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Shell Art

Shell Art

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Trent Gilliss admires the latest installation at the Tate Modern by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei:

Chinese artist Ai Weiwei’s latest installation at the Tate Modern is an incredible feat: one hundred million hand-painted pieces of porcelain that resemble the shells of sunflower seeds. 

Sadly, they have stopped letting visitors walk across the sculpture due to dust.

(Photo: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images) 

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Laws Of Physics Say Cellphones Don't Cause Cancer

Laws Of Physics Say Cellphones Don't Cause Cancer

Cellphones don’t cause cancer because they don’t emit enough energy to break molecular bonds inside cells, reports Scientific American. “In fact, if the bonds holding the key molecules of life together could be broken at the energy levels of cell phones, there would be no life at all because the various natural sources of energy from the environment would prevent such bonds from ever forming in the first place.”

Can You Hear Me Now? The Truth about Cell Phones and Cancer [Scientific American]

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Two Brothers, Two States

Two Brothers, Two States

From Amos Oz's acceptance speech for half of the Siegfried Unseld Prize in Berlin on September 28, 2010. He shared it with the Palestinian scholar Sari Nusseibeh:

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a tragic struggle between two victims of Europe—the Arabs were the victims of imperialism, colonialism, repression, and humiliation. The Jews were the victims of discrimination, persecution, and finally of a genocide without parallel in history. On the face of it, two victims, especially two victims of the same oppressor, should become brothers. But the truth, both when it comes to individuals and when it comes to countries, is that some of the worst fights break out between two victims of the same oppressor. The two sons of an abusive father will each see in his brother the face of his cruel father. And this is the case with the Jews and the Arabs—each of us sees the other in the image of the former oppressor. …

The disputed land is, altogether, smaller than Holland—yet there is no choice but to divide it into two countries, Israel and Palestine. The Israelis and Palestinians can’t turn into a single people living in a single country, and there is no point in trying to shove them into a double bed after a century of violence and hatred. No one would have dreamed, immediately after World War II, of trying to make Germany and Poland into a single country. The Israeli Jews and the Palestinians Arabs cannot, at this stage, turn into one happy family because they are not one, they are not happy, and they are not a family. They are two unhappy families, which is why it is vital to split the house into to smaller apartments—just as the Czechs and the Slovaks did without shedding a drop of blood.

Video from here. I'm more than happy to air dissents to its core narrative or facts. At first, I bridled at the word "colonies"; but if settling your own population on occupied land you conquered in war is not colonization, I'm not sure what is. As for the strategy of Judaizing Jerusalem, it also smacks of a kind of ethnic-religious colonization. I can certainly understand why the Palestinians and the Obama administration would regard freezing this process as a precondition for talks – because it is a change of the facts on the ground during an attempt to negotiate boundaries. You need a time out for genuine negotiation on settled terms. And yet the illegal construction of settlements for Israeli Jews in East Jerusalem continues. And the American Jewish establishment seems content to let the Israeli far right dictate the terms of negotiation.

Which guarantees failure.

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Watch: Tilt-Shift Coachella Festival

Watch: Tilt-Shift Coachella Festival

Coachella

The SoCal music festival in miniature, AFTER THE JUMP

(via gizmodo)

Coachella2

Coachelletta from Sam O'Hare on Vimeo.

 

The Palin Model, Ctd

The Palin Model, Ctd

Her anointed candidate for the Senate from Alaska, Joe Miller, had his security goons grab an Alaska Dispatch blogger, Tony Hopfinger, and handcuffed him as he tried to get Miller to answer a question as he left an open forum. Ben Smith notes:

This isn't exactly the first time a reporter has ever chased a politician out of an event, shouting questions. Indeed, that's how almost every political event ends. And while I get the partisan impulse to defend Miller, imagine if [Martha] Coakley's staff had not just shoved, but handcuffed and detained, that Standard reporter.

Here's the context:

Hopfinger was reportedly pressing Miller on whether the candidate had ever been reprimanded for politicking while working at the Fairbanks North Star Borough in 2008. Alaska Dispatch and other media have sued for the release of records related Miller's time at the borough. Various accounts of what happened next generally agree on this course of events:

  • Two or three bodyguards told Hopfinger to stop asking questions and to leave the building.
  • Hopfinger continued to ask questions while apparently videotaping the candidate.
  • Bodyguards told him that if he persisted they would arrest him for trespassing, but refused to identify themselves to Hopfinger.
  • Hopfinger asked why he was trespassing, as the event was at a public school. Seconds later, he was then put in arm-bar and later handcuffed and sequestered at one end of a hallway for at least 30 minutes. He was told, "You're under arrest."
  • Anchorage Police arrived on the scene shortly after.

The cops let Hopfinger go with no charges. The ADN story here; Miller campaign's version here ("the blogger appeared irrational, angry and potentially violent"):

William Fulton from Dropzone Security Services said Hopfinger should have known from the "Joe Miller for Senate" signs outside Central Junior High School that the town hall meeting — to which Miller invited citizens on the internet sites Facebook and Twitter — was a private event. "They leased it for a private event," said Fulton. "It wasn't a public place."

This would be a relatively small kerfuffle in my view if it didn't reflect the core of the Palin model of politics: bypass the non-Republican media entirely, refuse to answer questions or be accountable for factual errors, always sequester candidates in docile, friendly crowds, and, if necessary, restrain, hold back or even physically assault journalists doing their job. It scares me.

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“Murder By Numbers”

“Murder By Numbers”

The average social cost of a single murder is more than $17.2 million, according to a new study (PDF). Christina Hernandez interviewed study author Matt DeLisi on the goal of the research:

There is a large and vibrant prevention world that tries to identify at-risk youth and at-risk families and provide some modestly-costing social services that will try to push kids out of risky or at-risk environments into more normative or pro-social environments.

I’m hoping these monetization studies show the end result of what happens if we allow crime to go over to a lengthy criminal career. My hope is that this information — because no one wants to pay for these costs, let alone endure all the victimization — provides an incentive to continue to invest in prevention.

(Hat tip: Maureen O'Connor)

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This Message Paid For By Afghan Poppy Farmers

This Message Paid For By Afghan Poppy Farmers

Will Wilkinson defends the propriety of allowing foreign citizens and corporations to finance campaign ads in the US:

The United States is no hermit kingdom. If America decides it is going to invade a place, impose sanctions, or otherwise meddle in another country's business—and it has been known to do such things—it only seems fair to hear what others around the world think about it. Will American sanctions hurt a Belgian business? Will an American invasion lead to the deaths of allied Australian troops? Let's hear about it! The performance of the world's largest national economy naturally reverberates across the globe. And foreign-owned corporations are an integral part of the American economy. Obviously, Americans are not the only ones with a large stake in American economic policy. America's "war on drugs" has had, in my opinion, an enormously deleterious effect on a number of our Latin American neighbours. As a general matter, the effects of American policy are hardly confined within American borders. Non-citizens can't vote in American elections. The least we can do is permit them access to the public sphere so that they can attempt to inform and persuade American voters.

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The Logic Of DADT

The Logic Of DADT

Dale Carpenter explains it:

Whether it takes the form of saying that some recruits will refuse to enlist, or that some personnel will not re-enlist, or that some will get heebee jeebees in the showers, or that some will not obey orders from gay commanders or share tasks and objectives with their gay comrades, it comes to the same thing. Gays are to be excluded, not because of their own merits, but because we fear that some people around them might not be able to handle the truth. It is not a judgment about gays at all, but about heterosexuals.

This dreary picture of heterosexuals is falsifiable. The available evidence, including ample experience in our own and other militaries, strongly suggests it is built on myths about heterosexual frailty and irrationality.

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Restaurant owner sues Ford over bribery allegations

Restaurant owner sues Ford over bribery allegations

The owner of a Toronto pub located on city-owned beachfront land said Tuesday he plans to sue mayoral candidate Rob Ford for libel over comments the controversial politician made earlier this year.

Paladino Says Sorry II

Paladino Says Sorry II

Judge for yourself. But what this incident really indicates to me is the total conflation of religion and politics. The speech Paladino gave was written in consultation with Orthodox Jewish rabbis:

Gay advocates were particularly incensed by a reference to homosexuality as “dysfunctional” in a draft of Mr. Paladino’s speech made public on Sunday. Mr. Paladino never delivered that remark, and in his letter, he explained that he had redacted the reference before the speech because he considered it “unacceptable.”

He has said it was included at the suggestion of Orthodox Jewish rabbis. On Tuesday, at a news conference in Albany, Mr. Caputo took responsibility for the appearance of the remark, saying he had cooperated with the Orthodox community in writing the statement. “The speech mistake is on me,” he said.

So a Republican candidate doesn't exactly pander to religious fundamentalists; he just asks them directly what they want him to say; and they effectively co-write the speech. This isn't pandering; it's fusion. That this occurs with Jewish fundamentalists rather than Christian fundamentalists is simply a matter of geography and demographics. What matters is that the GOP is increasingly not a secular political party, but a fundamentalist religious organization seeking political power.

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