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16  the Arts / Architecture / Re: Floating City For Haiti Proposed By Architects Post-Earthquake (PHOTOS) on: January 05, 2011, 01:24:41 pm

Two-thirds of the city would be dedicated to farming and one-third to light industry.
17  the Arts / Architecture / Re: Floating City For Haiti Proposed By Architects Post-Earthquake (PHOTOS) on: January 05, 2011, 01:23:55 pm

Harvest City would be a place for Haitians to live and start their lives again, but it would also be a place for agriculture and jobs to thrive.
18  the Arts / Architecture / Floating City For Haiti Proposed By Architects Post-Earthquake (PHOTOS) on: January 05, 2011, 01:23:07 pm
Floating City For Haiti Proposed By Architects Post-Earthquake (PHOTOS)
First Posted: 01- 5-11 09:36 AM   |   Updated: 01- 5-11 10:36 AM

While Haiti is still picking up the pieces after last year's devastating earthquake, the good news is that fascinating ideas about how to rebuild the island nation with a safer, more sustainable infrastructure are still pouring in. One of the latest proposals, from architect E. Kevin Schopfer and Tangram 3DS, caught our eye with its vision of Haiti reborn with a beautiful floating city. Dubbed Harvest City, the collection of islands would be a fully-functioning community where 30,000 residents could grow crops, promote industry and start a new life.

It's been almost a year now since Haiti was ravaged by a horrific earthquake, and while its citizens are still picking up the pieces, the good news is that there is no shortage of creative ideas about how to rebuild an even better, more sustainable infrastructure for the country. One of these ideas comes from architect E. Kevin Schopfer and Tangram 3DS, who envision the new Haiti to have a floating city on which people could produce food and promote industry. Called Harvest City, the collection of islands would be a fully functioning community of 30,000 residents based on the principle of Arcology (a mix of architecture and ecology), and could be a key player in Haiti's recovery.

19  the Unexplained / the Unexplained / Dead Birds Fall From Sky In Sweden, Millions Of Dead Fish Found In Brazil on: January 05, 2011, 01:20:42 pm
Dead Birds Fall From Sky In Sweden, Millions Of Dead Fish Found In Maryland, Brazil, New Zealand
The Huffington Post   |  Travis Walter Donovan First Posted: 01- 5-11 09:11 AM   |   Updated: 01- 5-11 11:42

Email Comments 1,094
Millions of dead fish surfaced in Maryland's Chesapeake Bay in the U.S., Tuesday, while similar unexplained mass fish deaths occurred across the world in Brazil and New Zealand. On Wednesday, 50 birds were found dead on a street in Sweden. The news come after recents reports of mysterious massive bird and fish deaths days prior in Arkansas and Louisiana.

The Baltimore Sun reports that an estimated 2 million fish were found dead in the Chesapeake Bay, mostly adult spot with some juvenile croakers in the mix, as well. Maryland Department of the Environment spokesperson Dawn Stoltzfus says "cold-water stress" is believed to be the culprit. She told The Sun that similar large winter fish deaths were documented in 1976 and 1980.

ParanaOnline reports that 100 tons of sardines, croaker and catfish have washed up in Brazilian fishing towns since last Thursday. The cause of the deaths is unknown, with an imbalance in the environment, chemical pollution, or accidental release from a fishing boat all suggested by local officials.

In New Zealand, hundreds of dead snapper fish washed up on Coromandel Peninsula beaches, many found with their eyes missing, The New Zealand Herald reports. A Department of Conservation official allegedly claims the fish were starving due to weather conditions.

While all three events are likely unrelated, they come after recent reports of mysterious dead birds falling from the sky in both Arkansas and Louisiana. Thousands of dead birds were found in Beebe, Arkansas on New Year's Eve, and a few days later, around 500 of the same species were found 300 miles south in Louisiana. A Kentucky woman also reported finding dozens of dead birds scattered around her home. In the days prior to New Year's, nearly 100,000 fish surfaced in an Arkansas river 100 miles west of Beebe. Officials are now saying that fireworks likely caused the Arkansas bird deaths, and power lines may be to blame for the death of the birds in Louisiana.

Some remain skeptical of the explanations. Dan Cristol, a biology professor and co-founder of the Institute for Integrative Bird Behavior Studies at the College of William & Mary, told the AP that he was hesitant to believe fireworks were to blame unless "somebody blew something into the roost, literally blowing the birds into the sky."

Wednesday, officials in Sweden reported the finding of 50 dead birds on a street, suggesting that cold weather or fireworks were the likely culprit.

Bird deaths and fish kills at smaller numbers aren't all that uncommon, though the size and proximity of some of the recent events have led people to allege their relation, though officials deny the frequency of these wildlife deaths as being anything other than coincidence.

In August of 2010, tens of thousands of dead fish were reported washing ashore in two separate occasions, 200 miles apart on the East Coast.

CLICK HERE to let us know what you think caused the mass bird deaths. While many of the animals are undergoing tests that could take weeks to yield comprehensive results, some officials attest that the true cause behind these mysterious deaths may never fully be known.

20  Ancient Wisdom / Alchemy / Re: Alchemy as a philosophical and spiritual discipline on: December 01, 2010, 01:29:12 pm

Page from alchemic treatise of Ramon Llull
Date Beginning of the 16th century
21  Ancient Wisdom / Alchemy / Re: Alchemy as a philosophical and spiritual discipline on: December 01, 2010, 01:28:24 pm

Title: The alchemist
Painter: Sir William Fettes Douglas (1822 - 1891)
Year: 1853

22  Ancient Wisdom / Alchemy / Re: Alchemy as a philosophical and spiritual discipline on: December 01, 2010, 01:27:10 pm
It is a popular belief that Alchemists made contributions to the "chemical" industries of the day—ore testing and refining, metalworking, production of gunpowder, ink, dyes, paints, cosmetics, leather tanning, ceramics, glass manufacture, preparation of extracts, liquors, and so on (it seems that the preparation of aqua vitae, the "water of life", was a fairly popular "experiment" among European alchemists). Alchemists contributed distillation to Western Europe. The double origin of Alchemy in Greek philosophy as well as in Egyptian and Mesopotamian technology set, from the start, a double approach: the technological, operative one, which Marie-Louise von Franz call extravert, and the mystic, contemplative, psychological one, which von Franz names as introvert. These are not mutually exclusive, but complementary instead, as meditation requires practice in the real world, and conversely.[10]

Several early alchemists, such as Zosimos of Panopolis, are recorded as viewing alchemy as a spiritual discipline, and, in the Middle Ages, metaphysical aspects, substances, physical states, and molecular material processes as mere metaphors for spiritual entities, spiritual states, and, ultimately, transformations. In this sense, the literal meanings of 'Alchemical Formulas' were a blind, hiding their true spiritual philosophy, which being at odds with the Medieval Christian Church was a necessity that could have otherwise led them to the "stake and rack" of the Inquisition under charges of heresy.[11] Thus, both the transmutation of common metals into gold and the universal panacea symbolized evolution from an imperfect, diseased, corruptible, and ephemeral state towards a perfect, healthy, incorruptible, and everlasting state; and the philosopher's stone then represented a mystic key that would make this evolution possible. Applied to the alchemist himself, the twin goal symbolized his evolution from ignorance to enlightenment, and the stone represented a hidden spiritual truth or power that would lead to that goal. In texts that are written according to this view, the cryptic alchemical symbols, diagrams, and textual imagery of late alchemical works typically contain multiple layers of meanings, allegories, and references to other equally cryptic works; and must be laboriously "decoded" in order to discover their true meaning.

In his Alchemical Catechism, Paracelsus clearly denotes that his usage of the metals was a symbol:

Q. When the Philosophers speak of gold and silver, from which they extract their matter, are we to suppose that they refer to the vulgar gold and silver? A. By no means; vulgar silver and gold are dead, while those of the Philosophers are full of life.[12]

23  Ancient Wisdom / Alchemy / Alchemy as a philosophical and spiritual discipline on: December 01, 2010, 01:26:33 pm
Alchemy as a philosophical and spiritual discipline

Alchemy became known as the spagyric art after Greek words meaning to separate and to join together in the 16th century, the word probably being coined by Paracelsus. Compare this with one of the dictums of Alchemy in Latin: Solve et Coagula Separate, and Join Together (or "dissolve and coagulate").[7]

The best-known goals of the alchemists were the transmutation of common metals into gold (called chrysopoeia) or silver (less well known is plant alchemy, or "spagyric"); the creation of a "panacea", or the elixir of life, a remedy that, it was supposed, would cure all diseases and prolong life indefinitely; and the discovery of a universal solvent.[8] Although these were not the only uses for the discipline, they were the ones most documented and well-known. Certain Hermetic schools argue that the transmutation of lead into gold is analogical for the transmutation of the physical body (Saturn or lead) into (Gold) with the goal of attaining immortality.[9] This is described as Internal Alchemy. Starting with the Middle Ages, Persian and European alchemists invested much effort in the search for the "philosopher's stone", a legendary substance that was believed to be an essential ingredient for either or both of those goals. Pope John XXII issued a bull against alchemical counterfeiting, and the Cistercians banned the practice amongst their members. In 1403, Henry IV of England banned the practice of Alchemy. In the late 14th century, Piers the Ploughman and Chaucer both painted unflattering pictures of Alchemists as thieves and liars. By contrast, Rudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor, in the late 16th century, sponsored various alchemists in their work at his court in Prague, one of which was a particular alchemist named Edward Kelley.

24  the Arts / Architecture / Re: Urban decay on: November 18, 2010, 01:32:02 pm

Pruitt–Igoe public housing, St. Louis, Missouri. In the 1950s, this urban renewal project was built; it failed and was razed in the 1970s.
25  the Arts / Architecture / Re: Urban decay on: November 18, 2010, 01:31:01 pm
The main responses to urban decay have been through positive public intervention and policy, through a plethora of initiatives, funding streams, and agencies, using the principles of New Urbanism (or through Urban Renaissance, its UK/European equivalent). Gentrification has also had a significant effect, and remains the primary means of a "natural" remedy.

In the United States, early government policies included "urban renewal" and building of large scale housing projects for the poor. Urban renewal demolished entire neighborhoods in many inner cities; in many ways, it was a cause of urban decay rather than a remedy.[5][11] Housing projects became crime-infested mistakes. These government efforts are now thought by many to have been misguided.[5][12] For multiple reasons, some cities have rebounded from these policy mistakes. Meanwhile, some of the inner suburbs built in the 1950s and 60s are beginning the process of decay, as those who are living in the inner city are pushed out due to gentrification.[13]

In Western Europe and Asia, where land is much less in supply and urban areas are generally recognised as the drivers of the new information and service economies, urban regeneration has become an industry in itself, with hundreds of agencies and charities set up to tackle the issue. European cities have the benefit of historical organic development patterns already concurrent to the New Urbanist model, and although derelict, most cities have attractive historical quarters and buildings ripe for redevelopment.

In the suburban estates and cités, the solution is often more drastic, with 1960s and 70s state housing projects being totally demolished and rebuilt in a more traditional European urban style, with a mix of housing types, sizes, prices, and tenures, as well as a mix of other uses such as retail or commercial. One of the best examples of this is in Hulme, Manchester, which was cleared of 19th-century housing in the 1950s to make way for a large estate of high-rise flats. During the 1990s, it was cleared again to make way for new development built along new urbanist lines.

26  the Arts / Architecture / Re: Urban decay on: November 18, 2010, 01:30:38 pm

The former Uline Ice Company Plant in Washington, D.C.
27  the Arts / Architecture / Re: Urban decay on: November 18, 2010, 01:30:11 pm
Examples of decay
The car manufacturing sector was the base for Detroit's prosperity, and employed the majority of its residents. When the industry began relocating outside of the city, it experienced massive population loss with associated urban decay, particularly after the 1967 riots. According to the U.S. Census, in 1950 the city's population was around 1.85 million; by 2003, this had declined to 911,000, a loss of nearly 940,000 people (52%). In addition, the homeless population has grown, and there are many abandoned structures in Detroit.

Britain experienced severe urban decay in the 1970s and 1980s. Major cities like Glasgow, the towns of the South Wales valleys, and some of the major industrial cities like Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle, and east London, all experienced population decreases, with large areas of 19th-century housing experiencing market price collapse.

Large French cities are often surrounded by decayed areas. While city centers tend to be occupied mainly by middle- and upper-class residents, cities are often surrounded by large mid- to high-rise housing projects. The concentration of poverty and crime radiating from the developments often causes the entire suburb to fall into a state of urban decay, as more affluent citizens seek housing in the city or further out in semi-rural areas. In November 2005, the decaying northern suburbs of Paris were the scene of severe riots sparked in part by the substandard living conditions in public housing projects.

28  the Arts / Architecture / Re: Urban decay on: November 18, 2010, 01:29:49 pm

Urban decay in Zanzibar, Tanzania.
29  the Arts / Architecture / Re: Urban decay on: November 18, 2010, 01:29:15 pm
Later, under president Dwight D. Eisenhower, urban centers were drained further through the building of the Interstate Highway System. In North America this shift manifested itself in strip malls, suburban retail and employment centers, and very low-density housing estates. Large areas of many northern cities in the United States experienced population decreases and a degradation of urban areas.[9] Inner-city property values declined and economically disadvantaged populations moved in. In the U.S., the new inner-city poor were often African-Americans that migrated from the South in the 1920s and 1930s. As they moved into traditional white European-American neighborhoods, ethnic frictions served to accelerate flight to the suburbs.[10] In Western Europe the experience differs, in that the effect was often unknowingly assisted by public sector policies designed to clear 18th- and 19th-century slum areas and movements of people out into state-subsidized, lower-density suburban housing.

On continental Europe and Oceania, the historical core of major cities has usually remained relatively affluent; it is generally the inner-city districts and the edge-of-town suburbs made up of single-class state-subsidised housing, such as the French "cités" or "banlieues" and British council estates, which suffer the worst decay and blight. Due to higher population densities in Europe, economics dictates that extremely low-density housing would be impractical.

30  the Arts / Architecture / Re: Urban decay on: November 18, 2010, 01:29:02 pm
During the Industrial Revolution, from the late eighteenth century to the early nineteenth century, rural people moved from the country to the cities for employment in the industrial manufacturing sector of the economy, thus causing the contemporary urban population boom. However, subsequent economic change left many cities economically vulnerable. Studies such as the Urban Task Force (DETR 1999), the Urban White Paper (DETR 2000), and a study of Scottish cities (2003) posit that areas suffering industrial decline—high unemployment, poverty, and a decaying physical environment (sometimes including contaminated land and obsolete infrastructure)—prove "highly resistant to improvement".[6]

Changes in means of transport, from the public to the private – specifically, the private motor car – eliminated some of the cities' public transport service advantages, e.g., fixed-route buses and trains. In particular, at the end of World War II, many political decisions favored suburban development and encouraged suburbanization, by drawing city taxes from the cities to build new infrastructure for remote, racially-restricted suburban towns. That was the context of racial discrimination exercised as "white flight",[citation needed] the middle- and upper-class abandonment of U.S. cities, and the start of urban sprawl; only the non-white and the poor inhabited the cities.

After World War II, Western economies lifted tariffs and outsourced most of their manufacturing industries and businesses overseas, where foreign labor is cheaper than domestic. During the change from a manufacturing to a services economy, buying an automobile became economically feasible for most people. In the U.S., the federal government legislated discriminatory lending practices for the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) via redlining.[7][8]

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