A longer one:


Artist Sipho Mabona wants to build a life-sized origami elephant. Indiegogo project here

Longer ones:

Shorter reads:

“Surely supernovas explode that instant, somewhere, in some galaxy. The hut vanishes, and with it the sea and the sands – only Karun’s body, locked with mine, remains. We streak like superheroes past suns and solar systems, we dive through shoals of quarks and atomic nuclei. In celebration of our breakthrough fourth star, statisticians the world over rejoice.”

Go over to the article to read some more.

19th century animation

Not related, but gorgeous 19th century animation. From the Atlantic, click to see article.

It’s been a while. But here are things I’ve been reading and enjoying. There’s the story of a couple’s struggle to obtain an abortion in stridently anti-choice Oklahoma, the proposal to counteract terrorism through weddings, Uruguay’s plans for a government-run weed industry, and more. All below the break.

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Last time we looked at the stunning maps of segregation in America. Adrian Frith from the University of Cape Town made similar maps for South African cities, at a slightly lower level of detail because the data aren’t available. Unsurprisingly, segregation is strong. For example, consider Johannesburg:

Segregation in Johannesburg

Johannesburg. Image from Adrian Frith

See more images here.

The Global Elite’s Favorite Strongman

Jeffrey Gettleman of the New York Times delivers a profile of Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame. It has its cringeworthy moments:

Rwandans tend to do what their leaders say, whether it’s hacking up their neighbors or stringing up mosquito nets.

and the always excellent blog Africa is a country identifies deeper problems with the piece:

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Detroit's 8 Mile road segregates white (blue) from black (green) residents. Image from Wired.com

Detroit’s 8 Mile road segregates white (blue) from black (green) residents. Image from Wired.com

Dustin Cable at University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service has created ” the most comprehensive representation of racial distribution in America ever made.” (H/T WIRED). Based on census 2010 data, each dot represents one person. Says Wired:

It isn’t the first map to show the country’s ethnic distribution, nor is it the first to show every single citizen, but it is the first to do both, making it the most comprehensive map of race in America ever created.

Check out the whole map here – it’s interactive and stunning.

Needless to say, this segregation is not accidental, nor is it benign. It comes as a result of centuries of institutional policies from both government and private enterprises, and locks communities of color in geographical settings where opportunities are often scarce.

I Have a Dream is Not For All

Alex Pasternack from Vice Magazine explains  why MLK’s iconic “I have a dream” speech is under copyright, and strictly so:

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We’re getting eclectic today, very brief listing:

Sherlock Holmes gets to be brilliant, solitary, abrasive, Bohemian, whimsical, brave, sad, manipulative, neurotic, vain, untidy, fastidious, artistic, courteous, rude, a polymath genius. Female characters get to be Strong.

  • Rockstar Philosopher Slavoj Žižek talks about the london riots (many good bits, read it):

more than anything else, they were a manifestation of a consumerist desire violently enacted when unable to realise itself in the ‘proper’ way – by shopping. As such, they also contain a moment of genuine protest, in the form of an ironic response to consumerist ideology: ‘You call on us to consume while simultaneously depriving us of the means to do it properly – so here we are doing it the only way we can!’

This, then, is the legacy that decades of foreign investment have bestowed on Haiti: a brutal and intractable poverty, borne of a disastrous mix of well-intentioned aid and profit-driven development. Every decade or so, it seems, the world comes up with a bold new plan for saving Haiti — and each ultimately proves as ineffective and fleeting as the last.

  • and the GQ article by Michael Paterniti that inspired the movie Terminal. The story is so much more tragic and complicated than in the movie. Absolutely strange stuff. 



Some longer reads if you’re looking for something to do on your sunday afternoon/evening.

An essay on lesbian separatists in the 1970s, one on being the smartest girl in the room, one on what genius does in a country where it’s not met with opportunity, and finally, a magical tale about a musical prodigy.

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Bradley Manning’s verdict has been announced. He has not been found guilty of aiding the enemy (which is a victory for media), but has been found guilty on a number of charges that could land him in jail for up to 136 years. For some reason I haven’t seen any reactions to this, which is rather unfortunate. This could turn out to be a seminal case. After all, this is the first case that examines the legality of mass leaks that have only become possible in the internet age. We should all be paying attention.

In case you want to read more on Manning, here are some links:

1. Crash Course: The Verge has a guide on what you need to know here.

2. Manning: If you are looking for more information on the man himself, this profile by Denver Nicks has been described as the definitive one. This article by Jesse Hicks at The Verge also profiles him, and also goes into some of the broader issues.

3. Solitary Confinement: The US government has been subject to criticism for the way Manning was treated; with reportedly being forced to be naked in the cell while enduring solitary confinement for extended periods. This article looks at Manning’s confinement and explains why solitary confinement is so harmful.

On that note, the UN special rapporteur on torture yesterday concluded an investigation by finding that “the US military was at least culpable of cruel and inhumane treatment in keeping Manning locked up alone for 23 hours a day over an 11-month period in conditions that he also found might have constituted torture.”

If anyone has good reads on the broader implications of this trial, please send them my way.