October 17, 2016
My Memento Mori project follows the tradition of the 16th Century Dutch Vanitas painting movement, which took decaying objects as its subject matter, symbolizing the ephemeral nature of life and the certainty of death. Though none of the subjects I have photographed are endangered, they pay homage to the many species that have been pushed to the margins of existence and of their habitats by the relentless growth of human civilization. — Bobby Neel Adams exhibit at Smack Mellon in Brooklyn, through October 30.
Sometimes, you need to open a bottle of Coke from across the room, and all you have is a table tennis paddle and a ball. If you are a member of Pongfinity, this is not a problem. [more inside]
HyperNormalisation (UK-only iPlayer) (region-free link), the new BBC documentary from Adam Curtis (previously), covers four decades leading up to today's seemingly inexplicable chaos - the Syrian Civil War, Brexit, Vladimir Putin, the Islamic State, waves of refugees, suicide bombs, and on and on. Curtis argues "all of us in the West - not just the politicians and the journalists and the experts, but we ourselves - have retreated into a simplified, and often completely fake version of the world. But because it is all around us we accept it as normal." This version of normal, promoted by the Internet and 24-hour news cycle, is now under assault by forces that everyone from Patti Smith, Colonel Gaddafi, and Jane Fonda to Henry Kissinger, the Assad dynasty, and Putin's post-modern propagandist, Vladislav Surkov, has been trying to forget over forty years. (Youtube trailer) (Warning: footage of blood, dead bodies, etc)
The United Federation of "hold my beer, I got this" aka the real reason why it's always human starships that suffer transporter mishaps, random space warps or time travel. (An imgr album of a Tumblr thread because apparantly in the new internet 2.0 search is basically useless.)
Above the Arctic Circle in Alaska, a half-day's journey by snowmobile from the nearest paved road or tree, a village called Kivalina sits on a slip of permanently frozen earth bracketed by water — a lagoon on one side and the Chukchi Sea on the other. Everything on Kivalina is hard: there are no roads, few jobs, and rising waters that will soon swallow the island whole. But life can get better if the villagers catch a whale. It hasn't happened since 1994, but that's no reason to give up. This just might be the year. [more inside]
"I’m always shocked when critics of the mid-20th Century architectural style known as Michigan Modern decry that period as a silly time of tail fins on cars, uncomfortable furniture, and shiny, kitschy buildings. Shocked, because I think Michigan Modern, properly understood, remains our greatest architectural expression." [more inside]
Who is Alex Trebek? is a collaborative response to the massive shade thrown by the game show host recently, when he called current three-day champion Susan Cole and her fellow Nerdcore fans 'losers.'
Order of Canada recipient and renowned architect Douglas Cardinal is seeking to bar the Cleveland Indians' name and logo from use in Ontario as they enter playoffs against the Blue Jays.
Against the rise of Donald Trump, the former heir to a racist movement reconsiders the ideology he helped spread. [SLWaPo] [more inside]
There are 17 propositions on California's ballot this year (average is 18). According to the L.A. Times, California voters will be asked on Nov. 8 to sort through the longest list of statewide propositions since the PlayStation 2 was on the market and the St. Louis Rams won the Super Bowl. Trying to make sense of each of them is going to be a project, so here we go, one by one. First links are to the official ballot measures. Controversial measures have more links. Add to the discussion with more links in comments. [more inside]
A pleasant album by Equip called I Dreamed Of A Palace In The Sky harkens back to the classic jrpg osts by Nobuo Uematsu and Yasunori Matsuda.
A 600-Year-Old Oak Tree Finally Succumbs [The New York Times] “The locals say that George Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette — the Frenchman who bankrolled the American patriots with cold, hard cash — picnicked in the shade it provided. Rank-and-file soldiers are said to have rested under it, gathering strength before going on to beat the redcoats. It is a huge oak tree, now estimated to be 600 years old. Arborists such as Rob Gillies consider it one of the oldest in North America. It is a local landmark, right there in the cemetery of the Basking Ridge Presbyterian Church. On Thursday, Mr. Gillies sliced into it with a chain saw.”
Fear illusions "We start receiving notifications on our phone as soon as these disasters happen. So there's a false sense of involvement that we didn't have 150 years ago."
An in-depth piece on Chipotle and the company's attempts to recover from a major crisis caused by several food safety incidents in its supply chain and restaurants.
The magnificent, insane castles of Ludwig II of Bavaria are slowly decaying. (Come for the architecture, stay for the orgies and proposed bank robberies.) As the article notes, "Ludwig kept hundreds of upholsterers, wood carvers and gilders busy, along with engineers and Siemens technicians." He spent himself into debt for the sake of his castles, many of which were designed after inspirations from Wagner, and some of which may have been built specifically for Wagner performances. [more inside]