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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Danish Police Arrest Iraqi Asylum Seekers in Church

Al Jazeera English - Europe - Iraqis seized from Denmark church
Danish police have clashed with protesters as they moved to arrest a group of 17 Iraqis who had taken refuge in a Copenhagen church following the rejection of their asylum applications.

Police forced their way into the Protestant Brorson church in a suburb of the Danish capital early on Thursday, pushing past at least 100 protesters who had tried to barricade the building.

Some reports said pepper spray was used as the police tried to clear the protesters, five of whom were arrested.

Video of the operation appeared to show an officer beating a woman protester several times with his truncheon, and other incidents of what critics said was excessive or unnecessary force.

The move drew an angry response from the pastor in charge of the church, Per Ramsland, who said the police action violated Danish traditions of church sanctuary.

"I had never dreamed that something like this could happen," he told reporters.

Denmark's former prime minister, Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, also condemned the police action, saying it "went beyond the bounds of common humanity and decency".

Denmark's justice Minister, Brian Mikkelsen, however defended the police action, saying in a statement that "the law must be respected" and "one should not count on special treatment even if one occupies a church".

A spokesman for Copenhagen police said the 17 asylum seekers had been taken to a local police station for questioning to establish their identities and if they had a legal right to remain in Denmark.
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Buddy Holly Lives, and Cory Doctorow is Psyched

Buddy Holly is Alive and Well on Ganymede, one of the all-time great American comedy sf novels, will be a movie - Boing Boing

Cory Doctorow writes:

Holy CRAP this is good news: Bradley Denton's incredible comic sf novel Buddy Holly is Alive and Well on Ganymede is being made into a movie directed and written by Robert Rugan.

Buddy Holly is the story of Oliver Vale, whose mother was obsessed with Buddy Holly, and who one day discovers that Buddy Holly is on the TV, on every TV, on every station, with a guitar around his neck, standing in a bubble on the surface of Ganymede, disoriented, musical, and periodically reading out a sign saying that further information is available from Oliver, and supplying his home address.

The entire world chases Oliver at this point: cops, radio cops, televangelists and their flocks, aliens -- you name it. And Oliver begins a road-trip across America to Lubbock, Texas, there to exhume Buddy Holly's corpse and verify for himself that the famous musician is not on a distant, airless moon.

When this book came out, I was a bookseller at Bakka in Toronto, the venerable science fiction bookstore. If you were a science fiction reader in Toronto in those days, it's a damned good bet I sold you a copy of it. I hand-sold about 750 copies of that book, and would have sold more. Will sell more.

Bradley Denton is a stone comic genius and no two of his books are alike, but this is the one I love -- I worship -- as the apotheosis of a certain kind of gonzo, brilliant, marvellous thing that is to American science fiction comedy what Douglas Adams' Hitchhikers' series is to British sf comedy.

To see it come back and to the big screen, too -- marvellous. Congrats, Brad, and well-deserved.
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RIP Rashied Ali

Rashied Ali, 1935–2009

feuilleton writes:

The death this week of guitar pioneer Les Paul is already receiving considerable attention; less will be given to the passing of drummer Rashied Ali. The latter means more for me as a musician since I’m listening to his work all the time. Ali famously (and to some, controversially) replaced drummer Elvin Jones as John Coltrane’s drummer of choice from 1966 onwards, and Ali’s revolutionary free style enabled Coltrane to voyage even further out with his stream-of-consciousness sax playing. Ali’s playing supports all of Coltrane’s later recordings, including their extraordinary duet album Interstellar Space (recorded in the ’60s but not released until 1974). Following Coltrane’s death in 1967, Ali played on a number of albums by the fantastic Alice Coltrane, and while this period inevitably overshadows any appraisal of his work, his career continued to develop to the present day.

If you’re unused to the “formlessness” of free jazz, Interstellar Space can be a forbidding region until you attune yourself to its rarefied atmospheres. Alice Coltrane’s A Monastic Trio, recorded shortly after her husband’s death, is less challenging and a beautiful tribute to John Coltrane from his wife, friends and collaborators. With Jimmy Garrison on bass, Pharoah Sanders on sax, Alice playing harp and piano, and Ali drumming on five of its six tracks, its a perfect introduction to Ali’s work, and, by extension, to some of the finest music of the last century.

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Photography: New York Light and Dark

Art Review - 'New York Photographs' - Frozen in Time, a City in Flux, at Bonni Benrubi, Yossi Milo, Laurence Miller and More -

Ken Johnson writes:

Last winter, when the art economy was looking especially dark, a group of Manhattan photography dealers got together and decided to put on a spirit-lifting show: “New York Photographs,” a summertime tribute to the greatest city on earth. Thirteen galleries agreed to mount exhibitions — some dedicated to individual artists, some to subjects like sex or music — of which six are currently up. Together they offer a tantalizing series of glimpses, a dreamy tour of the town from the Statue of Liberty to the streets of Spanish Harlem and from the hurly-burly of Times Square to the furtive sexual encounters of the old West Side piers. They are a reminder, for anyone who needs it, of the endless churn of dark and light, innocence and experience that surrounds all of us in the city at every moment.
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Artist Walter De Maria's "Most Subtle, and Bizarre, Work"

Vertical Earth Kilometer | Kassel, Germany | Atlas Obscura

Atlas Obscura writes:

The Vertical Earth Kilometer, located in the Friedrichsplatz Park in Kassel, Germany, is a one-kilometer long brass rod five centimeters (two inches) in diameter. The full length of the rod is inserted into the ground with the top lying flush to the surface of the earth. A red sandstone square surrounds the brass rod’s flat circular top, commemorating the undistinguished top of the pole, which could otherwise be mistaken for a large blank coin.

Installed in 1977, the VEK is the work of famed American artist Walter De Maria, whose other work with metal rods includes the Lightning Field and the Broken Kilometer. But this is by far De Maria's most subtle, and bizarre, work. The piece is almost entirely hidden from view, confining its existence to the trusting mind of the viewer.

The boring of the shaft, which goes through six geological layers, took seventy-nine days. The continuous metal rod is made of 167 one-meter long rods, screwed tightly together. The sandstone square which surrounds the top of the shaft is at the intersection of two paths which traverse the Friedrichsplatz in Kassel, Germany, site of the international contemporary art survey, Documenta.
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The Herd

adski_kafeteri: ***

“Morality is the herd-instinct in the individual.” --Nietzsche

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A.S. Byatt Attacks Reality

Byatt attacks novelists who use real-life characters | Books |
Alison Flood writes:

A.S. Byatt has launched a vigorous attack on writers who combine biography and fiction, calling it an "appropriation of others' lives and privacy".

Her broadside against authors of "faction", which she describes as "mixtures of biography and fiction, journalism and invention", is particularly startling given that it could be applied to her rival for this year's Man Booker prize, Hilary Mantel, who is longlisted for her historical novel about the life of Thomas Cromwell, Wolf Hall.

"I really don't like the idea of 'basing' a character on someone, and these days I don't like the idea of going into the mind of the real unknown dead," said Byatt in an interview with the organisers of the Booker prize. "It feels like the appropriation of others' lives and privacy. Making other people up, which is a kind of attack on them." Oscar Wilde appears in her own Booker-nominated novel, The Children's Book, she added, but "the novelist doesn't say what he thinks".
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Automagic Pin Setter, 1943

Alley Cat: 1943 | Shorpy Photo Archive

April 1943. Washington, D.C. "Pin boy at a bowling alley." Nitrate negative by Esther Bubley for the Office of War Information.
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Photojournalism: Zoriah Does Havana


Zoriah writes:

The Colors of Cuba

There is a lot of great color photography from Cuba out there, which is why before coming here I decided to focus my efforts on capturing this country in black and white. That being said, there are some moments that just need to be in color.
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Victoria Crater, Mars

Image of the Day: Mars' Victoria Crater

The Daily Galaxy writes:

This image of the Victoria Impact Crater in the Meridiani Planum region of Mars was taken by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter at more of a sideways angle than earlier orbital images of this crater. The camera pointing was 22 degrees east of straight down, yielding a view comparable to looking at the landscape out an airplane window. The crater is named after Victoria -one of the five ships of Ferdinand Magellan and the first ship to circumnavigate the globe . Along the edges of the crater are many outcrops within recessed alcoves and promontories, named for bays and capes that Magellan discovered. Opportunity traveled for 21 months to Victoria before finally reaching its edge on September 26, 2006.
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Flamingo Mystery Solved?

BBC - Earth News - Why flamingos stand on one leg

Matt Walker writes:

It is one of the simplest, but most enigmatic mysteries of nature: just why do flamingos like to stand on one leg?

The question is asked by zoo visitors and biologists alike, but while numerous theories abound, no-one has yet provided a definitive explanation.

Now after conducting an exhaustive study of captive Caribbean flamingos, two scientists believe they finally have the answer.

Flamingos stand on one leg to regulate their body temperature, they say.

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