A Formula for the 21st Century

September 23, 2008

chaos

Tacita Dean’s entry when asked by Hans Ulrich Obrist to design a formula for this century

The popular Swiss art critic Hans Ulrich Obrist recently asked many famous (and not so famous) artists to devise a formula for this current century. These graphical representations have been collected in a book entitled Formulas For Now and within it you’ll find submissions from people like Damien Hirst, Yoko Ono, and Richard Dawkins.

Click this link to see an image gallery of some of the submissions.


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The vilipending of embrangle – words in danger of being lost forever

September 23, 2008

dictionary

New words are constantly added to the dictionary, while others fall out of favour and disappear

Have you ever experienced calignosity? Have you ever heard someone say something that was absolutely fatidical? Did you ever wish a malison upon someone? Or are you wondering what the heck I’m talking about?

Collins Dictionary is getting ready to chop some words from the English language. Here’s a quick list:

Astergent – cleansing or scouring
Agrestic – rural, rustic, unpolished, uncouth
Apodeictic – unquestionably true by virtue of demonstration
Caducity – perishableness, senility
Calignosity – dimness, darkness
Compossible – possible in coexistence with something else
Exuviate – to shed (a skin or similar outer covering)
Fatidical – prophetic
Griseous -streaked or mixed with grey
Malison – a curse
Manseutude -gentleness or kindness
Muliebrity – the condition of being a woman
Niddering – cowardly
Nitid -bright, glistening
Olid – foul-smelling
Periapt – combative, antagonistic or contrary
Recrement – waste matter, refuse dross
Roborant – tending to fortify or increase strength
Vaticinate – to foretell, prophesy


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Fare Thee Well Bank of Scotland!

September 19, 2008

note
The Bank of the Scotland is the latest victim to fall prey to the global credit crunch

avatarIt’s the credit crunch that just keeps on crunching. Latest victim – the Bank of Scotland, established in 1695, and the institution that invented banking as we know it in a Western sense.

Got an overdraft? You can thank the Bank of Scotland for that innovation and plenty more. The bank, known as HBOS after its merger with English bank Halifax, is the biggest home lender in the UK. And now, merged with Lloyds TSB, it will become even bigger.

But at what cost, and why? The cost to Scotland at this stage is unknown, though it’s inconceivable that no jobs will be lost. Some say with a Scottish Prime Minister and a Scottish Chancellor, pressure will be brought to bear on Lloyds to ensure there are not major cuts north of the Border.

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Meet Wilma: The First Neanderthal Model

September 19, 2008

wilma
“Wilma” was named after the character on “The Flintstones”, history’s most famous Neanderthal family

Okay, she’s obviously no Kate Moss but Wilma has already won over the hearts of the scientific community as for the first time a reconstruction of a Neanderthal’s face has been completed based on DNA evidence. National Geographic explains:

Artists and scientists created Wilma (shown in a photo released yesterday) using analysis of DNA from 43,000-year-old bones that had been cannibalized. Announced in October 2007, the findings had suggested that at least some Neanderthals would have had red hair, pale skin, and possibly freckles.

Created for an October 2008 National Geographic magazine article, Wilma has a skeleton made from replicas of pelvis and skull bones from Neanderthal females. Copies of male Neanderthal bones—resized to female dimensions—filled in the gaps.


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The Pirates Are Back….but no Johnny Depp this time

September 18, 2008

pirates
Suspected Somali pirates captured by security forces

The popular perception of pirates held by most in the West is a mixture of the funny best exemplified by the movie franchise Pirates of the Caribbean and the downright silly, yet perfectly harmless characters in our literary history. These misconceptions can be forgiven since piracy in the First World has long since disappeared.

However, piracy is experiencing a renaissance in East Africa these days. The Gulf of Aden, the body of water where the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean meet, has become a haven for Somali pirates who prey on the international shipping that passes through the area. Since the collapse of a government in Somalia some 17 years ago, piracy has mostly gone unchecked in the area and has become more lucrative. Only yesterday, Somali pirates hijacked two ships off of the Somali coast, bringing their tally for 2008 to 30 hijacked ships in total.

A multinational naval force headquartered in Djibouti is patrolling the Gulf of Aden to ward off pirates, but the piracy has become very lucrative in recent years as Patrick Barkham explains: Read the rest of this entry »


Panic on Wall Street – Is this the end for America’s financial system?

September 18, 2008

panic
Nervous traders on the trading floor in the midst of one of Wall Street’s most historic weeks

Things are looking grim down on Wall Street. Rather than trying to explain the chaos myself, I’ve chosen two articles that will do it better than I can. Suffice it to say that what is easily noticed is that the credo in American capitalism seems to be “privatize the profits, socialize the losses” as several companies have been rescued by the United States government and more rescues are bound to come.

From The World as we Know it is Going Under:

Things got worse after the markets closed. Washington Mutual, America’s fourth-largest bank, announced that it had started the process of putting itself up for sale. The Wall Street Journal reported that both Wells Fargo and the banking giant Citigroup were interested in taking over the battered American savings bank.

And then came the announcement that would dominate all of Thursday’s market activities: Morgan Stanley — the venerable Wall Street institution and one of the last two US investment banks left standing — had lost massive amounts and was fighting for survival. Media reports were saying that it was even in talks about a possible bail-out or merger. Rumor had it that possible suitors might include Wachovia or China’s Bank Citic.

China?

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Playing on God’s Team – Brazilian Soccer Stars and Christian Evangelism

September 18, 2008

Kaka
Brazilian superstar Kaká bows down and praises the Lord in a very public display of his faith

When one thinks of Brazil, one will automatically think of Ipanema Beach, Carnaval in Rio de Janiero, beautiful women, and of course soccer. North Americans have difficulty understanding how popular a game soccer is worldwide and especially in a country like Brazil where it is a national religion thanks to the fact that their national team has won the World Cup a record five times.

Not only does Brazilian soccer and its fans take on a religious sensibility, its soccer stars are infusing the game with their own brand of Christianity, Evangelism. Superstars such as Kaká (pictured above), Lúcio, Zé Roberto, and Cacau openly profess their faith during matches by either wearing undershirts with a Christian message, or consistently making the sign of the cross throughout the game. Logic would suggest that these players are simply devout Roman Catholics since we’re talking about Brazil but they aren’t: they belong to the Pentecostal Church which counts 17.6 million adherents in this South American country.

Cathrin Gilbert takes a look at this phenomenon in Playing Soccer for God:

The Schalke team captain Bordon has joined the other Evangélicos in the Bundesliga, as well as about 100 other athletes from Brazil, and formed an organization called Atletas de Cristo. Their mission, as stated on their Web site, is to convert the world to Christianity. As often as his playing schedule permits, Bordon meets with his brothers for religious services.

At a training camp, Bordon invited Schalke manager Andreas Müller, a Mormon, to a bible circle. Missionary work is part of the commitment Bordon entered into when

click here to read Cathrin Gilbert’s article in its entirety


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