News 06.19.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


News 06.19.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 06.19.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 06.19.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The digital world, what a fabulous place, Werner Herzog declares from his home in Los Angeles. Fraught with danger. Filled with possibility. It is thanks to digital that he can stream his films to audiences in Africa and Asia, despite the fact that the theatres are closed. It is thanks to digital that he can receive an email from a student in Missoula, Montana and respond to her question in less than a minute. It is thanks to digital that we are able to converse over Skype, peering into each other’s houses from a 5,000-mile distance. “So this is wonderful,” he cries. “Wonderful, wonderful!” Then the connection cuts out and I have to dial his number again.

We were meant to meet in person , but the pandemic intervened. As a director, Herzog goes about life like a pith-helmeted explorer – dragging his camera to the mouth of volcanoes, hauling a steamship up a Peruvian mountain. But he is 77 and slap-bang in the Covid-19 danger zone, and accepts that now is the time to sit tight, wait it out. The lion in winter. Napoleon stuck on Elba. I am picturing him bouncing off the walls or staring into the abyss, but he insists he’s doing fine, staying positive. “I’m constantly being made fun of as this terrible doom-sayer. The dour German. But this is not the whole story,” he says. Herzog contains multitudes. He suspects that most people do.

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian

News 06.19.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

In 1933, the Finnish architect and designer Hugo Alvar Henrik Aalto, along with his first wife, Aino, completed the Paimio Sanatorium, a facility for the treatment of tuberculosis in southwest Finland. The building is rigidly geometric, with long walls of expansive windows wrapping its façade, light-colored rooms, and a wide roof terrace with railings like the ones on cruise ships—all the hallmarks of what we now know as modernist architecture, which emerged in the twenties from the work of the Bauhaus, in Germany, and Le Corbusier, in France.

But the Aaltos’ choices of material and design weren’t just aesthetically fashionable. “The main purpose of the building is to function as a medical instrument,” Hugo would later write. Tuberculosis was one of the early twentieth century’s most pressing health concerns; each element of the Paimio was conceived to promote recovery from the disease. “The room design is deter­mined by the depleted strength of the patient, reclining in his bed,” Aalto explained. “The color of the ceiling is chosen for quietness, the light sources are outside of the patient’s field of vision, the heating is oriented toward the patient’s feet.” (The combination of cold feet and a feverish head was seen as a symptom of the disease.) Broad daylight from the windows as well as the terraces, where patients could sleep, was part of the treatment, as sun had been proved effective at killing tuberculosis bacteria. At the sanatorium, the architecture itself was part of the cure.

Much of modernist architecture can be understood as a consequence of the fear of disease, a desire to eradicate dark rooms and dusty corners where bacteria lurk. Le Corbusier lifted his houses off the humid ground to avoid contamination. Adolf Loos’s ultra-boxy Villa Müller in Prague, from 1930, included a separate space in which to quarantine sick children. Architects collaborated with progressive doctors to build other sanatoriums across Europe. “Tuberculosis helped make modern architecture modern,” the Princeton professor Beatriz Colomina writes in her revisionary history “X-Ray Architecture.” The industrialized austerity of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe or Marcel Breuer “is unambiguously that of the hospital,” the empty white walls, bare floors, and clean metal fixtures are all “surfaces that, as it were, demonstrate their cleanliness.”

As extreme as the aesthetic of modernist architecture seemed in the early twentieth century, people could at least be reassured that it was safe. A character in Thomas Mann’s novella “Tristan,” from 1903, described a “long, white, rectilinear” sanatorium for lung patients: “This brightness and hardness, this cold, austere simplicity and reserved strength . . . has upon me the ultimate effect of an inward purification and rebirth.” A tuberculosis vaccine began to be used on humans in 1921, but the association between modernism and good health stuck; the austere sanatoriums were marketed as palliatives for mental illnesses, too.

Read the rest of this article at: The New Yorker


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Canggu is a place where people go to feel rich. The clicking of keyboards in the Balinese town’s co-working spaces is drowned out only by the roar of mopeds. Over smoothie bowls and lattes, western immigrants – expats, as they prefer to be known – talk about themselves, loudly. A local woman will massage your body, silently, for the equivalent of a few pounds. Everyone is very good-looking. Everything is very cheap.

The town, once a stop-off for backpackers en route to Ubud’s yoga studios and hippy scene, has in recent years become a hub for self-described “digital nomads”. In Canggu’s cafés, barefoot westerners run fledgling companies from MacBook Pros. When not talking Facebook ads or cost-per-click, they socialise exclusively with each other. “The thing is, not many Indonesians are on a level with bule [an Indonesian term for foreigners],” explains one digital nomad over the fart of hot tub jets in Amo, a luxury spa. Around us, statue-like men wander in and out of steam rooms (CrossFit is big here), talking about e-commerce and intermittent fasting.

Read the rest of this article at: Wired

News 06.19.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 06.19.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

How will COVID-19 change the world?

We asked:

Yuval Noah Harari, Elif Shafak, Eric Schmidt, Lorraine Daston, Gordon Brown, Safiya Noble, John Gray, Davide Casaleggio, Onora O’Neill, Jared Diamond, Li Jinglin, Dambisa Moyo, Patrick Soon-Shiong, Pascal Lamy, David Brin, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Bill Joy, Joseph Nye and Bing Song.

Here are their insights.

TEL AVIV — “In the next few months, politicians will remake the world. During these few months, the world is going to be fluid and malleable. We could choose to deal with the current crisis through global solidarity and cooperation, which will result in a more unified and harmonious world. We could also choose to deal with it through nationalistic isolation and competition, which will probably make the crisis far more acute and will result in a more fragmented and hostile world.

We could choose to deal with the crisis by imposing totalitarian surveillance regimes or by empowering citizens and ensuring greater government transparency. Governments could choose to rescue powerful corporations and weaken organized labor further still, or they could use the opportunity to rein in big corporations and strengthen organized labor. Humanity could decide to rebuild its transport system and energy sector on much greener foundations — or to focus on narrow economic recovery while throwing environmental caution to the wind. There are countless other choices that we have to make.

This crisis has taken politicians completely by surprise, and they don’t have a readymade blueprint for what to do. They are therefore singularly open to new ideas. Even to crazy ideas. But once the choices are made, a new order will solidify, and it will become increasingly difficult to try a different path. Whoever comes to power in 2021 will be like somebody coming to a party after the party is already over, and the only thing left to do is wash the dirty dishes. While the party lasts, we have to be extremely focused and help governments adopt the right policies.

— Yuval Noah Harari, author of “Sapiens”, “Homo Deus” & “21 Lessons for the 21st Century”

Read the rest of this article at: Noēma

News 06.19.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Two days after a Minneapolis cop killed George Floyd in late May, the novel coronavirus tallied its 100,000th American victim. More than 22,000 of those lost were black, though we only make up 13 percent of the overall U.S. population. As the global pandemic was laying bare virtually all of America’s structural inequalities, unrest on the Minneapolis streets swelled into the largest and most numerous public demonstrations for civil rights seen in generations. Tens of thousands of nonviolent protesters from various cultural backgrounds, in city after city, are crying out “black lives matter,” the mantra of the modern civil-rights movement and the rallying cry against the casual acceptance of our deaths.

Civil-rights organizers Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi put those three words into our minds and hearts seven years ago, when they began to change the country. The sweeping calls for change we see today are not sudden, but the fruits of the labor of activists like them. Their work has given us room to demand more, because black lives don’t truly matter just because people simply say so. This year alone, a white father and son carried out the modern-day lynching of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery near Brunswick, Georgia. If black lives mattered by now, we wouldn’t have to say the name of Breonna Taylor, lost to a hail of police bullets in her own home in Louisville in March. Or chant the name of Floyd, killed for allegedly spending a counterfeit twenty-dollar bill at a corner grocery.

The protesters mobilized quickly and with unapologetic fury, their range of targets plentiful, whether it be overly militarized policing or inadequate medical services; mass incarceration or bigotry in the workplace; food insecurity or housing, Confederate monuments or racism in the entertainment industry. As “black lives matter” rings out from the mouths of protesters and corporations alike, what will it take to build an America where those three words are a statement of fact — not a fight for survival?

It was seven years ago this July that Garza reacted to George Zimmerman’s acquittal of murder in the Trayvon Martin case with a viral Facebook post expressing her pain, writing: “Black people. I love you. I love us. Our lives matter. Black Lives Matter.”“I was impacted in a way that I didn’t expect,” Garza tells me. “We see black death all the time, and I don’t know what it was about this, but I know I went home and then I woke up in the middle of the night crying. And I picked up my phone and I started clickety-clacking, right?” Garza is now the principal of the Black Futures Lab, which works with voters and produces a Black Census Report. Patrisse Cullors, a Southern California activist close to Garza, saw the post and added the hashtag #blacklivesmatter. In New York City, immigration organizer Opal Tometi learned of the Zimmerman verdict after leaving a screening of the Ryan Coogler film Fruitvale Station, about the 2009 police shooting that killed Oscar Grant III. Already emotional, Tometi then read Garza’s viral post.

“That is what hit me,” Tometi says. “There [was] a lot of rage, a lot of pain, a lot of cynicism. But her post resonated with me, for a number of reasons. I think it being explicitly black, it being a message rooted in love, and it just felt very hopeful.”

By the next day, Tometi, who knew Garza through the Black Organizing for Leadership and Dignity Network, contacted her fellow organizer. She hadn’t yet met Cullors, but in short order, the three joined forces and launched the Black Lives Matter Global Network.

Read the rest of this article at: RollingStone

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