Dancing While Rome Burns

the literate lens

VanAgtmael2Technically speaking, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are over. The last American forces pulled out of Iraq in 2011, and President Obama recently announced that all U.S. troops will leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014. But for many Americans, Iraqis and Afghans, the conflict lingers—whether in real terms (through suicide bombings and sectarian violence), in physical scars (there are at least 1,500 major limb amputees to date from both wars), or in psychological traumas that visit every time a car backfires or a firework goes off.

Magnum photographer Peter van Agtmael is intimately acquainted with the real-life stories behind these facts. In 2006, as a twenty-four year old Yale graduate in History, he set off for Iraq to photograph the war there. Over the next six years, van Agtmael spent large amounts of time in both countries, often embedded with troops who were being sent on risky…

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Dress Coded: An Education on (Unnecessary) Sexualization

Sophieologie

dress-coded-1

When one Illinois middle school cluelessly decided to ban leggings & yoga pants because they were “distracting to the boys”, they probably didn’t have any idea it would be the catalyst to a national conversation about dress codes in school.

I mean, dress codes are like, so un-controversial. Until now.

Now, all sorts of interesting stories are surfacing. Girls wearing the same regulation gym outfits, but the curvier ones are getting dress-coded. Tall girls getting dress-coded for short garments, even though they’re finger-tip length, while short girls seem to not draw the same leg-bearing ire. One girl getting sent home from prom for wearing pants. Another girl was sent home from her homeschool prom because male chaperons said her dress was “causing impure thoughts”…for the teenage boys, of course.

So… Many interesting stories indeed.

The leggings ban irked me immediately for two reasons. The first…

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Uncertainty, Complexity, and Minimalist Footwear

TechnoScience as if People Mattered

In almost every technoscientific controversy participants could take better account of the inescapable complexities of reality and the uncertainties of their knowledge. Unfortunately, many people suffer from significant cognitive barriers that prevent them from doing so. That is, they tend to carry the belief that their own side is in unique possession of Truth and that only their opponents are in any way biased, politically motivated or otherwise lacking in sufficient data to support their claims. This is just as clear in the case of Vibram Five Finger shoes (i.e., “toe shoes”) as it is for GMO’s and climate change. Much of humanity would be better off, however, if technological civilization responded to these contentious issues in ways more sensitive to uncertainty and complexity.

Five Fingers are the quintessential minimalist shoe, receiving much derision concerning its appearance and skepticism about its purported health benefits. Advocates of the shoes claim that its…

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Bitcoin: How Do We Display the Intangible?

British Museum blog

bitcoin minerBenjamin Alsop, curator, British Museum

The Citi Money Gallery charts over four millennia’s worth of monetary history. The Department of Coins and Medals cares for over one million objects in the Museum’s collection and like any museum with a growing collection, the most pressing questions are what should we collect and where should we put it all? Yet a recent concern for me as the curator of the Citi Money Gallery is not which objects should I select from our vast collection for a new display, but whether we had any suitable objects at all. This may sound like the murmurings of an eccentric curator, but let me explain myself.

Bitcoin token, designed by Mike Caldwell (CM 2012,4040.4) Bitcoin token, designed by Mike Caldwell (CM 2012,4040.4)

If the gallery is to be a record of the changing nature and form of money through the ages, then it is just as important to reflect the modern world as it…

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Hello Everyone!

We are sure you’re still feeling the excitement buzzing in the back of your minds, and now you’re thinking, “Wow! There’s so much I need to do!” We will be here every step of the way to help you in this venture.

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Letitia Maria Mailley
Coming from New Zealand to express her very formidable talent will meet a lot of new people and create some new friends.
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