In this week’s “Cocktails with a Curator,” Deputy Director and Peter Jay Sharp Chief Curator Xavier F. Salomon celebrates Women’s History Month by examining two exquisite pastels by Rosalba Carriera that recently entered the collection through a bequest from Alexis Gregory and are on view for the first time on the third floor of Frick Madison. Celebrated for her technically innovative pastel portraits, Rosalba was one of the most famous artists of 18th-century Italy, particularly remarkable given the male-dominated society in which she lived. This week’s complementary cocktail is the Vesper Martini.
New York Times columnist David Brooks and Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart join Judy Woodruff to discuss the week in politics, including efforts to restrict voting, gun violence legislation and Biden’s first presidential news conference.
Castello Ursino, also known as Castello Svevo di Catania, is a castle in Catania, Sicily, southern Italy. It was built in the 13th century as a royal castle of the Kingdom of Sicily, and is mostly known for its role in the Sicilian Vespers, when it became the seat of the Sicilian Parliament.
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Texas had a rough winter in 2021. In mid-February, with temperatures dropping to the single digits, demand for electricity hit a record high throughout Texas. Supply ran short, causing the state’s electric grid operator to implement rolling power outages.
At the height of the crisis, more than 4.5 million customers lost power. The freak winter storm caused neighboring states such as Louisiana, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Kansas to also impose rolling blackouts. Texas residents shivered in the cold, as outages lasted for days at a time. They lost access to water. Some resorted to turning on their cars in their garages to keep warm then died due to carbon monoxide poisoning.
The historic breakdown was a wake-up call — if the power grid in Texas was so fragile, what about the rest of the United States? The U.S. has faced a 67% increase in weather-related power outages since 2000, according to data from Climate Central. Part of the problem is an aging infrastructure. Most of today’s power grid was built in the 1950s and ’60s, with the hopes that it would last for 50 years.
Siesta Beach is a beach located on Siesta Key in the U.S. state of Florida. Unlike beaches elsewhere that are made up mostly of pulverized coral, Siesta Beach’s sand is 99% quartz, most of which comes from the Appalachian Mountains.
Thilafushi, an island of floating rubbish island in the Maldives, grows by a square meter a day. But diving instructor Shaahina Ali is trying to slow that growth by recycling and using floating barriers to hold back the rising seas.
For decades, the Maldives simply dumped the trash the tourists and the island country’s 400 thousand residents generated. Yet Shaahina Ali says that has to stop. Almost every day, the diving instructor and her allies go from island to island in the Indian Ocean. Working with an environmental organization, they have obtained trash compactors that make plastic waste transportable, allowing it to be shipped abroad for recycling. Ali also advocates avoiding disposable plastic. She gives lectures, advises hotel managers and even bends the ear of the Maldives’ president himself.
When she has time, Shaahina Ali goes scuba diving. Beneath the waves she sees environmental degradation – dying corals and fish caught up in plastic waste. She says, “We can’t afford to address just one problem. We’ve got to take care of everything at once because everything is connected to the sea.” But the island paradise is not only threatened by rubbish. Climate change is also causing the sea levels to rise, and the Maldives are at risk of sinking beneath the water.
That’s why conservationists are using floating barriers made of recycled plastic to help prevent flooding. In addition to the environmental group “Parley for the Oceans,” Ali has also won politicians to her cause. Last year saw a democratic change of government in the Maldives. “The new government no longer views environmentalists as annoying troublemakers. They see us as partners instead,” Ali says. But those trying to save the island are in a race against time. “If we don’t succeed,” says Shaahina Ali, “far more than a vacation paradise will be lost. We will lose our homeland.”
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Muscat, Oman’s port capital, sits on the Gulf of Oman surrounded by mountains and desert. With history dating back to antiquity, it mixes high-rises and upscale shopping malls with clifftop landmarks such as the 16th-century Portuguese forts, Al Jalali and Mirani, looming over Muscat Harbor. Its modern, marble-clad Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, with 50m dome and prodigious Persian carpet, can accommodate 20,000 people.
Oman, officially the Sultanate of Oman, is a country on the southeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia and the oldest independent state in the Arab world.
Maldives, officially the Republic of Maldives, is a small archipelagic state in South Asia, situated in the Arabian Sea of the Indian Ocean. It lies southwest of Sri Lanka and India, about 700 kilometres from the Asian continent’s mainland.