Monday, September 25, 2006

what Hugo Chavez actually said at the U.N.

The 30-second attention span media just reported "And the devil came here yesterday. Yesterday the devil came here. Right here." But Hugo Chavez' speech in its entirety is an impassioned, coherent attack on the failed policies and shameful double standards of the USA.


Wednesday, September 20, 2006

writing: Bruce Sterling on oppressive social networking

Nice short piece "I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by Google" by Bruce Sterling. I found it from the Slashdot summary of a set of New Scientist articles on social networking.

In another article in the set, Sherry Turkle notes
For some people, things move from "I have a feeling, I want to call a friend" to "I want to feel something, I need to make a call". In either case, what is not being cultivated is the ability to be alone and to manage and contain one's emotions.
I'm guilty of something similar: "I want to feel the shock of the new, I'll keep surfing." But not every day can bring a new Firefox release or breakthrough technology or new media from a favorite artist.

Reading the articles makes me realize how important walking the dogs — without WiFi, music player, or headset — is to staying sane.

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Monday, September 18, 2006

architecture: Norman Foster on-screen and in Toronto

I saw Woody Allen's woefully underwritten Match Point and one of the characters works in "Norman's gherkin", the fabulous Swiss Re building. The movie's exterior shots obscure the building's seductive rounded bottom, so it looks like an obscenely phallic symbol on the skyline. But I've walked around it and it's so beautiful in its seamless idea->design->execution that it's unreal. The movie's interior shots show conventional rectangular offices walled off from the curving exterior, which if true is a shame.

I just learned from Wikipedia that stormin' Norman also designed a relatively modest University building that I enjoyed in Toronto. He's reliably fine and usually great.

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architecture: Foster and others' buildings at 9/11 site

I heard that my hero Norman Foster has a building at the 9/11 site. As does his one-time partner Richard Rogers. Here's a nice set of photos of the site.

It's just a collection of skyscrapers, but they should turn out nicely, and the memorial sounds promising. Liebeskind's Freedom Tower feels the weakest of the buildings, but the devil is in the details.

I was fortunate to see the WTC towers shortly after they were built, when they were right on the waterfront before all the dull C├ęsar Pelli towers in Battery Park City obscured them (see the before photo). They weren't lovely buildings, but very pure and the scale simply breathtaking.

The proposal to rebuild two towers there is touching, but the actual design for the rebuilt towers is hideous, losing the relentless endless columns of the original.

It's funny how the familes of victims feel they should get to choose the form of the buildings and the memorial. You're just minor stakeholders! This needs to be a historical site for the world.

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