Type-A bureaucrat who professionally pushes papers in the Middle East. History nerd, linguistic geek, and devoted news junkie.
9537 stories
·
57 followers

How One Small Bag Of Food On A Giant Sculpture Tells A Million Immigrant Tales

1 Share
The 20-foot-tall bronze sculpture of a boat loaded with refugees and migrants is the work of Canadian sculptor Timothy Schmalz. Its bread-and-fruit motif encapsulates how food is interlocked with the history of human migration.

The theme of the work in the Vatican's St. Peter's Square is welcoming strangers. "The bag is a metaphor for nourishment ... the idea of bringing something to the table," says artist Timothy Schmalz.

(Image credit: Grzegorz Galazka/Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images)

Read the whole story
hannahdraper
3 days ago
reply
Washington, DC
Share this story
Delete

Activist group in Germany apologizes for using Holocaust victims’ ashes in protest installation

1 Comment

(JTA) — A German activist group has apologized for using what it says is the ashes of victims of the Nazis for a protest against the far right.

The art-activist collective Zentrum für Politische Schönheit, or Center for Political Beauty, earlier this week placed a large container of soil samples from areas where Nazis were active in the mass murder of Jews near the Germany parliament.

“We would like to apologize to all those affected, relatives and survivors, whose feelings we have hurt,” the group said in a statement on its website.

We have “made mistakes,” the statement said.

“We would like to apologize, especially to Jewish institutions, societies or individuals who believe that our work disturbed the peace required for the dead under Jewish law,” the statement added.

The group said it spent two years digging up soil from 23 sites in Germany, Poland and Ukraine, including at the Auschwitz, Sobibor and Treblinka camps. Lab results found traces of human remains in over 70 percent of the 240 samples, the group said in a statement. The protest was intended to show that “the legacy of the Holocaust is rendered void by political apathy, the rejection of refugees and cowardice,” the group said.

The group has not said what it plans to do with the soil samples, but said it was open to suggestions.

The president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Josef Schuster, told the German news service Deutsche Welle that a rabbi should be consulted on how to dispose of the remains.

The post Activist group in Germany apologizes for using Holocaust victims’ ashes in protest installation appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.



Read the whole story
hannahdraper
7 days ago
reply
what the fuuuuuck
Washington, DC
Share this story
Delete

Thank Lisbon for Macao’s Peacefulness

1 Share
Portugal’s indifferent rule left the city’s residents happy to be Chinese.

Read the whole story
hannahdraper
8 days ago
reply
Washington, DC
Share this story
Delete

"... here in the middle of this Olive Garden."

1 Share
School shootings, impeachment news, environmental degradation... TYWKIWDBI doesn't want to bury its head in the sand, but there are days when after browsing the 'net one wants a good laugh.  Herewith, from an AskReddit thread, are some of the responses to the question "Which quotation is most improved by adding 'here in the middle of this Olive Garden' on the end?"

“Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them, here, in the middle of this Olive Garden.”

“I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti here, in the middle of this Olive Garden.”

“Mrs. Robinson, you’re trying to seduce me here, in the middle of this Olive Garden.”

"Andy Dufresne, who crawled through a river of shit and came out clean on the other side here, in the middle of this Olive Garden."

"No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die here, in the middle of this Olive Garden!"

"You come to me here, and you ask me for a favor, on this; the day of my daughter's wedding here in the middle of this Olive Garden?"

"I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky..here, in the middle of this Olive Garden."

“As God as my witness, I’ll never be hungry again here, in the middle of this Olive Garden.”
Read the whole story
hannahdraper
8 days ago
reply
Washington, DC
Share this story
Delete

Let’s All Burn Calculus in Effigy

1 Share

I offer you this, without further comment: a 1915 New York Times story headlined COLUMBIA MEN BURN CALCULUS IN THE SKY.

Oh, who am I kidding? That headline is so glorious, it needs further comment. A lot of comment. Let me say it again, so the poetry of it can sink in.

Columbia men.

Burn calculus.

IN THE SKY.

NYT 1

When did the New York Times stop writing subheadings like “Sophomores Tie Demon to Balloons and Send Him Heavenward in Flames THEN DANCE IN PAJAMAS”? We truly live in a dark age for print journalism.

Anyway, this was an annual tradition. After completing their mandatory calculus course, the Columbia sophomores would create an effigy called Dr. Calculus, whom they would then torture.

Fun times! The story goes:

NYT 2

Here we hit the “bizarre sexism” part of the tale!

Columbia was all-male at the time. (In fact, it was the last Ivy League university to admit women, holding out until the mid 1980s). This particular year, it seems that two young Barnard students had the audacity to join in the festivities.

NYT 3

I, for one, sympathize with the “pink and blue visions.” Who doesn’t want to see Dr. Calculus destroyed in effigy?

Anyway, I see two crucial takeaways:

  1. Calculus has been a required course in elite education for over a century.
  2. For that entire time, it has been a target of loathing and resentment.

One might draw the conclusion: “Calculus requirements are so outdated! We’ve been groaning about it for literally ten decades! Just replace it with data science already!”

This isn’t necessarily wrong.

But one might also draw an opposite conclusion: “Calculus has apparently been serving the same function for over a century. It must be serving this function well, to have stuck around so long. What, then, is its function?”

I have my suspicions: namely, that calculus is American education’s foremost gatekeeper, and that its gatekeeping is a feature desired by many in the educational system, including, at times, the competing students themselves.

Not saying I like gatekeeping. It depresses the heck out of me. But any proposal to replace calculus should consider what will take its place as gatekeeper, lest the job fall to something even more problematic.

Also, a final perplexing note: In 1915, women were excluded not only from university mathematics, but also from its ritual destruction. This seems grossly unfair. If you want to keep them from learning the mathematics, shouldn’t you encourage them to burn it in effigy? Make up your mind, patriarchy!

My new book is CHANGE IS THE ONLY CONSTANT: THE WISDOM OF CALCULUS IN A MADCAP WORLD. If you wish to hold a book-burning, please make it coed.



Read the whole story
hannahdraper
9 days ago
reply
Washington, DC
Share this story
Delete

“Inflation” Is Not One Thing

1 Share

Okay, let’s play a word association game.

I say “faceless government headquarters,” you say…

Yes, that’s right: surprisingly strong TripAdvisor reviews!

No joke. The Dallas branch of the Federal Reserve is apparently a real tourist-pleaser. So when I had a free morning in Dallas this February, I gave it a shot. A daunting security system, like the kind of airlock you’d need on an intergenerational space voyage, led into a mostly-empty lobby. Only two other tourists joined me.

And let me tell you, it was the other 7+ billion people on earth’s loss. The building housed a nifty museum on the Fed’s history, as well as the general topic of macroeconomics (which I find about as intuitive and graspable as general relativity).

In particular, I loved this visualization of inflation. Rotate the wheel, and you change the decade, revealing how prices rose (or, in some cases, stagnated):

35,35,300,304.175232
No, Bay Areans, that’s not $4200 for rent. There’s a decimal. It’s $42. Please stop crying.
34,35,302,306.383514
My guess is that “Eggs get cheaper!” was not the price change making headlines. Which is exactly why the papers should have consulted with me first! It’d be a great headline.
34,35,302,306.475769
By this point, rent has risen more than 100%; gas, less than 50%. Not depicted: the rise in Beatles cover bands, which was presumably astronomical.
33,35,301,305.624573
Yeah, the ’70s were rough. Especially for coffee-drinkers. Or, I suppose, gas-drinkers. But then again, every decade is rough for gas-drinkers.
35,35,301,305.592773
Footballs get way more expensive in the ’80s…
33,35,300,304.278931
…and then barely change price in the ’90s.
36,35,303,308.145020
If these numbers are accurate, I’ve been buying real fancy bread. Where is this $1.37 stuff? Does it have flaxseeds? Because I’d pay $20 to avoid flaxseeds.

Inflation is strange enough in itself. But the uneven way that prices rise – coffee and clothing and eggs each following their own unique trajectory – is even stranger. Just one of many “real-world” subtleties that we elide in our teaching.

When I mentioned this exhibit to my father, he pointed me towards an impressive project by a colleague of his: The Billion Prices Project, which creates a day-by-day inflation tracker via crowd-sourcing. A billion prices, it turns out, is about the level of nuance you want!

This strikes me as the raw material for a killer math project. Some brainstorms:

  • MildPick 5 goods. Graph their changing prices over time. Discuss what you notice and what you wonder.
  • Medium: Pick 5 pairs of goods. Graph their changing prices over time, as well as the change in their ratio. Discuss the significance.
  • Spicy: Design your own inflation metric by picking a basket of goods. Compare your metric to the consumer price index over time. Discuss their relative merits.

Other ideas?



Read the whole story
hannahdraper
9 days ago
reply
Washington, DC
Share this story
Delete
Next Page of Stories