inspiration & news

In the News 03.01.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


In the News 03.01.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 03.01.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 03.01.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Archaeology As Blood Sport

“Oh my God,” Richard Cerutti said to himself. He bent down to pick up a sharp, splintered bone fragment. Its thickness and weight told him that it belonged to an animal, a very big animal. His mind started to race.

He was standing at the foot of a slope being groomed by Caltrans for a road-widening project through the Sweetwater Valley near National City.

Earthmoving equipment had already uncovered other fossils from elsewhere on the site, mostly rodents, birds and lizards. But this bone was from no ordinary animal. The operator wanted to keep digging, but Cerutti raised a fist to stop him. He felt a tightening knot of anger.

The contractors had worked over the weekend without contacting him, and he could see the damage they had done. He sprinted up the slope to a construction trailer and picked up a telephone.

“Tom,” he said. “I think I have a mammoth out here on State Route 54. Can you send some help?”

Read the rest of this article at: Los Angeles Times

19 Acts of Heroism in 2017


When there’s a terrorist attack, there are courageous emergency workers. Where there’s a mass shooting, there are selfless bystanders who shield strangers and tend to the wounded. When there’s a natural disaster, there’s someone checking in on a neighbor.

The media often declare them “heroes,” though in many cases they refuse the label. They insist that they were just doing their jobs, or doing what anyone would do in their situation.

Whatever you call them, they provided some of the year’s most uplifting stories. Violence and destruction have a way of draining hope, but acts of altruism and selflessness under duress offered a sliver of light when people most needed it.

They provided moments of uplift, often little noticed, in a year when stories of collective heroism were in the headlines: The women who came forward about sexual harassment, abuse and assault by powerful men. The undocumented immigrant students who excelled in the face of a harsh political environment in the United States. The besieged human rights lawyers defying an increasingly authoritarian Chinese government. The Native American teenagers who helped halt an energy pipeline that would have devastated their homeland in the Dakotas.

Here are some of the less prominent acts of courage by ordinary individuals who lurked behind the news — women and men who risked their lives, ran toward danger, or otherwise inspired us in 2017.

Read the rest of this article at: The New York Times

Tuscany Tote in Cognac

Shop the Tuscany Tote in Cognac
at Belgrave Crescent &

The 99 Best Things
That Happened In 2017

If you’re feeling despair about the fate of humanity in the 21st century, you might want to reconsider.

In 2017, it felt like the global media picked up all of the problems, and none of the solutions. To fix that, here are 99 of the best stories from this year that you probably missed.

Read the rest of this article at: Quartz


The Monster Beneath

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In the heat of a summer afternoon, Vincenzo Morra, a professor of petrology at the University of Naples, took me up into the low brown hills of Pisciarelli just west of Naples. We drove past large, out-of-town discount stores and abandoned football pitches, and parked opposite a derelict, flat-roofed building. “We are going to the place where you can touch the volcano,” he told me. As I got out of the car, two things struck me simultaneously: the smell – the pungent, rotten-egg stink of sulphur – and a great rushing sound, shockingly loud against the silence of the hillside.

Morra, who is also the co-ordinator of the Italian Volcanic Risk Committee, led the way down a track towards a small, rocky gully. Turning the corner, the noise intensified. It sounded like an immense waterfall or some sort of infernal machine. In front of us, I saw its origin: a large cloud of steam rising from a fissure in the grey rocks. Below the fissure, a pool of churning mud belched and bubbled. No vegetation grew nearby and the earth beneath my feet felt hot. We were looking at what volcanologists call a fumarole. The heat emanated from a pool of magma that had collected some 3km below the ground.

Campi Flegrei – the name means “fiery fields” – is a type of volcano known as a caldera (from the Spanish for “kettle” or “cauldron”). Other examples include Yellowstone in Wyoming, Rabaul in Papua New Guinea and Tennger in Indonesia. It was probably formed around 35,000 years ago when an immense prehistoric volcano erupted and collapsed inwards, creating a large bowl-shaped depression in the landscape. Twenty thousand years later a second eruption contorted the original caldera to give it its current shape: it is 15km across at its widest and extends beneath parts of Naples and under the Bay of Pozzuoli. Many smaller eruptions have shaken the caldera, the last of which occurred in September 1538. That eruption was fairly modest, though it still buried an entire village underneath a cone of earth 133 metres high and 700 metres across, known today as Monte Nuovo – the new mountain. Eyewitness accounts describe the ground swelling and cracking. Cold water gushed out, followed by bulging clouds of smoke and “deep-coloured flames”. Burning ashes and white-hot pumice were thrown 5.5km into the air and there was, according to an eyewitness, a “noise like the discharge of a number of great artillery”. So many birds fell dead from the sky that the ground around the eruption site was carpeted with their carcasses. Layers of ash and pumice, up to 25cm thick, covered buildings and vegetation.

Read the rest of this article at: 1893

Within The Context Of All Contexts:
The Rewiring Of Our Relationship To Music


You’ve probably been surprised to hear a remarkable song you’ve never heard pop out of nowhere sometime recently — you’re not alone. But as the terms of excavation shift, what are we losing?
Imagine you are in an averagely pleasant pub in Manhattan, talking to a couple of people, half-listening to the music being played from the ceiling speakers, until a song from the distant past makes you start listening closely.
The song is Homer Banks’ “60 Minutes of Your Love,” from 1966, which was not an American hit, but became a favorite in the English mod club-dancer’s canon of rediscovery called Northern Soul. Now this is a song: undiluted momentum from the first beat, one satisfying jolt after another. There you are, having an encounter with music’s past. You point at the ceiling in recognition. You realize that you have been pointing at the ceiling more often lately.
All right: “You” is really me. I am a music critic, for whom all songs carry some kind of coding. I would be paying attention anyway — but I have a feeling you’d have noticed that song too. A while after Homer Banks, Ruth Brown’s “Wild, Wild Young Men,” from 1953, came on. Ruth Brown is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and her song was a hit, rising to No. 3 on the R&B charts that year; even so, you’d need to have a pretty decent grip on the history of American music to know it by ear. Later, I heard a few southern rock-shuffles strung together, including ZZ Top’s famous “La Grange” and a more recent and more leaden one that I felt I should know and didn’t. (It bothered me that I didn’t.) And then, out of the blue: Blind Melon’s “No Rain,” a doughy song that seemed to be for some other place than this one, an early ’90s MTV hit which I suspect far more people know than like. It felt even more shallow than usual, by virtue of the depth that had preceded it.
Clearly, I was listening to a streaming-service algorithm. The overall sequence made no sense. The music in that place, while I was there, at first felt like a gift — and then like an encounter with an alien presence. It had “taste” — and then no-taste. (Not “tastelessness,” but an absence of so-called taste.) The signifiers had gone haywire.
Part of becoming an adult is learning to recognize cultural signifiers, which tell you something about where you are and who’s behind the bar and what kind of time you might be having before you leave. These signifiers (not just musical ones) always, in some way, have to do with history, with the past. That Blind Melon song retroactively soured the Homer Banks encounter a little. Also, I recognized that Homer Banks song, but what if I didn’t? The appropriate or typical response to it in our time might not be this is part of a tradition about which I want to know more, but rather: what the hell is this? And then, maybe, at best, ahalf-step further: What’s the footprint of this thing? How many views on YouTube? Who knew about it first? How did this escape me? How did it find me? And so on. A paradoxical reaction, both uninformed and connoisseur-ish.

Read the rest of this article at: NPR

P.S. previous articles & more by P.F.M.