People vs. Power : a Greek tragedy

acropolis-of-athens-7-2Today the Greek Parliament will attempt to elect a new president. Bruno de Landevoisin’s analysis goes back some fundamentals of “Democracy” and reviews the main forces at stake in this socio-politico-financial tragedy. An interesting perspective from America on a highly sensitive issue for the Old Continent to resolve…

Read further here >>>

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A Declaration of No Human Rights

Guantanamo_Cameron

It’s a sign that the sands are shifting when the Daily Mail picks up a cause, as it recently did in joining the sudden media chorus on the long-standing story of Shaker Aamer. A British citizen, Shakur has been in Guantánamo Bay for 12 years after being arrested in Afghanistan. He has never been charged by the US with any crime, and has never been brought to trial. He was cleared to leave Guantánamo in 2007 by the Bush administration and again in 2009 by the Obama administration, yet still he remains detained in the prison.

His acerbic interpretation of the UN Declaration of Human Rights is a potent postcard from the War on Terror>>>

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City on the Edge: Kabul

kabul
Despite minimal infrastructure, a lack of stable employment and a chaotic economy built on international aid and corruption, Kabul is one of the fastest-growing cities in the world. With a massive conflict-fueled influx of new inhabitants from Afghanistan and beyond, the city’s population of 1.5million inhabitants in 2001 has exploded to 6million now. How can the Afghan capital integrate and hold itself together?

Reportage by Sune Engel Rasmussen >>>
Photograph: S Sabawoon/EPA via @guardiannews
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“Rich People Don’t Create Culture”

Tower Bridge
Two artistic voices from two major cities make the same call: to keep their creative soul alive, cities need affordable housing and diversity – or else they become evermore just “pleasuredomes for the rich”. Read more:

David Byrne: The rich are destroying New York culture

Grayson Perry : London needs affordable housing because ‘rich people don’t create culture’

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Collaborative Journalism Cracking the Great Corporate Tax Dodge

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It took months for a group of journalists and experts to go through nearly 28,000 pages of secret Luxembourg tax deals that were revealed in early 2014. The head-crackingly complicated documents revealed crucial information about how accounting firms like PriceWaterhouseCoopers had helped hundreds of multinational corporations obtain secret deals from Luxembourg that allowed many of them to drastically cut their tax bills. The investigation involved up to 80 journalists from different countries and organisations, all working together by using an ICIJ secure online networking platform where reporters could search, download files and share information. Inspiring and courageous example of collaboration in service of truth and integrity… Read the full story here >>

Image via The Guardian : see here for more of these “rough guides to Babylon”…

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The Eyes in the Sky

Uncle Same watching
Edward Snowden’s NSA revelations have made it clear that American citizens, not to mention those of all Western democracies, are under blanket surveillance. This report by Thomas Gorton outlines one rather surreal mechanism of this 21st-century Orwellianism: Cessna light planes imitating mobile phone towers in order to intercept conversations and data. Read more >>

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The Largest Computer in the World

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A company which started as a bookseller now runs a cloud system running over 2 million servers; essentially amounting to the biggest computer in the world.
A man called Jack Clark gives us the mind-bending numbers >>

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APEC Blue or Beijing Blues ?

Beijing smog Zou Li
Beijing is one of the most polluted cities in the world and is regularly plagued by heavy smog. However… “During the recent Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit here, something remarkable happened, as it does every time the world’s news cameras train their sites on the Chinese capital: The toxic gray air turned blue. The state-run press even gave it a name: ‘APEC blue’. Magic ? Not exactly…” reports @jameswest2010 in this article. Read the full story >>>

Images by Zou Li, who lives opposite the Beijing Television Station. He photographs the view from his apartment every day, adding the air quality index readings to the image and posting it to his Weibo social media page in his digital-postcard campaign for clean air.
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The Climate Change Blues

depressedscientistsPerhaps one of the reasons humanity is struggling to take action over climate change is that the scale of the problem is so vast, we are still dealing with the emotional shock of hearing the news. Madeleine Thomas writes about the psychological challenges faced by climate scientists on the frontline of documenting the destructive ecological impact of climate change.
Read the article here >>

[Illustration by Amelia Bates]
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The Unreal City

The Unreal City

London, circa the turn of the second millennium AD.
A vast, tangled grid of concrete, human lives and economics; a post-industrial metropolis in a state of accelerated flux. London, the original unreal city, capital of Great Britain and grandmother of the Western empire; now affirming a renewed status as the global nexus of finance, influence and culture.

So how to explain what I’m doing, wandering through the streets with an SLR camera, a head full of electricity and a pair of earphones in my bag?

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The Poverty Trap – and the Gilded Cages.

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Complex, humanitarian and moving, Jim Goldberg’s seminal work overlays photographs with handwritten words – and interrogates the psychological as well as economic effects of wealth disparity. Read >>

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Phantom Shanghai

Phantom Shanghai
Atmospheric documents of massive urban transformation in China by Greg Girard
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Portrait of the Global Mega-City

BRIC-I-Santa-Teresa-Rio-De-Janeiro-2008It is estimated that in 2008, for the first time more people globally lived in cities than in the countryside. That increase in urban population is predicted to double in the next forty years, with most of the growth being in the relatively recently industrialised developing world.

Marcus Lyon’s BRICS photographs explore these shifts by portraying the rapidly-growing mega-cities of the  BRICs nations. (Brazil, Russia, India, China)

Photograph of Rio de Janeiro by Marcus Lyon

See the whole series >>
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Meet the Babylonians – part 3

Dales-Babylonians

Iraq was the cradle of civilisation, its deserts the location of the first documented cities. Now, after decades of dictatorship, war and ongoing conflict, the reconstruction of Iraq’s crumbling cities is being masterminded by… a family business in Yorkshire using computer modelling software. Stuart Jeffries goes to meet them…
Read the article >>
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Meet the Babylonians – part 2

Larry Page, Sergey Brin
“If you want to understand the future of humanity – where we’re headed, who’ll be in charge, and exactly how worried you should be about that – you could do worse than begin with two unremarkable buildings, on opposite coasts of the U.S.” Oliver Burkeman probes the Google project… Read on >>
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The Rise of Dark Tourism

dark-tourism-binsTwenty-first century capitalism excels in creating commercial opportunities from seemingly fruitless situations. The phenomenon of dark tourism seems to fuse the appeal of VR wargames, extreme sports & package holidays into a killer formula. Article by Debra Kamin.

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The Five Biggest Threats to Human Existence

mushroom-cloudThe threat of extinction is not new to humanity. But our era is the first time in which those threats are anthropogenic – they are dangers we have created. Anders Sandberg from the Future of Humanity Institute considers five potential doom scenarios that can enhance appreciation of the present moment… Read the article >>

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Ecosystems of the Global City

Depth writing by Brett Scott on the nature of urban reality and our relationship to it

Read ->>
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Meet the Babylonians

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Investigative analysis by Tim Dickinson on the shadowy Koch Brothers’ empire and its extensive influence in American politics and beyond

Read >>

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