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'Artist. Designer. Writer. Committed -yet preoccupied- citizen of the world.
And much more, I guess.

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Stop investing in genocidal Sudan

Divestment. I already mentioned it several times on this Blog (tag: Divestment for more), as well as the work done by Investors Against Genocide.

Marc Gunther is a veteran journalist and writer whose focus is business and sustainability. He is editor at large of Guardian Sustainable Business US and is the author or co-author of four books. He recently posted on The Guardian:

Call me old school but, in my view, companies should be accountable to their owners.

They should also try to stay away from repressive governments like the one in Sudan, where millions of people have been killed in a long-running genocide.

So when, as part of a campaign to stop the flow of money to Sudan, investors voted to ask a mutual fund managed by ING US to sell its holdings in companies that “contribute to genocide or crimes against humanity,” you’d think that ING US would comply.

It has not.

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As of today, we are consuming more than Earth can replenish this year

Nothing much to celebrate on Earth Overshoot Day...

If you still think everything is fine on our dearly Planet Earth, this article by Lindsey Kratochwill published on Popular Science makes it clear: we are on track to needing two Earths before we reach the middle of the century…

Today is Earth Overshoot Day. Happy Earth Overshoot Day! Except, well, we don’t much feel like celebrating. That’s because Earth Overshoot Day is the day each year when we’ve consumed natural resources at a rate beyond which our planet can replenish, and have produced more waste than can be reabsorbed, according to the Global Footprint Network, a think tank based in the U.S., Switzerland, and Belgium.

The holiday was originally conceived of by Andrew Simms, of the U.K. think tank New Economics Foundation. This year, it falls on August 20, two days (or three, depending on the calculations) earlier than it came last year, following a relatively steady trend since 2001: falling about three days earlier each year. (Humanity first went into overshoot in 1970; that year, Earth Overshoot Day fell on December 29.)

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Filming on the Fringe

Two female filmmakers from Yemen and Saudi Arabia are using film to fight for change

In the midst of a nascent film industry, a handful of female filmmakers have emerged in the Arabian Peninsula, pioneering film in the region and using it as a tool to fight for change. Saudi Arabia and Yemen both present volatile environments for any director; in the former, cinemas are illegal, and in both, authorization from the government prior to shooting is obligatory. However, in these conservative, patriarchal societies, the challenges for female filmmakers are even greater…

Full article on Fair Observer.

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Design / Art

Seen and Banksy collaboration

Miss Van and Ciro Schu in July, now Seen and Banksy. Awesome.

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Government surveillance spurs Americans to fight back

'For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction'

Designers trying to help people fight government surveillance: Activists turn to fashion to provide ways to block eavesdropping, confuse cameras and thwart drones — and to provoke conversations about U.S. surveillance programs.

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Martin Aircraft’s Prototype 12 on sale in 2015

Last year, I posted: Forget the jet pack, here come PATS and PAVs!“Sometimes you wish a  news was true, especially when it comes to single seater personal air transport or jet pack. Do you remember the James Bond movie Thunderball? I wanted to have my own jet pack so bad after I watched  Sean Connery use one to escape the bad guys! And now this may be a dream come true…”

Well, jet packs may still have a bright future, according to a recent article on C|Net:

The jetpack, which Martin Aircraft calls a “motorbike in the sky,” is made of a carbon fiber composite with a bit of Kevlar for the rotor. A gasoline engine drives ducted fans that produce enough thrust to lift the one-person aircraft into a vertical takeoff and enable sustained flight before a vertical landing (in a 2011 test, the jetpack stayed aloft, with a dummy on-board, for more than seven minutes — a record). Fortunately for those of us accustomed to getting from home to work and back with our feet on the ground, it comes equipped with a ballistic parachute system.

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Sudan’s Bashir admits ‘unwarranted’ bloodshed in Darfur

Darfur? No big deal? Hundred of lives? Really?

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Multiverse, Quantum teleportation and Dark energy

Roundup of interesting science news!

Belief in multiverse requires exceptional vision – If you can’t see it, it doesn’t exist. That’s an old philosophy, one that many scientists swallowed whole. But as Ziva David of NCIS would say, it’s total salami. After all, you can’t see bacteria and viruses, but they can still kill you.

Teleported by electronic circuit: Physicists ‘beam’ information – ETH-researchers cannot “beam” objects or humans of flesh and blood through space yet, a feat sometimes alluded to in science fiction movies. They managed, however, to teleport information from A to B – for the first time in an electronic circuit, similar to a computer chip.

Dark energy could be the offspring of the Higgs boson – The particle credited with giving others mass, the Higgs boson, may also be to blame for the universe flying apart ever faster. That’s because the Higgs boson could, in principle, be giving rise to dark energy.

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The hard truths we must swallow: Rwanda is wreaking havoc in Congo

Alice Gatebuke is a Rwandan genocide and war survivor, Cornell University graduate, and a human rights activist. She is a co-founder of African Great Lakes Action Network (AGLAN). She wrote on Pambazuka News:

After sixteen years of invasion and intervention through proxy groups, it is still difficult for people in the international community to accept that the Rwandan government is guilty of anything but justified intervention in Congo […] U.S. President Barack Obama understood this when as senator, he authored and passed into law the Democratic Republic of Congo Relief, Security and Democracy Promotion Act, PL 109-456 in 2006 that called for accountability for those of Congo’s neighbors that destabilize the country. And he understood it last summer when he cut $200,000 in military aid to Rwanda. And he understood it last December when he personally made a call to Rwandan President Paul Kagame and asked him to cease support of the M23 rebel group, currently wreaking havoc in Congo.

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Design / Art

A gallery of Shigeru Ban architecture

Centre Pompidou, in Metz, France (2009)

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Scientists find asymmetry in topological insulators

Topological Insulators [...] transmit information on electron spins with virtually no expenditure of electricity

New research shows that a class of materials being eyed for the next generation of computers behaves asymmetrically at the sub-atomic level. This research is a key step toward understanding the topological insulators that may have the potential to be the building blocks of a super-fast quantum computer that could run on almost no electricity.

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Design / Art

Restoring Jackson Pollock’s ‘Mural’

Turning a Scientific Eye on Art

Art experts at the Getty Conservation Institute are using X-rays, scanning electron microscopy and mass spectrometers to probe a $140 million painting by Jackson Pollock. For the past 18 months, the Getty’s researchers have been repairing effects of earlier preservation work on the massive 8-by-20-foot painting, while exploring the artist’s radical technique and materials.

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High-speed, near-supersonic transport system.

The Hyperloop (or something similar) is, in my opinion, the right solution for the specific case of high traffic city pairs that are less than about 1500 km or 900 miles apart. Around that inflection point, I suspect that supersonic air travel ends up being faster and cheaper.

Elon Musk.
Tesla, SpaceX, SolarCity, PayPal…
More on Musk’s Blog.

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Zhangye Danxia, China

This is not a painting, but natural rocks. This is Planet Earth.

Joe Hanson, It’s Okay To Be Smart.

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Star Wars Medley by Lindsey Stirling and Peter Hollens

Skyrim, Game of Thrones and now Star Wars!

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