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E-cigarettes, A Healthy Choice or A Big Tobacco Token? – Video / Audio Blog

E-Cigarettes Bring Smokers Back Inside, For Now

by: NPR Staff

Electronic cigarettes are sparking lots of skepticism from public health types worried they may be a gateway to regular smoking.

But the cigarettes, which use water vapor to deliver nicotine into the lungs, may be as good as the patch when it comes to stop-smoking aids, a study finds.

Smokers who used e-cigarettes in an attempt to quit the old-fashioned kind of cigarettes did about as well at stopping smoking as the people who tried the patch.

After six months, 7.3 percent of e-smokers had dropped cigarettes, compared to 5.8 percent of people wearing the patch.

Either way, quitting is hard. The number of people who quit was low overall — just 38 of the 584 smokers given the e-cig or the patch. That wasn’t enough people to say for sure that one approach was better than the other.

smoking an e-ciagarette, smoking, digital smoking, npr, new york times“What we couldn’t show is that [e-cigarettes are] definitely superior to nicotine patches,” says , an associate professor at the University of Auckland who led the research. He and his colleagues figured that the e-cigarettes would be much more successful, based on consumer surveys showing that people were less than pleased with the patch.

Still, Bullen says, the low quit rates are what you might expect when people are trying to quit without much counseling or support. That and the batteries kept failing in the early model e-cigarettes. “We had to keep sending out batteries,” Bullen told Shots.

All that said, some e-cigarette users were able to reduce the number of cigarettes they smoked, even if they didn’t quit.

The results were presented at the European Respiratory Society meeting in Barcelona and in The Lancet.

The researchers recruited 584 smokers in Auckland, New Zealand, who wanted to stop smoking. Half were given e-cigarettes and the other half got coupons for nicotine patches, which are typically prescribed as a stop-smoking aid. Another 73 smokers were given e-cigs without nicotine, as a control.

Those people also made progress in quitting smoking, with 4 percent off tobacco after six months. “I think that speaks to the behavioral replacement,” Bullen says. “They’re oral. They’re tactile. There’s a ritualistic thing where you prepare the product and put it in your mouth and draw on it.”

temp5The number of children and teenagers using e-cigarettes more than doubled in a year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week. Numbers like that have in the United States worried that e-cigarettes will serve as a gateway to smoking cigarettes, which are much more toxic than e-cigarettes.

There’s not yet evidence that that’s happening, Bullen says. “I don’t think that’s an inevitable pathway.” Efforts to regulate e-cigarettes could harm current smokers, he says. “For some people I think e-cigarettes will be part of the solution. But they’re not going to be a magic bullet.”

The E-Cigarette Industry, Waiting to Exhale

By MATT RICHTEL
Published: October 26, 2013

Geoff Vuleta was in the crowd at a Rolling Stones concert last year when Keith Richards lit up a cigarette on stage, the arena’s no-smoking policy be damned. Feeling inspired, Mr. Vuleta, a longtime smoker, reached into his pocket and pulled one out himself. People seated nearby shot him scolding glances as he inhaled. So he withdrew the cigarette from his mouth and pressed the glowing end to his cheek.

e-cigarettes, brands, types, styles

A line up of common E-Cigarettes

His was an electronic cigarette, a look-alike that delivers nicotine without combusting tobacco and produces a vapor, not smoke. Mr. Vuleta, 51, who has a sardonic humor, clearly relished recounting this story. He is the chief marketing officer for NJOY, an electronic cigarette company based in Scottsdale, Ariz., and it is his job to reframe how everyone, nonsmokers included, view the habit of inhaling from a thin stick and blowing out a visible cloud.

Mr. Vuleta, who told his tale in the office of Craig Weiss, the NJOY chief executive, calls this a process of “renormalizing,” so that smokers can come back in from the cold. He means that literally — allowing people now exiled to the sidewalks back into buildings with e-cigarettes. But he also means it metaphorically. Early in the last century, smoking was an accepted alternative for men to chewing tobacco; for women, it was daring and transgressive. Then, in midcentury, it became the norm. As the dangers of tobacco — and the scandalous behavior of tobacco companies in concealing those dangers — became impossible to ignore, smoking took on a new identity: societal evil.

Mr. Vuleta and Mr. Weiss want to make “vaping,” as e-cigarette smoking is known in the industry, acceptable. Keith Richards might still be smoking tobacco, but in Mr. Vuleta’s vision, that grizzled guitarist’s gesture could inspire the audience, en masse, to pull out e-cigarettes. “The moment Keith Richards does it,” he said, “everyone else does, too.”

Mr. Vuleta’s words are more exuberant than the official company line, which is that NJOY doesn’t want everyone to smoke e-cigarettes but only to convert the 40 million Americans who now smoke tobacco. The customers NJOY attracts, and how it attracts them, are at the center of a new public health debate, not to mention a rush to control the e-cigarette business.

At stake is a vaping market that has grown in a few short years to around $1.7 billion in sales in the United States. That is tiny when compared to the nation’s $90 billion cigarette market. But one particularly bullish Wall Street analyst projects that consumption of e-cigarettes will outstrip regular ones in the next decade.

Common, E Cigarette schematic, how it works, electronic cigarette

Common E Cigarette schematic

NJOY was one of the first companies to sell e-cigarettes; now there are 200 in the United States, most of them small. Just last year, however, Big Tobacco got into the game when Lorillard acquired Blu, an e-cigarette brand, and demonstrated its economic power. Within months, relying on Lorillard’s decades-old distribution channels, Blu displaced NJOY as the market leader.

Mr. Weiss still sees NJOY as having an advantage — in building e-cigarettes that look, feel and perform like the real thing. It’s a different strategy than that of competing products that look like long silver tubes or sleek, blinking fountain pens.

“We’re trying to do something very challenging: change a habit that is not only entrenched but one people are willing to take to their grave,” said Mr. Weiss, who is not a smoker but has tried both regular and e-cigarettes. “To accomplish that, we have to narrow as much as possible the bridge to familiarity. We have to make it easy for smokers to cross it.”

To some, though not all, in public health, that vision sounds ill-conceived, if not threatening. Among their concerns is that making smoking-like behavior O.K. again will undo decades of work demonizing smoking itself. Far from leading to more smoking cessation, they argue, e-cigarettes will ultimately revive it, and abet new cases of emphysema, heart disease and lung cancer.

“The very thing that could make them effective is also their greatest danger,” said Dr. Tim McAfee, director of Office on Smoking and Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

bevis and butthead, ecigarette, vapor, stoned, smoking, cartoon

Click to Enlarge

To achieve his ends, Mr. Weiss is building a company of strange bedfellows. He has hired former top tobacco industry executives, but also attracted a former surgeon general, Dr. Richard H. Carmona, who has join

ed the board. NJOY recently hired away a prominent professor of chemistry and genomics from Princeton to be the company’s chief scientist. The company has attracted investment from Sean Parker, the former Facebook president, and Peter Thiel, the PayPal co-founder. There has also been a celebrity endorsement from the

singer Bruno Mars.

Mr. Weiss sees his company as doing something epic. Not long after he was named its president in June 2010, he asked his psychologist if he might record his regular sessions. It was an unusual request, but he thinks that recording his thoughts might ultimately help him write a book or movie script about how he and the company made the cigarette obsolete.

“We’re at this incredible inflection point in history,” he said, adding that the company has a chance to “make the single most beneficial impact on society in this century.” ——>Continue Reading<——

Compiled By:
Josh Martin
Sources:
NPR.org
New York Times

Melissa Block

 
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Posted by on October 29, 2013 in audio blog, news, technology, Video Blog

 

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Scores of 1940s-1950s Cars Found New In A Closed Dealership – Video/Audio Blog

A Cacophony of Classic Cars Heads To Auction

Lambrecht Chevrolet of Pierce, Neb., was like many Midwestern, small-town dealers — owned and operated by a family, with minimal overhead and little need for advertising since most customers were neighbors. Ray and Mildred Lambrecht ran the dealership with just one employee for 50 years before closing up, and later this year the Lambrechts will sell off a trove of 500-odd vehicles they’ve held onto over the decades — including roughly 50 with less than 10 miles on their odometers. It’s less a car sale than a time capsule auction.

While many of the cars in the Lambrecht collection were customer trade-ins that were left outside to rot, the Lambrechts would occasionally take something they couldn’t sell and just put it in storage. City folk might find it unthinkable to leave so many vehicles lying around for so many years, but there’s always more space in rural Nebraska, and the annual costs fall to zero quickly. I wouldn’t call it hoarding, but I know many people who gather old metal like this do form an attachment to their kingdom of rust; every ride has a story, even when there’s weeds growing around it. Jeannie Lambrecht Stillwell, the Lambrecht’s daughter, says the decision to sell wasn’t an easy one for her parents, and that the cars “comprise a lifetime of hard work, tears, and joy.”

Fortunately for collectors, the Lambrechts preservation-through-neglect has created the type of barn finds that many search years to discover. Among the dozen low-miles pickups sits a 1956 Chevrolet Cameo pickup with an odometer reading of just over one mile, and a 1964 Chevy Impala with six miles that still has its original window sticker and the plastic sheeting that covered its red leather seats. Although even ardent Corvette fans look askance at the late ’70s models, the ’78 version here with five miles has an appeal that’s grown over time.

The rest of the 500-car list reads like an inventory of popular models from the ’50s and ’60s — Bel Airs, Corvairs and even a couple of Vegas — which the VanDerBrink Auction company is still documenting ahead of the sale in Pierce on Sept. 28-29, along with dozens of pieces of memorabilia, hubcaps and even a Corvette pedal car. You can see the auctioneer take a walk though the Lambrechts’ garage below:

Car collectors dream about finding a forgotten “new” classic car, discovered in a barn  or warehouse somewhere, covered in dust. This is that dream, only 500 times better….

A small-town Midwestern dealership in Pierce, Nebraska sold Chevrolets to local families  and first-time buyers for 50 years until it’s husband and wife team finally closed their doors seventeen years ago. Since then, a staggering inventory of 500 surviving cars, new & used, have been stored away, undriven for decades. Some 50 cars “brand new” Chevrolets from the 1950s and 60s have less than 10 miles on the odometer.

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Compiled By: Josh Martin

 

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iOS 7 Could Be The Largest Tech Upgrade In History – Beyond The Shadows: It’s Is All About The Screen


Click to read a full transcript of the fresh air story,Beyond The Shadows: Apple’s iOS 7 Is All About The Screen

6 Overlooked New Features of iOS 7

1. Limit Ad Tracking
A lot of the best overlooked features of iOS 7 are hidden in the settings, and the ability to limit ad tracking is one of them. This setting—found in Settings > Privacy > Advertising—lets you limit ad tracking and reset your device’s “Advertising Identifier.” The Advertising Identifier is a “non-permanent, non-personal, device identifier, that apps will use to give you more control over advertisers’ ability to use tracking methods,” according to Apple’s included information. “[I]f you choose to limit ad tracking, apps are not permitted to use the Advertising Identifier to serve you targeted ads.” There’s a little disclaimer that advertisers are not yet required to use the Advertising Identifier (implying that they use another identifier at the moment), but that they will be soon. This makes it pretty clear that advertisers can essentially track some of your activity on your iOS device and use that information to advertise products and services that are specific to you—unless you choose to limit Ad Tracking with this new feature.

2. Do Not Track in Safari
Another privacy and security feature new to iOS 7 is the Do Not Track option for mobile Safari. It appears to be an updated and better version of iOS 6’s Private Browsing. (The desktop version of Safari has Do Not Track for a while.) You can find it in iOS 7 by going to Settings > Safari > and looking under Privacy & Security. It essentially prevents websites, advertisers, and other services from tracking your online behavior.

3. Blocking Numbers for Phone, Messages, FaceTime
You can now block numbers for phone calls, text messages and iMessages, as well as FaceTime calls in one fell swoop. Go to Settings and pick either Messages or FaceTime. Then select Blocked. You’re able to add Contacts who should be blocked from all the apps and services just by adding them in either the Messages or FaceTime area of the Settings.

4io7-screen-shot. Auto Close Captioning and Subtitles
I’ve really gotten into some of the accessibility features in iOS recently, and iOS 7 has even more. There’s a new button for Subtitles and Captioning (Settings > General > Accessibility, and then look under Hearing) that, when enabled, will automatically opt you into using closed captioning and subtitles when they’re available. It’s a feature that’s hard to test thoroughly until the public release of iOS 7, unfortunately, but I love its promise. It even has a setting that lets you change the style of the type (which crashed repeatedly in iOS 7 beta 6; again, we’ll have to wait until the final release of iOS 7 to know whether the feature is truly reliable). It’s an enticing option for the hard of hearing, as well as speakers of other languages and anyone who has an easier time understanding spoken dialogue when text is provided, too.

5. Apps Popular Near Me
Finding apps that are popular near your current location seems like a gem of a feature for frequent travelers. Let’s say you arrive in San Francisco and aren’t sure what are the best apps for public transit maps or hiring taxis. The “popular near me” recommendations in the App Store should be able to pull up the most tried and trusted apps for locals. Of course, we’ll have to see how it works in practice, but the traveler in me loves this idea.

6. Preset Maps for Walking or Driving Directions
The Maps app has a setting that lets you chance the default preferred directions from driving to walking, which is great for people who tend to go places by foot. (Allow me to add, however, that I’m still not a fan of Apple’s Map app, which on a recent trip to Atlanta suggested my destination was half a mile closer than it actually was. Gah.)

More About Jonathan Ive

Sir Jonathan Paul “Jony” Ive, KBE RDI (born 27 February 1967) is an English designer and the Senior Vice President of Design at Apple Inc. He has the overall responsibility for Industrial Design and also provides leadership and direction for Human Interface (HI) software teams across the company. He is the lead designer of many of Apple’s products, including the MacBook Pro, iMac, MacBook Air, iPod, iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad, iPad Mini and iOS 7.

After finishijonathan-iveng Newcastle Polytechnic, Ive co-founded London design agency Tangerine. He was commissioned in 1992 by Apple’s then Chief of Industrial Design Robert Brunner as a consultant, then as a full-time Apple employee. He designed the second generation of the Newton, the MessagePad110, taking him to Taipei for the first time. He became the Senior Vice President of Industrial Design in 1997 after the return of Steve Jobs and subsequently headed the industrial design team responsible for most of the company’s significant hardware products. Ive’s first design assignment was the iMac; it helped pave the way for many other designs such as the iPod and eventually the iPhone and the iPad.Jobs made design a chief focus of the firm’s product strategy, and Ive proceeded to establish the firm’s leading position with a series of functionally clean, aesthetically pleasing, and remarkably popular products.

The work and principles of Dieter Rams, the chief designer at Braun from 1961 until 1995, influenced Ive’s work. In Gary Hustwit‘s documentary film Objectified (2009), Rams says that Apple is one of only a handful of companies existing today that design products according to Rams’ ten principles of “good design.”

Ive has his own laboratory with his appointed design team. They work to music provided by DJ John Digweed, a close friend of Ive’s.The majority of Apple employees are not allowed in the laboratory. According to the Steve Jobs biography, Ive’s design studio has foam cutting and printing machines, and the windows are tinted. Jobs told Isaacson: “He has more operational power than anyone else at Apple except me.” On 29 October 2012, Apple announced that “Jony Ive will provide leadership and direction for Human Interface (HI) across the company in addition to his role as the leader of Industrial Design.” With the WWDC13 announcing of the iOS7 with Jonathan Ive as a principal, the Apple Press Info also updated his title to Senior Vice President of Design.

Steve Jobs said of Ive, “If I have a spiritual partner at Apple, it’s Jony.”

More About iOS 7s Release Date

It now looks like Apple will never release iOS 7 beta 7. Instead, the next version sent to developers is likely to be the gold master (GM), or final version.

ios7-release-dateInvitations to Apple’s Sept. 10 iPhone event are likely to arrive tomorrow, Sept. 3. The invitations could be sent around the same time that Apple releases iOS 7 GM to developers, according to our anonymous sources.

It is still possible, however, that Apple holds off on releasing the final version of iOS 7 until after the Sept. 10 event. In either case, the public would finally be able to download iOS 7 on, or around, Sept. 20 — at least on the iPhone.

At this point, the biggest unknown is whether Apple releases iOS 7 for the iPad this month, or waits until new devices are launched in October. Right now, a delay is possible, but not confirmed.

First announced at WWDC in June, iOS 7 is a radical departure from past versions. In addition to its flatter design, iOS 7 includes new features such as Control Center, AirDrop, and iTunes Radio.

Apple released iOS 7 beta 6 on Thursday, Aug. 15.

A Quick Word From Apple

silver-apple-logo“Nothing we’ve ever created has been designed just to look beautiful. That’s approaching the opportunity from the wrong end. Instead, as we reconsidered iOS, our purpose was to create an experience that was simpler, more useful, and more enjoyable — while building on the things people love about iOS. Ultimately, redesigning the way it works led us to redesign the way it looks. Because good design is design that’s in service of the experience.

Simplicity is often equated with minimalism. Yet true simplicity is so much more than just the absence of clutter or the removal of decoration. It’s about offering up the right things, in the right place, right when you need them. It’s about bringing order to complexity. And it’s about making something that always seems to “just work.” When you pick something up for the first time and already know how to do the things you want to do, that’s simplicity.”
– Jonathan Ive

Compiled By:
Josh Martin
Sources:
NPR.org,
Wikipedia,
Apple.com,
PC Mag,
App Advice.com

 

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Benedictine, a short history and the original recipe.

History:

temp[Benedictine or Benedictine Spread is a condiment made with cucumbers, onions and cream cheese. It is used to make cucumber sandwiches and was invented around the turn of the 20th century by Jennie Carter Benedict, a caterer and restaurateur in Louisville, Kentucky. Benedict opened her restaurant in 1893. It was there that she invented and originally served benedictine. Originally used for sandwiches, benedictine has in recent years been used as a dip for chips and filling for potatoes.

“Louisvillians quiz guests and younger family members on the origin of Benedictine. The famous cucumber spread was, of course, created by one of our city’s most famous residents, Jennie C. Benedict. Setting the highest of culinary standards, “Miss Jennie” was also a successful businesswoman, a writer who for a time served as editor of The Courier-Journal’s Household section, and an important community volunteer.

The University Press of Kentucky has republished Jennie Benedict’s The Blue Ribbon Cook Book, from the fourth edition, 1922.” Susan Reigler, former restaurant critic and travel editor of The C-J, has written the Introduction, and for the first time the recipe for Benedictine Spread is published. The wonder is that it was never included in the other five editions, or in Benedict’s autobiography. Maybe she considered her recipe as secret as Colonel Sanders did his herbs and spices for chicken.

Reigler writes lovingly of her own youth when young ladies wore white gloves and munched cream cheese-and-nut sandwiches, based on Benedict’s concoction, in the restaurant of the old Stewart’s Dry Goods department store. She recounts the influence of recipes on today’s restaurants and home cooks as well.

A close variation of Miss Jennie’s “Stuffed Eggplant” has been on the menu of Simpsonville’s Old Stone Inn for many years. Louisville’s Kathy Cary at Lilly’s serves her own version of Benedictine, as do Chef Matt Weber at the Uptown Café, and Ouita Michel at Holly Hill Inn in Midway. Holly Hill’s sous-chef, Lisa Laufer, supplies her recipe for this book.

Reigler gives an interesting picture of the woman who, in 1893, started a catering business from her home. Benedict soon began defining Louisville’s tastes as she catered parties and weddings of its most prominent citizens and fed the middle class in her tearooms.

Miss Jennie’s menus became musts for Derby Day celebrations. Through the decades her cookbook remains popular. Reigler says, “I had many, many calls from readers trying to locate a copy. …”

The Blue Ribbon Cook Book contains a Glossary that is a cooking lesson in itself. The large sections on “Entrees” and “Desserts” are complemented by interesting advice in “Sick Room Cookery,” and practical kitchen tricks.

Probably the most intriguing recipe of all is that which keeps Miss Jennie’s name on Louisville lips. Here is the version supplied by cookbook author and former Courier-Journal food editor Ronni Lundy. It is the one that Jennie C. Benedict would most likely have included in her book:

Benedictine spread

· 8 ounces of cream cheese, softened
· 3 tablespoons cucumber juice
· 1 tablespoon onion juice
· 1 teaspoon salt
· a few grains of cayenne pepper
· 2 drops green food coloring

To get the juice, peel and grate a cucumber, then wrap in a clean dish towel and squeeze juice into a dish. Discard pulp. Do the same for the onion. Mix all ingredients with a fork until well blended. Using a blender will make the spread too runny.”

20130715-075038.jpg
(Above) The interior of Jennie Benedict’s restaurant at 554 S. Fourth Street in downtown Louisville. The establishment opened in 1900 and was sold in 1925 for $50,000. Benedict was trained in New York by Fanny Farmer.

Weekend Edition Saturday Transcript:

temp[Cream cheese, cucumber juice and a touch of onion. That may sound like an unlikely combination, but Benedictine is a Kentucky favorite. Gwynne Potts, a self-proclaimed aficionado, says it’s delicious.

“The best thing to eat Benedictine on is just white bread,” Potts says. “No special bread; it only takes away from the Benedictine.”

Potts, who grew up in Louisville, Ky., has been enjoying the creamy combo for six decades. And for the first 18 years of her life, she says, Benedictine was like ketchup. She assumed it was eaten everywhere until, as a college student, she took a spring break trip to Florida.

“We couldn’t imagine having lunch without Benedictine,” Potts says. “We went from store to store, saying, ‘Where’s your Benedictine?’ And they just looked at us. It was the first time I realized the whole world didn’t know about Benedictine.”

Years later, that’s still pretty much the case. But this creamy, cool cucumber spread has persisted in Kentucky ever since Jennie Benedict, a famous Louisville caterer, invented it around the turn of the 20th century.

Benedict opened a tearoom on downtown Louisville’s South Fourth Street in 1911. Back then, that was the city’s bustling commercial center, packed with stores, cafes, theaters and hotels. Today, it’s a few boutiques and several wig shops.

Susan Reigler, a former restaurant critic for Louisville’s newspaper, The Courier-Journal, wrote the introduction to the re-release of Benedict’s Blue Ribbon Cook Book in 2008. Reigler says Benedict’s role in the city’s culinary history was huge and that the roots of many of the city’s flavors can be traced back to her recipes.

Of course, some of Benedict’s concoctions have fallen out of favor — like calf brains and peptonized oysters for the sick. But Reigler says Benedictine has endured.

“I think it’s just very different. It’s very refreshing. It’s a light spread,” she says. “What could be more light and delicate than cucumber juice?”

temp[One source of contention among Louisville chefs is whether to include the two drops of green food coloring that Benedict used in her recipe. The dye lets people know that it’s not just a plain cream cheese spread, but the practice is no longer popular with chefs like Kathy Cary, who prefer more natural ingredients. Cary has owned Lilly’s, a restaurant that specializes in Kentucky cuisine, for the past 25 years. For her, the dish is truly a way to showcase both local cucumbers and local traditions.

“Mine is really about … celebrating the cucumbers,” Cary says. “Obviously, no dye, no food coloring. And it’s filled with texture, and sort of the crunch of the cucumbers.”

Some cooks serve Benedictine as a dip, others as tea sandwiches with the crusts cut off. But Cary usually puts hers into a hearty sandwich with homemade mayonnaise, bacon, bibb lettuce and sprouts.

However you serve it, Benedictine is best accompanied with another Kentucky signature: bourbon.

Sources: Wikipedia, NRP.org, The Courier Journal
Compiled By: Josh Martin

 

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“An Architects Code”, from 99% Invisible – Are American Prisons Humane? – Audio Blog

An Architects Code


Audio Source: 99% Invisible

Donate to 99% Invisible Here

Click Here to view the AIA(s) Code of Ethics

More From Raphael Sperry:

In 2005, Architects/Designers/Planners for Social Responsibility (ADPSR) launched a “Prison Design Boycott” on the grounds that prisons are inhumane environments. Raphael Sperry, its longtime leader, has recently begun to focus full-time on the matter with the aid of a prestigious Soros Justice Fellowship.

On behalf of ADPSR, Sperry has recently launched a Change.org petition–asking the American Institute of Architects to amend its Code of Ethics & Professional Conduct to prohibit the design of spaces for torture and killing. Sperry spoke yesterday at Architecture for Humanity‘s Design Like You Give a Damn: LIVE event in San Francisco, and is the subject of a lengthy feature and profile by Karrie Jacobs in ARCHITECT Magazine. Both Jacobs’ profile and the petition itself are well worth a read.

Source: Public Interest Design.org

One October afternoon in downtown Toronto, a small band of protestors clustered outside the Hilton holding handmade signs with slogans like “Food not Prisons” and “Housing not Prisons.” The so-called Prison Moratorium Action Coalition was denouncing a sprawling piece of legislation passed in Canada’s Parliament earlier this year, one that imposed mandatory minimum sentences for many offenses and authorized a multibillion-dollar program for prison construction.

The target of this demonstration, however, wasn’t government officials or law enforcement agencies. Instead, it was the annual fall meeting of the Academy of Architecture for Justice. The protestors had decided to go after “others who profit from locking people away.” In this case, the “others” were architects—specifically, the Toronto-based Zeidler Partnership, including senior partner Alan Munn and several of his colleagues—who were at the Hilton presenting their newly completed maximum security Toronto South Detention Centre.

Munn, for his part, argues that the “ragtag group” was off-base in its efforts because Toronto South had nothing to do with the federal crime initiative. Rather, the crisply modern facility with its Miesian entry pavilion was the solution to a provincial problem, a replacement for older Toronto prisons, one of which dated back to 1858. “It’s really a response to some terrible conditions in existing facilities,” Munn insists.

Rightly or wrongly, it seems almost unprecedented to hold architects accountable for decisions that are political in nature. Normally, the only dissent heard at AIA events comes from the architects themselves.

In fact, deep inside the Hilton, the protestors had an ally. On the agenda was a panel called “Long-Term Solitary Confinement in the U.S.: Design and Implications.” One of the panelists, Raphael Sperry, a 38-year-old Berkeley, Calif.–based architect, has dedicated the past 10 years of his life to persuading his colleagues to stop designing prisons. Currently, he has a grant from the Open Society Foundations, a nonprofit founded by George Soros, to focus on his mission—the first architect selected as one of that organization’s Justice Fellows.

The points he made that day in October were simple: “Long-term solitary confinement is torture. Execution chambers kill people. Architects should not be party to torture and killing.” He then announced his campaign to amend the AIA’s Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct to “prohibit the design of spaces intended for long-term solitary isolation and execution.”

At first glance, the idea that the AIA would take a stand on incarceration practices or capital punishment seems counterintuitive, the issue too far removed from the organization’s mission. But Sperry framed his argument using the existing language of the code, pointing out that Ethical Standard 1.4 says that “members should uphold human rights in all their professional endeavors.”

“The Jailing-ist Country on the Planet”
In truth, what Sperry is proposing is the outgrowth of the debate that has long been an undercurrent of the profession: Do architects have an obligation to improve the human condition? From the Bauhaus’s promise of cheaper, better dwellings for all, to the current generation of do-gooder architects designing emergency shelters and affordable housing, the profession’s humanitarian impulse is never far from the surface. On the other hand, we can all name architect-designed buildings that have been portrayed as cruel in ways big and small. Minoru Yamasaki’s Pruitt-Igoe housing project in St. Louis comes to mind. As does Philip Johnson’s Bobst Library at New York University with its vast, vertigo inducing atrium that seemingly acted as an inducement to three recent student suicides. Not to mention that architects routinely act as enablers and promoters of the worst excesses of commercial development.

Arguably, the watershed moments in prison design have generally been more philosophical than architectural in nature. In 1776, the Philadelphia Quakers introduced the idea of solitary confinement at the Walnut Street Jail, to give prisoners ample time to reflect. And in 1787, philosopher Jeremy Bentham proposed the penitentiary panopticon, with a circular layout that placed an unseen jailer at the core of the building, giving him “invisible omniscience” as he watched over 1,000 prisoners. (Continue Reading Here)

Source: Architects Magazine

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More About Juan E. Méndez:

temp2In 1970, he received his law degree from Stella Maris University in Mar del Plata, Argentina.

Early in his career, he became involved in representing political prisoners. As a result, he was arrested by the Argentinean military dictatorship and subjected to torture and administrative detention for 18 months. During this period, Amnesty International adopted him as a “Prisoner of Conscience,” and in 1977, he was expelled from the country and moved to the United States.

Subsequently, Mendez worked for the Catholic Church in Aurora, Illinois, protecting the rights of migrant workers. In 1978 he joined the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights under the Law in Washington, D.C., and in 1982, he launched Human Rights Watch’s (HRW) Americas Program. He continued to work at HRW for 15 years, becoming their general counsel in 1994.He is also a visiting scholar at American University Washington College of Law’s Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law.

From 1996 to 1999, Mendez served as the Executive Director of the Inter-American Institute of Costa Rica. He then worked as a Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Civil and Human Rights at the University of Notre Dame from October 1999 to 2004.

In 2001, Mendez began working for the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ), an international human rights NGO. He served as its president from 2004 to 2009, and currently is its President Emeritus. He is also currently the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture.

Mendez has taught human rights law at Georgetown Law School, the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, and the University of Oxford Masters Program in International Human Rights Law in the UK.

He has received numerous awards for his work, including the Goler T. Butcher Medal from the American Society of International Law; a Doctorate Honoris Causa from the Université du Québec à Montréal (University of Quebec in Montreal); the “Monsignor Oscar A. Romero Award for Leadership in Service to Human Rights” by the University of Dayton; and the “Jeanne and Joseph Sullivan Award” of the Heartland Alliance.

Source: Wikipedia.org

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Lawyers have an ethics code. Journalists have an ethics code. Architects do, too. According to Ethical Standard 1.4 of the American Institute of Architects (AIA):

“Members should uphold human rights in all their professional endeavors.”
A group called Architects, Designers, and Planners for Social Responsibility (ADPSR) has taken the stance that there are some buildings that just should not have been built. Buildings that, by design, violate standards of human rights.
Specifically, this refers to prisons with execution chambers, or prisons that are designed keep people in long-term isolation (or as prison officials call it, “segregation”). The latter kind of prison is called a “supermax,” or “security housing unit” (SHU). There is no legal definition for solitary confinement, so it’s up for debate as to whether the SHU constitutes solitary confinement.
There has been a lot of controversy surrounding one SHU at a Northern California prison called Pelican Bay.
image
(Credit: California Department of Corrections)
Pelican Bay State Prison was designed by San Francisco-based architecture firm KMD. KMD declined to speak with us for this story. But Jim Mueller, an architect with KMD who worked on Pelican Bay, told Architect Magazine: ”“The inmates have no contact with other inmates during the vast majority, if not all, of the day. They are only allowed out of their cells for very short periods of time for constitutionally required exercise periods.”

 image

(Rendering of the Pelican Bay SHU. Each “pod” contains six cells, a shower, and an exercise yard. Control rooms monitor the pods, and can open and close cell doors remotely. The control rooms are accessed by an upper deck, which has a metal mesh floor allowing officers to fire a shotgun down into the pod in the event of a security breach. Courtesy of Raphael Sperry.)

Life inside of the SHU at Pelican Bay means 22 to 23 hours a day inside of 7.5 by 12 foot room. It’s not a space that’s designed to keep you comfortable. But it’s not just these architectural features, that concern humanitarian activists and psychiatrists. It’s the amount of time many prisoners spend in that cells, alone, without any meaningful activity. Some psychiatrists, such as Terry Kupers, say there is a whole litany of effects that a SHU can have on a person: massive anxiety, paranoia, depression, concentration and memory problems, and loss of ability to control one’s anger (which can get a prisoner in trouble and lengthen the SHU sentence). In California, SHU inmates are 33 times more likely to commit suicide than other prisoners incarcerated elsewhere in the state. There are even reports of eye damage  due to the restriction on distance viewing.  Terry Kupers says that a SHU ”destroys people as human beings.”

(Terry Kupers at the Conference on Solitary Confinement and Human Rights, November 2012.)

Compared with some other prisons in the California system, the Pelican Bay SHU has some redeeming architectural features. Inmates can get natural light from skylights outside of their cells, which drifts in through doors made of a perforated metal. These porous doors also allow for inmates to communicate with each other, even though there are no lines of sight to any prisoner from within the cell.
image
(Prisoner Robert Luca sitting outside of his cell. Notice that the cell faces a blank wall, seen through the visual distortion of the perforated metal door. Credit: Nancy Mullane.)
But on the other hand, cells don’t have windows. Inmates never get to see the horizon. The only times prisoners get to leave the cell is to visit the shower, or the exercise yard—which is an empty, windowless room not that much bigger than a cell, with twenty-foot high concrete walls.
(KQED and the Center for Investigative Reporting launched an investigation on Pelican Bay in February, 2013)
Again, there is no universally accepted definition of solitary confinement. But some groups, like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, have gone beyond calling the SHU solitary confinement—they call it torture. In 2011, the UN Special Rapporteur on torture said anything over 15 days in solitary confinement is a human rights abuse—which other sources have interpreted as torture.

So if it is the ethical code of architects to promote human rights…what is their responsibility to the people who are incarcerated in their buildings?

Enter Raphael Sperry, a San Francisco-based architect and president of ADPSR. He believes it’s up to architects to lead the charge against these buildings. Sperry and the ADPSR are trying to get the American Institute of Architects to adopt an amendment to their ethics code:
“Members shall not design spaces intended for execution or for torture or other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment, including prolonged solitary confinement.”
image
(Under surveillance in the exercise yard. Credit: Nancy Mullane)
This episode is a special collaboration between 99% Invisible and the podcast Life of the Law. 99% Invisible producer Sam Greenspan spoke with Raphael Sperry and Terry Kupers about the effects of these kinds of prisons on the people who inhabit them, and what they say about the practice of architecture as a whole in the US.

In addition, Life of the Law’s Nancy Mullane drove very, very far to visit the SHU at Pelican Bay State Prison, where she spoke with prisoners and prison officials about life in the SHU.

Source: 99% Invisible.org
Compiled By: Josh Martin
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“Hot in my backyard” – This American Life – Video Blog

MAY 17, 2013
After years of being stuck, the national conversation on climate change finally started to shift — just a little — last year, the hottest year on record in the U.S., with Hurricane Sandy flooding the New York subway, drought devastating Midwest farms, and California and Colorado on fire. Lots of people were wondering if global warming had finally arrived, here at home. This week, stories about this new reality.

Source: ThisAmericanLife.org

More about Nolan Doesken

AASC President (2008-2010)temp
Colorado State Climatologist and Senior Research Associate
Director, Fort Collins Weather Station
nolan@atmos.colostate.edu
970-491-3690 (phone)
970-491-3314 (fax)
Location Annex A 201

Source: Colorado Climate Center

More About Bob Inglis

tempRobert Durden “Bob” Inglis, Sr. (born October 11, 1959) is an American politician who was the U.S. Representative for South Carolina’s 4th congressional district from 1993 to 1999 and again from 2005 to 2011. He is a member of the Republican Party. Inglis was defeated in the Republican primary in June 2010. In July 2012, Inglis launched the Energy and Enterprise Initiative, a nationwide public engagement campaign promoting conservative and free-enterprise solutions to energy and climate challenges. E&EI is based out of George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., and is working to build support for energy policies that are true to conservative principles of limited government, accountability, reasonable risk-avoidance, and free enterprise.

Source: Wikipedia.org

More about “The Energy and Enterprise Initiative

The Energy and Enterprise Initiative (E&EI) is a campaign to unleash the power of free enterprise to deliver the fuels of the future.

America needs a long-term, stable energy policy to achieve energy security and avoid the unnecessary risks of a changing climate. E&EI promotes conservative alternatives to big-government mandates and fickle tax incentives: set the economics right and get the government out of the way.

Conservatives can take the lead on energy and climate by embracing solutions that are true to conservative principles. Conservatism is not about passing problems and costs down to the next generations; conservatives want to solve problems efficiently while protecting liberty. E&EI is a campaign rooted in conservative principles.

Source: Energy and Enterprise.com

More About Bill McKibben

tempBill McKibben is the author of a dozen books about the environment, beginning with The End of Nature in 1989, which is regarded as the first book for a general audience on climate change. He is a founder of the grassroots climate campaign 350.org, which has coordinated 15,000 rallies in 189 countries since 2009. Time Magazine called him ‘the planet’s best green journalist’ and the Boston Globe said in 2010 that he was ‘probably the country’s most important environmentalist.’ Schumann Distinguished Scholar at Middlebury College, he holds honorary degrees from a dozen colleges, including the Universities of Massachusetts and Maine, the State University of New York, and Whittier and Colgate Colleges. In 2011 he was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Bill grew up in suburban Lexington, Massachusetts. He was president of the Harvard Crimson newspaper in college. Immediately after college he joined the New Yorker magazine as a staff writer, and wrote much of the “Talk of the Town” column from 1982 to early 1987. He quit the magazine when its longtime editor William Shawn was forced out of his job, and soon moved to the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York.

His first book, The End of Nature, was published in 1989 by Random House after being serialized in the New Yorker. It is regarded as the first book for a general audience about climate change, and has been printed in more than 20 languages. Several editions have come out in the United States, including an updated version published in 2006.

His next book, The Age of Missing Information, was published in 1992. It is an account of an experiment: McKibben collected everything that came across the 100 channels of cable tv on the Fairfax, Virginia system (at the time among the nation’s largest) for a single day. He spent a year watching the 2,400 hours of videotape, and then compared it to a day spent on the mountaintop near his home. This book has been widely used in colleges and high schools, and was reissued in a new edition in 2006.

Subsequent books include Hope, Human and Wild, about Curitiba, Brazil and Kerala, India, which he cites as examples of people living more lightly on the earth; The Comforting Whirlwind: God, Job, and the Scale of Creation, which is about the Book of Job and the environment; Maybe One, about human population; Long Distance: A Year of Living Strenuously, about a year spent training for endurance events at an elite level; Enough, about what he sees as the existential dangers of genetic engineering; Wandering Home, about a long solo hiking trip from his current home in the mountains east of Lake Champlain in Ripton, Vermont back to his longtime neighborhood of the Adirondacks.

In March 2007 McKibben published Deep Economy: the Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future. It addresses what the author sees as shortcomings of the growth economy and envisions a transition to more local-scale enterprise.

In late summer 2006, Bill helped lead a five-day walk across Vermont to demand action on global warming that some newspaper accounts called the largest demonstration to date in America about climate change. Beginning in January 2007 he founded stepitup07.org to demand that Congress enact curbs on carbon emissions that would cut global warming pollution 80 percent by 2050. With six college students, he organized 1,400 global warming demonstrations across all 50 states of America on April 14, 2007. Step It Up 2007 has been described as the largest day of protest about climate change in the nation’s history. A guide to help people initiate environmental activism in their community coming out of the Step It Up 2007 experience entitled Fight Global Warming Now was published in October 2007 and a second day of action on climate change was held the following November 3.

March 2008 saw the publication of The Bill McKibben Reader, a collection of 44 essays written for various publications over the past 25 years.

Bill is a frequent contributor to various magazines including The New York Times, The Atlantic Monthly, Harper’s, Orion Magazine, Mother Jones, The New York Review of Books, Granta, Rolling Stone, and Outside. He is also a board member and contributor to Grist Magazine.

Bill has been awarded Guggenheim and Lyndhurst Fellowships, and won the Lannan Prize for nonfiction writing in 2000. He has honorary degrees from Green Mountain College, Unity College, Lebanon Valley College and Sterling College.

Bill currently resides with his wife, writer Sue Halpern, and his daughter, Sophie, who was born in 1993, in Ripton, Vermont. He is a scholar in residence at Middlebury College.

Source: Bill McKibben.com

Compiled By: Josh Martin
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“The El Dorado Machine”, How Lidar uncovered the lost city of “La Ciudad Blanca”

temp9La Ciudad Blanca, or “The White City”, (also Xucutaco in nahuatl and Hueitapalan in mayan), is a legendary lost city in the Mosquitia region of Honduras. The city was originally sought by the conquistador Hernando Cortes for the rumors it held vast quantities of gold. It was also the supposed birthplace of the feathered serpent Quetzalcoatl. The source of the legend is unclear; some claim it originates in the time of the Spanish Conquista while others claim to originate from the indigenous Pech and Tawahka peoples.

Over the years a mix of treasure hunting and scientific expeditions have yielded findings that have fueled the legend of the lost city.

One of the first documented archeological explorations of the region was performed in 1933 by archeologist William Duncan Strong for the Smithsonian Institution. The 1933 expedition included areas in the Bay Island Department of Honduras as well as areas in the Mosquitia region of Honduras and Nicaragua. In his field journal we recorded the existence of archeological mounds, among many the Wankibila or Guanquivila mounds on the banks of the Rio Patuca and the Floresta Mounds on the banks of the Rio Conquirre.

For centuries, explorers tried to find la Ciudad Blanca, a fabled city in the rain forests of Central America. Dense jungle impeded efforts to uncover it. On Talk of the nation, Douglas Preston told the story of a team who used light detection technology (lindar) to survey the iconic ruins from the air.

temp9The Latest expedition took a 21st Century Approach and seems to have been successful in finding the lost city, “La Ciudad Blanca”. Using a simple single engine airplane equipped with a modern laser called a Lindar; Douglas Preston and his team scanned the canopy of the Honduraian rain-forest.You’ll be amazed at what they’ve found. Listen to the “Talk of the Nation” video above for more information.

**UPADTE 05-08-2013**

The rain forests of Mosquitia, which span more than thirty-two thousand square miles of Honduras and Nicaragua, are among the densest and most inhospitable in the world. “It’s mountainous,” Chris Begley, an archeologist and expert on Honduras, told me recently. “There’s white water. There are jumping vipers, coral snakes, fer-de-lance, stinging plants, and biting insects. And then there are the illnesses—malaria, dengue fever, leishmaniasis, Chagas’.” Nevertheless, for nearly a century, archeologists and adventurers have plunged into the region, in search of the ruins of an ancient city, built of white stone, called la Ciudad Blanca, the White City.

Rumors of the site’s existence date back at least to 1526, when, in a letter to the Spanish emperor Charles V, the conquistador Hernán Cortés reported hearing “reliable” information about a province in the interior of Honduras that “will exceed Mexico in riches, and equal it in the largeness of its towns and villages.” The claim was not an impossible one; the New World encountered by Europeans had wealthy cities and evidence of former splendor. In 1839, John Lloyd Stephens, an American diplomat and amateur archeologist, went in search of a group of ruins in the jungles of western Honduras—and found the stupendous remains of the Maya city of Copán, which he bought from a local landowner for fifty dollars. Stephens explored scores of other iconic ruins in Central America, which he described in a lavishly illustrated, best-selling book; serious archeology soon followed. Researchers have since determined that, beginning around 250 B.C., much of Mesoamerica south of Mexico had been dominated by the Maya civilization, which held sway until its mysterious collapse, in the tenth century.

But the grand Mesoamerican cultures, which stretched from Mexico southward, seemed to end in Honduras. The regions east and south of Copán were inhabited by peoples whom early scholars considered more “primitive” and less interesting, and the jungles were so dense, and the conditions so dangerous, that little exploration was done. Nonetheless, rumors persisted of lost cities—perhaps Maya, perhaps not—hidden in rugged Mosquitia. By the twentieth century, these legends had coalesced into a single site, la Ciudad Blanca, sometimes referred to as the Lost City of the Monkey God. . . .

Sources: The New Yorker, Wikipedia.com and NPR.org
Compiled By: Josh Martin
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