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12 Feb 05:06

Poet Hashem Shaabani executed in Iran

by Julia Fleischaker
Executed Iranian poet Hashem Shaabani.

Executed Iranian poet Hashem Shaabani.

Iranian poet and human rights advocate Hashem Shaabani was executed in Iran on January 27. According to reports, an Islamic Revolutionary Tribunal sentenced the poet, and 14 others, to death, for the crimes of ‘waging war on God,’ ‘spreading corruption on earth,’ and ‘questioning the principle of velayat-e faqih’ (the rule of the jurisprudent, Iran’s system of vesting supreme power in an unelected cleric).”

A story on Al Jazeera notes that President Rouhani, who won the national election in June 2013 and took office in August, “promised to follow a ‘path of moderation’ in international affairs and to ease restrictions on civil liberties…But from the time of his inauguration in August to the end of 2013, more than 300 people have been executed, according to a figure tallied by the Iran Human Rights Documentation Centre (IHRDC).” Moving into 2014, Amnesty International has said that 40 executions were carried out in the first two weeks of the year.

Shaabani, an Ahwazi (Iranian Arab) was in prison for 3 years, having been arrested in 2011 for being a Mohareb, or “enemy of God.” According to Freedom House, Shaabani, the founder of the Dialogue Institute, which promoted understanding of Arabic culture and literature in Iran, was subjected to severe torture during his incarceration. It’s widely believed that torture led to his 2012 confession, on state-owned Press TV, that he was guilty of “separatist terrorism.”

According to Amir Tehiri, writing on Asharq al Awsat, much of Shaabani’s poetry is apolitical. “One of his odes is Homage to Karoun, Iran’s largest and only navigable river; in another poem he speaks of ‘the blonde sun of Khuzestan.’” Shaabani was able to smuggle a few letters out of prison.

In one of his letters from prison, made available through his family, Shaabani says he could not have remained silent against “hideous crimes against Ahvazis perpetrated by the Iranian authorities, particularly arbitrary and unjust executions.” He adds: “I have tried to defend the legitimate right that every people in this world should have which is the right to live freely with full civil rights. With all these miseries and tragedies, I have never used a weapon to fight these atrocious crimes except the pen.”

Shabaanie is the author of the poem, “Seven Reasons Why I Should Die.”

Seven Reasons Why I Should Die
By Hashem Shaabani

For seven days they shouted at me:
You are waging war on Allah!
Saturday, because you are an Arab!
Sunday, well, you are from Ahvaz
Monday, remember you are Iranian
Tuesday: You mock the sacred Revolution
Wednesday, didn’t you raise your voice for others?
Thursday, you are a poet and a bard
Friday: You’re a man, isn’t that enough to die?

 

11 Feb 19:56

Appeals Court Ruling Means Tax-Preparers Will Continue To Go Largely Unregulated

by Chris Morran

The federal government’s attempt to rein in the virtually unregulated tax-preparation industry was dealt a serious blow this morning after a federal appeals court upheld a lower court ruling that the IRS overstepped its authority by trying to require registration and testing for all tax preparers.

In 2011, the IRS created a system that would require all non-CPA tax-preparers to register and demonstrate their mastery of the topic through testing and continuing education courses. This change would apply to some 700,000 preparers in the U.S.

Before the program could launch, those opposed to the regulations sued the IRS in a U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., contending that the agency had not been given authority by Congress to institute such far-reaching rules, as its argument for claiming it had such authority was based on an 1884 statute that allows the IRS to “regulate the practice of representatives of persons before the Department of the Treasury.”

In early 2013, the court sided with the plaintiffs and stopped the IRS from rolling out these requirements, saying that whatever good was intended by the regulation effort is negated by the fact that the IRS didn’t have the authority to enforce these rules.

The IRS appealed that ruling, but today the Circuit Court of Appeals in D.C. upheld the previous ruling [PDF].

In its case, the IRS argued that paid tax-preparers are representatives of persons in their dealings with the Treasury. However, the court saw things differently, saying that preparers assist taxpayers but don’t necessarily represent them:

“The term ‘representative’ is traditionally and commonly defined as an agent with authority to bind others, a description that does not fit tax-return preparers… Put simply, tax-return preparers are not agents. They do not possess legal authority to act on the taxpayer’s behalf. They cannot legally bind the taxpayer by acting on the taxpayer’s behalf. The IRS cites no law suggesting that tax- return preparers have legal authority to act on behalf of taxpayers.”

The court cites existing IRS regulations stating that in order for someone to legally represent a taxpayer to the agency, that rep must formally obtain the taxpayer’s power of attorney, “something tax-return preparers do not typically obtain when preparing returns.”

It also points out that the IRS requires that taxpayers must still sign and submit their tax returns even when using a paid tax-preparer.

“The IRS is surely free to change (or refine) its interpretation of a statute it administers,” writes the court. “But the interpretation, whether old or new, must be consistent with the statute.”

The appeals court admitted that it may not be a bad idea to regulate taxpayers:

“It might be that allowing the IRS to regulate tax-return preparers more stringently would be wise as a policy matter. But that is a decision for Congress and the President to make if they wish by enacting new legislation.”

A 2013 report from the National Consumer Law Center found that tax preparers are effectively unregulated in 47 states, with only California, Maryland, and Oregon having any sort of requirements for being a paid preparer.

In those 47 other states, there are more regulations on being a barber than there are for being a tax-preparer.

The report also found numerous accounts of incompetence and fraud among ill-prepared tax-preparers, especially those marketing their services to lower-income Americans. Given that 70 million Americans use paid preparers every year, this is of some concern.

NCLC attorney Chi Chi Wu tells Consumerist that this morning’s appeals court ruling is “disappointing, but not unexpected. Today’s decision makes it even more important for state governments take action and pass laws regulating tax preparers, since now only the states or Congress have the power to do so.”

Depending on your age and income, there are ways to get free tax-preparation help from people who know what they’re talking about. The IRS’s VITA program provides free tax-prep assistance for people earning $52,000 or less, and its Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program assists those 60 years of age or older. Click here for information on how to find a VITA or TCE site near you.

The AARP also offers its free Tax Aide program to low/moderate-income individuals, with a focus on those 60 years of age and older. Click here for more info on that program.

11 Feb 19:32

Does a Korean Dog Deserve a Shot at the American Dream?

by Jen Choi

The legendary Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show will soon draw to a close, and for the 138th time, the Korean Jindo was not among the competitors. Perhaps the Jindo’s absence from the greatest dog show in the world isn’t a surprise—introduced stateside by Korean immigrants in the 1980s, the Jindo is relatively unknown beyond its country of origin.

I recall my first encounter with the breed: I was in the sixth grade, visiting my youth pastor David Chung’s house. His Jindo’s name was Dalgi—Korean for “strawberry”—and she stood in the backyard, broad-shouldered, as dignified as an imperial guard. While our group met, Dalgi bared her sharp teeth and barked ceaselessly at the brick barrier separating the Chungs from their neighbors. I never saw her break free, but she tugged with a kind of cautionary force, pacing in clean arcs the full radial reach of her leash. Dalgi eventually breached the brick barrier to murder a litter of kittens belonging to my homeroom teacher, Mrs. Tietz, next door. When news broke in the classroom, I did not speak up, but a familiar pang of guilt flushed my belly. It was the same sour sensation triggered by any mention of Kim Jong-il, Reverend Sun-Myung Moon, or Soon-Yi Previn. Here was Dalgi—another one of our own, botching it up in the Western world.

A Jindo licks the face of a lioness
at a zoo in South Korea. (Reuters)

For better or for worse, Korean Americans closely identify with this confident canine—a medium-sized spitz-type dog with a curled tail, a fox-like head, and prick ears. These animals may occasionally murder kittens. In fact, they’re descended from primitive dogs, much like the Australian dingo. For thousands of years, they roamed feral on uninhabited Jindo Island, located off the southwest coast of Korea. But they’re known for their problem-solving skills, fierce loyalty to their owners, and overall toughness. (As my grandfather likes to say, “They can even eat rock.”) In South Korea, the Jindo is a beloved national treasure. It ranks 53rd on the country’s list of “natural monuments,” just ahead of a Confucian Shrine’s 400 year-old gingko tree. During the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, Jindos marched in the opening ceremony.

Ask any Korean and you will likely hear the same thing: Jindos are the world’s finest breed. And they are ready to take the spotlight at Westminster—the dog world’s equivalent of the Super Bowl and Academy Awards combined.

Jindo fans aren’t the only group lobbying the American Kennel Club for inclusion of their favorite breed. This year, three new dogs made their debuts: the Chinook, the Portuguese podengo pequeno, and the rat terrier. In the dog world, this is hugely significant: It means that the arbiters of America’s foremost dog registry have deemed these breeds to be of a trusted, rarefied lineage, worthy of standing alongside the French bulldog, the German shepherd, or the English setter. The Jindo has already gained this kind of acceptance on the world stage—the United Kennel Club and the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (World Canine Organization) have allowed the Jindo into their ranks. But the American Kennel Club remains unconvinced of the dog’s merits.

This matters to Korean Americans in a way that might sound comical to those outside our fold. The Westminster Dog Show is the longest-running continuously held sporting event in the country, second only to the Kentucky Derby. It began in 1877, prior to the invention of the light bulb or the building of the Washington Monument. It predates the admission of 12 states to the Union. In essence, Westminster is as American as it gets. Once a dog is crowned Best in Show, the winner becomes the canine equivalent of Miss America, fulfilling a year’s worth of duties as “America’s Dog.” It appears on national morning chat show appearances, rings the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange, and visits the observation deck at the Empire State Building. A chance to compete at Westminster is a chance for a Korean to “make it” in this country.

So how can the Jindo earn a shot at this ultimate badge of acceptance? According to David Frei, Westminster’s director of communications and the co-host of the show’s television broadcast, there is no schedule or quota to fill when it comes to a breed’s eligibility. Admittance guidelines mostly involve a dog’s “following” in America. As Frei details, the breed must have “an adequate population in this country, a geographical distribution (they can’t all live in California), and a parent club (e.g., the Afghan Hound Club of America) that is advocating and overseeing the breed in this country.” Once the parent club has “done the work” promoting the breed, official AKC status is inevitable.

There is no official Jindo parent club established yet, but Jindo breeders like Kyong T. Chong from Jindo Ranch in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas are devoted to promoting the breed. It’s not easy to import a Jindo from South Korea—the dogs are protected under a Cultural Properties Protection Act—but Chong managed to obtain two dogs with “excellent Jindo qualities” for his breeding program.

Meanwhile, in an effort to elevate the Jindo to world-class status, a Korean organization—the Jindo Dog Promotion and Innovation Agency—offered Jindos to the Los Angeles Police Department in 2011. Chief officers were granted an all-expenses paid trip to Jindo Island, where they chose two puppies for gun detection unit training. The dogs, who were named Daehan and Mingook (collectively meaning “Republic of Korea”), excelled in obedience, but they were too attached to their trainer—focused less on the task at hand than on pleasing their master. Chief K-9 platoon training officer Sergeant Doug Roller told The Los Angeles Times that “the breed required a few more generations of specific selection to weed out unsuitable habits.”

But owners who have practiced patience and discipline with their Jindos will emphatically tell you that they’ve earned the trust of a magnificent dog—and been rewarded with a family protector that is as regal as an Afghan hound, as gentle as a Labrador. With the help of various Jindo rescue organizations, like Treasured K-9s and the Jindo Project, the dog has been quietly making its way into American homes for years—if not in the purebred, upper-crust manner of Chihuahuas or poodles. Dr. Phil, for one, adores his two Jindo rescues.

Meanwhile, Jindo owners have reason to be hopeful: Currently, the dogs are recognized by the American Kennel Club’s Foundation Stock Service, a registry that serves as a kind of junior varsity team. While Foundation Stock Service breeds cannot compete in any American Kennel Club events, like Westminster,  dogs do graduate from that list into the main Kennel Club registry. The Portuguese podengo pequeno, another primitive national dog, became a Foundation dog in 2007, just one year before the Jindo. Now it’s on the Westminster stage.

It’s hard to say if or when the Jindo’s moment of glory will arrive. But on that day, a throng of ecstatic Koreans will be there, cheering for their pooch. The fuss will be the equivalent of a Korean Cool Runnings. And when the first Jindo trots into the center arena spotlight, standing as dignified as an imperial guard, the bright flush of excitement in my belly will be one of pride. An entire nation will rejoice, and a whole island of dogs will wag their little tails in camaraderie, because on that day, a canine hero will have achieved an American dream.


    






11 Feb 18:34

"Modern Ruin" documents the rise, fall, and revival efforts of historic New York State Pavilion

by Justine Testado

So continues the battle of saving neglected pavilions from their ultimate fate of destruction. MODERN RUIN: A World's Fair Pavilion by filmmaker and film educator Matthew Silva tells the eventful tale of Philip Johnson's New York State Pavilion in the last 50 years.

The film starts with the pavilion's debut during the 1964-65 New York World's Fair, to its post-fair use in the '60s-'70s as a concert venue and roller-skating rink, followed by its gradual demise since then -- including efforts in recent years for the structure's preservation.

Silva set up a Kickstarter to gain support for post-production of the film's final cut. At this point, the fund already surpassed its initial goal of $10,000 and now has 12 days left to reach its stretch goal of $30,000. The extra money will give Silva access to more archival material on the pavilion and will let him collaborate with other professional filmmakers to improve the film's production quality.

Featuring interviews from nearly two dozen ind...

10 Feb 02:50

McDonald’s Employee Celebrates 100th Birthday

by Edwin Kee

McDonald’s Employee Celebrates 100th BirthdayI would suppose if you could live to be a century old while remaining in a healthy state, then this is a good thing, with all of your mental faculties still in good working order. After all, there is a whole lot to look forward to in life, right? If you think that working at McDonald’s is a job that you would take on only after finishing up high school before going to university, think again. An employee at one US outlet has just touched the magical 100 years old mark. Mr. Morris Miller hit the milestone age last Friday at the store in Needham, Massachusetts, which would make him a whole lot older (many times over, in fact) compared to the kids who normally celebrate their birthdays at the restaurant.

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    06 Feb 23:48

    “Life Is Motion” — Wallace Stevens

    by Biblioklept
    07 Feb 04:52

    Goldman Prizewinner Gets 21 Years for Resistance to Genocide

    by Keith Harmon Snow

    Packed with distortions and outright lies, Mongolia’s privatized former state media called them the ‘enemies of Mongolia’.  On 16 September 2013, the leaders of Mongolia’s Fire Nation  (Gal Undesten in Mongolian), an environment and human rights coalition, organized a mass protest in front of the Mongolian Parliament. Decades of grassroots organizing to establish environmental protections were at risk: on September 16 the Great State Khural (State Parliament) gathered with intentions to dismantle the so-called ‘Law With A Long Name’ (LLN).

    Herder nomads in west central Mongolia. Photo c. keith harmon snow, 2008.

    Herder nomads in west central Mongolia. Photo c. keith harmon snow, 2008.

    Adopted by parliament in 2009, after more than a decade of grassroots organizing and public pressure, the ‘Law to Prohibit Mineral Exploration and Mining Operations at the Headwaters of Rivers, Protected Zones of Water Reservoirs and Forested Areas‘ is the only significant Mongolian law protecting nomadic herders’ traditional lands and watersheds from further radioactive and chemical contamination, diversions of rivers and land-grabbing. With mining companies ignoring the law, destroying pasture land and watersheds, and no government enforcement, the livelihoods and culture of indigenous Mongolian herders are rapidly disappearing. These are the same mining corporations responsible for genocide and crimes against humanity in Africa and Latin America and everywhere we find them.

    Symbolically armed with hunting rifles and antiquated weapons, the most courageous leaders of the grassroots Fire Nation sought to draw attention to corruption and collusion between government and foreign mining corporations.  They are fighting to save their culture and people and their very way of life.

    In a statement read on the steps of Parliament prior to the arrests, Ts. Munkhbayar called for urgent and serious action to protect the Law with a Long Name (LLN). The People began with cooperative meetings, he said, engaging government officials and agencies, and the People won the passage of the Law with a Long Name, but there was no enforcement, and corporations were getting away with egregious wrongs.  So then the People came with petitions.  When petitions didn’t work they threw rocks at Parliament.  Then they fired their rifles on machines that were ripping up their precious pasture lands.  They symbolically shot arrows at Parliament from their herder’s bows.  Nothing moved the government to protect the People and the land. Now they had come with weapons.  They never intended to hurt anyone, and they never hurt anyone.

    These are herders who employ a wide range of methods and tactics, including environmental education, public theater, monitoring of pollution, restoration of ecosystems, alliances with government, campaigns in the legislature.  They have also fired on foreign mining equipment and occupied illegal mining sites.  Many of their actions have been symbolic, born out of integrity and the spirit of civil disobedience.

    “On the morning of September 16, delegates representing 11 non-government organizations protested outside the Government Palace against proposed amendments to the [LLN],” wrote M. Zoljargal for Rivers Without Boundaries, a coalition of NGOs working to protect Eurasian watersheds.  ”The reason for the protest was to prevent the approval of the amendment, as the 2009 law hasn’t been implemented or enforced in its current form.  Many protected lands have been mined despite the law meant to preserve the integrity of Mongolia’s environment.  The protestors were there to stop the amendment, fearing that once the law is amended, permit termination and state protection might become impossible.”1

    Tsetsegee Mounkhbayar. Photo by Bill Infante.

    Tsetsegee Mounkhbayar. Photo by Bill Infante.

    Mongolian civil society leaders declare that state agents framed Munkhbayar and the other protestors.  Four of the ten protestors arrested on 16 September 2013 were released; six were detained on the charge “group attempt to severely threaten well-being of society”.  Defense lawyers argued that there was no victim in the case but they were prohibited from mounting a substantial defense. Many key facts were ignored and evidence was suppressed and sidelined.  There is substantial evidence that Mongolian government agents used ‘dirty tricks’ typical of thugs, terrorist organizations and state security agents (e.g. C.I.A., Stasi, MI-6, SAVAK, F.B.I., etc.), dirty tricks and thuggery which bears the signature of the Mongolian state security apparatus.

    On 21 January 2014, the six civil society leaders were sentenced to prison. Defendants J. Ganbold, G. Boldbaatar, D. Tumurbaatar, S. Dashtseren and Ts. Munkhbayar received 21 years and six months (reduced from 22 years and six months for time served since 16 September 2013).  The sixth man, M. Munkhbold was sentenced to two years for supplying weapons.  When the verdict and sentences were delivered in court, the wife of J. Ganbold (suffering from ovarian cancer) fainted; others shouted and cried.

    The six men, all 50-60 years of age, were interrogated under harsh conditions in state detention cells.  One of the six, J. Ganbold, is reportedly in danger of losing his hand after police removed a cast and refused him medical treatment. When Mr. Ganbold’s wife pleaded with the court for her husband to receive treatment, the chief investigator derided her, declaring that her husband and the others deserved to suffer, implying they are traitors of the state.

    The six environmental leaders accepted their sentences in court with dignity and calm.  Ts. Munkhbayar is the 3rd from left, front row. Photo 21 January 2014.

    The six environmental leaders accepted their sentences in court with dignity and calm. Ts. Munkhbayar is the 3rd from left, front row. Photo 21 January 2014.

    Most of these leaders have previously been arrested in the long struggle to defend Mongolia from the hydra of Western industries of exploitation: mining, ‘development’, ‘nature conservation’, and foreign ‘aid’ and ‘charity’.

    His name is Munkhbayar and he is no terrorist

    In early September 2010, a small band of citizens fired their hunting rifles on gold mining equipment owned by two foreign mining firms operating illegally in northern Mongolia.  The gang of four — Ts. Munkhbayar, G. Bayaraa, D. Tumurbaatar and O. Sambuu-Yondon — all hailed from the United Movement of Mongolian Rivers and Lakes (UMMRL), a consortium of Mongolian groups organized to fight extractive companies that have invaded the fledgling ‘democracy’.

    A key leader and long-time organizer of the Mongolian resistance movement, Ts. Munkhbayar is a 2007 winner of the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize — the ‘Green Nobel’ — awarded annually to people taking fearless stands around the globe in defense of the earth and its indigenous peoples.  Three years after winning the award — and a whole lot more illegal mining and pollution later — Munkhbayar’s little gang of four and their militant actions against the capitalist invasion remained in complete media whiteout in the Western press.

    UMMRL was formed in 2009 after its predecessor, the Mongolian Nature Protection Coalition (MNPC), dissolved.  Tsetsegee Munkhbayar and his colleagues were pivotal to the creation of both MNPC and UMMRL, and on 2 July 2010 they founded the Fire Nationa large umbrella organization uniting many NGOs.

    After winning the Goldman prize, activist Ts. Munkhbayar was widely celebrated by Western institutions and the English-speaking press for his peaceful and collaborative achievements in uniting nomads and organizing people and protecting Mongolia’s environment.  He was a national hero, standing up for ordinary people and basic human rights, a former herder turned national spokesman who rose out of the backward and repressive social milieu of communism in collapse.  Munkhbayar was rewarded for speaking up — an action unheard of in Mongolian society — in the former Soviet-run communist republic turned ‘emerging democracy’.

    Increasingly frustrated by a stodgy bureaucracy and massive state corruption, betrayed by Western conservation and development organizations, faced with mounting losses and accelerated destruction of their culture and environment, Ts. Munkhbayar and comrades became increasing aggressive in organizing resistance.

    The more they stood up for the rights of Mongolia and its people, the more they were shunned or ignored by their former sponsors. For Ts. Munkhbayar, this meant that the Goldman Fund distanced themselves from him, and the Asia Foundation, whose officials had lobbied the Goldman Fund on his behalf, labeled him a ‘terrorist’. 2

    In June 2011 Ts. Munkhbayar and colleagues were imprisoned for ‘organizing public meetings and demonstrations without official permission’.  The men went on hunger strikes in prison: some were taken to hospital and force fed by the security agents after their health acutely deteriorated.

    The Green Terror

    “In August 2013, pressure from foreign mining companies to relax regulations reached an all-time high and rumors emerged that Parliament was seeking to abolish the LLN once and for all,” reads a Goldman Foundation statement of 20 November 2013, calling for a ‘fair and transparent trial’ for Munkhbayar and the others.  ”That same day, Munkhbayar and UMMRL joined several other activist groups in a demonstration outside the main Parliament building. During the protest, a rifle was accidentally discharged. It is widely understood that the shot was not fired on purpose and nobody was injured.  Still, Munkhbayar and several other protestors were arrested immediately following the incident.”

    The Goldman Foundation statement is inaccurate.  A simple viewing of a video of the 16 September 2013 incident shows that the Mongolian state security had already tackled Ts. Munkhbayar and several other protestors when the shot rang out nearby.  The protestors had not tried to enter the government building, either peaceably or forcibly.  State agents and the video camera person then directed their attention to another struggle between state agents and another of the protestors, presumably one who accidentally discharged his rifle.

    The protestors are accused of firing a single shot from one of their weapons.  In the confusion of what happened, it is not clear who fired a shot.  The herders claim the discharge was accidental, and if it came from their weapon, it certainly was an accident.  The court did not sufficiently investigate the facts.  However,  there is ample evidence that it was a state security agent who discharged a weapon. As the video reveals, Munkhbayar was not guilty of firing off weaponry, but the courts didn’t care to argue such fine points.

    Ten protestors were arrested on 16 September 2013.  State agents evacuated several government buildings claiming that bombs had been planted.  Explosives shown in Mongolian mass media campaigns to discredit the protestors were reportedly recovered in buildings where the protestors could not have had access.  The mass media claimed that protestors’  guns were loaded and they were heavily armed. Reports also claimed that the protestors “attacked the government buildings and fired a shot.”

    There are many other curious discrepancies and outright fabrications.

    One Mongolian business media outlet declared that ‘shots’ [plural] were fired, ‘a bomb was discovered’, and ‘a hand-grenade was thrown which didn’t explode’. 3

    In a statement made immediately after the arrests, the head of Mongolia’s General Intelligence Agency investigations department claimed that the protestors “attempted to threaten public security and assault some state officials.”  He also declared that “[a]s a result of prompt searches [security and intelligence officials] searched and found two TNT (trotyl) [sic] hand-made bombs planted near government buildings.4

    toimAfter the September 16 protest, the media accused the protestors of ‘organizing a public event without permission’ and ‘mass murder attempt’ and even ‘attempted genocide’.  Mongolia’s National  Overview magazine, a copycat of Time (Yndestnii Toim in the Mongolian language rhymes with Time) featured Goldman prizewinner Ts. Munkhbayar on the cover, an old Russian rifle in hand, under the headlines: ‘НОГООН ТЕРРОР’ GREEN TERROR.

    Another cover story in late September showed Ts. Munkhbayar wearing a luxury OMEGA wristwatch.  The photo was an obvious fabrication created with Photoshop software, a common practice in Mongolian media. Article(s) portrayed the earth defense activists from Greenpeace International as scoundrels, cowards and liars, drawing attention to Greenpeace actions in Russia.  Then they equated Munkhbayar with this ‘green terrorism’.

    Mongolian oligarchs, who have colluded with Western interests to bleed Mongolia dry, own the most prominent mass media portals in Mongolia(click link for summary table): most are members of Parliament. As in the West, Mongolia’s media outlets manufacture consent, inculcate confusion and distrust, disempower and indoctrinate the masses.

    Mr. Lu. Bold, former Minister of Defense, current Minister of Parliament and Mongolia’s Foreign Minister, owns National Overview.  On 26 October 2103, Mr. Bold signed a ‘nuclear cooperation’ deal with French Minister Laurent Fabius.  The French nuclear conglomerate AREVA has been exploring and mining uranium in Mongolia for over a decade. 5

    In 2010, herders in Dornogovi aimag (province) began correlating disease in domestic animal herds with AREVA uranium mining nearby.  In 2012 they sounded the alarm after some 20 calves of one herder Mr. Norsuren died.  Even wolves would not eat the dead animals, and carcasses decayed in a few days even when frozen solid in the dead of Mongolian winter.

    Inspections by the State Nuclear Agency found nothing, as expected, since they were merely protecting state interests and the cult of the atom.  Tests by the State Veterinary and Animal Breeding Agency revealed chronic poisoning by heavy metals and radioactive isotopes; results posted on the government website soon disappeared.

    The vet agency refused to release official reports, but some were leaked.  Angered by the vet agency’s diligence, Mongolia’s Prime Minister attacked them, demanding they revisit and ‘correct’ their results.  Millions of Tugrugs later the vet agency produced new results, inconclusive as regards AREVA’s uranium mining. The vet agency officials were frightened into silence.

    Life for herder on the steppe is hard enough without the toxic pollution and land-grabbing of foreign mining corporations. Photo c. keith harmon snow, 2008.

    Life for herder on the steppe is hard enough without the toxic pollution and land-grabbing of foreign mining corporations. Photo c. keith harmon snow, 2008.

    In May 2013, Fire Nations‘ own investigator discovered epidemics of diseases; faceless animals, jawless animals; diseased internal organs; many abnormal births and birth defects.

    Prior to AREVA’s arrival such things were unheard of.  In August 2013, armed Fire Nation activists and local herders occupied AREVA’s mining camp and stopped operations.  AREVA resumed operations after Munkhbayar and other Fire Nation protestors were arrested September 16.

    In December 2013, Fire Nation leaders and herders returned but were barred entry to the AREVA camp by nine-foot fences with triple-barbed wire overhangs and armed paramilitary guards: AREVA even refused entry to a state inspector.

    Uranium exploration and radioactive contamination in Mongolia is not limited to the Dornogovi site in the Gobi desert.  There are mine sites as close as 70 kilometers from the capital city.

    “Given that everything related to uranium is kept ‘state secret’ we have little information about this threat to 60% of Mongolia’s population, residing in Ulaanbaatar,” says Sukhgerel Dugersuren,Executive Director of the Mongolian organization OT [Oyu Tolgoi] Watch.  “The U.S. government and Japanese government apparently find Mongolia to be the best location for dumping their nuclear waste.  Agreements [were] signed many years ago but there is no information disclosed about the actual status, no opportunity for local monitoring, no info on risks and how to be prepared for mitigation.  We know that Japan is negotiating heavily.”6

    Oligarchs like Mr. Bold use media venues like National Overview just as the Western press is used by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and nuclear corporations, always assuring the public that nuclear contaminations present ‘no risk to the public’, that ‘radiation is safe, clean and green’.  However, the media also knowingly collaborates in maintaining information whiteouts, keeping the public in the dark, upholding the cloak of secrecy and denial about the nuclear apocalypse and nuclear poisons and the threat to all life on earth.

    “I think it is absolutely obvious that the U.S. and Japan plan to dump nuclear waste at Oyu Tolgoi,” says a former USAID official who, like many people, is concerned about retaliation for speaking out.  ”Would China and Russia allow nuclear material to go by land via their territories?  No.  So, it has to arrive by air. Other than Ulaanbaatar, where does Mongolia have an airport that can handle heavy cargo carriers? Oyu Tolgoi.  And where do we have enough holes in the ground to bury the waste?  Oyu Tolgoi.”

    Following the 16 September 2013 protests, the editor-in-chief of National Overview  contacted Fire Nation members disingenuously claiming to want to present the activists’ positions on the protest and the LLN and other national affairs: the editors and owners are known for dishonesty and double-standards (behaving much like editors and journalists of major Western media corporations).

    “The image the government and media are trying to paint does not fit Tsetsegee Munkhbayar and his friends,” said Erkhem Amarlin, founder of Golomt.org, a prominent educational web site and campaign. “[Munkhbayar and colleagues] are humble, poor, and, I am sure they know better than showing off an expensive WESTERN! luxury watch.”

    Pristine rivers in Mongolia have been diverted and polluted with cyanide and sulfuric acid, with radioactive tailings, and other mining related contaminants. Photo c. keith harmon snow, 2008.

    Pristine rivers in Mongolia have been diverted and polluted with cyanide and sulfuric acid, with radioactive tailings, and other mining related contaminants. Photo c. keith harmon snow, 2008.

    “Due to the media reports, for many in the Mongolian public the initial reaction was fear, and accusation of Munkhbayar and his companions.”  Ms. Amarlin investigated the facts and propaganda after the 21 September 2013 protests.  “Others believe that the arrest was orchestrated by the government that had blamed the ‘Long Named Law’ for the recent weakening of the [Mongolian state currency] Tugrug — which declined about 20% from June to September [2013].  The ‘Long Named Law’ was blamed for a drop in foreign investment.7

    Blame the Victims

    Mongolian civil society leaders believe that the state currency was deliberately devalued to demonize non-government civil society organizations.  After the currency fell, the media blamed the LLN for declining foreign investment.  As the masses suffered increasing economic hardship, Mongolia’s civil society coalitions were scapegoated.  However, NGOs believe that the currency fluctuation was orchestrated by Mongolian elites with the help of foreign interests.  Along come Munkhbayar and the other protestors, rifles in hand, and the media frames them as terrorists, further discrediting civil society in the minds of the masses.

    The Western ‘news’ establishment (e.g. Associated Press, UPI, Agence France Press, TIME, Newsweek, New York Times, International Herald Tribune, Economist, Guardian, etc.) did not report on the 16 September 2013 protests: the press ignores such topics as conflicts between herders and miners; radioactive contamination from uranium mining; dispossession of sacred lands; or violence by paramilitary thugs hired by mining companies.  When it does cover them, it casts the conflict in light favorable to capitalism.

    Bloomberg Business News is the only Western media to report on the 16 September 2013 protest, and this a short clip that merely parroted Mongolia’s state-owned Montsame News Agency.  ”Mongolia put its parliament building on lockdown after shots were fired during a protest outside,” wrote Michael Kahn.  ”The protestors brandished weapons and said they would resort to armed conflict if the regulations were changed… One of the groups involved in today’s protest [Fire Nation] has used violence in the past…” The egregious violence used by foreign mining companies, the toxic pollution, the diversion of whole rivers or the destruction of Mongolian herders’ lives, culture and futures, is (typically) never mentioned. 8

    In one of the (unsigned) English language stories produced by the Mongolian propaganda system, the supposed ‘facts’ of the protest were presented as absolutes, no matter that they were wrong, that they were exaggerations, and that they were framed to demonize the protestors and validate the punishments doled out by the Mongolian courts.

    “While Parliament was discussing the amendment into [sic] the [LLN] law the group [protestors] initiated a bomb scare and fired a shot opposing the amendment of the law to ban mineral exploration and exploitation in river and forest basins.” 9

    Once such stories are published, the damage of sowing public apathy and mistrust is done: undoing it is much harder.

    On 21 January 2014, the same day the six protestors were sentenced, the parliament passed (at 53%) amendments to the taxation law that reduced taxation for gold mining companies from 5% to 2.5%.

    The 21 January 2014 trial of Munkhbayar and the others concluded quickly over less than two days.  Initially announced in December as open to public, it was postponed and moved to Correction Facility #461 — a remote location with no public transportation. Some family members, colleagues and some press were barred from the courtroom.  Seven men were tried, two were released due to ‘lack of evidence’ — another ploy to bring the appearance of legitimacy to the trial.

    Many of the lies about the protests that were broadcast by Mongolian mass media have been proven false.

    For example, at the trial it was confirmed that the weapons of the protestors were either unloaded or loaded with (harmless) blanks: only Ts. Munkhbayar and D. Tumurbaatar’s guns were loaded.  Statements by the men and their lawyers that the guns were harmless were ignored.  However, experts announced in trial that the ammunition was inoperable: there were no explosive charges, rendering the ‘loaded’ rifles harmless.

    The Shot Heard Around the World

    It was confirmed at trial that none of the six men fired the single shot heard round Parliament.  Evidence suggests that state security agents fired the shot as a pretext to arrest and neutralize Mongolia’s most outspoken civil society leaders. The court refused to question state security agents and refused to investigate who had fired the shot.

    A hand grenade reportedly recovered by police outside the Central Tower was deemed harmless upon expert review.  The person who reportedly supplied it to Ts. Munkhbayar, M. Munkhbold (the stroke victim), confessed that it ‘burned’ but could never explode: he was sentenced to two years in prison.  Sources in Mongolia say hand grenades allegedly found on some protestors were also disabled, hence harmless.

    The questions of the explosives attributed to the protestors and splashed all over the public mind by the mass media – e.g. questions of their origins, nature, possession, distribution and planting of — were never addressed at trial.  The court did not address or discuss the explosives.

    Photos produced by the state security apparatus show weapons, ammunition and explosives alleged to have been confiscated at the time of arrests or discovered during searches later.

    Photos produced by the state security apparatus show weapons, ammunition and explosives alleged to have been confiscated at the time of arrests or discovered during searches later.

    The state security apparatus in Mongolia has become increasingly repressive.  For example, the son of one of Ts. Munkhbayar’s colleagues was killed on 1 July 2008, when thousands of people protested the rigged national elections: police responded with bullets, arrests, tortures, disappearances and secret trials.  Five people were killed, the shooters were not identified, the police officers that gave the command were charged 3-5 years.  The Western press produced superficial reports, but post-election state-orchestrated violence was in whiteout.10

    Corruption prevails in proportion to the obscene profits that have accompanied the flood of foreign currency, unbridled urban development, and rapacious mining, since Mongolia’s transition from a ‘communist’ to ‘democratic’ country in the early 1990s. Corrupt Mongolian elites, Western currency speculators, hedge fund and investment banks, and foreign NGOs have all profited from the largesse.

    The former Chairman of the Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party, for example, Sanjaagiin Bayar, was a key actor behind the Oyu Tolgoi mining deal signed 7 October 2009 after years of scandal.  He became Prime Minister on 22 November 2007 and resigned in 2009 citing ‘health issues’.  On 29 November 2007 Mr. Bayar purchased a Manhattan (NY, USA) apartment for $US 895,000; he paid some $US 16,000 in 2008 property taxes, rented the suite for $US 4950 a month; and as of January 2014 had it listed for sale at $US 1,195,000.  S. Bayar (59) currently lives in Bellevue, Washington (USA) with his second wife and family.

    Mongolia’s state security apparatus ensures protections for racketeering, bribery, illegal search and seizure, trafficking of women and children, slave laborer, and other ‘black market’ activities and international crimes.  The system of incentives motivates police to ‘solve’ crimes by forced confessions, tampering with and planting evidence, and other means.

    Following the 16 September 2013 protests, state security agents began targeting civil society members, following people, searching homes, and members of the Fire Nation coalition believe that their cell phones are tapped.

    A lawyer for defendant D. Tumurbaatar’s revealed that his client’s home was searched after police called his daughter, lied to her about a non-existent message from him, and then arrested her for alleged drunkenness. After the daughter (who claims sobriety) was locked in the drunk-tank, police searched and ‘discovered’ explosives.  Police used the pretext of calling the daughter to eliminate any witnesses to their planting the explosives — which they then produced and displayed at a press conference.

    Soon after Ts. Munkhbayar’s arrest, a Mongolian director of the gold-mining company AUM, Mr. Ts. Myagmardorj, suddenly announced that Ts. Munkhbayar had blackmailed and extorted some 67 million Tugrugs (~ $US 39,000) from him.  The media ran with the story, interviewing Mr. Myagmardorj all over the place, presenting him on Eagle TV — again owned by MP and Foreign Minister Lu. Bold — where he recounted his victimhood.  Claiming losses of millions of Tugrugs, he produced receipts (some very dubious) to prove his allegations.  Mr. Myagmardorj then issued a statement saying that Ts. Munkhbayar had in the spring of 2013 petitioned him for one billion Tugrugs (~ $US 700,000 at the time of the alleged extortion) to be used to mount a coup d’état.

    Mr. Myagmardorj’s accusations deeply affected public opinion. The public had already been led to distrust environmental NGOs, having been bombarded with duplicitous propaganda portraying them as lazy counterfeits who expect easy money from foreign donors, and as extortionists who blackmail mining companies.  In a similar case several years ago, Ts. Munkhbayar was accused of extorting money from the owner of a mining company; he was exonerated in court, but the media ran few stories declaring his innocence, against the many that had proclaimed his guilt. The local police chief, apparently, was present when the donor personally handed the money to Ts. Munkhbayar.

    Rio Tinto and Ivanhoe Mines:  The Oyu Tolgoi Open Pit in the Gobi Desert.

    Rio Tinto and Ivanhoe Mines: The Oyu Tolgoi Open Pit in the Gobi Desert.

    When Ts. Munkhbayar appeared in court to answer the more recent charges, his accuser, Mr. Myagmardorj, failed to appear at the trial.  Defense lawyers were able to prove that Myagmardorj willingly donated some and loaned some of the money: witnesses testified to the true facts, and a video was shown of the meeting where Mr. Myagmardorj declared his donation to the Rivers Movement — claiming his adamant support of their activities.

    “As you see, full-time environmentalists in Mongolia are on their own, they don’t have any funding,” says Erkhem Amarlin.  ”They appreciate donations, even those from mining company directors, but they never know when they will be stabbed in the back.”

    Structural Violence Rendered Invisible

    Mining companies have manipulated, coerced and threatened nomadic herders whose traditional lands are being taken for mining operations and destroyed.  Herders have been forced on short notice to relocate to less fertile locations, and the dispossession and destruction of their traditional habitats insures the end of their livelihoods.

    “The herders were forced to move to inferior locations without adequate time to select spots that would protect their animals from harsh winter storms,” reports Sukhgerel Dugersuren of OT Watch.

    “Mongolia has some of the world’s largest undeveloped mineral reserves, including gold, uranium, coal and copper,” TIME reported  in a short 28 January 2014 clip about the jailing of Ts. Munkhbayar.  TIME then paints otherwise rapacious mining corporations as cooperative, respectful, even law-abiding.  ”Thanks to the efforts by Munkhbayar and the alliance of environmentalists that he set up, mining companies agreed to limit their pollution of rivers as well as the displacement of local herders.” 11

    Here’s what’s wrong with that last statement: [a] mining companies rarely agree to anything that affects profit margins; [b] all public statements they make are meant to influence public opinion; [c] press releases often are run almost verbatim in Western media venues; [d] press statements are generally deceptive, at best, and usually they are blatant lies; [e] mining companies do NOT ‘limit the pollution of rivers’; [f] not anywhere: not in the USA, or Papua New Guinea or Congo or Mongolia; [g] the statement (concept) is meaningless: they are leeching deadly cyanide and sulfuric acid into the pristine rivers of rural Mongolia; [h] in any case: mining operations are responsible for diverting and drying up entire rivers; [i] and they do not, in any way, ‘limit the displacement of local herders’ (emphasis added).

    The Law with the Long Name was never implemented, even after its adoption.  Mining companies have ignored it, and there has been no enforcement by government.  The TIME statement is a bundle of absolute lies sifted in with some truth (about Munkhbayar).

    Even more revealing is the short closing paragraph, where the purpose of the TIME propaganda becomes clear: “In September, the [Mongolia] government agreed to a partnership with French company AREVA to revive uranium exploration in the Gobi Desert, which activists claim has led to death and deformities among livestock.”12

    TIME cares nothing at all about ‘death and deformities among livestock’: the piece is anti-France, and the last paragraph is designed to manipulate Western public opinion against French nuclear corporations, and in favor of U.S. (and Canadian) nuclear corporations. Directors of non-Mongolian mining companies now plundering Mongolia and manipulating the government include U.S., Canadian, Australian, European and South African executives with current or former ties to: defense and intelligence sectors; state departments; and Wall Street banks.  Many directors have long pedigrees with corporations responsible for genocide and ecocide in Australia, Argentina, Burma, Canada, Chile, Congo, Haiti, Indonesia or the United States.

    The British Royal Family are shareholders in the international mining conglomerate Rio Tinto, which has corrupted Mongolian officials to turn a blind eye to pollution and human rights violations.  For example, Article 25.2 of the ‘Law on Budget’ stipulates that a state budget-funded organization/agency may receive outside donations.  This clause allowed Rio Tinto to ‘donate’ money to the President’s office and donate new Toyota Landcruisers to the Specialized Inspection General Authority and to the local parliament (responsible for land decisions) in exchange for favorable decisions.  The Inspection Authority then issued ‘Order #57′, a very benign sounding title for an order ostensibly aimed at improving internal efficiency, but which resulted in the elimination of the mandate to inspect strategic mining projects for the inspector local to Rio Tinto’s concession.

    Rio Tinto has threatened lawsuits against Mongolian civil society leaders who speak out.

    The executives of mining corporations cycle through the revolving doors between corporate and government sectors.  Directors are former U.S./Canadian/Australian senators, ambassadors, USAID officials, DFID (UK) officials, CIDA (Canada officials and British Lords.  Some shady corporations have close ties to former U.S. presidents and work with many other nasty dictatorships, and are closely linked to mercenary companies and arms dealers. 13

    Mongolian government officials also sit on some foreign mining boards.  These corporations all use the top auditing agencies to hide corrupt practices (tax evasion, tax havens, loopholes, transfer pricing, etc.), and they use the most scandalous public relations companies (e.g. Britain’s Bell Pottinger) to put a happy face on exploitation and promote such frauds as ‘sustainable development’ and ‘a more secure future for the people of Mongolia’.

    Genie Energy is another notable extractive industries firm exploiting oil shale in Mongolia.  A US/Israeli corporation, Genie’s management includes a former Israeli parliamentarian (Knesset) and current Brigadier General of the Israeli Defense Forces. Directors of Genie Energy’s subsidiary, Israeli Energy Initiatives, include another IDF Brigadier General.14

    Until recently, Dick Cheney was another Genie director.15

    The North America-Mongolia Business Council, Inc. (NAMBIC), whose officers and directors include Canada’s first Ambassador to Mongolia, former USAID officials, and a former U.S. Ambassador to Mongolia (2003-2006), drives World Bank and U.S. Embassy policies and actions in Mongolia.16

    Disregarding the rights and formal complaints of herders, and the negative environmental impacts, the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Multilateral Insurance Guarantee Agency (MIGA) are considering $US 900 million in loans and up to $US 1 billion in political risk insurance for the Oyu Tolgoi mining project.

    To circumvent international conventions on indigenous people’s rights, and the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide, the World Bank and IFC decided that nomadic herders in Mongolia do not qualify as ‘land-based mobile peoples’ to be protected under their Indigenous Peoples Standard.

    “We do not need gold or money, but water and land to live,” declared L. Battsengel, director of the herder organization Gobi Soil, formed to fight against the destruction of the herders’ way of life by large-scale mining and related infrastructure development.

    While a handful of civil society leaders are fighting to protect the earth and ensure the rights to life, autonomy and self-determination of Mongolia’s indigenous people are framed and harshly punished with unfair sentences by Mongolian courts, the same courts are ignoring, excusing and pardoning government officials caught red-handed for massive corruption.

    In August 2012, the former president Nambar Enkhbayar was sentenced to four years in jail for defrauding the People.  The New York Times covered [sic] this story: on 3 August 2012 they reprinted a 53-word summary provided by China’s national news service Xinhua.

    On 27 January 2014, some 35 nonprofit organizations in Mongolia organized a press conference demanding the release of Ts. Munkhbayar and the others.  Family and Fire Nation members collected over 1000 signatures after seven hours in sub-zero weather.

    Earthworks, a U.S.-based non-profit pressure organization, created a petition for Munkhbayar’s release, but the organization forgets about Munkhbayar’s colleagues, the dedicated civil society leaders who have helped create the legend of Tsetsegee Munkhbayar, and whose safety must also be insured and release must also be won.

    Ethnocide is Genocide

    Many researchers, human rights workers, journalists and scholars deem the ways in which indigenous peoples have been dealt with in the 20th century to be genocide. Others limit the characterization to ethnocide.  Others deny the scale or nature or extent of the violence, and dismiss the genocide label.

    “Indigenous groups have had difficulty getting redress for crimes committed against them, and they have often been treated negatively by courts when they have been charged with illegal activities,” wrote two renowned genocide experts.  ”Often, the sentences they receive are more severe than those meted out to non-indigenous individuals.”17

    These scholars’ assessment fits the case of Ts. Munkhbayar and colleagues.

    More and more nomads are being forced to the margins of existence, dispossessed of their traditional pastures and forced into ger shantytowns and ger cities where options for survival are few.

    Many ‘genocide experts’ narrowly limit the Genocide Convention to ‘acts committed with intent to destroy [defined] groups in whole or in part’.  Others extend the genocide formulation to include the intentional prevention of ethnic groups from practicing traditional customs; forced resettlement; denial of access to food relief, health assistance, and development funds; and destruction of habitats utilized by indigenous populations.18

    The capitalist system makes all kinds of excuses for very real genocides occurring today.  But genocide scholars, as the intelligentsia of western culture, like mining executives, have very real interests to maintain, positions to protect, renowned Chairs of this or that to sit in, salaries to collect, and reputations of scholarship to uphold, and they, along with their elite institutions, have to guard against everything and anything that might challenge their very way of life.

    The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples adopted 13 September 2007 (Article 8) states:

    1. Indigenous peoples and individuals have the right not to be subjected to forced assimilation or destruction of their culture.

    2. States shall provide effective mechanisms for prevention of, and redress for:

    (a) Any action which has the aim or effect of depriving them of their integrity as distinct peoples, or of their cultural values or ethnic identities;

    (b) Any action which has the aim or effect of dispossessing them of their lands, territories or resources;

    (c) Any form of forced population transfer which has the aim or effect of violating or undermining any of their rights;

    (d) Any form of forced assimilation or integration;

    (e) Any form of propaganda designed to promote or incite racial or ethnic discrimination directed against them.

    Seems that all of the above can be applied to the case of indigenous herders in Mongolia (and this is only Article 8 of 46 articles) and they would be applied, if the system were just, and the United Nations (International Criminal Court, ICTY, ICTR, Supreme Court, etc.) were for real.

    The terminology ‘violence’ applied to the actions of Ts. Munkhbayar and other Fire Nation activists turns the problem of perpetrator-versus-victim upside down.  It is a rationalization created by powerful elites, and Westerners have bought into such rationalizations, and we go along with them, because they enable us to harbor false beliefs and a collective insanity about our own innocence, goodness and charity.

    In the topsy-turvy equation of perpetrator-versus-victim, the Mongol herders cornered by capitalism, left landless and homeless, adrift in a crisis of identity and purpose, watching from ger cities and behind fences and jail cells as all they ever knew and loved and all that is sacred to them is destroyed, are portrayed as the perpetrators (of violence).

    Meanwhile, our predatory Western executives and our predatory corporations, allied with a comprador class of Mongolian elite collaborators, who are the actual perpetrators of extreme violence, are portrayed as the victims (of it).

    These definitions and realities occur by default and assumption and without discussion.

    Tsetsegee Munkhbayar and his colleagues have the right to protect their culture, the right to protect themselves, and the right to protect their people…

    And yet Westerners regard with shock and displeasure the actions of Tsetsegee Munkhbayar and friends, who had the audacity to show up at the Mongolian Parliament with weapons in their hands.

    “Not for me that armed protest, that is violence,” I can hear the Westerner saying, “and I am an adherent of non-violence, of  Satyagraha, I believe peace is the way.”

    But inside themselves (ourselves), it is really an internalized terror that the Westerner has to deal with, a terror that someone somewhere might come forth and confront them (us) and all of their (our) privileges and affluence and righteousness and decadence and non-violent violence, and our higher moral values…

    Someone like Tsetsegee Munkhbayar, who is willing to stand up and fight for the survival of an entire people, his people, to fight for his way of life, and to protect and honor the sacred Mongol land by giving his own life.  ~

    Absent serious protections for the invading foreign capitalist hordes, the future for Mongol nomad herders and their culture is bleak.

    1. M.  Zoliargal, Protest at Government Palace Leads to arrests and evacuations, 19 September 2013
    2. Keith Harmon Snow, “Goldman Prizewinner Shoots Up Foreign Mining Firms in Mongolia,” Dissident Voice, 11 March 2011.
    3. Nationalist Group Threatens with Bombs and Guns,” Business-Mongolia.com, 16 September 2013
    4. Gal Undesten’ Movement Members Who Threatened With Grenades and Firearms Arrested,” 16 September 2013
    5. AREVA Corporation is known, e.g., for propping up nasty dictatorships, trampling indigenous nomads’ human rights, fomenting state terror, and spreading radioactive contamination and epidemics of disease in the Sahara.  AREVA is also walking all over people in India.
    6. Erkhem Amarlin, a Mongolian anti nuclear movement leader, founder of the blog golomt.org known for publishing evidence about secret nuclear waste deals, illegal land sales and other threats to Mongolia’s national security.
    7. Erkhem Amarlin, a Mongolian anti nuclear movement leader, founder of the blog golomt.org known for publishing evidence about secret nuclear waste deals, illegal land sales and other threats to Mongolia’s national security.
    8. Gunfire Heard Outside Mongolian Parliament Today, Montsame says,” Michael Kohn, 16 September 2013
    9. Environmental activist Ts. Munkhbayar receives 21.6 year sentence,”  22 January 2014
    10. See:  keith harmon snow, “Goldman Prizewinner Shoots Up Foreign Mining Firms in Mongolia,” Dissident Voice,  March 11, 2011
    11. Per Liljas, “Award-winning Mongolian Environmentalist Gets 21 Years for ‘Terrorism‘ , TIME, 28 January 2014
    12. Per Liljas: Ibid 1
    13. keith harmon snow, “Goldman Prizewinner Shoots Up Foreign Mining Firms in Mongolia,” Dissident Voice, 11 March 2011; and Wayne Madsen, Genocide and Covert Operations in Africa, 1993-1999, Mellon Press, 1999
    14. A virulent racist, Efram Eitam ordered Israeli Defense Forces to beat and ‘break the bones’ of unarmed Palestinians (who later died); he has called for all Palestinians to be killed; and he has made dehumanizing hate-statements in public that effectively amount to statements calling for genocide.  He has also traveled around to schools in the United States as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ‘Special Emissary’. Directors of Genie Energy’s subsidiary, Israeli Energy Initiatives, include IDF Brigadier General Israel Shafir (a pilot who bombed Saddam Hussein’s Osirak nuclear reactor in 1981). The board of advisors for Genie and IEI’s project in Mongolia include: Michael Steinhardt, Howard Jonas, Lord Jacob Rothschild, Israel Shafir, Rupert Murdoch and, until recently, Dick Cheney.
    15. MacDonald Stainsby, “Mongolia, Canada, Israel and the United States: Colonialism, Mining and Oil Shale,” 12 June 2013
    16. Former U.S. Ambassador Pamela Slutz has a long history of U.S. foreign service postings in places where massive human rights atrocities and covert U.S. interventions were occurring (e.g. Zaire: 1982-1984; Indonesia: 1984-1987; Kenya: 2006-2009; Burundi 2009-2012).
    17. Century of Genocide: Critical Essays and Eyewitness Accounts, Ed. Samuel Totten and William S. Parsons, 2009 edition, p. 419.
    18. Ibid, p. 420.
    07 Feb 07:38

    Illustrations Of Famous Film Set Designs From Iconic Films



    Architect and illustrator Federico Babina, whom we have previously featured here and here, has a new set of illustrations titled ‘Archiset’ featuring the film sets of famous movies.

    Babina has replicated the film sets of iconic movies like The Shining and A Clockwork Orange, turning them into detailed cross sections showing their interiors and characters. The resulting illustrations look like doll houses with their miniature furniture and people.

    In an interview with Dezeen, Babina said he wanted to envision a different way of entering and exploring a movie, and the movies selected were based on his favorite set designs. “The film, its atmosphere and script are a fundamental guide for the ideation and design of the posters.”

    Each illustration includes key details and props that are integral to the film’s plot. For example, the illustration of the Overlook Hotel in The Shining features the creepy twin girls and an axe lodged in the door.

    By depicting the set designs in a single frame, Babina takes viewers on a trip through the spaces occupied by the characters. Filled with details and clues that hint at the storylines, they are a nice visualization of the memorable scenes and interiors, something that both film and architect fans will appreciate.

    Check out some of Babina’s illustrations below and view the entire set here.
















    [via Dezeen, images via Federico Babina]
    07 Feb 00:00

    Little Girl Explores an Orange Color-Themed World

    by Pinar

    Fine art photographer Adrien Broom is back to continue her fantasy-filled series known as The Color Project with The Orange World. Having first begun the project with the intent of creating an eight-part exploration of the world of color as seen through the eyes of a little girl (starting with white, red, yellow, and blue), she resumes the immersive narrative with the warm glow of orange.

    This particular world is introduced as the young child drops in and, frame by frame, discovers the eye-catching aspects of the environment along with the viewer. Like a classic fairy tale, the girl is met with dancing butterflies all around her and a cavern of lamps to light her way through the mysterious forest full of reddish-yellow foliage. By the end, she is drawn to a light from within one of the trees, which is sure to transport her to her next world of color.

    The photographer's intricate set, which is beautifully designed and constructed by Broom and her team over in her New Haven, Connecticut studio, is a big part of each location the young girl explores. Broom manages to not only fill each scene with the particular color she's working with, but also add surreal elements that complement each other and offer a sense of personality.

    We're excited to see what's yet to come! In the meantime, checkout some behind the scenes footage of this shoot in the video, below.












    Adrien Broom website
    06 Feb 16:17

    United Nations Condemns Russia’s Anti-Gay Laws

    Ban Ki-Moon's address to the IOC general assembly was the first of its kind by a U.N. secretary-general.

    Ban Ki-Moon’s address to the IOC general assembly was the first of its kind by a U.N. secretary-general.

    CREDIT: AP Photo/David Goldman

    In the lead up to the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, the United Nations has taken multiple steps to condemn Russia’s law banning “gay propaganda.” Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon set the tone addressing the International Olympic Committee’s general assembly, condemning any policies or practices that discriminate against the LGBT community:

    BAN: Many professional athletes, gay and straight, are speaking out against prejudice. We must all raise our voices against attacks on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex people. We must oppose the arrests, imprisonments and discriminatory restrictions they face.

    The United Nations stands strongly behind our own “free and equal” campaign, and I look forward to working with the IOC, governments and other partners around the world to build societies of equality and tolerance. Hatred of any kind must have no place in the 21st century.

    Watch a clip:

    Ban drove the point home at another IOC press conference:

    BAN: I know that there has been some controversy over this issue. At the same time, I appreciate President Putin for his assurance that there will be no discrimination whatsoever and that people with different sexual orientations are welcome to compete and enjoy these Olympic Games.

    As I have been repeatedly and consistently stating in the spirit and framework of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, that everybody is born free and equal and everybody has a right to be equal, regardless of age, and sex, and sexual orientation, and gender identity. This is a fundamental principle of human rights.

    Watch it:

    This week, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child also condemned Russia’s anti-gay laws, noting that censoring LGBT issues from children will only serve to stigmatize LGBT children:

    The Committee is … concerned at the recent developments in the legislation of the State party prohibiting “propaganda of unconventional sexual relationship,” generally with the intent of protecting children, which however encourages stigmatization of and discrimination against LGBTI persons, including children, and children of LGBTI families.

    The Committee is particularly concerned that vague definitions of propaganda lead to the targeting and ongoing persecution of the country’s LGBTI community, including abuse and violence, in particular against underage LGBTI rights activists.

    It remains unclear how the “gay propaganda” law will or won’t be enforced during the Olympics, but Russian lawmakers and media have defended it, claiming that it protects children.

    (HT: Towleroad.)

    The post United Nations Condemns Russia’s Anti-Gay Laws appeared first on ThinkProgress.


        






    06 Feb 07:32

    Artist Creates Incredibly Intricate And Colorful Sand Paintings Using His Hands



    Artist Joe Mangrum creates incredibly intricate and colorful paintings using just his hands and sacks of colored sand.

    Mangrum has been creating his dazzling works since 2006, and has adorned the streets of New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, and other places with amazing large scale compositions. He spends six to eight hours on each painting, making up the designs as he works, and estimates he has completed over 550 paintings to date.

    With their beautiful complex patterns and vibrant colors, they are sure to stop you in your tracks to admire them. Check out some of his creations below and view more on his Facebook page. Wouldn’t you like to see these stunning paintings on the streets of your city?














    [via This Is Colossal, images via Joe Mangrum]
    06 Feb 07:32

    Artist Explores Culture And Religion With Light And Shadow Installation



    Mixed media artist Anila Quayyan Agha's latest installation entitled ‘Intersections’ is a large, intricately-carved wooden cube illuminated from within.

    A play on light and shadows, beautiful geometric patterns are projected onto the walls, covering every square inch of the gallery room.

    Referencing a pattern found in the Alhambra; an ancient Islamic palace found in Spain, the artist seeks to explore the dynamic relationship when culture and religion intersect.



    [via Twisted Sifter]
    05 Feb 22:03

    Put Some Clothes On, Creepy Sleepwalker Statue

    by Laura Vitto
    Weird-art-wellesley
    Feed-twFeed-fb

    This may be the last thing you'd want to bump into on a walk home from the campus library.

    A sculpture of an underwear-clad sleepwalking man was recently installed at Wellesley College in Massachusetts, and has left students seriously creeped out with its lifelike appearance. Sculptor Tony Matelli created the nearly-nude statue, titled "Sleepwalker," as part of an ongoing exhibition at the school's Davis Museum, according to The Boston Globe.

    Man in Underwear Statue

    Image: AP Photo/Steven Senne/Associated Press

    Not long after the sculpture's installation on Feb. 3, hundreds of students on the all-women's campus signed a petition to remove the art piece. Read more...

    More about Art, Wtf, Weird, Us, and Watercooler
    03 Feb 15:59

    Wonderland by Kirsty Mitchell

    by sergeyursu

    1358838593 16 640x426 Wonderland by Kirsty Mitchell
    Kirsty Mitchell started this photo project in the summer of 2009 and continues it to this day. Then, a sad moment in her life became the impetus for this work. Now, she is inspired by more positive emotions.

    1331632396 5 640x426 Wonderland by Kirsty Mitchell
    1331632434 2 640x437 Wonderland by Kirsty Mitchell
    1331632436 26 640x424 Wonderland by Kirsty Mitchell
    1358838575 2 640x426 Wonderland by Kirsty Mitchell
    1358838588 11 640x426 Wonderland by Kirsty Mitchell
    See more on weezbo.com


    Leawo Total Media Converter - Enjoy Spring Offer up to 50% Off!
        






    03 Feb 17:00

    The New York City Cantilever: If You Can’t Go Up, Go Out

    by Jose Luis Gabriel Cruz

    New York City’s notoriously space-hungry real estate market is converting the cantilever – perhaps made most famous in Frank Lloyd Wright’s floating Fallingwater residence of 1935 – from a mere move of architectural acrobatics to a profit-generating design feature. Driven by a “more is more” mantra, developers and architects are using cantilevers to extend the reach of a building, creating unique vistas and extended floor space in a market in which both are priced at sky-high premiums.

    “In New York, development is a three-dimensional chess game,” says Dan Kaplan, a senior partner at FXFOWLE Architects. Why stop at simply building taller? Zoning codes limit how high a building can rise – especially in “landmarked” neighborhoods which abide by strict limits in order to preserve contextual heights. So, if you can’t go any higher, why not extend outwards using your neighbor’s unused airspace?

    “The reason we’re seeing an increase in the use of cantilevers above neighboring buildings is linked to the complexity of finding a site that can utilize all available development rights,” explains Kaplan in a recent New York Time article. The Isis, an 18-story condominium designed by FXFowle on East 77th Street, is a prime example of this opportunistic approach. The architects incorporated two eight-foot cantilevers; one floats 17 feet above the airspace of Xavier High School; the other, projects 36 feet above a north-facing courtyard.

    By selling their air rights at $13.7 million, the high school was able to monetize space that it had no intention of using. Inversely, the developers – Alchemy Properties – were able to extend apartment layouts adding value to each individual unit.

    “In the 1920s they used to build straight up, with wedding-cake-type setbacks,” Kaplan adds, “but with a cantilever, we can build outward as well as up, and in kind of an inversion of the wedding-cake theme, the floors are bigger toward the top, where space is more valuable.”

    Other notable New York cantilevers taking advantage of unused airspace include SHoP’s Porter House (with an eight foot cantilever), Herzog and de Meuron’s 56 Leonard Street tower in TriBeCa, and the planned luxury residential tower on 224 West 57th Street which is to cantilever above the 1890s landmark, the Arts Students League, rising 1,423 feet anchored by New York City’s first Nordstrom department store. 

    “Some people may not like [the cantilever],” says David Von Spreckelsen, Senior Vice President of Toll Brother’s City Living, “but I think it adds an interesting modern component, and with people not willing to sell their property to you, but willing to sell their air rights, the cantilever almost becomes a necessity.”

    With a seemingly endless demand for new housing stock in New York City, the cantilever adds value and aesthetics that did not exist before. The movement of intercepting shapes, as Wright discovered long ago, has created a dynamic alternative to the typical glass box. This, together with its ability to add salable square footage, makes the cantilever a viable player in a spatially-challenged real estate market. 

    Check out Herzog and de Meuron’s cantilevered 56 Leonard Street tower on ArchDaily.

    03 Feb 18:00

    New Opera in Jinan / Paul Andreu Architecte

    by Fabian Cifuentes

    Architects: Paul Andreu Architecte
    Location: Jinan, Shandong, China
    Design Team: Katharina Kriener, Stephanie Boufflet, Pengzi Zhang, Riccardo Vanigli, Olivia Faury, Antoine Barbeyer, Yanfang Niu, Kasia Dudzik, Hailin Zhai, Chen Wei, Wei Dong, Guo Kun
    Year: 2013
    Photographs: Philippe Ruault

    Construction: Zhongfu Tai, CSGEC
    Acoustician: Kahle Acoustics

    From the architect. The project is located at the axis cross of the new metro line and the Lashan River. The east–west axis extends from the new high speed train station to the town center the north-south axis along the Lashan River. Both axes are leisure zones, composed out of public space and public gardens. The character between the two perpendicular parks is differentiated. Central Park should be a very active place, connected mainly to the daily activities of offices and retail. Its length is such that it should be constituted of successive sequences, different in design and adapted to the different activities on their two sides or under their surface. The “Water Park” would on the contrary have a greater unity, essentially created by the design of a water-garden treated as a built and controlled damp area. 

    The variety of paths and of plants and trees conciliate the use by a large public with a natural organisation of the space. The place where the two parks intersect will be of course the most symbolic one in the new town, concentrating its ambitions as a living space for “better life”. Site description The site is bordered by 3 major roads and one secondary road; in the North (East JiXi road) and South (ZhanQian road). The building complex of the Provincial Cultural& Art Center Plaza is situated in the middle of the Central Park at the gravity center of the new metro line. The geometry of the whole complex takes reference to the center public space the Central Plaza. In the north of the project 3 towers border the building complex with their common base. The towers will have hotel, short-term apartments and office functions; the base provides common services of these functions. The complexes’ south is occupied by the Grand Theatre. Each of the 3 audience halls, the Opera Hall, the Concert Hall and the Multifunctional Hall form a big “shell type” building, so that a composition with the towers is formed. In the center, between the Towers and the Grand Theatre a two stories commercial center will be constructed above the metro line. 

    The metro station is on the east edge of the side. In the west of the Central Plaza a large terrace can be found where public animation, restaurants and bars profit from the river border. Building surrounded by landscape. The main concept of the site is that the building complex is surrounded by the landscape of the park. The surrounding landscape is divided into two levels, street level and Central Plaza level 5, 4 meters higher. The park deals with 3 different pedestrian levels. The 3 levels are connected regularly so that the pedestrian has a choice to go up or down during a walk in the park. A hill landscape provides sloped access, opens views to the building or partially hides the building. Bridges and walkway ensure the continuity of the walk. Especially the higher points of the landscape open extraordinary views to the building, to the lower parts of the landscape, to the river and to the areas with public activities.

    Continuous high landscape hides the delivery zone of the Grand Theatre. The delivery and artists’ access is covered by a footbridge. The landscape participates at the access and security concept. All other parts integrate movement of higher amplitude in order to lower where needed for street access, views car access and other. The Central park concentrates the qualities of the water park along the Lashan River and the green axis along the new metro line on one site. The visitors can enjoy their walk through dense tree areas, closed to the river or higher up on the bridges and upper pathways. During the walk the visitor can experience different perspectives and situations. The composition The design divides the project in a north part and a south part. A large opening is so created on each entrance side of the Central Plaza. 

    The counter-curve of the two roof parts invites the visitors to enter and attract them to the center. Right in the center a large covered passage can be found so that visitors can easily cross from the Grand Theatre to the commercial and tower side. The 2 roof parts coming close to each other in the center articulate the gravity center of the project between the towers and the Grand Theatre. It is therefore direct expression of the Cultural and Art Centre being the center of New West Jinan, which radiates to the province of Shandong and over its borders. Cultural approach and philosophy The project is simple and complex at the same time. It is abstract and literal; it in-cooperates architectural, urbanistic, artistic and symbolic approaches. The project becomes so an ‘Entire artwork’ which can take part in a modern society where different interpretation are possible according to different imaginations. 

    The Provincial Cultural & Art Centre Plaza can fulfil its outstanding position in the region. Green Mountains “Green Mountains and Blue Sea” cleverly sums up the geographical landscape and cultural history on the mountains and the sea in Shandong. It highlights the beauty of the blend of mountains and the sea, the hometown of Confucius and the culture of Shandong. The name of Green Mountain was deriving from Mount Tai. Poetically it is described as towering, green intoxicating scene of Emerald Crest. Majestic Mount Tai is a symbol of Qilu culture. It represents the characteristics of Qilu people as being self-improvement, social commitment, excellent and hard-working wisdom. Blue Sea Blue Sea symbolizes the full use of the coastal location of Shandong with the meaningful aim of developing the marine economy, scientifically configuring the marine resources and creating the blue economy zone of the Shandong Peninsula.

    Building Concept

    The 3 roof shells of the Grand Theatre span a force line to the 3 towers. The common architectural language of all building parts give the identity to the site and the whole New West Jinan area. The building has a highly memorisable icon effect. Public life will be concentrated in the centre of the complex so that cultural exchange can happen. Façade concept The façade language highlights the belonging to one singular building complex. The different functions have different façade requests. The base is build out of a massive stone plinth ribbon following the shapes of the objects posed on to it. The three shells of the Grand Theatre and the side buildings posed on the podium are covered mainly with an opaque metal cladding system and glazed strips in the centre line. The towers are mainly out of glass and pass over the podium building down to street level. 

    The Central Plaza façade are in continuity of the landscape design. The stoned base building follows the inspiration of lines of staff the openings are composed such as notes of a score within the staff which creates a piece of music. Both, the Tower and Grand Theatre, facades have a figurative pattern on theirs façades: the towers with a vegetal motif identifying the towers as green mountains; the Theatre shells a more abstract organic motif. The pattern is a transition element, which will visually be composed out of the vegetal mass of the surrounding park, the metal shell and its pattern. Glazing of the bases and the shells will be a minimalist design. It will mainly be visible during the night time. The Grand Theatre – Entrance Hall The public enters the Grand Theatre from the Central Plaza higher than the street level. The entrance hall is the first step through a space sequence from intense public live to the audience halls. 

    Every spectator is invited to experience the common entrance hall as filter, an in between space before entering the 3 different lobbies from which they can enter into each of the audience halls. The entrance hall is extended all along the building facades to the limit of the 2 lateral building volumes. Centralized functions such as ticket office, tourist information on the side can be found. Each of the 3 lobbies has a different and singular character, and the auditoriums are carefully posed such as valuable stones into their wooden box. The spectator finds himself in a big enclosed space limited by the roof shells. The roof shells are creating the identity together with the audience hall volumes. The lobbies give access to the audience halls. 

    The public enters on the back and on the sides of the audience halls. Public environments Opera Hall lobby While entering the lobby, the Opera Hall can be discovered as a cube. The cubes’ mineral façade is covered by a thin water film which gives a light vibration effect to the volume. On each side vertical circulation is organized with stairs, bridges and glazed lifts. The spiral type arrangement let pass the spectators close to the shell as well as to the opera cube. On top of the opera cube a reception lobby can be found. This area has can be run independently and can be closed for spectators. Independent access can be organized from the lateral building. The reception area gives a spectacular view to the roof shell and down to the audience lobby. Opera Hall

    The golden Opera Hall integrates technical requests and artistic expression within the constraints of the cube volume. The spectators discover the opera hall from the two edges or from the side of the balconies. The 2 balconies present a form of lighting lines, all connected to an edge column on each side of the stage. The column functions as lateral lighting and sound source for the stage and auditorium. The shape of the balconies are slightly asymmetric and contrasts the parterre design which relatively strict. The balconies provide light all around the front edge which form a movement within the opera cube. The spectators can take enjoy the possible lighting effect by entering and leaving the audience hall. Multifunctional Hall The interior of the Multifunctional Hall is a very minimal interior covered in night blue tones. The multiform function has been simplified to multifunction. 

    The main orientation will be frontal. The spectators discover the audience hall from the stage level. Various configurations of stage and spectator seats are possible to allow all kind of spectacles to take place. Concert Hall lobby The Concert Hall volume is oval. The egg type volume can be seen from the entrance hall by entering the audience lobby. The spectator can experience a promenade all around the audience hall. The space is limited by the wooden ceiling of the shell. The shell is free standing and disconnected from the Concert Hall volume such as a dome. The free shape mirror on the outside of the concert hall mirrors the shell back onto the egg shape. And gives an effect of illusionary space the limits are not clear anymore. Dramatic lighting will give an expression of animated sky. 

    On the backside large glazing gives a view to the Lashan river and the south-west corner of the public park. On top of the Concert Hall volume a reception lobby can be found similar to the Opera lobby. It can be run independently and can be closed for spectators. Lift access can be found from the lateral building. The reception area gives a spectacular view to the roof shell and down to the audience lobby. Concert Hall The Concert Hall has the particularity to provide a walkway all around on the edge of the interior from which the side seats can be reached. The spectator can so experiences the audience hall before being seated. The parterre is accessible from the back of the audience hall and attached to the walkway. All around the stage and on the edge of the parterre different round shapes are placed. Each of these volumes is corresponding to a group of seats. 

    The volumes are treated in wood equal to the floor and the stage. An organ with a minimal design is placed in the axis behind the stage. A chorus can be placed in front of it. The walls are treated in a uniform appearance giving a surrounding effect. A metal mesh acts as an acoustically transparent curtain. Behind the curtain acoustic necessary shelves are installed. The lighting of the walls can be changed in two main modes: lighting the metal mesh from the front showing the hall in the shine of the metal mesh or light behind the mesh which makes curtain transparent and let’s appear space behind and the acoustic shelves. The color of the light can be changed to obtain different moods for the hall. The ceiling is contrasting all wooden volumes, dark out of convex shapes for acoustic purposes. A major edge break in the ceiling volume gives a dramatic effect to the organ at the end of the edge.

    New Opera in Jinan / Paul Andreu Architecte © Philippe Ruault New Opera in Jinan / Paul Andreu Architecte © Philippe Ruault New Opera in Jinan / Paul Andreu Architecte © Philippe Ruault New Opera in Jinan / Paul Andreu Architecte © Philippe Ruault New Opera in Jinan / Paul Andreu Architecte © Philippe Ruault New Opera in Jinan / Paul Andreu Architecte © Philippe Ruault New Opera in Jinan / Paul Andreu Architecte © Philippe Ruault New Opera in Jinan / Paul Andreu Architecte © Philippe Ruault New Opera in Jinan / Paul Andreu Architecte © Philippe Ruault New Opera in Jinan / Paul Andreu Architecte © Philippe Ruault New Opera in Jinan / Paul Andreu Architecte © Philippe Ruault New Opera in Jinan / Paul Andreu Architecte © Philippe Ruault New Opera in Jinan / Paul Andreu Architecte © Philippe Ruault New Opera in Jinan / Paul Andreu Architecte © Philippe Ruault New Opera in Jinan / Paul Andreu Architecte © Philippe Ruault New Opera in Jinan / Paul Andreu Architecte © Philippe Ruault New Opera in Jinan / Paul Andreu Architecte © Philippe Ruault New Opera in Jinan / Paul Andreu Architecte © Philippe Ruault New Opera in Jinan / Paul Andreu Architecte © Philippe Ruault New Opera in Jinan / Paul Andreu Architecte © Philippe Ruault New Opera in Jinan / Paul Andreu Architecte © Philippe Ruault New Opera in Jinan / Paul Andreu Architecte © Philippe Ruault New Opera in Jinan / Paul Andreu Architecte © Philippe Ruault New Opera in Jinan / Paul Andreu Architecte © Philippe Ruault New Opera in Jinan / Paul Andreu Architecte © Philippe Ruault New Opera in Jinan / Paul Andreu Architecte © Philippe Ruault New Opera in Jinan / Paul Andreu Architecte © Philippe Ruault New Opera in Jinan / Paul Andreu Architecte © Philippe Ruault New Opera in Jinan / Paul Andreu Architecte © Philippe Ruault New Opera in Jinan / Paul Andreu Architecte © Philippe Ruault New Opera in Jinan / Paul Andreu Architecte © Philippe Ruault New Opera in Jinan / Paul Andreu Architecte © Philippe Ruault New Opera in Jinan / Paul Andreu Architecte © Philippe Ruault New Opera in Jinan / Paul Andreu Architecte © Philippe Ruault New Opera in Jinan / Paul Andreu Architecte © Philippe Ruault New Opera in Jinan / Paul Andreu Architecte © Philippe Ruault New Opera in Jinan / Paul Andreu Architecte © Philippe Ruault New Opera in Jinan / Paul Andreu Architecte Floor Plan New Opera in Jinan / Paul Andreu Architecte Floor Plan New Opera in Jinan / Paul Andreu Architecte Floor Plan New Opera in Jinan / Paul Andreu Architecte Floor Plan New Opera in Jinan / Paul Andreu Architecte Floor Plan New Opera in Jinan / Paul Andreu Architecte Floor Plan New Opera in Jinan / Paul Andreu Architecte Roof Floor Plan New Opera in Jinan / Paul Andreu Architecte Section New Opera in Jinan / Paul Andreu Architecte Section
    03 Feb 02:15

    Today's archidose #731

    by John Hill
    Here are a few photos of the "Architecture & Human" series by Ilsflo.

    [24]/[365]

    [25]/[365]

    [26]/[365]

    To contribute your Flickr images for consideration, just:
    :: Join and add photos to the archidose pool, and/or
    :: Tag your photos archidose
    03 Feb 04:12

    Captivating Portraits Of Nude Female Figures That Blend Ink And Water



    Artist Alberto Seveso, whom we have previously featured here and here, has a new series of captivating double exposure portraits created by blending ink and water.

    Titled Trivial Expose, his images of colorful ink and water swirls blend beautifully to form enchanting nude female figures that exude a dreamy surrealness.

    Scroll down to view the rest of his photos.


















    [via Faith Is Torment, images via Alberto Seveso]
    01 Feb 06:40

    US Scam: Give the Rich Money & and they might Make us Slightly Less Poor (David “The Wire” Simon)

    by Juan Cole

    Bill Moyers interviews David Simon on “America as Horror Show” and the fate of the “extra people” left over once the jobs were shipped to the Pacific Rim (they are hunted and 2.2 million incarcerated)

    30 Jan 17:00

    Cytoplasmic Playgrounds


    In the incredibly dense yet invisible world of the cytoplasm in biological cells, complex interactions can be thought of as a playful dance between macromolecules, minerals, ions and proteins. These cytoplasmic playgrounds are reimagined using dynamic particle systems that play out and evolve differently each time, mimicking stochastic processes in nature. Complex molecular events that occur in the cytoplasm are interpreted as abstract forms and movement, staying away from traditional scientific iconography.
    28 Jan 23:09

    Cheap Laser-Sintering Printers Are Coming Thanks To The Expiration Of A Key Patent

    by John Biggs
    320x240

    Today is a big day for 3D printing: Patent #US5597589 is set to expire and will open up the possibility for makers to use laser sintering — shooting a laser at a layer of nylon powder — in cheaper devices, essentially opening the technology to the small maker.

    The patent is fairly clear on what sintering is. It describes an “apparatus for selectively sintering a layer of powder to produce a part made from a plurality of sintered layers and the apparatus includes a computer controlling a laser to direct the laser energy onto the powder to produce a sintered mass.” This means anything that shoots a laser at powder could run afoul of this patent much as Form Labs bumped up against 3D Systems’ stereolithography patent.

    Most larger “professional-quality” printers use laser sintering and you can create homogenous, solid-looking objects with stable structures using the technique.

    Does this mean we’ll have sintering printers in our homes next year? Possibly, but given the materials needed and the components involved I could see prices going down but not dropping until there is mass acceptance of 3D printing. FDM printers that deposit layers of plastic is still the cheapest method, but sintered parts are almost seamless, creating a cohesive whole that is very useful in prototyping and engineering. In short, however, it’s a great day for makers.

    via 3Dprint

    28 Jan 22:08

    Gallup Asks How America Is Doing, Finds Stark Racial Differences

    by BillMoyers.com Staff

    Gallup released an interesting finding today: white Americans’ views of the country’s current standing are decidedly gloomy, but people of color are significantly more optimistic. (The usual caveat that one shouldn’t read too much into the findings of a single poll certainly applies.)

    Gallup:

    Overall, Americans are as likely to be positive (39 percent) about the current state of the country as they are to be negative (40 percent). However, the gap between whites’ and nonwhites’ views of where the country stands is wider than at any point in recent history, with nonwhites now almost twice as likely as whites to view the nation’s situation positively.

    Gallup notes that during George W. Bush’s presidency whites and nonwhites held more or less similar views of the course the country was on, although whites tended to be somewhat more optimistic. The largest gap before Obama’s inauguration was 12 percentage points, which Gallup measured in 2005, shortly after Bush’s re-election.

    But that pattern “changed after the 2008 presidential election, when differences between the two racial groups started to get larger.”

    Between 2008 and 2010, the views of whites and nonwhites soured, likely reflecting the major economic challenges that erupted in late 2008. However, whites’ views declined much more than nonwhites’, resulting in a six-point gap in 2010 with nonwhites more positive than whites.

    More than half of whites (53 percent) were positive about the country’s current trajectory in January 2008 — 10 months before the presidential election. After President Barack Obama’s first year in office, that percentage fell to 35 percent. Four years later, that figure is roughly the same.

    Conversely, nonwhites have been increasingly positive about the United States’ standing. While their assessments of current conditions dipped with the rest of the country’s in 2010, nonwhites’ views have increased 16 percentage points since then.

    The pollsters offered a possible explanation for the widening perception-gap:

    For nonwhites, his election could have signaled an inclusion they had not felt before. Whereas for whites, who largely identify as Republicans, Obama’s big-government views and policies such as the Affordable Care Act, could have played a major role in their pessimism about where the nation is and where it will go.

    While the polling question doesn’t mention Obama, the researchers note that historically, different groups’ opinions of how things are going vary significantly depending on which party controlled the White House. But as people of color have increasingly been alienated by the GOP, it’s become harder to untangle differences according to partisanship and race. In today’s poll, 57 percent of nonwhites have a positive view of America’s standing, as do 54 percent of Democrats.

    28 Jan 16:31

    Nick van Woert Covers Neoclassical Statues In Strange Chemicals

    by Sara Barnes

    Nick van Woert - SculptureNick van Woert - SculptureNick van Woert - Sculpture Nick van Woert - Sculpture

    Combining fiberglass statues with polyurethane, artist Nick van Woert‘s sculptures are swallowed up and overcome by texture and color. Artificial Neo-Classical statues are covered in multi-colored resin in a way that looks like they’ve been caught in the middle of a downpour. The visual weight of the translucent material (and emphasis on it) is something that’s at the center of van Woert’s work. In an article about him on Sight Unseen, the following is said about his philosophy of making:

    Figuratively speaking, the idea is that the world we’ve built for ourselves is only as good as the materials we’ve used to build it — these days, that means all manner of plastics, strange chemicals, and the hollow plaster that replaces stone in the replica statues van Woert repurposes.

    In the same article, van Woert’s practice is said to be driven by the mantra “you are what you eat.” Essentially, it’s the idea that we’d replace marble statues of Ancient Greek and Roman figures with cheap fiberglass will eventually catch up with us. The things we make now might not hold up the test of time as marble sculptures have. In his work, van Woert attempts to reconcile what it means to uphold the past visually, but not in terms of raw materials.

    Nick van Woert - Sculpturenickvanwoert_4138Nick van Woert - SculptureNick van Woert - SculptureNick van Woert - Sculptureorangepour_5389_905brownpour_5830w_905 purplepour_5853_905

    The post Nick van Woert Covers Neoclassical Statues In Strange Chemicals appeared first on Beautiful/Decay Artist & Design.

    28 Jan 17:00

    Haunting And Ethereal Photographs Of Wardrobes Frozen In Ice

    by Jené Gutierrez

    Ethereal Photographs

    Ethereal Photographs Ethereal Photographs Ethereal Photographs

    Environmental and seasonal artist Nicole Dextras is no stranger to using ice as a medium. For her series, “Iceshifts,” Dextras combines ice and clothing to create deconstructed wardrobes frozen in time, then photographs them up close and within natural settings. Often, the clothing has been frozen over several winters, creating layers and layers of ice. When Dextras composes her photography, she positions the blocks of ice to effect beautiful light refractions, giving the work a haunting and ethereal glow. The clothing appear to be specimens, ready to be excavated and studied. Sometimes, Dextras will include plants or leaves when creating her pieces; she’s even used stockings for arms and bras as wings to illustrate the many layers of the self .

    Dextras explains, “This frozen wardrobe acts as a metaphor for the multilayered affinities between the self and the environment. On a deeper level, the mercurial aspect of ice alludes to the transient nature of the environment and of the inherent poetic beauty of the ephemeral.” (via my modern met)

    dextrasiceclothes15 dextrasiceclothes12 dextrasiceclothes11 dextrasiceclothes10 dextrasiceclothes9 dextrasiceclothes8 dextrasiceclothes7 dextrasiceclothes4 dextrasiceclothes dextrasiceclothes2

    The post Haunting And Ethereal Photographs Of Wardrobes Frozen In Ice appeared first on Beautiful/Decay Artist & Design.

    28 Jan 17:30

    Lucy Glendinning’s Strange And Beautiful Feathered Figures

    by Victoria Casal-Data

    Lucy Glendinning

    Lucy Glendinning

    Lucy Glendinning

    Lucy Glendinning

    British sculptor Lucy Glendinning creates  ’Feather Child’, a bird-like, human-like  creature. This strange project originates from Glendinning’s fascination with personal visions, expectations and fears about the future of a highly technologically advanced society. ‘Feather Child’, acting as a semiotic medium,  specifically embodies Glendinning’s questions about the future of genetic manipulation in such a world. The feathers, apart from making a point about what a possible genetically manipulated being might look like, are also a reference to the classic tale of human hubris: Greek mythology’s Icarus.

    The feathered child begs its spectator to ponder upon the reality of such fantastical but absurd creations in a world where this will most certainly become a possibility. Will we be able to resist altering our physical abilities and looks if we had to ability to change them? Furthermore, will we, like Icarus, defy our abilities, change them, and as a consequence have everything we worked for fall apart?

    Time will only tell what the future has in store for us. (via IGNANT)

    Feather-Child_05Feather-Child_06  Feather-Child_08

    The post Lucy Glendinning’s Strange And Beautiful Feathered Figures appeared first on Beautiful/Decay Artist & Design.

    28 Jan 18:00

    An Oral History Of Gawker, By Reddit

    by Choire Sicha
    by Choire Sicha

    When the history of the web is written, the final word will obviously belong to Reddit. What else will be left?

    And: what will we remember of a network of blogs called "Gawker Media"? Here is the collected wisdom on the topic of Gawker from Reddit over the years, in the words of Redditors themselves.

    WHAT WAS GAWKER

    Do you guys even remember how Gawker got started? The original website was called gawker stalker and it was supposed to be a TMZ type of site that would provide the location and info of celebrities in NYC. The foundation of the brand was started by a celebrity stalker.

    Gawker is a decentralized blog network, meaning a bunch of independent contributors write articles that get featured on Gawker, who then pays them a cut of the advertising revenue. It's a lot of gossip and news-type stuff.

    Gawker has exposed and slandered plenty of people and organizations that did not deserve it.

    Gawker is a great example of the leftist lynch mob.

    The Gawker crowd is a pretty strange lot that seem to be universally convinced that they are the golden content creators of the internet.

    Gawker has always been one to violate copyright for fun and profit. Gawker is just an ad-click bait site.

    I feel like Gawker has baited us for page views.

    They wanted more hits and more hate hits, you know, like "OMG you won't believe what this IDIOT wrote – link." It's called link bait. It's worked pretty well for them so far

    I feel like the Gawker Media group is worse than the Daily Mail and Fox News put together. Lifehacker and Jalopnik are the only ones that can be saved from that group. Gawker, Jezebel, Gizmodo, Kotaku, io9 and Deadspin are second-hand garbage. Who in their right mind can even conjure the idea of a Gawker acquisition? Am I alone in this?

    Richard Blakeley isn't the editor-in-chief. Nick Denton is.

    Denton founded Gawker and owns it but the editor-in-chief is Remy Stern.

    It's too bad jalopnik had to be thrown into this mess. I still remember before they were part of the gawker network. I like that site.

    Gawker is just a Reddit feed reader with a Hipster-Docuhe filter turned on.

    The Gawker.com is ridiculously not credible.

    WHO RAN GAWKER?

    The New Yorker had a great piece on all this back when Nick Denton took control of Gawker by forcing out Chris Batty.

    Ever since Denton took over, Gawker has made more and more questionable decisions – iPhonegate, the whole "Fuck you contributors" post by Joel Johnson, and articles becoming less and less researched, and more just reposts/tweets linking to other sites.

    That and their sister site Jezebel, which recently paid $10,000 for some unretouched Lena Dunham pics to make some point about the artifice of entertainment. Who is running the Kinja network?

    Fun fact: one of Gawker's favorite things to do over the past couple of years is attack large corporations, Republicans, etc for using the Cayman Islands as tax shelters. I'll give you one guess where Gawker Media Group, Inc is based out of. The whole entity is operates like an international money laundering organization. Much of its international revenues are directed through Hungary, where the tech side of the company was originally based out of and it uses a shell company in the Caymans to avoid having nearly any taxable income.

    Denton thinks he is smarter than everyone, including usability experts, designers, his audience, etc.

    I know you're not trying to emulate The New York Times, but if you have any respect for your craft as a journalist, then start by applying some maturity to your writing style. Cut the gloating, for one. You think this will be your only exclusive? Then stop acting like it was. Cut the French, for another. I know you're a part of the dredge of society on the Internet that is Gawker, but if you want your readers to respect you then start by respecting your readers.

    WHO WAS ADRIAN CHEN?

    He tricked reddit with a fake AMA, they got mad that their gullibility was shown.

    You've got the egg before the chicken there. The whole mess started when Adrian Chen decided to troll /r/AskReddit by faking cancer, and the thing snowballed from there.

    I think the inciting incident in the "blackball" of Gawker was when the president pretended to be a terminal cancer patient on reddit to illicit sympathy, was found out, and then mocked reddit for believing him at all.

    "President of Gawker" isn't exactly a prestigious title. He's just some douche who got lucky in life.

    They give money to Adrian Chen, a guy who faked a suicide here on reddit. He's literally paid to troll.

    That guy is a fearmonger of the highest order.

    This guy absolutely hates any sort of freedom, that much is obvious.

    Why the fuck should anyone believes anything this wannabe sad sack of karma-whoring shit writes, especially about Reddit? Hasn't he been totally discredited? Shameless Gawker still employs him, and still has him write about Reddit? Fire the dumb fuck, Gawker, then we'll talk. Hey Douchebag, did you ever consider having enough journalistic integrity to recuse yourself from a story because of possible bias? No? Well that's no surprise because no matter how much you want to be, you're not a journalist, you're a sad sack of karma-whoring shit. And no, not all publicity is good publicity. Just ask the other wannabe journalists who lied their way right up to when they were exposed as frauds. It's you who raves from the crater of your own self-fulfilled exile, and your insane jealousy of a legitimate and successful crowd-sourced public forum from which you can take absolutely zero credit. Fuck you, and fuck Gawker.

    Adrian Chen does it for money, while others do it by hate. Knowing your enemy is an important thing.

    WHAT ABOUT ALL THOSE OTHER PEOPLE?

    Brian Lam, Jason Chen, Jesus Diaz are the biggest douch nozzles on the Internet. They beg you to be their friend on Facebook.

    The straw that broke the camel's back for my putting up with Gizmodo was the whiny, entitled, Joel Johnson.

    Well if that isn't a face that would feel good to punch, I don't know what is.

    Wow, he looks so smug and arrogant, I think a good face punching is in order.

    John Cook's most recently recco'd article is titled "I Can't Stop Staring at This Picture of Stevie Nicks with a Dog Vagina". So there's that.

    I go there for Caity Weaver. Because Caity is amazing.

    Richard Lawson was the Shakespeare of Real Housewives recaps.

    WHAT DID GAWKER EVER DO TO REDDIT?

    Notably, they exposed the name, picture, addresses, phone numbers, job details etc of Reddit moderators whom they disagreed with.

    It has been revealed that Gawker media have attempted to blackmail subreddit moderators to gain modship of their subs.

    Adrian Chen killed journalism when he gave violentacrez an interview this one time.

    When adrian chen calls Reddit terrible, he is talking as an official member of Gawker media, whose front pages are daily posted with articles specifically designed to destroy people's lives for profit.

    Gizmodo has proved time and time again they do not have the maturity to maintain a healthy relationship with hardware manufacturers.

    They hate any website that allows opinions and content to be generated without soviet style censorship and disgustingly biased, ideologically motivated editorial oversight.

    Jalopnik.com is technically part of Gawker, yes, but I know the 2 guys who started it and they have nothing to do with Gawker. This is ludacris! I mean, imagine if Conde Nast screwed up in one of their magazines and in the shitstorm Reddit got banned from, lets say, mainstream media or something. Is that fair? No.

    WAS THERE ANYTHING GOOD ABOUT GAWKER?

    I’ve found that Gawker consistently has great comments for their articles. I wonder how they of all people pulled that off.

    Strangely, gawker seems to have one of the most respectful comment sections I have seen in a long time pertaining to Detroit.

    ON THE OTHER HAND….

    Gawker's awful comment system turns comments into an exclusive "boy's club" while insightful and interesting comments are hidden away in light grey because people aren't "starred."

    WHAT SHOULD GAWKER'S PUNISHMENT BE?

    The site that slams Reddit everyday and yet is entirely made up of Reddit posts. Fuck Nick Denton!

    I would love to see a lawsuit break Gawker…. just locking up everything the owners of Gawker have would be enough.

    Living in Toronto I've had to listen to the gawker editor belittle the Toronto media and rant and rave about how he's such a pioneering journalist for accepting the invitation to have a video of our mayor smoking crack. He turned this into an even bigger circus, and it drove me crazy. Gawker and Journalism are two words that are not ever allowed to be spoken in a row. I hope they get sued to bankruptcy.

    They treat contributors like shit anyway, like the guy who leaked the iPhone 4S and treat their unpaid interns like shit also.

    What the fuck did you just fucking say about me, you little bitch? I'll have you know I graduated top of my class in the Navy Seals, and I've been involved in numerous secret raids on Al-Quaeda, and I have over 300 confirmed kills. I am trained in gorilla warfare and I'm the top sniper in the entire US armed forces. You are nothing to me but just another target. I will wipe you the fuck out with precision the likes of which has never been seen before on this Earth, mark my fucking words. You think you can get away with saying that shit to me over the Internet? Think again, fucker. As we speak I am contacting my secret network of spies across the USA and your IP is being traced right now so you better prepare for the storm, maggot. The storm that wipes out the pathetic little thing you call your life. You're fucking dead, kid. I can be anywhere, anytime, and I can kill you in over seven hundred ways, and that's just with my bare hands. Not only am I extensively trained in unarmed combat, but I have access to the entire arsenal of the United States Marine Corps and I will use it to its full extent to wipe your miserable ass off the face of the continent, you little shit. If only you could have known what unholy retribution your little "clever" comment was about to bring down upon you, maybe you would have held your fucking tongue. But you couldn't, you didn't, and now you're paying the price, you goddamn idiot. I will shit fury all over you and you will drown in it. You're fucking dead, kiddo.

    Without reddit complaining about gawker I would literally have no idea it exists.

    26 Comments

    The post An Oral History Of Gawker, By Reddit appeared first on The Awl.

    24 Jan 16:28

    This 16th Century Book Can Be Read Six Different Ways

    by Christopher Jobson

    This 16th Century Book Can Be Read Six Different Ways history books

    This 16th Century Book Can Be Read Six Different Ways history books

    This 16th Century Book Can Be Read Six Different Ways history books

    Sure, the Amazon Kindle might have dynamic font adjustments, and it can hold thousands of books, but can it do this? Printed in the late 16th century this small book from the National Library of Sweden is an example of sixfold dos-à-dos binding, where six books are conjoined into a single publication but can be read individually with the help of six perfectly placed clasps. This particular book was printed in Germany and like almost all books at the time is a religious devotional text. The National Library of Sweden has a fantastic photo collection of historical and rare books where you can find many more gems like this, and this, and this.

    Update: And if you really like amazing old book discoveries, you should be following Erik Kwakkel, the Medieval book historian at Leiden University in the Netherlands, who originally unearthed this story. (via Neatorama)

    27 Dec 04:00

    Christmas Auroras Shimmer in Sweden's Holiday Sky

    by Space.com
    Northern-lights-sweden
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    The Christmas holiday was extra merry for a veteran northern lights photographer, who captured yuletide auroras shimmering across the sky over Sweden's Abisko National Park.

    The Christmas northern lights video was recorded by aurora photographer Chad Blakely recorded at 3 p.m. local time Wednesday (Dec. 25) after he heard about the celestial display from a guest.

    "I immediately grabbed my camera gear and sped down to one of my favorite places in the ark to photograph the northern lights — the frozen shore of Lake Torneträsk," Blakely, of Lights Over Lapland, told SPACE.com in an email. "I quickly set up my camera and by 3:30 p.m. the sky was full of red and green auroras — the perfect colors for Christmas." Read more...

    More about Sweden, Christmas, Aurora Borealis, Us World, and World
    08 Jan 05:16

    We Are on the Cusp of a Velveeta Shortage

    by Sara Morrison
    Image AP AP

    So, this is basically the worst possible news for fans of dip made from tomatoes and diced green chilies combined with processed cheese product, especially around Super Bowl season: we are facing a Velveeta shortage.

    In what could well surpass the nightmare that was the Great Sriracha Famine of 2013, Kraft confirmed to AdAge today that reports from East Coast grocery stores of a Velveeta shortage were true.

    "Given the incredible popularity of Velveeta this time of year, it is possible consumers may not be able to find their favorite product on store shelves over the next couple of weeks," Kraft spokeswoman Jody Moore told AdAge's E.J. Schultz, before adding, a bit unsympathetically: "Our retail customers are aware of the situation and we expect it to be a short-term issue."

    Moore would not go into details as to the cause of the shortage, simply that it was "a combination of factors," including the high demand for Velveeta during this, the Perfect Storm of cheese dip-worthy TV events (Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve, the Super Bowl, the Olympics).

    It is not yet known if the shortage includes Velveeta's Skillet Dinners or Shells and Cheese.

    Velveeta's official Twitter account, meanwhile, blamed the shortage on the airline industry:

    The worst thing about holiday travel is when the airline loses the one bag that contains ALL OF AMERICA’S VELVEETA SUPPLY.

    — VELVEETA (@EatLiquidGold) January 8, 2014

        






    08 Jan 04:00

    Guangzhou Circle / Joseph di Pasquale architect

    by Fabian Cifuentes

    Architects: Joseph di Pasquale architect
    Location: Guangzhou, Guangdong, China
    Design Team: Alessandro Tonassi, Nazareno Cerquaglia, Ma Jun, Zhang Hong Ge, Ma Chong, Wang Ying, Yi Ji Xuan, Peng Hui Fang, Cui Hong
    Structural: SIGGMA engineering, Politecnico di Milano
    Enginering: SCUT, South China University of Technology
    Building Site Engineer: Wang Zhan Shan, Chen Jing Qian
    Area: 85000.0 sqm
    Year: 2013
    Photographs: Courtesy of Joseph di Pasquale architect

    From the architect. On December 16th 2013 the completion ceremony of the Guangzhou Circle Mansion had taken place in Guangzhou, China. It’s the Headquarter of Guang Dong HongDa XingYe Group and the venue of GDPE Guangdong Plastic Exchange, the world largest stock exchange for raw plastic material with more then 40 billions euros of annual turn over.

    Local and Italian authorities will attend the ceremony including the Italian General Consul in Guangzhou mr Benedetto Latteri and the scientific responsible of the Italian Embassy in Beijing, mr Giuseppe Rao.

    The building has been designed by the Italian architect Joseph di Pasquale and his professional practice AM project from Milan that has been the winning proposal of the international architectural competition held in 2009. The total height is 138 mt for 33 floors, 85.000 square meters of floor area and about 50 million euros of global investment. The inner hole is a unique space that has no equal in the world with its almost fifty meters of diameter (48 mt).

    The architectural concept intends to design landmark building that will be immediately perceived as native Chinese Landmark Building using a closed and central structure instead of the usual western skyscrapers stereotype. Therefore the architecture is fully defined, and iconic, very close to the Chinese way of perceiving and understanding. It’s a sort of “urban logo” that works as a landmark in the same way that ideograms are used in the Chinese writing, instead of the alphabet.

    The architectural concept is inspired by the strong iconic value of jade discs and numerological tradition of fengh shui. In particular, the double disc of jade ( bi-disk ) is the royal symbol of ancient Chinese dynasty that reigned in this area around 2000 years ago . The building reflected in the water of the river creates exactly the same image: a double jade disc. This figure also corresponds to the number 8 and infinity symbol that Chinese culture has a strong propitiatory value. Just remember how the date and time of the start of the Beijing Olympics was for the same reason fixed to 8:08 am of the ‘ 8-8-2008.

    But the building is also a clear reference to the theme dear to the Italian Renaissance “quadratura del cerchio” (squaring the circle). The two circular facades in fact contain and support suspended groups of storeys that are actually “squaring” the perfect circumference of the facades in order to make the interior space orthogonal and habitable.

    The 33 floors are grouped to create two rows of volumes blocks that appears from the side of the building and are progressively pushed out till an extreme 25 meters cantilever. The main interior space is the exchange hall that is located just lower then the central hole of the building. This is the heart of the entire complex and of the entire company.

    The initial structural concept has been developed and tested at the wind gallery of Polytechnic of Milan, and the structural calculations and final test has been developed by the South China University of Technology (SCUT) in Guangzhou.

    Guangzhou Circle / Joseph di Pasquale architect Courtesy of Joseph di Pasquale architect Guangzhou Circle / Joseph di Pasquale architect Courtesy of Joseph di Pasquale architect Guangzhou Circle / Joseph di Pasquale architect Courtesy of Joseph di Pasquale architect Guangzhou Circle / Joseph di Pasquale architect Courtesy of Joseph di Pasquale architect Guangzhou Circle / Joseph di Pasquale architect Courtesy of Joseph di Pasquale architect Guangzhou Circle / Joseph di Pasquale architect Courtesy of Joseph di Pasquale architect Guangzhou Circle / Joseph di Pasquale architect Courtesy of Joseph di Pasquale architect Guangzhou Circle / Joseph di Pasquale architect Courtesy of Joseph di Pasquale architect Guangzhou Circle / Joseph di Pasquale architect Courtesy of Joseph di Pasquale architect Guangzhou Circle / Joseph di Pasquale architect Courtesy of Joseph di Pasquale architect Guangzhou Circle / Joseph di Pasquale architect Courtesy of Joseph di Pasquale architect Guangzhou Circle / Joseph di Pasquale architect Courtesy of Joseph di Pasquale architect Guangzhou Circle / Joseph di Pasquale architect Courtesy of Joseph di Pasquale architect Guangzhou Circle / Joseph di Pasquale architect Courtesy of Joseph di Pasquale architect Guangzhou Circle / Joseph di Pasquale architect Courtesy of Joseph di Pasquale architect Guangzhou Circle / Joseph di Pasquale architect Detail Guangzhou Circle / Joseph di Pasquale architect Floor Plan Guangzhou Circle / Joseph di Pasquale architect Section Guangzhou Circle / Joseph di Pasquale architect Detail Guangzhou Circle / Joseph di Pasquale architect Detail Guangzhou Circle / Joseph di Pasquale architect Model Guangzhou Circle / Joseph di Pasquale architect Scheme