Human-ities · Newscast · Social/Politics

My Racist Encounter at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner

The faux red carpet had been laid out for the famous and the wannabe-famous. Politicians and journalists arrived at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, bedazzled in the hopes of basking in a few fleeting moments of fame, even if only by osmosis from proximity to celebrities. New to the Washington scene, I was to experience the spectacle with my husband, a journalist, and enjoy an evening out. Or at least an hour out. You see, as a spouse I was not allowed into the actual dinner. Those of us who are not participating in the hideous schmooze-fest that is this evening are relegated to attending the cocktail hour only, if that. Our guest was the extraordinarily brilliant Oscar-nominated director of Beasts of the Southern Wild, Benh Zeitlin. Mr. Zeitlin’s unassuming demeanor was a refreshing taste of humility in a sea of pretentious politicians reeking of narcissism.

As I left the hotel and my husband went to the ballroom for the dinner, I realized he still had my keys. I approached the escalators that led down to the ballroom and asked the externally contracted security representatives if I could go down. They abruptly responded, “You can’t go down without a ticket.” I explained my situation and that I just wanted my keys from my husband in the foyer and that I wouldn’t need to enter in the ballroom. They refused to let me through. For the next half hour, they watched as I frantically called my husband but was unable to reach him.

Written by Seema Jilani at Huffington Post. Continue THERE

Newscast · Science · Vital-Edible-Health

No, a Universal Cancer Vaccine Was Not Just Developed

Thanks to The Atlantic, our previous “Universal cancer vaccine developed?” post found at The Telegraph has been demystified. Here is what Neal Emery writes for the Atlantic:

While a recent media report was more hype than science, it did focus on a promising pathway for cancer treatments.

More than 40 years after Nixon called for “a national commitment for the conquest of cancer”, is victory finally in sight?

An article published in the Telegraph on Sunday suggested that a weapon able to crush cancer had arrived. Headlined “‘Universal’ cancer vaccine developed”, the piece about Israeli Vaxil BioTherapeutics’ new drug ImMucin, has seen a deluge of interest.

Unlike November 2011 reports about the drug that were met with little fanfare, this piece has been covered by dozens of news outlets and shared 19,000 times on Facebook alone. According to the Telegraph, Vaxil’s wonderdrug, “which targets a molecule found in 90 percent of all cancers, could provide a universal injection that allows patients’ immune systems to fight off common cancers including breast and prostate cancer.”

Continue article HERE

3D visualizations of breast cells. Vivek Nandakumar/Arizona State University.

Art/Aesthetics · Events · Newscast · Performativity · Social/Politics

Indigenous group in Argentina protests agaist use of sacred meteorite in dOCUMENTA (13)

In recent weeks it has become public in Argentina, the project initiated by two artists from Buenos Aires, Guillermo Faivovich and Nicholas Goldberg, consisting of a loan moving the meteorite “El Chaco” to Kassel, Germany, during the international art contemporary art exhibition Documenta 13.

“In Argentina, a rich and complex debate has recently arisen about the loan of this object. dOCUMENTA (13) therefore suspended its loan request on January 16 in respect of the positions stated by experts and local communities. Furthermore, dOCUMENTA (13) would like to state that no loan of the El Chaco meteorite will be further requested without a full endorsement by the peoples of the land of Chaco, by the local community as a whole, and in careful consideration of the beliefs and principles of the traditional custodians today. The artists are currently meeting with all concerned parties to discuss the matter together.”

Could this be one of those tactical, post-colonial, and anti-paradigmatic works of conceptual art banning?

Cultural astronomer Alejandro López, among his colleagues, promoted the opposition to this project, which seriously violates the rights of Aboriginal Chaco. The writings of ancient chroniclers and investigations carried up from the Aboriginal worldview, clearly show that for these people meteors scattered on Campo del Cielo, are very important milestones in its territory.

Since the project was announced to move the meteorite Chaco aborigines have voiced opposition to it and want to work to make their voices heard. Click HERE to read and sign the petition. The petition is written in Spanish. However, you don’t read Spanish to sign it.

El Chaco meteorite, Campo del Cielo, near Gancedo, Chaco, Argentina

Click HERE to read the statement written by Documenta 13 suspending their request for the exhibition.

Interview with Guillermo Faivovich in La Voz, an Argentine publication.

Art/Aesthetics · Newscast · Social/Politics · Special

Free Voina

On December 05, one of founding members of the Russian art collective Voina, Leonid Nikolaev, was abducted by Russian police and his whereabouts are unknown. Nikolaev was attending a rally against election fraud in St. Petersburg when he was grabbed by police along with other protesters and taken away.

Vor (Oleg Vorotnikov). Artist, activist and the leader of Voina. Born August 17th, 1978 in Bereznyaki, Perm Krai. Oleg has been involved in arts since 1995. He renounced the use of money in 1998. Since 1999, Oleg has been concentrating on social practices in urban space. In 1999 he married artist Kozlenok (Natalia Sokol). Oleg graduated from Moscow State University’s philosophy department in 2003. In the fall of 2005, he began doing street art with Kozlenok, forming the art collective Voina. Oleg has participated in every Voina action to date. In 2006-2007 he worked as the head of the information department at Moscow State Cinema Museum. Vor and Kozlenok’s son Kasper Can’t-Take-Our-Eyes-Off-Him Sokol was born on April 19th, 2009. Kasper became Voina’s youngest member. In November 2010, the Russian Federation initiated a politically motivated parental rights termination process against Oleg. He was incarcerated in St. Petersburg from November 2010 to February 2011 on charges related to Voina’s Palace Revolution action (article 213 part 2 of the Russian Criminal Code). n May 2011 he was declared a federally wanted fugitive. In July 2011 Russian police issued an international arrest warrant for Oleg. He is unemployed and homeless, facing charges under articles 213, 318 and 319 of the Russian Criminal Code (criminal case #276858) in connection with the “Palace Revolution” action and with his participation in an opposition rally on March 31st, 2011 in St. Petersburg.

Kozlenok aka Koza (Natalia Sokol). Artist, activist, author of Voina actions and the group’s chief coordinator. Born June 3rd, 1980 in Balakovo, Saratov Oblast. Kozlenok renounced the use of money after meeting artist Vor (Oleg Vorotnikov) in 1998. She’s been married to Oleg since 1999. In 2003, she graduated from Moscow State University’s physical department. She finished grad school there in 2006. Kozlenok holds a PhD in physics, and is affiliated with the sub-department of molecular physics at MSU. She’s been doing street art since the fall of 2005 as a member of Voina, and has participated in every Voina action to date. On April 19th, 2009 she gave birth to Kasper Can’t-Take-Our-Eyes-Off-Him Sokol, Voina’s youngest activist. In November 2010, the Russian Federation initiated a politically motivated parental rights termination process against Kozlenok. She’s been living without any documents since November 15th, 2010, when Russian police seized all her papers. In August 2011 she was declared a federally wanted fugitive. Kozlenok is homeless and facing charges under article 319 of the Russian Criminal Code (criminal case #299810) in connection with an incident on March 31st, 2011 in which police officers were doused with urine during an opposition rally in St. Petersburg.

Kasper Can’t-Take-Our-Eyes-Off-Him Sokol. Artist, Voina member since birth. Born April 19th, 2009 on a ship in Moscow. Stateless. Participated in every Voina action since May 2009. Voina’s youngest activist. In November 2010, the Russian Federation initiated a politically motivated parental rights termination process against Kasper’s parents Kozlenok (Natalia Sokol) and Vor (Oleg Vorotnikov). Kasper has been beaten twice and arrested three times (twice in 2011 alone) by Russian police in connection with Voina’s activity. He is homeless.

VOINA. A street collective of actionist artists who engage in political protest art. Political orientation: anarchist. Enemies: philistines, cops, the regime. Organization type: militant gang, dominated by horizontal ties in everyday life and employing vertical relationships during actions. The group preaches renunciation of money and disregard towards the law (“the no-whoring way”). Founded by Vor and Kozlenok in October 2005, the group was named after Vor (“War”). Initially, Voina actions were clandestine and anonymous, and were called “training” or “practice”. Voina has enjoyed public recognition since 2008. To date, over 200 activists have participated in Voina actions. At least 20 criminal investigations into the group’s activities have been initiated, some of them still ongoing. According to Russia’s Investigations Committee,

“Art group VOINA’ is a left-wing radical anarchist collective whose central goal is to carry out PR actions directed against the authorities, and specifically against law enforcement officials with the aim of discrediting them in the eyes of the public. Branches of VOINA exist in all major Russian cities. The group’s sympatizers number approximately 3000. VOINA members maintain contacts with anarchist groups and individuals from all around the world holding left-wing radical views on art and on the world order (Italy, Slovakia, France, USA, South Africa, Greece)”.

Leo the Fucknut (Leonid Nikolaev). Artist, Voina activist. Born December 27th, 1983 in Moscow. College dropout (studied materials science). Leonid has been participating in Voina actions since December 2009. In May 2010 he was titled Voina President after a series of actions against killer VIP drivers (“Leo the Fucknut is our President” (“Leo the Fucknut is our President”). He was incarcerated in St. Petersburg from November 2010 to February 2011 on charges related to Voina’s “Palace Revolution” action (article 213 part 2 of the Russian Criminal Code). Leonid has been a member of the political council at the Moscow branch of Solidarnost, a united democratic movement. He is continuously involved in opposition activity in Russia, and has been arrested in excess of 30 times. Leonid currently lives in Moscow. He is unemployed and facing charges under articles 213 of the Russian Criminal Code (criminal case #276858) in connection with the “Palace Revolution” action.

Leonid Nikolaev whistling in protest to illegitimate elections. December 4th, 2011.

The arrest of Leonid Nikolaev.

Goals and objectives of the Art-Group Voina in the period 2008-2010

1. Rebirth of heroical behavioral ideals of an artist-intellectual, in a manner of Russian libertarian decemberism. Creation of image of artist as romantic hero, who prevail over the evil. Creation of lively romantic models in today`s soulless commercial conceptual art.
2. Rebirth of lively expressive art, which is sincere and honest and provoking observers` deep emotional experience. Actualization of monumental expressive genres, where large scale harmonizes with totally rich in content orientation, in contrast to outdated hypertrophy of forms, which deovid of sense.
3. Creation of innovative topical art-language, which is producing for pure art, but not for a money. It is mean language, which is adequate for today’s cultural and socio-political context, which is can show actual of the new epoch, which have no analogues in the past. Creation of Russian national actual art, without outmodedness and provinciality, and which provokes admiration of intellectuals all over the world.
4. Rebirth of Russian laughing culture, traditions of absurdity and sarcasm in context of high art, that is Rebirth of lively merriment in the art-spaces. Creation of political street-art in Russia in the best traditions of skomorokh and carnival middle-age art.
5. Conceptual destruction of glamour timeserving and conformist Russian art-market, which is reproducing outdated forms of art, artificially falsifying processes of pricing of art-market and creating financial pyramid from devalued art-junk.
6. Creating of real left front of art in Russia in traditions of futurism of 1920 years, which is radically shift all ideological poles by the facts of its being. Rebirth of political protest art all over the world.
7. War with “werewolfes in straps” for the freedom of contemporary art. War with socio-political obscurantism and ultra-right reaction for the triumph of nano-modernization in Russia. Subversion and destruction of outdated repressive-patriarchal socio-political symbols and ideologies. Art-war against all global world for total triumph of justice in Art-Area.

All the text was obtained at Free Voina

Human-ities · Newscast · Public Space · Science · Social/Politics · Technology · Vital-Edible-Health

Europe Bans Airport X-Ray Body Scanners Amid Cancer Concerns

X-ray body scans. CREDIT:

The European Union announced this week that it has banned the use of X-ray body scanners in all European airports “in order not to risk jeopardizing citizens’ health and safety.” Research shows that the X-ray scanners, which use low-level radiation to screen airline passengers for hidden explosives, slightly increase their risk of getting cancer.

The same scanners will continue to be used in the United States, according to the Transportation Security Administration. The TSA’s stance is that the scanners meet its safety standards. Continue HERE

Eco/Adaptable · Newscast · Science


Graphene is harder than diamond, just a single molecule thick and conducts electricity. Kat Hannaford talks to the two Nobel prize-winning scientists who discovered it about why it could revolutionize everything. Read HERE.

Graphene is a planar sheet of carbon atoms arranged in a hexagonal pattern. Stacked graphene sheets form graphite, used in pencils.

Earthly/Geo/Astro · Film/Video/New Media · Human-ities · Motion Graphics · Newscast · Social/Politics

Indigenous leaders brought to Quito to watch “Avatar”….hmmmm ok?

This article was writen by reporter Melaina Spitzer for THE WORLD. Go to the original article to read comments.

If there were ever a place that came close to the magical world of Pandora in James Cameron’s new film Avatar, it would probably be the Amazon. There may not be butterflies that look like flying squid, but in the Amazon can you eat giant worms and lemon flavored ants for dinner in a forest that is home to both the jaguar and the pink dolphin. Reporter Melaina Spitzer joined a group of indigenous leaders from the Amazon in Ecuador’s capital Quito, to see Avatar on the big screen in 3D.”

The Supercines Theater is on one of the busiest streets in Quito. On this afternoon it’s filled with indigenous leaders bussed in from the Amazon. They’re decked out in their plumes, feathered crowns and jewelry. Some of them look a little overwhelmed but that’s not too surprising.

These women say this is the first time they’ve ever been to a theater. Some have never seen a movie.

As we pass into the theater, a few look confused as ushers hand out thick dark 3D glasses. The seats fill up so people sit on the steps and in the aisles. And then the lights go down.

Indigenous viewers are impressed by the 3D graphics in Avatar for many, it’s their first time in a movie theater.

The movie tells the story of a planet called Pandora, home to the indigenous Na’vi. They’re fighting to protect their forests from a company set on mining a rare mineral called “unobtaneum.”

When it’s over, I speak with Mayra Vega. She’s 24 years old and head of the Women’s Association of the Shuar Nation. She says Avatar hit home for her people.
“It left a huge impression on us. For example, the movies are almost real. It’s an example that makes us think a lot because the indigenous are defending their rights. We have to defend just as the indigenous so clearly defended in the movie. We had an uprising we had a confrontation with gases; it’s the same as what we just saw in the movie.”

Vega says just like in Avatar, the Shuar are fighting to protect their land from mining companies. And they’re not the only ones.

The Quichua Community of Sarayaku took on CGC, an Argentine Energy company. Marlon Santi is President of the National Indigenous Confederation of Ecuador and a Sarayaku native. He sees the Sarayaku case as a real life Avatar story, where the indigenous triumphed over the oil company. But unlike in Avatar, they didn’t use violence.

The Sarayaku Case is one of the emblematic cases in the struggle for territorial and environmental defense, and for human rights.

Another case involves the Waorani: beneath their territory in Yasuni National Park lie 846 million barrels of oil. Yasuni is a biodiverse hotspot that’s often referred to as a grand lung of the earth. It is also one of the few places left on earth where uncontacted indigenous groups live in isolation. Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa has offered to forgo drilling in this pristine environment… if the international community will pay Ecuador more than three and a half billion dollars … about half the value of the oil. But Correa has recently questioned the deal causing an uproar at home.

At a reception after the film Marlon Santi says he hopes the president will ultimately bow to public pressure and keep his commitment to preserve Yasuni. And he thinks Avatar could help with that.

Avatar in the Amazon

“Honestly, this is the first time I’m seeing this movie, and it’s reality, what’s happening now just in another dimension.”
Others say there was at least one thing in the movie that veered from their reality Achuar leader Luis Vargas says it’s where the white guy sweeps in to the rescue. But he says that’s to be expected.

“This is a Hollywood movie, so it’s practically a given that a mestizo comes to the defense and leads (the people) to triumph in the end.”

Still, he liked the film and his fellow Achuar leader Ernesto Vargas says he hopes another group will get a chance to see it.

“Think of how much better it would be if we showed this film to people who actually want to exploit petroleum. I think it would serve them very well, even more than us.”

As for Ecuador’s President Correa, he saw the movie with his children the day after it premiered in Ecuador. No word yet on what he thought of it.

Video produced by Siegmund Thies.