Book-Text-Read-Zines · Human-ities

Antifragile: How to Live in a World We Don’t Understand by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

The core idea behind this book is simple and quite enticing. Nassim Nicholas Taleb divides the world and all that’s in it (people, things, institutions, ways of life) into three categories: the fragile, the robust and the antifragile. You are fragile if you avoid disorder and disruption for fear of the mess they might make of your life: you think you are keeping safe, but really you are making yourself vulnerable to the shock that will tear everything apart. You are robust if you can stand up to shocks without flinching and without changing who you are. But you are antifragile if shocks and disruptions make you stronger and more creative, better able to adapt to each new challenge you face. Taleb thinks we should all try to be antifragile.

If the idea is nice and neat, however, the book that houses it is just the opposite. It is a big, baggy, sprawling mess. Taleb seems to have decided not just to explain his idea but also to try to exemplify it. One of his bugbears is the fragility of most of what passes for “knowledge” – especially the kind produced by academics – which he thinks is so hung up on order and completeness that it falls apart at the first breath of disruption. So he has gone for deliberate disorder: Antifragile jumps around from aphorism to anecdote to technical analysis, interspersed with a certain amount of hectoring encouragement to the reader to keep up. The aim, apparently, is to show how much more interesting an argument can be if it resists being pinned down.

Excerpt of a review via The Guardian. Continue HERE

There is much more to resilience than simple strength. (A review of Antifragile by Gillian Tett)

Human-ities · Performativity

On Charisma: who has it, and how to get it

Whether you’re a seductress, a political leader, or simply seeking that prized ability to “inspire great enthusiasm and devotion”, as one dictionary defines charisma, the idea that it can be taught is hardly new: Dale Carnegie’s 1936 manual, How to Win Friends and Influence People, has sold more than 15million copies worldwide. But now Fox Cabane is transforming what was considered an art into a science, one that is frankly scary at times. “It’s all about learning to play chemist with your brain,” she explains. “If you’re able to flood your body with oxytocin [the love hormone] whenever you want, your body language will be transformed. People will want to be near you.” Fox Cabane estimates that three sessions of around a couple of hours can transform a reasonably personable person into someone magnetic.

Dr Nicole Gehl, a psychotherapist, is cynical, suggesting that what Fox Cabane offers is little more than a gimmick. “Charisma is a personality characteristic and personality traits are moderately to highly heritable. Truly charismatic people genuinely like other people. The emotional component of that is really hard to fake.”

Excerpt of an article written by Julia Llewellyn Smith, at The Telegraph. Continue HERE

Architectonic · Design · Public Space · Social/Politics

Copenhagen – Governed with people in mind

In the first installment of this series we discussed how data in cities can give visibility to values that were previously neglected or misunderstood. Here we will look at the city of Copenhagen and see how people- focused-data, people-first values have become embedded in the administration and institutionalized in the city over the last 40 years. These, amongst other factors contribute to Copenhagen as one of the most liveable cities in the world (according to The Economist Intelligence Unit, and Monocle Livability indices).

The city of Copenhagen actually has a municipal department specifically for city life. In addition to the typical departments of planning, transportation and parks, the social life of the city, the human dimension of creating the conditions to encourage public life have also been allocated resources and a budget. Beginning already in the 1960s, people-first strategies began to be embedded in the governance of the city, and institutionalized at different levels. It was a movement, critically not of one individual’s political vision but a generation of politicians, planners, and citizens supported in-part, by the collected data to shape their vision by Prof Jan Gehl and Prof Lars Gemzoe. The department now has the ambition that by 2015 80% of Copenhageners will be satisfied with the opportunities in the city to participate in public life.

Text and Images via making cities for people … a blog, run by Gehl Architects, where we share experiences and knowledge and explore creative solutions to making cities places of quality for all people. Continue HERE

Animalia · Bio · Science · Technology

Conserved Gene Expression Reveals Our ‘Inner Fish’ – Human DNA Traced Back to Marine Origins

A study of gene expression in chickens, frogs, pufferfish, mice and people has revealed surprising similarities in several key tissues. Researchers have shown that expression in tissues with a limited number of specialized cell types is strongly conserved, even between the mammalian and non-mammalian vertebrates.

Timothy Hughes from the University of Toronto, Canada, worked with a team of researchers to investigate evolutionary alterations in gene regulation in the five different vertebrates. They found that although the specialized DNA sequences that regulate the expression of the genes seem to have changed beyond recognition over the hundreds of millions of years since the clades parted evolutionary company, the actual patterns of gene expression remain closely conserved.

According to Hughes, “There are clearly strong evolutionary constraints on tissue-specific gene expression. Many genes show conserved human/fish expression despite having almost no nonexonic conserved primary sequence.”

Continue article HERE

Human-ities · Performativity · Photographics

The Panoptic Observations of J.Scriba

J.Scriba is a media artist, physicist and photographer from Germany. The images above are part of his [situ art] projects.

He says: “I use the term [situ art] to refer to art created at or in relation to a specific place (“in situ”). However, these projects at public places like airports, railway stations or office buildings don’t portrait concrete venues but rather capture the essence of a situation: a gathering of people linked by common goals or interests and the desire to communicate with each other and their surroundings.”

Book-Text-Read-Zines · Design · Vital-Edible-Health

Delicate: New Food Culture…You are HOW you eat

About This Book

You are HOW you eat, as much as what you eat. Now, more than ever, eating is an expression of our mindset, identity, spirit, culture, and aspirations. Against this background, this book is an entertaining visual exploration of a diverse scene of young entrepreneurs that see eating as a creative challenge. They are united by a passion for making food an experience and are striving to deal with eating and nourishment in more imaginative, more sensuous, and more responsible ways.
Delicate is an inspiring collection of people, places, projects, and products from around the world that are blazing trails for a new passion for food and the ways we share it.

Eating is so much more than merely fulfilling a fundamental bodily need. Eating appeals to all of our senses; it boosts our well-being on every level. Now, more than ever, it is an expression of our mindset, identity, spirit, and culture.

Around the world, a scene of young food entrepreneurs is developing that brings together creatives, tradespeople, and activists. This scene aspires to deal with both the food that we need, and the food that we enjoy, in more creative, more sensuous, and more responsible ways. It is united by a passion for making food an experience as well as by a high appreciation for the quality, origin, aesthetics, and workmanship of food.

Delicate introduces the protagonists at the forefront of this current movement along with the projects, places, and products associated with them. The book documents a wide spectrum from small brewers, coffee roasters, and chocolate-makers to artists, event managers, and creators of zines.

Event concepts are shown that use food to facilitate communication and social interaction in tried and true, as well as surprising new ways. Locations such as shops, markets, and restaurants become meeting places for everyone who would like to learn, participate, sample, and enjoy.

The experimental projects featured in Delicate are blazing trails for a better understanding of nourishment and a new passion for food.

Text and Images via Gestalten

Architectonic · Earthly/Geo/Astro · Human-ities · Performativity · Social/Politics

Towers of Silence: Zoroastrian Architectures for the Ritual of Death

Zoroastrianism traditionally conceives death as a temporary triumph of evil over good: rushing into the body, the corpse demon contaminates everything it comes in contact with.

The flesh of a dead body being so unclean it can pollute everything, a set of rules had to be created in order to dispose of the corpse as safely as possible: as the natural elements of earth, air and water are sacred, the corpses were not to be thrown upon the water or interred. Cremation was also forbidden, as fire is the direct -purest- emanation of the divinity.

Hence a complex ritual was developed, in which the corpses would be eventually exposed to birds of prey and thus devoured, in a final act of charity.
After death every division of class and wealth disappeared, for all deceased would be treated equally.

A proper architectural typology was invented solely for the purpose of burial’s ritual: transported in the desert by nasellars (traditional zoroastrian pallbearers), the bodies of the deceased were then carted onto sandstone, forbidding hills, to be eventually disposed on cilindrical constructions called Towers of Silence.

Via Socks Studio. Please be aware that some of the images at the end of the post are extremely graphic. Viewer discretion is advised. Continue HERE