oct 06



The Broken Angel – the curious house in Brooklyn that served as stage in Dave Chappelle’s Block Party (which you should Netflix, like, right now, if you haven’t yet)– will be demolished in three weeks if it isn’t brought up to code. The owners have already been evicted.


Right now the son of the building’s eccentric owners is asking for donations, hoping to create a nonprofit and use the space for music and art. He’s posted over one hundred amazing photos on Flickr

“Many of you wonder what the hell my parents are doing with that building,” he writes. “They always were building an outline of a dream, a building that was different from the usual architecture of today.

“They did this while never having enough money to complete their dream. But that didn’t stop them from using found or discarded objects that we throw away every day like the glass bottles that they used to create stained-glass windows.”

From the NY Times. (via Laughing Squid)


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That is why Anna Schuleit won a MacArthur fellowship. I’ve been looking over her website for the past fifteen minutes. Her range is outstanding.

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The only thing that sets these students apart from kids at any other school in America—aside from their special-ed designation—is the electric wires running from their backpacks to their wrists. Each wire connects to a silver-dollar-sized metal disk strapped with a cloth band to the student’s wrist, forearm, abdomen, thigh, or foot. Inside each student’s backpack is a battery and a generator, both about the size of a VHS cassette. Each generator is uniquely coded to a single keychain transmitter kept in a clear plastic box labeled with the student’s name. Staff members dressed neatly in ties and green aprons keep the boxes hooked to their belts, and their eyes trained on the students’ behavior. They stand ready, if they witness a behavior they’ve been told to target, to flip open the box, press the button, and deliver a painful two-second electrical shock into the student at the end of the wire.

The Village Voice, (via Marginal Revolution)

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It is not hard to see why Heidi Benson won the PEN USA prize in journalism (just announced.) Her story on Iris Chang (Historian Iris Chang won many battles/ The war she lost raged within) is intensely researched and avoids cliche; bringing life back to the much-missed fiercely intellegent writer:

“Did you really look like Charlie Chaplin?” asked Iris, knowing [Bataan survivor] Martel had been saved from near starvation by the brushy mustache he wore. The mustache reminded his Japanese captors of “The Little Tramp.” So, in return for performing a short, Chaplinesque shuffle, he would be rewarded with a handful of scallions.


“Iris was very loving,” Martel’s daughter said. “Talking to her, you felt like she was one of the family.” After the interview, they kept up an active correspondence. Iris sent the Martels photographs from her trip, cards for Chinese New Year and updates on her Bataan project. One picture she sent showed Iris hugging Martel and his wife. He framed it and hung it on a wall in his home. Next to it, now, is a copy of Iris’ obituary. When Martel read in a newspaper about her death, he asked his daughter, “Is that our Iris?”

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Slate calls for journalistic redress with the Duke rape case. In the court of law: yes, of course, they’re innocent. That being said, I’d recant none but a few accusatory-hinting sentences in the piece I wrote last spring. I’m really appalled by the tone of articles—especially now—the mass high-fives and “well, what do you expect from a stripper?”glib

And is it not only disgusting but unprofessional that the lacrosse players issued no collective apology – at the very least to the other dancer – for what went far beyond boorish behavior?

Maybe it’s not the false accusation that’s costing them job offers but the possibility that the sort of students who use racial epithets freely and threaten to assault women with broom sticks are absolute meatheads, rapists or not. Had they shown some redress themselves, it could, at the very least, quiet the possibility that their fathers simply paid the other dancer off.

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Muniz’s “Pictures of Junk” series includes “Sisyphus, After Titian,” composed on a hangar floor with truckloads of detritus.

(via The Washington Post)

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I’ve been reading Alain de Botton’s The Architecture of Happiness in preparation for a piece I’m writing. It is another one of those books that explains how what we like signifies who we are, but it is applied to a much – literarly – bigger subject matter.

It got me thinking about how infrequently that logic is applied to the construction of education centers. Funny that churches basically require beauty in their construction, but school houses just as often neglect whimsy or creativity. Most are behemoth rather than cute and cuddly, countering their imposing structures merely with smiley face stickers on the walls or pared-down jungle gyms straddling perpetually shorn green lawns.


The Cool Hunter today looks at several spaces that reject the “concrete jungle” red brick prisons we’ve come to know as well as our ABCs.

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Peter Garfield’s photography is absolutely fantastic. Read the interview on his website, which explains the physics of it all.




Q: Can you describe what it really entails, dropping a house out of the sky?

A: It’s actually pretty straightforward. A question of coordinating different teams of people, consulting with engineers during the planning stages, then the construction contractors, the helicopter and crane operators, and the clean-up crew. That kind of thing.

(via net-wonderland, Things Magazine)

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Slate is one of the better designed websites, nevertheless up until now, I somehow managed overlook their Today’s Pictures feature. Past “interactive essays” have documented transgendered persons and an Irish Matchmaking festival. A needed respite from my over-textualized day-to-day web browsing.

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I have a new article on Brainwash this week, and I’m going to have to come up with a new way of announcing that in a less boring fashion as I’m now the website Science and Tech Editor. The article is about Vox, a website I really hope will take off. Here’s my vox –email me if you’d like an invite.

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