On March 19, the Granny Peace Brigade met in the rain in front of the military recruiting station in Times Square to mark the 5th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, “knitting ‘stump socks’ for amputee veterans, baby blankets and other items for Iraqi families.” There were a lot of great protest actions Wednesday, but the forceful assertion of care here is striking. Grannies vs. generals; slow, manual creation vs. fast, technological destruction — this is not just non-violence, but perhaps an opposite of violence. Here’s another short video.
Every Wednesday from 4:30 to 5:30 pm Grandmothers Against the War holds a vigil at Rockefeller Center. All are welcome.
Design a Better Bike Rack. An open design competition sponsored by the New York City Department of Transportation, in partnership with the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum and the support of Google Inc. and Transportation Alternatives. Designs are solicited for sidewalk and in-building parking, respectively. The winning racks will be produced and installed by the DoT.
Dirty Poster. Osocio points to this clever idea. A seemingly blank, white poster printed with sticky ink, revealing its image over the course of days as air pollution sticks to it. It’s a literal visualization of the crap you’re breathing in. Click the image on their site for a larger version.
It’s an inverse of reverse graffiti, rendering images in polluted urban surfaces by wiping away. For instance, see this video of Alexandre Orion cleaning a São Paulo street tunnel.
in september i traveled with bill gates to africa to look at his work fighting aids there. while setting the trip up, it emerged that his initial interest in giving pots of money to fight disease had arisen after he and melinda read a two-part series of articles i did on third world disease in January 1997. until then, their plan had been to give money mainly to get countries wired and full of computers.
bill and melinda recently reread those pieces, and said that it was the second piece in the series, about bad water and diarrhea killing millions of kids a year, that really got them thinking of public health. Great! I was really proud of this impact that my worldwide reporting and 3,500-word article had had. But then bill confessed that actually it wasn't the article itself that had grabbed him so much -- it was the graphic. It was just a two column, inside graphic, very simple, listing third world health problems and how many people they kill. but he remembered it after all those years and said that it was the single thing that got him redirected toward public health.
No graphic in human history has saved so many lives in africa and asia.
A little over the top, but it’s a nice story. Though while Mr. Kristof celebrates, this seems as much an indictment of NY Times coverage of rural poverty. (via)
Calligraphy in Modern China. “During the twentieth century, the social and political uses of calligraphy have been radically changed. Calligraphy is no longer an art associated primarily with the traditional scholarly elite. Not only has calligraphy been employed as a tool of revolution, but it has become a popular amateur art practiced by people of all walks of life, and artists have found ways to use it to challenge traditions rather than perpetuate them.…
Even if block-like calligraphy had revolutionary overtones, Mao and other leading revolutionaries wrote in styles much closer to traditional calligraphy. Moreover, even after most people took up writing with pencils and ball-point pens, leading party members continued to do calligraphy with traditional brushes. They would give away pieces of their calligraphy and allowed their calligraphy to be widely displayed.… Mao Zedong’s calligraphy was more widely displayed than that of any other leader.”
Gardening is growing. After years of decline, U.S. interest in gardening has increased dramatically in the last few years. This trend-spotting article from Publishers Weekly points to interest among young people spurred by a wide variety of sources: sustainability movements, pervasive farmer’s markets, concern about food, DIY craft magazines, specialty cable channels, college courses, and gardening web sites.
1% of U.S. adults are in prison. “For the first time in history more than one in every 100 adults in America are in jail or prison—a fact that significantly impacts state budgets without delivering a clear return on public safety.... [O]ver the same 20-year period... spending on corrections rose 127 percent while higher education expenditures rose just 21 percent.” From the full report: “While one in 30 men between the ages of 20 and 34 is behind bars, for black males in that age group the figure is one in nine.... The United States incarcerates more people than any country in the world, including the far more populous nation of China.”