February 12, 2020
The North Sea, between Great Britain, continental Europe and Scandinavia, has been the focus of several megaengineering ideas, most recently a Dutch proposal to enclose it with two massive dams, one running from Scotland via the Shetland Islands to Norway, and the other from Cornwall to Brittany. The so-called North European Enclosure Dam is estimated to cost between 250 and 500 billion Euros—or merely 0.1% of the GDP of the areas bordering the enclosed regions, which would in turn be protected from rising sea levels due to climate change. The Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, which put forward the proposal, stresses that it would be technically feasible, as all sea depths along the routes are relatively shallow, though mentions that the eventual consequences of damming the North Sea would be it turning into a freshwater lake, disrupting marine ecosystems. The idea is intended not so much as an immediate plan for action as a plausible illustration of the likely costs of mitigation if climate change is not reined in. [more inside]
What DREAMS are made of [Launch] [Trailer] [Gameplay: How do you make stuff?] “Dreams is a thing of wonder. The play, create, share vision pioneered by LittleBigPlanet is at the beating heart of everything this software is, and it excels in all three areas. Describing it as a game almost undersells what's been achieved here; Dreams is so much more than that. Effectively, this is an engine for creating almost anything you can think of. It's very possible to make your own levels, of course, but using the set of tools at your disposal, you can create animations, films, sculptures, paintings, music, and more. It's cliché to say stuff like this, but the limit really is your own imagination. Think of this: in Sackboy's original adventure, someone made a functional calculator using hundreds of gadgets and gizmos tethered together. It was, at the time, unbelievably impressive. In Dreams, a calculator is just one of dozens of in-built tools you can plonk into your creation at any moment.” [via: Push Square] [more inside]
The trailer for Wes Anderson's latest movie, The French Dispatch, is out. It "brings to life a collection of stories from the final issue of an American magazine published in a fictional 20th-century French city", and stars Benicio del Toro, Adrien Brody, Tilda Swinton, Léa Seydoux, Frances McDormand, Timothée Chalamet, Lyna Khoudri, Jeffrey Wright, Mathieu Amalric, Stephen Park, Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Liev Schreiber, Elisabeth Moss, Edward Norton, Willem Dafoe, Lois Smith, Saoirse Ronan, Christoph Waltz, Cécile de France, Guillaume Gallienne, Jason Schwartzman, Tony Revolori, Rupert Friend, Henry Winkler, Bob Balaban, Hippolyte Girardot, Anjelica Huston, Kate Winslet, and others. [more inside]
Lawrence Ray arrested, previously on the blue... In 2019, the blue linked to an expose that was published about abuse at a small college in Westchester. Finally, it seems the wheels of justice are turning, thanks in most part to that expose. Victims family find some relief.... Warnings for sexual abuse of teenagers and cult-like behavior.
Meth began to thrive in Missouri for many of the same reasons it thrives in other disaffected towns in the rural Midwest: As factory jobs evaporated or migrated overseas, the ones left behind often paid less and came with fewer benefits. Some Missourians turned to making and selling the drug to supplement their income; others took to using it, as a performance-enhancing medication. Meth furiously ramps up productivity, allowing people to work longer hours “or bear the work they were doing,” Pine says, “which can be backbreaking, like concrete work; or boring, like factory work or truck driving.” In his new book The Alchemy of Meth, anthropologist Jason Pine chronicles how methamphetamine addiction reshaped rural Missouri, and beyond. Sarah Holder reports for City Lab. [more inside]
Lucille Clifton honored strength, resilience, hope, and beauty in hundreds of poems over her long career. She received the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize in 2007, honoring a living U.S. poet whose "lifetime accomplishments warrant extraordinary recognition," and the Robert Frost Medal for lifetime achievement from the Poetry Society of America. She was Poet Laureate of Maryland from 1979 to 1985. [more inside]
Paul English, Willie Nelson's longtime drummer, enforcer, and friend, has passed. For almost fifty years, Paul English [previously] spent his nights literally watching Willie Nelson’s back, as his drummer. The rest of the time he functioned as Willie’s more figurative back—a job that runs 24/7. [...] As Willie explained to an associate who’d wondered why he kept an asshole like Paul on the payroll, especially when he couldn’t keep time as a drummer: “He’s saved my life.” Willie sang about their times together in his song Me And Paul. Paul English was 87.
Some 60 years ago, during the era of McCarthyism, comic books became a threat, causing a panic that culminated in a Senate hearing in 1954. [...] The reaction to the suspected scourge was the Comics Code (CBLDF) — a set of rules that spelled out what comics could and couldn't do. Good had to triumph over evil. Government had to be respected. Marriages never ended in divorce. [...] What adults thought was best for children ended up censoring and dissolving years of progress and artistry (Buzzfeed News), as well as comics that challenged American views on gender and race. Consequently, that cemented the idea that this was a medium for kids — something we've only recently started disbelieving. The insane history of how American paranoia ruined and censored comic books (Vox) [more inside]
What has happened in journalism in the twenty-first century is a version, perhaps an extreme one, of what has happened in many fields. A blind faith that market forces and new technologies would always produce a better society has resulted in more inequality, the heedless dismantling of existing arrangements that had real value, and a heightened gap in influence, prosperity, and happiness between the dominant cities and the provinces. The political implications of this are painfully obvious, in the United States and elsewhere: in journalism, the poorer, the more nativist, the angrier parts of the country (which vote accordingly) are the ones where journalism can’t deliver on its public promise because of its severe economic constraints. Journalism is a case in which it’s going to take a whole new set of arrangements, and a new way of thinking, to solve the present crisis. Can Journalism Be Saved? by Nicolas Lemann in the NYRB]
Mapping the Gay Guides aims to understand often ignored queer geographies using the Damron Address Books, an early but longstanding travel guide aimed at gay men since the early 1960s. Mapping the Gay Guides turns these travel guides into accessible visualizations, useful in exploring change in queer communities over time. [more inside]
opensyllabus.org scraped 6 million syllabi and put them into a searchable database.
Soil's Microbial Market Shows the Ruthless Side of Forests - "In the 'underground economy' for soil nutrients, fungi strike hard bargains and punish plants that won't meet their price." (via) [more inside]
The Neighbor's Window, a short film by Marshall Curry. And winner of this year's Oscar for short film. [more inside]