Is Graffiti Art In National Parks Still Cool?

There’s no doubt that graffiti in urban landscapes has been legitimized not only as cool (think Futura 2000 in the ’80s) but also as fine art (think Banksy). The best graffiti artists are legends; but when they start creating their art on natural features of national parks, is it still cool? The LA Times questions the trend:

Andre Saraiva is an internationally known graffiti artist. He owns nightclubs in Paris and New York, works as a top editor of the men’s fashion magazine L’Officiel Hommes and has appeared in countless glossy magazines as a tastemaker and bon vivant.

André Saraiva.jpg

André Saraiva by Circle Culture Art GmbH (CC)

 

Two months ago he showed up on the decidedly un-fashionista website Modern Hiker, along with a photo of a boulder he tagged in Joshua Tree National Park. Since then, Saraiva, who lives in France and is known by his fans as Mr. Andre and Mr.

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In Defense of Cornel West: Is Barack Obama Right, or Has Michael Eric Dyson Lost His Mind?

"Cornel West 2008" by Esther - originally posted to Flickr as cornel west!!!. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Cornel West 2008” by Esther – originally posted to Flickr as cornel west!!!. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Carl Dix and Lenny Wolff write in Revolution Newspaper:

This Sunday, the New Republic posted a vicious attack on Cornel West, “The Ghost of Cornel West,” by Michael Eric Dyson. This attack is not an academic dispute; it is a hit job against a deeply principled intellectual who refused to put away his critical faculties when Obama took office, who has increasingly stepped out into the struggle against murders by police and mass incarceration, and who has done so in a way that condemns and exposes the crimes—and yes, they are crimes—of the Obama Administration. All the sound and fury of Dyson’s long rant cannot hide that essential, and shameful, fact.

On one level, Dyson’s attack is beneath contempt and barely merits reply. But because principle and intellectual rigor are currently so debased in this society, and because powerful forces seem intent on promoting Dyson’s takedown of Cornel West, reply we must.

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It’s still possible we all live inside a hologram

Credit: TU Wien

Credit: TU Wien

Jamie Lendino via ExtremeTech:

Mathematicians are already familiar with the holographic principle, which the famous physicist Leonard Susskind first proposed. It asserts that a volume of space can be thought of as encoded on a boundary to it — such as an observer-dependent gravitational horizon — and therefore needs one less dimension then it appears to need. By extension, since our universe seems three-dimensional to us, it could actually be a two-dimensional structure that’s overlaid onto an incredibly large cosmic horizon.

Back in 1997, Juan Maldacena first postulated the theory of a holographic universe, saying that gravity arises from thin, vibrating strings that exist in 10 dimensions. Other physicists have been working with the concept since.

“The work culminated in the last decade, and it suggests, remarkably, that all we experience is nothing but a holographic projection of processes taking place on some distant surface that surrounds us,” wrote physicist Brian Greene, from Columbia University, in 2011.

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The Armenian Genocide, and the Supreme Evil of Human Stubbornness

The Armenian quarter of Adana left pillaged and destroyed after the massacres in Adana in 1909.

The Armenian quarter of Adana left pillaged and destroyed after the massacres in Adana in 1909.

Last Friday was the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, an event which, if you’re a Turkish government official, you’re much more likely to refer to with some nauseating euphemism like “the 1915 hostilities with Armenia” or “the period of mutual Turkish-Armenian suffering.” But no matter what name you put on it, it was an event where 1 million or more people died, nearly all of them Armenian, as a direct result of deliberate planning by the government ruling Turkey at the time.

I’m not Armenian, nor have I even been to Armenia. But in my life so far, I’ve come across my fair share of Armenians. My freshman year roommate in college was a native-born Armenian. His family had left the country and set up camp, as many others before them had, in Glendale. During my time in Argentina, I’ve come across a number of descendants of Armenian refugees who came to the country as a result of the 1915 genocide.… Read the rest

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VIDEO: Peace Prize Laureate Launches Campaign to Stop Killer Robots After Winning Ban on Landmines


From DemocracyNow!:

In 1997 Jody Williams won the Nobel Peace Prize for her work with the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. In 2013 she helped launch the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots. “Who is accountable? Is it the man who programmed it? Is it Lockheed Martin, who built it?” Williams asks in an interview at The Hague, where she has joined 1,000 female peace activists gathered to mark the founding of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. Williams notes how some “spider-like” robots that spray tear gas are now used for crowd control, but could be stopped before they become widespread. She recalls how she was previously able to “force the governments of the world to come together and discuss [landmines]. They thought they would fly under the radar … A small group of people can and do change the world.”

Full Story at DemocracyNow.org

More info at StopKillerRobots.org

Watch a 2012 video of Amy Goodman speaking with Jody Williams on killer robots.… Read the rest

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The Future of Religion Is Bleak

Prof. Daniel C. Dennett, co-director of the Center for Cognitive Studies at Tufts University and co-author, with Linda LaScola, of Caught in the Pulpit: Leaving Belief Behind, explains why the future of religion is bleak, at the Wall Street Journal:

Religion has been waning in influence for several centuries, especially in Europe and North America. There have been a few brief and local revivals, but in recent years the pace of decline has accelerated.

Today one of the largest categories of religious affiliation in the world—with more than a billion people—is no religion at all, the “Nones.” One out of six Americans is already a None; by 2050, the figure will be one out of four, according to a new Pew Research Center study. Churches are being closed by the hundreds, deconsecrated and rehabilitated as housing, offices, restaurants and the like, or just abandoned.

Religion economy.png

The national income of countries correlates negatively with their religiosity.

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We Stand to Lose Everything

Aaron Dames writes for Divided Core.

 

We are like butterflies who flutter for a day and think it is forever.
— Carl Sagan

As the 100th anniversary of World War I rolls around, dignitaries and diplomats are commemorating the costly victories and tragic losses of that brutal and gaseous four-year melee which resulted in the deaths of somewhere between ten to sixteen million people. World War I set the stage for its horrific sequel, World War II, which showcased another four years of agonizing mayhem, replicated genocides, and the creation of a Hell on Earth. Millions of people died on battlefields, in death camps, and of disease, starvation, and lack of sanitation in galactic pits of unfathomable misery and suffering. World War II then set the stage for the Cold War, in which the United States, the Soviet Union, and eventually other jingoistic nuclear powers, held humanity hostage through aggressive threats of apocalyptic war.… Read the rest

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The White House Correspondents’ Dinner: Establishment-Friendly Edginess

Washington D.C. is, as the old saying goes, “like Hollywood for ugly people.” Lawmakers, policy wonks, and (lest we forget) lobbyists didn’t work their way inside the beltway just to sit around all day being prestigious, they like a bit of spectacle just like the rest of us. And if that spectacle ultimately serves to inflate their already bloated egos, all the better.

And thus, the rationale for the White House Correspondents’ Dinner (or “WHCD”, if you’re one of those pretentious assholes who also insists on calling the president the “POTUS” and the supreme court the “SCOTUS”). It’s a night for the DC establishment to show us common folks that they don’t take themselves too seriously — which, incidentally, is something they’re very serious about.

Perhaps the most memorable Correspondents’ Dinner came in 2006, with Stephen Colbert’s epic roast of George W. Bush. It was a cathartic moment for everyone fed up with Bush’s disastrous presidency, and it had such a profound effect on Bush that he continued to be a disaster all the way up to the end of his term, at which point he decamped to Dallas to draw pictures of dogs and Vladimir Putin.… Read the rest

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Babies as young as six months using mobile media

SparkCBC (CC BY-SA 2.0)

SparkCBC (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The American Academy of Pediatrics via ScienceDaily:

More than one-third of babies are tapping on smartphones and tablets even before they learn to walk or talk, and by 1 year of age, one in seven toddlers is using devices for at least an hour a day, according to a study to be presented Saturday, April 25 at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in San Diego.

The American Academy of Pediatrics discourages the use of entertainment media such as televisions, computers, smartphones and tablets by children under age 2. Little is known, however, when youngsters actually start using mobile devices.

Researchers developed a 20-item survey to find out when young children are first exposed to mobile media and how they use devices. The questionnaire was adapted from the “Zero to Eight” Common Sense Media national survey on media use in children.

Parents of children ages 6 months to 4 years old who were at a hospital-based pediatric clinic that serves a low-income, minority community were recruited to fill out the survey.

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