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100 Million Years of Decorating Yourself In Junk

July 12, 2016

 

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Every year, in northern Myanmar, thousands of farmers pull tonnes of Cretaceous amber out of the ground, and send the glistening nuggets to local markets. For six years, Bo Wang from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and his colleagues have visited the markets and sifted through 300,000 of the glistening nuggets. It was a lot of work. Then again, it takes a lot of work to find animals that spent their whole lives trying not to be found.

Within the amber, Wang’s team identified dozens of ancient insects that camouflaged themselves by adorning their bodies with junk. They had short bristles and elaborate feathery tubes, onto which they stuck sand, soil, wood fibres, bits of ferns, and even body parts of other insects. They were the earliest animals that we know of to camouflage themselves, some 100 million years ago.

Read HERE

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The philosophy of ugliness

July 8, 2016

The ugly is a very intractable concept: as anomalous, messy, irregular, unsettling and ultimately unsurveyable as the phenomena it characterizes. The ugly sits squat and tumorous at some hidden place in our body conceptual, reaching out to unexpected points while conspicuously absent in more expected places. It touches sensitive places in our psyche and culture, for example in its connection with issues of deformity, otherness and gender. It is a concept horribly well connected, as Mojca Küplen points out, with ideas such as “alienation, estrangement, dehumanization, destruction, degeneration, disconcertion, absurdity, and with emotions evoking terror, horror, anxiety and fear”. The concept of ugliness, though, has sufficient shape and regularity to reward the philosophical attention which these three books supply, but, as we learn in different ways from all of them, it seems to wilfully frustrate the demand for a consistent and satisfying explanation. The concept’s misshapenness and eccentric centre of gravity mean that even its relation to the beautiful is not cleanly binary. As Gretchen E. Henderson notes in Ugliness, the beautiful and the ugly are like “stars which fall into one another’s gravity and orbit one another”, but their orbit is a highly eccentric one which no Keplerian law of symmetry could hope to describe. Read HERE

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Consciousness: The Mind Messing With the Mind

July 8, 2016

A paper in The British Medical Journal in December reported that cognitive behavioral therapy — a means of coaxing people into changing the way they think — is as effective as Prozac or Zoloft in treating major depression.

In ways no one understands, talk therapy reaches down into the biological plumbing and affects the flow of neurotransmitters in the brain. Other studies have found similar results for “mindfulness” — Buddhist-inspired meditation in which one’s thoughts are allowed to drift gently through the head like clouds reflected in still mountain water.

Findings like these have become so commonplace that it’s easy to forget their strange implications.

More HERE

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Indeed

October 3, 2014

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The Biology of Ideology: The anatomy of politics

July 16, 2014

A popular political advertisement from early this summer begins with US President Barack Obama addressing a crowd of moon-eyed supporters. Suddenly, the screen goes dark to a crescendo of minor chords. Phrases such as “Fear and Loathing”, “Nauseating” and “Divide and Conquer” flash onto the screen, along with video clips of commentators complaining that Obama has used scare tactics to manipulate voters. In the final scene, the iconic poster from Obama’s 2008 election campaign appears, the word HOPE transforming into FEAR as it bursts into flames.

The advertisement, produced by the conservative organization American Crossroads in Washington DC, is typical of those that have come to dominate the US airwaves and YouTube in preparation for next month’s presidential election. Emerging from both the right and the left, these commercials increasingly resemble horror films as they seek to sway voters by triggering basic emotions such as fear, anger and disgust.

That strategy fits with emerging scientific evidence about how people acquire their political beliefs. In the past, political scientists agreed that social forces — most importantly, parents and the childhood environment — strongly influenced whether people became conservative or liberal, and whether they voted or engaged in politics at all. “We now know that it is probably not the whole story,” says John Jost, a psychologist at New York University.

Read Full Article at Nature

Also:

Scientists Are Beginning to Figure Out Why Conservatives Are…Conservative

The Science of Why We Don’t Believe Science

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World’s First Climate-Controlled City

July 16, 2014

Imagine a city where the temperature is always perfect and you never have to worry about a rainy day ruining your day’s plans. Sound like fiction? If you live in Dubai, a city-state already known for ambitious feats of engineering, a mini-metropolis with a thermostat is poised to become a reality.

Officials in Dubai last week announced plans to build the world’s first climate-controlled city. Dubbed the Mall of the World, the 48 million-square-foot complex will feature 100 hotels and apartment buildings, the world’s largest indoor theme park and the world’s largest shopping mall.

For years, oil was the commodity that kept the United Arab Emirates’ economic engine running, but tourism is now one of the UAE’s largest sources of revenue. In a country where summertime temperatures routinely exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit, officials hope the Mall of the World will beat the heat and serve as a year-round tourist destination.

Under the Dome

The Mall of the World is expected to accommodate some 180 million visitors annually, and every visitor can savor the sealed city for a week without ever stepping foot outside. Enclosed promenades 7 kilometers long, with trams for quick transport, will connect visitors to all the facilities and districts throughout the mall.

The Mall of the World’s centerpiece will be the cultural district, which will recreate the world’s most famous landmarks from London, New York and Barcelona. The cultural district will be enclosed in a massive, golf-ball shaped dome and play host to weddings, conferences, performances, and a host of other celebrations.

And if you party too hard in the Mall of the World, the wellness district is just a tram ride away. Visitors to the city will have access to more than 3 million square feet of holistic healing options, surgical facilities, cosmetic treatments and other health-oriented services.

When the weather is perfect outside, the mall’s retractable roofs will allow fresh air into the indoor city. Developers also added that the indoor city will incorporate the latest sustainable technologies to reduce its carbon footprint. You can watch the video below to get a virtual tour of the Mall of the World.

Planning a Visit

Officials have not released a timetable for constructing the Mall of the World, but Dubai Holding, the state-owned company behind the project, hopes the mall will be the main focus at the World Expo trade fair in 2020, which Dubai will host.

And how much does an indoor city cost? Well, officials also haven’t released that information.

All text and images via Discover

Also, just in case you think this is not possible:

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Sigurdur Gudmundsson

July 16, 2014

Guided by an existential interest in the unknown, Sigurdur Gudmundsson generates work of abundant wit and verve that questions the way that vernacular culture and art relates to nature. Depicting everyday circumstances with absurdist tweaks, his Situations read as visual poems that explore the idiosyncrasies of human existence and tend toward the comical while retaining philosophical gravity. Gudmundsson uses himself as the subject of the Situations, but does not consider the works to be self-portraits but, rather, open-ended reflections that invite the viewer to ponder alongside the artist. Turning to sculpture in recent years, Gudmundsson has focused on creating works that retain his characteristic humor and are dominated by elegance, simplicity, and technical perfection.

In 1978, with 19 other artists, Gudmundsson co-founded Reykjavik’s Living Art Museum, which is dedicated to experimental and innovative contemporary visual art. His artworks have been exhibited internationally, including at the 37th Venice Biennale, the National Gallery of Iceland, and the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, and his public commissions have been displayed in Rotterdam, Groningen, and The Hague.

Born: 1942
Hometown: Reykjavik, Iceland
Lives and Works: Amsterdam, The Netherlands and Xiamen, China

Text via Artspace
Images via i8 and ilikethisart

Collage, 1979. C-print, 69 x 87 cm / 106 x 127 cm framed

Horizontal Thoughts, 1970. Silver print on fiberbased paper. 100 x 95 cm