The Bees of Sarah Hatton
The work of Ottawa-based artist Sarah Hatton is a strong political piece, specifically raising awareness of the Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) happening to honey populations worldwide. Early this year in Chelsea, Quebec, two whole hives fill of bees died from frostbite. The artist jumped at the chance to not let these bee deaths be in vain. Using thousands, yes thousands, of the dead bees, the artist creates geometric patterns, at times almost crop circle-esque, to display the enormity of the issue of CCD.
Patterns are also an important part of the bee’s life. The geometric honeycombs produce food and places to nurture larvae, and the bees used an intricate pattern of ‘dance’ movements to search for crops and fields or pollinate. Some of the patterns are even specific to the life forces of the bees. The composition Florid (2013) uses the Fibonacci spiral that is seen in the pattern of a sunflower seed, while Circle 1 (2013) and Circle 2 (2013) represent patterns typically found in crop circles. According to the artist “Both of these patterns have symbolic ties to agriculture, particularly the monoculture crop system that is having such a detrimental effect on bees” with the use of pesticides. The artist’s work is a call to awareness of not only the importance of these little buzzing creatures in our lives, but also just how devastatingly damaging the destruction of two hives can be to the bee population.
This morning I was lucky to attend a screening of the movie Jerusalem, a beautifully-rendered depiction of a majestic city and landscape. The story is told through the voices of three young women from the Jewish, Christian and Muslim faiths, and their shared love for this place.
If you have the chance to see this film, please do. I hope it moves you as it did me.
Science Avengers … ASSEMBLE!
Next up on the docket is Beastie Boys v. GoldieBlox, Inc. in the 4th Circuit Court for “Ridiculous Applications of Copyright Law”
You know that amazing ad for GoldieBlox engineering toys? The one that features three young girls busting up our pretty pink…
UPDATE: I committed the cardinal sin when I reposted the above link - didn’t stop to check and verify the information. It turns out that this headline is completely false. The Beastie Boys never filed any formal action against GoldieBlox. Rather, GoldieBlox sued them. On reflection, I was wrong to repost the above clip. I don’t think GoldieBlox were in the right on this one. The following text is taken from the Columbia Journalism Review article linked here:
Because, it turns out, the Beastie Boys never threatened GoldieBlox with anything. This is from an open letter the band released:
As creative as it is, make no mistake, your video is an advertisement that is designed to sell a product, and long ago, we made a conscious decision not to permit our music and/or name to be used in product ads. When we tried to simply ask how and why our song “Girls” had been used in your ad without our permission, YOU sued US.
If girls are going to be marketed to (and frankly, I’d be a-okay with a full ban on advertising to children), let it be this kind. But let’s be clear: the GoldieBlox ad is marketing whose intention is to sell a product.
And so all the freehadist protests of fair use don’t cut it. You can’t take an entire song that’s not yours, change the words, use it to sell your stuff, and not pay the artist royalties. This is not a close call.
"Crowd-sourced disaster response, until a few years ago informal and often haphazard, is now getting more organized, and is being embraced by official humanitarian organizations and integrated into relief operations. Volunteer efforts have multiplied thanks to the arrival of online mapping tools, the increasing popularity of social networks such as Twitter and Facebook, and the spread of mobile phones. A suite of volunteer groups are emerging that contribute to disaster response in tight coordination with conventional relief organizations.
The tighter cooperation was evident in the response to Haiyan, as the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) for the first time deployed officials charged specifically with coordinating crowd-sourced mapping with volunteer groups.”
This is awesome stuff. We’ve seen increasing use of crowdsourced information in recent years, in everything from monitoring earthquakes to real-time updates on civil unrest. Now it’s being put to good use in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan to help coordinate relief efforts in the Philippines.
In a disaster situation, there’s only so much that people on the ground can do in terms of gathering and sorting much-needed data. Aid delivery can be amplified by outsourcing some of that data sorting to the virtual crowd. One example: a group in Europe compared satellite imagery taken before and immediately after the typhoon hit to identify specific locations most in need of aid.
A personal essay on the many interconnected levels of responsibility involved in the pursuit of scientific research, from finding a way to pay graduate students pre-tenure, to ensuring that important research gets out into the public even without corporate financing, to communicating better with non-scientists. The scientific process has lofty goals but human practitioners.
Typhoon Haiyan is now responsible for a confirmed 2,344 casualties, with many thousands more left homeless and in need of support. People need immediate aid - clean water, food, shelter - and will require ongoing assistance for some time to rebuild their homes and their lives. Many organisations and individuals are now in the Philippines providing aid.
If you can’t be there yourself but want to help, here are a couple of different avenues:
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is on the ground as always. This link takes you to a document outlining their strategy for emergency support and provides a great amount of detail about the impact of the typhoon and how aid will be distributed.
Go to this link to donate money to either the IFRC or one of the many national Red Cross societies who are currently on the ground providing assistance.
Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) was in the Philippines with their team of dedicated physicians the day after the typhoon hit, and will be there for some time administering to those who need help. You can donate to MSF here.
The United Nations World Food Programme is setting up to transport large quantities of food, communications and other logistical supplies to Cebu airport, which will act as a key hub for distribution throughout the Tacloban region. You can donate to the WFP here.