Fierce, savage, and above all, dangerous....

Naeem posted a little gem of a text to the nettime mailing list earlier today. it describes the rising popularity of sheik-themed romance novels and begins with one of the best sentences i have read in while: “It seems that an Arab man can now get on the cover of a romance novel in the United States almost more easily than he can get past airport security: According to the Chicago Tribune, the sales of sheik-themed romance novels have quadrupled in the years since the terrorist attacks in New Yo…

These remind me of the WTC

Found this picture a while back on some russian design website but lost the url so i can’t link to it. these seem to be japanese tetra pack containers for banana juice. extremely beautiful/sweet if you ask me (not sure if they are for real or just a concept). Update [11-05-08]: Apparently they are by product designer Naoto Fukasawa…

Elevators

Geoff at BLDGBLOG has a post about elevators, which reminds me of the first and only time i have been inside the empire state building: in 2000 during metropoloco one of the checkpoints of during the main race was suite 6172 (or something like that) in the Empire State Building. Never having been in a building with more than 10 floors before i somehow assumed that this meant that the suit would be on the 6th floor (taking a clue from the leading 6 ignoring that the first two characters might ind…

The Power of Nightmares

Just finished watching the BBC documentary (from 2004) ‘the power of nightmares – the rise of the politics of fear‘ by Adam Curtis. This three part mini series compares the rise of the American Neo-Conservative movement and the radical Islamist movement, making comparisons on their origins and noting strong similarities between the two. Curtis argues that the threat of radical Islamism as a massive, sinister organized force of destruction, specifically in the form of al-Qaeda, is in fact a myth…

Imagination of desperation (3): cloned vehicles

Not sure if all of them are used to get persons across the US/mexican border, but ABC news has a little item (‘Fake FedEx trucks, when Drugs absolutely have to get there‘) on what they call ‘cloned vehicles’: Savvy criminals are using some of the country’s most credible logos, including FedEx, Wal-Mart, DirecTV and the U.S. Border Patrol, to create fake trucks to smuggle drugs, money and illegal aliens across the border, according to a report by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Termed…

Email == artillery

Spend two days at my parents place in east Germany this weekend and yesterday my dad suddenly came up and insisted on reading us a short excerpt from the complete works of Heinrich von Kleist. It is a short note that he wrote in october 1810 as editor of the ‘Berliner Abendblättern’, where it was published under the title ‘Useful Inventions: Concept for a bomb mail system’: It’s a bit of a far-fetched concept that suggests to address one of the main shortcomings of the then-just-launched telegra…

Imagination of desperation (2)

Another photo of a car that has been upgraded with seats that enable undocumented migrants to hide in them. This one has been released by the Spanish Guardia Civil (the last one came from the US Immigration and Customs enforcement Service): According to this article at typicallyspanish.com the pictures where taken at the El Tarajal border crossing between the Spanish enclave of Ceuta and Morocco.…

Laptop/USA for Africa/textese/forgotten vegetables/NGOs

There are two articles about the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) in the spring 2007 issue of بدون/bidoun. the second one (‘let them eat laptops’ (p72ff.) – not available online) is a relatively serious email discussion about the merits of the project between a couple of academics. the other article ‘glory‘ by Kenyan writer Binyavanga Wainaina) takes the OPLC project as a starting point for a fascinating exploration into how technology is appropriated. It’s one of the best texts i have read in a long…

Imagination of desperation (1): Image of the year...

… straight from the US Immigration and Customs enforcement website (o.k with a detour via the the excellent subtopia field guide to military urbanism), the chair guy: This is the most amazing combination of sheer will, imagination and engineering i have come across in ages (subtopia calls it ‘imagination of desperation’). Makes me hope that this has remained undetected for a while before these pictures were taken……