates of fatalities, have driven headlines in addition to policy responses. And those policy responses have ended up being far more controversial than anyone might have expected heading into the pandemic.
Disclaimer: The content you are about to see contains graphic images of pianos being destroyed in different ways. Some viewers may find the following videos offensive. If so, you are not advised to watch the following.
*As one might imagine, there have been thousands of undocumented piano destructions all over the world. This list is a just a brief compilation of pianos being destroyed under different contexts/circumstances (artistic or not) and it does not represent an actual chronology of piano destruction.
“Participatory Performance. Background Sound Thunder and Lighting. The Piano is a powerful instrument of sound to convey the message of Sacrifice I wish to convey to the Universe. The Sounds of its Destruction gives full voice to Sacrifice: To the Destruction Creation in it cycle of Creation is giving us time to understand the preciousness of Mortal Life that it never be given up to or for Sacrifice of any kind… If we must have WAR send our PIANOS to WAR. If we must have VIOLENCE send our PIANOS to VIOLENCE, I dare YOU to HATE your PIANO to fill it with your HATE and BIGOTRY and Let Creation Know your PIANO’S Life does not compare to the Miracle of Life WE MORTALS are and that OUR PIANO is the SACRIFICE TO THAT FACT…As for the Egg and the Feathers they are the subtle aspect the preparation for the SPIRITUL BONDING with the PIANO: The Egg when it is held gently in one’s cupped hands and You imagine the worst aspects of Your Character and then crush the Egg on the PIANO you have committed Yourself to the surrender of those worst aspects to the Sacrifice the PIANO is… The Feathers placed on top of the crushed Egg are the signal to the Angels to carry the Sacrifice to a place of Spiritual Redemption.”
Annea Lockwood’s classic performance music work, Piano Burning (1968) was composed when she found abandoned upright pianos on the banks of the Thames River in London during the 1960s.
Busy Signals for 10 decomposing pianos by Paul Wiancko. Methow Valley Chamber Music Festival, 2015.
Performed by Paul Wiancko, Emilie-Anne Gendron, Ryan McCullough, Elena Urioste, Ayane Kozasa, Charles Noble, Curt Spiel, Kevin Krentz, Meeka Quan DiLorenzo, Brittany Boulding Breeden, and Sonja Myklebust. Commissioned by the Methow Valley Chamber Music Festival and premiered at the grand opening of Howard Johnson’s Piano Garden on Signal Hill in Twisp, WA on July 26, 2015.
“I wanted to do something with a piano in a landscape of some significance and I suppose, as a Scotsman, there’s nothing more significant than the border. I thought it was beautiful to look from one country into another and I liked the idea that Hadrian’s Wall is, under a certain interpretation, a great end of civilization… I was overwhelmed to be in a landscape of such beauty, and with such a huge unfathomable history.” —Douglas Gordon
PIANO DEMOLITION PERFORMANCE byMATTHEW BOURNE , SPATCHCOCK, LONDON, MAY 15, 2010.
“SPATCHCOCK’ nights were legendary: hosted by a community of extraordinarily creative people living in amongst the warehouses in Overbuy Road, London. Raucous, intense, powerful, FUN. As the evenings progressed, one could be guaranteed of becoming quite mashed-up, and continuing well into the following morning… SPATCHCOCK had asked if I would play an old upright piano – one they were looking to dispose of. Not wishing to pay for its removal, they asked that, as part of the performance, would I mind progressively destroying it… Armed with tools from Rupert Lees’s nearby workshop, I set about the task of a ‘demolition performance’. The video ends with an ‘encore’ performed off-camera, on another upright, elsewhere in the warehouse. The debris from the demolition was recycled, and fashioned into functional or decorative items by Rupert Lees; and the strung, iron frame, is still in use today, at Ellis Gardiner’s nearby studio.”
Yosuke YAMASHITA “Burning Piano 2008,” March 8, 2008 at Noto Resort Area Masuhogaura, Shika-machi, Ishikawa, Japan) Related Event of the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa Third Anniversary Exhibition, Graphism in the Wilderness: Kiyoshi Awazu Exhibition.
“In the upcoming event, I will encounter an old piano built decades ago, otherwise destined to be discarded. For this old piano, I would like to perform a funeral requiem with the deepest love from my heart. At the same time, I would like my performance to pay homage to the 1973’s performance (this film work “Burning Piano” by Kiyoshi Awazu was presented in 1974,) as well as to Kiyoshi Awazu, the artist of richly experimental spirit who created it, and to all experimental avant-garde art movements of the sixties.” Text Via
Leonhard Lapin, Ülevi Eljand, Ando Keskküla, “Trio for Piano,” 1990, happening in Tallinn Art Hall, 1990. Image courtesy of the Art Museum of Estonia, Tallinn.
One of the most well-known events organized by SOUP was the happening Trio for Piano, held on International Women’s Day on March 8, 1969, in the main hall of the State Art Institute. This event wasn’t called Trio for Piano initially (the name was given retrospectively by Lapin), nor was it – at least not unambiguously – understood as a “happening” at the time. There are no recordings of this event, only the memories of the participants and the audience, according to which this happening can be, cautiously, described as follows (keeping in mind that memories are rather fluid).
As the Art Institute had recently acquired a new piano, the old piano was donated to students who had requested it. According to Lapin, they had heard that pianos were being destroyed by young and radical artists all over Europe. The students were generally familiar with the phenomena of happenings and they had organized some similar events at the Art Institute and elsewhere. International Women’s Day was celebrated all over the country with performances, lectures, and other events, and the art students made their own contribution to this celebration. In front of an audience of other students, they put the piano at the center of their activities and played on it and with it in every possible way. For example, Künnapu played the piano while reading an architectural drawing as a “score;” others painted smiling lips on the instrument and “made love” to the piano before moving it to one side and breaking it into small pieces, which were thrown to the audience to take away as souvenirs. During the event the artists also considered whether the piano should be thrown out of the window onto the street crossing next to the art school, which was known as a dangerous place where a lot of accidents happened; however in the end, this idea was abandoned. The audience was excited and reacted to all of the activities energetically; the event was remembered many years later as a legendary disturbance, but it had no serious consequences for the organizers. Text Via
Wiener Gruppe – 2nd Literary Cabaret – 15. 4. 1959. Porrhaus, Vienna. Friedrich Achleitner, Konrad Bayer, Gerhard Rühm and Oswald Wiener.
Tthe evening (of 15th april, 1959) began as promisingly as the first one. As soon as the first spectator entered the auditorium we started to play the tape recording of an oil—extraction plant transmitted by loudspeaker, which we kept going for about three-quarters of an hour till the beginning of the performance proper. This created a technical atmosphere and made for nervousness in the crowded audience (there were about 700 people). Continue HERE
The idea that we have brains hardwired with a mental template for learning grammar—famously espoused by Noam Chomsky of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology—has dominated linguistics for almost half a century. Recently, though, cognitive scientists and linguists have abandoned Chomsky’s “universal grammar” theory in droves because of new research examining many different languages—and the way young children learn to understand and speak the tongues of their communities. That work fails to support Chomsky’s assertions.
The research suggests a radically different view, in which learning of a child’s first language does not rely on an innate grammar module. Instead the new research shows that young children use various types of thinking that may not be specific to language at all—such as the ability to classify the world into categories (people or objects, for instance) and to understand the relations among things. These capabilities, coupled with a unique human ability to grasp what others intend to communicate, allow language to happen. The new findings indicate that if researchers truly want to understand how children, and others, learn languages, they need to look outside of Chomsky’s theory for guidance.
Finland is about to launch an experiment in which a randomly selected group of 2,000–3,000 citizens already on unemployment benefits will begin to receive a monthly basic income of 560 euros (approx. $600). That basic income will replace their existing benefits. The amount is the same as the current guaranteed minimum level of Finnish social security support. The pilot study, running for two years in 2017-2018, aims to assess whether basic income can help reduce poverty, social exclusion, and bureaucracy, while increasing the employment rate.
The Finnish government introduced its legislative bill for the experiment on 25 August. Originally, the scope of the basic income experiment was much more ambitious. Many experts have criticized the government’s experiment for its small sample size and for the setup of the trial, which will be performed within just one experimental condition. This implies that the experiment can provide insights on only one issue, namely whether the removal of the disincentives embedded in social security will encourage those now unemployed to return to the workforce or not.
Still, the world’s largest national basic income experiment represents a big leap towards experimental governance, a transformation that has been given strong emphasis in the current government program of the Finnish state. Additionally, the Finnish trial sets the agenda for the future of universal basic income at large. Its results will be closely followed by governments worldwide. The basic income experiment may thus well lead to the greatest societal transformation of our time.
Where would you look for alien life? An astronomer and science popularizer explains the basics of astrobiology to outline five plausible scenarios for finding extraterrestrials
It takes Jon Willis, astronomy professor at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, 170 pages – the length of a Henry James short story, for Pete’s sake – to get around to the Drake Equation in his winning debut, All These Worlds Are Yours: The Scientific Search for Alien Life, but we should probably deal with it immediately. In 1961, at a conference in West Virginia, astronomer Frank Drake worked up an exotic-looking equation on a blackboard. Drake had just recently completed a project designed to detect alien radio broadcasts from the region of the star systems Tau Ceti and Epsilon Eridanus, and the blackboard equation he wrote has become a signature parameter for the whole subject of Willis’s book, astrobiology.
Every year, in northern Myanmar, thousands of farmers pull tonnes of Cretaceous amber out of the ground, and send the glistening nuggets to local markets. For six years, Bo Wang from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and his colleagues have visited the markets and sifted through 300,000 of the glistening nuggets. It was a lot of work. Then again, it takes a lot of work to find animals that spent their whole lives trying not to be found.
Within the amber, Wang’s team identified dozens of ancient insects that camouflaged themselves by adorning their bodies with junk. They had short bristles and elaborate feathery tubes, onto which they stuck sand, soil, wood fibres, bits of ferns, and even body parts of other insects. They were the earliest animals that we know of to camouflage themselves, some 100 million years ago.
The ugly is a very intractable concept: as anomalous, messy, irregular, unsettling and ultimately unsurveyable as the phenomena it characterizes. The ugly sits squat and tumorous at some hidden place in our body conceptual, reaching out to unexpected points while conspicuously absent in more expected places. It touches sensitive places in our psyche and culture, for example in its connection with issues of deformity, otherness and gender. It is a concept horribly well connected, as Mojca Küplen points out, with ideas such as “alienation, estrangement, dehumanization, destruction, degeneration, disconcertion, absurdity, and with emotions evoking terror, horror, anxiety and fear”. The concept of ugliness, though, has sufficient shape and regularity to reward the philosophical attention which these three books supply, but, as we learn in different ways from all of them, it seems to wilfully frustrate the demand for a consistent and satisfying explanation. The concept’s misshapenness and eccentric centre of gravity mean that even its relation to the beautiful is not cleanly binary. As Gretchen E. Henderson notes in Ugliness, the beautiful and the ugly are like “stars which fall into one another’s gravity and orbit one another”, but their orbit is a highly eccentric one which no Keplerian law of symmetry could hope to describe. Read HERE
In ways no one understands, talk therapy reaches down into the biological plumbing and affects the flow of neurotransmitters in the brain. Other studies have found similar results for “mindfulness” — Buddhist-inspired meditation in which one’s thoughts are allowed to drift gently through the head like clouds reflected in still mountain water.
Findings like these have become so commonplace that it’s easy to forget their strange implications.
A popular political advertisement from early this summer begins with US President Barack Obama addressing a crowd of moon-eyed supporters. Suddenly, the screen goes dark to a crescendo of minor chords. Phrases such as “Fear and Loathing”, “Nauseating” and “Divide and Conquer” flash onto the screen, along with video clips of commentators complaining that Obama has used scare tactics to manipulate voters. In the final scene, the iconic poster from Obama’s 2008 election campaign appears, the word HOPE transforming into FEAR as it bursts into flames.
The advertisement, produced by the conservative organization American Crossroads in Washington DC, is typical of those that have come to dominate the US airwaves and YouTube in preparation for next month’s presidential election. Emerging from both the right and the left, these commercials increasingly resemble horror films as they seek to sway voters by triggering basic emotions such as fear, anger and disgust.
That strategy fits with emerging scientific evidence about how people acquire their political beliefs. In the past, political scientists agreed that social forces — most importantly, parents and the childhood environment — strongly influenced whether people became conservative or liberal, and whether they voted or engaged in politics at all. “We now know that it is probably not the whole story,” says John Jost, a psychologist at New York University.
Imagine a city where the temperature is always perfect and you never have to worry about a rainy day ruining your day’s plans. Sound like fiction? If you live in Dubai, a city-state already known for ambitious feats of engineering, a mini-metropolis with a thermostat is poised to become a reality.
Officials in Dubai last week announced plans to build the world’s first climate-controlled city. Dubbed the Mall of the World, the 48 million-square-foot complex will feature 100 hotels and apartment buildings, the world’s largest indoor theme park and the world’s largest shopping mall.
For years, oil was the commodity that kept the United Arab Emirates’ economic engine running, but tourism is now one of the UAE’s largest sources of revenue. In a country where summertime temperatures routinely exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit, officials hope the Mall of the World will beat the heat and serve as a year-round tourist destination.
Under the Dome
The Mall of the World is expected to accommodate some 180 million visitors annually, and every visitor can savor the sealed city for a week without ever stepping foot outside. Enclosed promenades 7 kilometers long, with trams for quick transport, will connect visitors to all the facilities and districts throughout the mall.
The Mall of the World’s centerpiece will be the cultural district, which will recreate the world’s most famous landmarks from London, New York and Barcelona. The cultural district will be enclosed in a massive, golf-ball shaped dome and play host to weddings, conferences, performances, and a host of other celebrations.
And if you party too hard in the Mall of the World, the wellness district is just a tram ride away. Visitors to the city will have access to more than 3 million square feet of holistic healing options, surgical facilities, cosmetic treatments and other health-oriented services.
When the weather is perfect outside, the mall’s retractable roofs will allow fresh air into the indoor city. Developers also added that the indoor city will incorporate the latest sustainable technologies to reduce its carbon footprint. You can watch the video below to get a virtual tour of the Mall of the World.
Planning a Visit
Officials have not released a timetable for constructing the Mall of the World, but Dubai Holding, the state-owned company behind the project, hopes the mall will be the main focus at the World Expo trade fair in 2020, which Dubai will host.
And how much does an indoor city cost? Well, officials also haven’t released that information.
Guided by an existential interest in the unknown, Sigurdur Gudmundsson generates work of abundant wit and verve that questions the way that vernacular culture and art relates to nature. Depicting everyday circumstances with absurdist tweaks, his Situations read as visual poems that explore the idiosyncrasies of human existence and tend toward the comical while retaining philosophical gravity. Gudmundsson uses himself as the subject of the Situations, but does not consider the works to be self-portraits but, rather, open-ended reflections that invite the viewer to ponder alongside the artist. Turning to sculpture in recent years, Gudmundsson has focused on creating works that retain his characteristic humor and are dominated by elegance, simplicity, and technical perfection.
In 1978, with 19 other artists, Gudmundsson co-founded Reykjavik’s Living Art Museum, which is dedicated to experimental and innovative contemporary visual art. His artworks have been exhibited internationally, including at the 37th Venice Biennale, the National Gallery of Iceland, and the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, and his public commissions have been displayed in Rotterdam, Groningen, and The Hague.
Hometown: Reykjavik, Iceland
Lives and Works: Amsterdam, The Netherlands and Xiamen, China
People tend to talk about the Internet the way they talk about democracy—optimistically, and in terms that describe how it ought to be rather than how it actually is.
This idealism is what buoys much of the network neutrality debate, and yet many of what are considered to be the core issues at stake—like payment for tiered access, for instance—have already been decided. For years, Internet advocates have been asking what regulatory measures might help save the open, innovation-friendly Internet.
But increasingly, another question comes up: What if there were a technical solution instead of a regulatory one? What if the core architecture of how people connect could make an end run on the centralization of services that has come to define the modern net?
It’s a question that reflects some of the Internet’s deepest cultural values, and the idea that this network—this place where you are right now—should distribute power to people. In the post-NSA, post-Internet-access-oligopoly world, more and more people are thinking this way, and many of them are actually doing something about it.
Among them, there is a technology that’s become a kind of shorthand code for a whole set of beliefs about the future of the Internet: “mesh networking.” These words have become a way to say that you believe in a different, freer Internet.
After an epic struggle with the weather for 35 days, Geoff Mackley, Bradley Ambrose, Nathan Berg, became the first people ever to get this close to Marum Volcano’s famed lava lake on Ambrym Island, Vanuatu. Coming within 30 metres of the lava lake down a watercourse, it was possible to stand the heat for only 6 seconds. With Fire Brigade breathing apparatus and heat proof proximity suit it was possible to stand on the very edge and view the incredible show for over 40 minutes.
“They are called excavator mulchers. That’s polite. What they really do is swallow trees. This one, a DAH Forestry Mulcher from Quebec’s manufacturer Denis Cimaf, consumes a 30-foot-tall, mature spruce (starting at the top, landing at the bottom) in 15 seconds. The tree that was, suddenly isn’t.”
“Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are developing an audio reading device to be worn on the index finger of people whose vision is impaired, giving them affordable and immediate access to printed words.
The so-called FingerReader, a prototype produced by a 3-D printer, fits like a ring on the user’s finger, equipped with a small camera that scans text. A synthesized voice reads words aloud, quickly translating books, restaurant menus and other needed materials for daily living, especially away from home or office.”