Archive for the ‘Brazil’ Category
São Paulo’s class divisions are written in black paint. The subculture that has risen around pichação, a stark, runic form of graffiti, is described in this New York Times article:
Their graffiti, called pichação, from the Portuguese verb “pichar,” or cover with tar, reflects the urban decay and deep class divisions that still define much of São Paulo, a city with a metropolitan population approaching 20 million. It is just one reminder of the social ills that Brazil’s economic boom has so far failed to resolve, and may perhaps even be accentuating, despite recent strides in reducing income inequality.
Projects abound these last few weeks. I keep forgetting it’s nearing that time to stop and take a break.
8: There are a variety of ways that allergists test for allergies. Allergy specialists use skin tests or blood tests to test the patient against suspected allergens, and several are usually tested at the same time.
9: Vacation photos of hotels can often be misleading. Check out Oyster’s Photo Fakeouts for some particularly exaggerated ones.
10: Random Hacks of Kindness is a hackathon devoted to creating software solutions focused on disaster risk and response. Programmers assemble in groups all over the world to work on projects like raising awareness of emergency hydrants in San Francisco or this analysis of health facilities distribution in Haiti.
11: Google has a product called Fusion Tables that allows you to import your data and map it fairly quickly. Somehow I missed when this came out, even though I’m a geek about making maps. I’ve played around with the sample and though Fusion Tables isn’t what I’d call a great product yet (it’s still in beta), it’s certainly nice to see the act of mapping data simplified and opened up to the masses. See examples here.
12: In September 2006, the mayor of São Paulo banned all outdoor advertising in the city – to include billboards, flyers, ads on buses, and other forms of “visual pollution.” This Clean City law was a move intended to wash away all the garish adverts that covered virtually every surface and increase quality of life for those in São Paulo. For some thoughts on how effective this has been, see the responses on Quora.
13: The Cupertino effect is a widespread error in texts of a certain time period that originated with spell-checking software. When the word “cooperation” (without a dash between “co” and “operation”) was typed on an older computer, the word would auto-correct to “Cupertino”, a word that was commonly found in the spell-checker’s dictionary.
14: A talk by Barry Schwartz on the paradox of choice, always an entertaining topic. “The way in which we value things depends on what we compare them to.”
15: The LuminAID is a solar-powered inflatable LED light designed by two Columbia University graduates, Anna Stork and Andrea Sreshta. It’s lightweight and waterproof, making it ideal for disaster relief. They also position the LuminAID as “a cheaper, safer alternative to kerosene lamps.”
16: Apparently there’s a language fad among female college students called vocal fry, a kind of “creaky” sounding voice. Hear an example here. But be warned, this is one of those things where once you hear it, you’ll start to hear it everywhere.
17: Read “The Movie Set That Ate Itself” and just try not to think about The Truman Show. Director Ilya Khrzhanovsky began a mock town inside of Kharkov, Ukraine, placing cameras all around this set and making it home to over 210,000 cast and crew members for six years. They’re recorded 24 hours a day, living out their roles. This is for his film Dau, and filming is scheduled to end in 2012. If anything, it’s an undertaking.
18: Composting your food waste has benefits for the environment, because less organic matter that ends up in landfills means less methane gas produced by the landfill. Currently about 98% of America’s food waste goes to landfills according to the EPA. Reduction of food waste is even more essential, as America wastes 27% of the food available for consumption – around 30 million tons of food each year.
19: An amazing story from a researcher conducting ethnographic fieldwork in China: Street Vendor Life in China.
20: Get geeky with these 3D pixelated animals by artist Shawn Smith. He uses balsa wood which he cuts to length and paints, arranging each ‘pixel’ to form these striking figures.
“For the past few years, I have been creating a series of ‘Re-things.’ These whimsical sculptures represent pixelated animals and objects of nature. I am specifically interested in subjects that I have never seen in real life.” (via Colossal)
21: Though I am planning a round-up of great end-of-year lists, The Atlantic’s In Focus series of photos from 2011 is especially noteworthy: The Year in Photos (Part 1 of 3)