"The pope's 180-page encyclical on the environment, released on Thursday, is at its core a moral call for action on phasing out the use of fossil fuels. But it is also a document infused with an activist anger and concern for the poor, casting blame on the indifference of the powerful in the face of certain evidence that humanity is at risk following 200 years of misuse of resources. Up to now, he says, the world has accepted a 'cheerful recklessness' in its approach to the issue, lacking the will to change habits for the good of the Earth. 'Climate change is a global problem with grave implications: environmental, social, economic, political and for the distribution of goods,' the papal statement says. 'It represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day.'"
(Stephanie Kirchgaessner, 18 June 2015, The Guardian)
"Our collective sympathy for the victims is obviously a given. And yet the quest to unearth celebrity sex offenders has become a form of crude cultural entertainment–but it is less witch–hunt, more carnival, in the sense proposed by critic Mikhail Bakhtin. Here social hierarchies are profaned and subverted by normally suppressed voices. Thus, the marginalised become the focus, princes become paupers, and opposites combine (high and low, fact and fantasy, heaven and hell).
This circus is conducted with a grotesque, 'world–upside–down' energy and black humour, in which charivari–ritual chastising and humiliation, not least of sexual transgressions–is accompanied by raucous collective mirth. Ultimately, order is restored, but not before authority figures have taken a beating.
And so we witness the toppling of the powerful by a righteous mob, as men of a certain age and cultural authority–backed by a degree of establishment collusion–are brought low with a barely contained collective thrill. Sometimes it feels as if all the icons of our childhood have been outed as sexual deviants–revenge for every night of bad television endured during the 1970s."
(Hannah Betts, 7 December 2012, The Guardian)
"One of the most influential figures in German rock music, Edgar Froese of Tangerine Dream, has died. Froese, who was 70, suffered a pulmonary embolism and died in Vienna on Tuesday."
(The Guardian, 23 January 2014)
"This is one of those rare and unsettling examples of a rock film which has the all the immediacy of reportage from a distant war–zone. The terrain is Olympic Studios in London in June 1968, where the Rolling Stones, recovering from the critical mauling of At Their Satanic Majesty's Request, are at work on the tracks that would become Beggars' Banquet. The film–maker was Jean–Luc Godard, at the height of his reputation as Europe's most daring director. Godard had briefly left Paris for London in the wake of the Paris riots of May '68 with the aim of making a film about art, power and revolution. The Stones, at their most dazzling and Luciferian, were, as Godard saw it, perfect for the role of agents of anarchy in a movie whose stated aim was to 'subvert, ruin and destroy all civilised values'. ...
As the track is worked and reworked, we glimpse the inner dynamics of the Stones. Bill Wyman and Brian Jones are on the margins (Jones spends most of the film shuttered away, ostracised, playing an inaudible and irrelevant acoustic guitar). Charlie Watts is every inch the dapper jazz mod, as spare with his incisive drumming as he is meticulous with his clothes. Jagger is languid, bored and then sexually ambiguous and cruel, coming only properly to life when he sings the lyrics. Most compelling of all is Keith, changing rhythms and cues at will, eyes gleaming, restless and fiercely intelligent, a million miles from the stoned zombie of legend. When he choreographs and leads the band and acolytes (including the witchy Anita Pallenberg) into the 'whoo, whoos' that make the track so malicious, it is sinister and stunning."
(Andrew Hussey, 21 May 2006, The Guardian)
"At the centre of the process is the KamerMaker, or Room Builder, a scaled–up version of an open–source home 3D–printer, developed with Dutch firm Ultimaker. It uses the same principle of extruding layers of molten plastic, only enlarged about 10 times, from printing desktop trinkets to chunks of buildings up to 2x2x3.5m high.
For a machine–made material, the samples have an intriguingly hand–made finish. In places, it looks like bunches of black spaghetti. There are lumps and bumps, knots and wiggles, seams where the print head appears to have paused or slipped, spurting out more black goo than expected.
'We're still perfecting the technology,' says Heinsman. The current material is a bio–plastic mix, usually used as an industrial adhesive, containing 75% plant oil and reinforced with microfibres. They have also produced tests with a translucent plastic and a wood fibre mix, like a liquid form of MDF that can later be sawn and sanded. 'We will continue to test over the next three years, as the technology evolves,' she says. 'With a second nozzle, you could print multiple materials simultaneously, with structure and insulation side by side.'"
(Oliver Wainwright, 28 March 2014, The Guardian)