thursday | 28 march 2013

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CIVIL RIGHTS | LAW
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VIDEO: THE ORAL ARGUMENTS IN THE DOMA CASE

The New Yorker
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The Supreme Court released audio of the oral arguments on the Defense of Marriage Act, which we’ve combined with the work of courtroom artists. Watch and listen to excerpts of some of the day’s most dramatic exchanges. And look back at the sights and sounds of the other same-sex-marriage case: the challenge to Proposition 8.

SORRY, JUSTICE SCALIA: THERE IS NO EVIDENCE THAT GAY PARENTS AREN’T GREAT PARENTS

Ezra Klein | Wonkblog | The Washington Post

Note Scalia’s language. He doesn’t say there’s evidence that same-sex couples are bad parents to adopted children. He just says there’s “considerable disagreement among sociologists.” My colleague Sandhya Somashekar looked into this and found that no, there’s really not.

JUSTICE KENNEDY’S DOMA PROBLEM

Margaret Talbot | The New Yorker

Kennedy’s objections were more concerned with federalism. Did Congress have the right to enact DOMA in the first place, when the regulation of marriage has traditionally been left up to the individual states? Questioning Paul Clement, the lawyer defending DOMA, Kennedy spoke of “a real risk” of running into “conflict with what has always been the essence of state police power, which is to regulate marriage, divorce, custody.” He also noted that, with DOMA, “Congress doesn’t help the States which have come to the conclusion that gay marriage is lawful.” And when Clement said that if any of the eleven hundred federal laws and regulation mentioning marriage impinged on state powers, “that is a problem independent of DOMA, but it is not a DOMA problem,” Kennedy replied, “I think it is a DOMA problem.”

WHY THE GAY MARRIAGE FIGHT IS OVER

Jeffery Toobin | The New Yorker

This is what I will remember about the atmosphere at the Supreme Court during the same-sex marriage cases: that it wasn’t terribly memorable. The place was relaxed. The Justices were attentive but unemotional. The audience was cheerful. It was a lot like most arguments before the Justices, except that every seat in the courtroom was taken.

The reason for the mellow vibe was unspoken but clear. Everyone knows that same-sex marriage is here to stay; indeed, it’s expanding throughout the country at a pace that few could have imagined just a few years ago. The Justices were not irrelevant to the process, but they weren’t central either. They knew that—and so did everyone else.

IF I HAVE TO READ ANOTHER HEADLINE CALLING THE GAY MARRIAGE FIGHT “OVER” I’M GOING TO LOSE IT

Josh Barro | @jbarro | Twitter

Not for gays it’s not. newyorker.com/online/blogs/n . . .

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MEDIA | RESILIENT SYSTEMS
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JOSEPH GORDON-LEAVITT INVITES YOU TO HIT RECORD ON TV

BIG NEWS: We’re gonna be on TV!
Hit RECord on TV” is gonna be a new kind of variety show. I’ll host the show and also direct our global online community to create short films, live performances, music, animation, conversation, and of course, more! Each episode will be focused on a different theme. And like always, anybody with an internet connection is invited to contribute.

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ARCHITECTURE | URBAN PLANNING | DESIGN
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TOWARDS RESILIENT ARCHITECTURES 1: BIOLOGY LESSONS

Michael Mehaffy and Nikos Salingaros | Metropolis | 2900 Words

Let’s start by recognizing that we have incredibly complex and sophisticated technologies today, from power plants, to building systems, to jet aircraft. These technologies are, generally speaking, marvelously stable within their design parameters. This is the kind of stability that C. H. Holling, the pioneer of resilience theory in ecology, called “engineered resilience.” But they are often not resilient outside of their designed operating systems. Trouble comes with the unintended consequences that occur as “externalities,” often with disastrous results.
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A good example is the Fukushima nuclear reactor group in Japan. For years it functioned smoothly, producing reliable power for its region, and was a shining example of “engineered resilience.” But it did not have what Holling called “ecological resilience,” that is, the resilience to the often-chaotic disruptions that ecological systems have to endure. One of those chaotic disruptions was the earthquake and tsunami that engulfed the plant in 2010, causing a catastrophic meltdown. The Fukushima reactors are based on an antiquated U.S. design from the 1960s, dependent upon an electrical emergency cooling system. When the electricity failed, including the backup generators, the emergency control system became inoperative and the reactor cores melted. It was also a mistake (in retrospect) to centralize power production by placing six large nuclear reactors next to each other.

. . . Focusing upon redundancy, diversity, and plasticity, biological examples contradict the extremely limited notion of “efficiency” used in mechanistic thinking. Our bodies have two kidneys, two lungs, and two hemispheres of the brain, one of which can still function when the other is damaged or destroyed. An ecosystem typically has many diverse species, any one of which can be lost without destroying the entire ecosystem. By contrast, an agricultural monoculture is highly vulnerable to just a single pest or other threat. Monocultures are terribly fragile. They are efficient only as long as conditions are perfect, but liable to catastrophic failure in the long term.

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ARCHITECTURE
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VILLA L BY POWERHOUSE COMPANY WITH RAU

Erin | Contemporist

Three clear levels, with three very different characters and functionalities as a basis for family life to emerge. One level is for living, a generously open ground floor. A strip of serving rooms containing storage, toilets and stairs, provides easily access to the luxuriously open living spaces. The kitchen and living room are oriented maximally to the sun and view. In close relation to this living area there are two studies located on the north side next to the entrance.
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villa l
The collection of rooms on the first floor provides space for sleeping and privacy. Set in a delicate roof garden, all the bedrooms are autonomous volumes crafted in their entirety from dark wood. They work like a village of cabins, providing intimacy and privacy. Every room is like a world of its own with private views over the wooded landscape.

The curved basement is for guests, wellness and storage. The excavations allow the pool and the guest rooms to have fully glazed facades and direct access to the garden.

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FOOD | NUTRITION
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WHY SUCKABLE FRUIT SUCKS

Melinda Wenner Moyer | Slate

I looked into these snacks last week, and I was sad to learn that they’re not as perfect as they seem. Certainly, if you’re choosing between a BuddyFruit Pure Blended Fruit To Go and a chocolate chip cookie, then God yes, pick the BuddyFruit. But if you think these snacks are the equivalent of handing your child an apple and a few grapes, you are mistaken. “These products are sweeter than natural fruit, easier to eat, suckable, and not a particularly good idea for teaching kids how to eat real food,” says Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition, food studies, and public health at New York University and the author of Food Politics.

Let’s start with the sugar . . .

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ART
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AMAZING KINETIC SCULPTURES BY BOB POTTS

Christopher Jobson | Colossal

kinetic-1

Kinetic sculptor Bob Potts creates beautiful kinetic sculptures that mimic the motions of flight and the oars of boats. Despite their intricacy the pieces are surprisingly minimal, Potts seems to use only the essential components needed to convey each motion without much ornamentation or flourish.

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MUSIC VIDEO
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Christophe Thockler | Vimeo

Black Books: Favorite Place

Favorite Place
Taken from the new EP ‘Aquarena’ by Black Books

10 000 photos
1 km of thread
350 reels of thread
73 000 embroidery stitches
6 kg of scraps of fabric
100 needles and sewing pins

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