Culture: The New Review Magazine – Dec 11, 2022


@ObsNewReview December 11, 2022 – Those we lost in 2022:

Hilma af Klint: A Biography by Julia Voss review – portrait of the painter as a mystic

The Swedish abstract artist who conversed with the dead is described as a woman years ahead of her time in this scholarly, sympathetic study

My Life in Sea Creatures by Sabrina Imbler review – the joys of jellyfish, sturgeon and whales

The gifted science writer’s lyrical collection doesn’t always flow smoothly between reverie and fact, but remains intriguing

World Economic Forum: Top Stories – Dec 9, 2022

World Economic Forum (December 9, 2022) – This week’s top stories of the week include:

  • 0:15 The world’s most expensive cities – This list of the most expensive cities is based Worldwide Cost of Living 2022 report that compares 200 products and services in more than 170 cities. Prices in big cities have risen by an average of 8.1% in the past year. Their fastest rise for 20 years. Driven by the knock-on effects of the pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, some of these most expensive cities have high wages and taxes, while another has an average rent of about 92% of the median worker’s pre-tax salary. Watch to know which cities are the most expensive to live in.
  • 1:36 The era of the megalopolis has begun – Today 60% of people live in urban areas, and by 2100 it’s forecast to be 85%. We are entering the era of the megalopolis. Cities around the world are merging as they grow and spread, forming supercities connected by urban sprawl. The largest megalopolis is in China – it’s known as the Greater Bay Area. But what are megapolis?
  • 2:53 Scientists develop a universal flu vaccine – Scientists have developed a universal flu vaccine. It’s effective against all 20 known strains of flu and could help us fight off dangerous new strains before they develop into a pandemic. The new vaccine could be in use within 2 years.
  • 3:53 This device will heat our homes sustainably – Heat pumps run on electricity rather than fossil fuels and are 3 times more efficient than gas boilers. They capture thermal energy from the air outside and use that energy to warm your home.

Aviation: China’s ‘Comac C919’ Vs Boeing ‘737 MAX 8’

Wall Street Journal – China’s first homegrown narrow-body jet is looking to compete with Western giants like Boeing. WSJ unpacks the design and technology of Comac’s C919 and the 737 MAX 8 to see how China’s deep reliance on foreign parts could stymie Beijing’s ambition to succeed.

Pre-Fab Tiny Home Tours: ‘The Cutting’ In Australia

The Local Project – The Cutting by Small and Ample is a DIY pre-fab tiny home that encompasses sustainable living. Designed to shatter the idea that small homes cannot be generous, Aaron Shields, Director at Ample, and aspiring architect Nick Lane collaborate on The Cutting, a DIY pre-fab tiny home.

Video timeline: 00:00 – Introduction to the DIY Tiny Home 00:36 – The Brief – Small but Generous 00:54 – Situated on a Patch of Farmland with Views of The Cutting 01:11 – A Tour of the Tiny Home 02:30 – The Challenges in Designing a Small and Transportable Home 03:14 – A Reclaimed and Recycled Material Palette 03:35 – Textural Materiality 03:52 – The Aussie Shed

Promoting a better future with the idea that less is more, the designers have provoked others to think outside the box when crafting residential projects. Looking over The Cutting, an area where the sea cuts into the sand dunes, the home provides plentiful living within its 30 square meters. The house tour of the small home begins at arrival, with basalt pavers that lead up towards the DIY pre-fab tiny home. A set of steps – made from cow trough supports, reclaimed hardwood and perforated mesh salvaged from an old farm shed on the property – brings the occupants to the front door that pivots into the passive house.

Once inside, the kitchen, dining and living spaces are infused with warm timbers and bamstone cobbles, which together pare back the interior and tie the cabin into the surrounding landscape. At the south-western end of the DIY pre-fab tiny home, a double-glazed and steel window section with operable awnings allows for cross flow ventilation throughout the small home. Up on the mezzanine level, a study nook has been inserted into the floor and blurs the connection between upstairs and downstairs.

To cooperate with Victorian road rules, Aaron and Nick needed to design to specific dimensions in order to make the DIY pre-fab tiny home transportable. After collapsing the roof by 1500 millimetres, the small home can then be moved to its new location and settled on the land. With a hope to change the perception surrounding how homes can contribute to sustainability agendas, the designers use reclaimed materials. By doing so, every piece of furniture within the DIY pre-fab tiny home is built from reclaimed wood.

The floor is recycled iron bark, while many of the other timber elements have been sourced from other structures. Futhermore, the designers have championed the idea of the Australian shed with the use of timber and metal on the exterior, reflecting the history of the landscape. Overall, Aaron and Nick have created a modest home with an unexpected perceived spatial generosity that celebrates the value of materials.

Reviews: ‘The Week In Art’

December 8, 2022: The Parthenon Marbles; it has emerged that George Osborne, the former UK chancellor and now chair of the trustees of the British Museum, has been holding talks with the Greek government about the ancient sculptures.

So might this lead to a breakthrough in the long-running dispute over their ownership? Ben Luke speaks to Yannis Andritsopoulos, the reporter for the Greek newspaper Ta Nea who broke the story. In Afghanistan, it is more than a year since the Taliban reclaimed power—so what has become of the heritage projects and art community in the country, which is consumed by a devastating humanitarian crisis?

We hear from Sarvy Geranpayeh, who has regularly reported from Afghanistan for The Art Newspaper, about art and archeology under the Taliban. And this episode’s Work of the Week is a group of five murals by the German-born US artist Kiki Smith. The works are about to be unveiled at Grand Central Madison, the new Long Island Rail Road terminal below Grand Central on Madison Avenue, Manhattan. Smith tells us about the origin and development of her series of vast mosaics. 

Literary Readings: ‘The Illiad’ (London Review)

London Review of Books (LRB) – December 9, 2022: Among the Ancients, with Emily Wilson and Thomas Jones, which we’ll be re-running from January next year. With a new episode each month, Among the Ancients will consider some of the greatest works of Ancient Greek and Roman literature, from Homer to Horace. In this sample Emily and Tom discuss the Iliad.

Among the Ancients: The ‘Iliad’

A sample from the first episode of the Close Readings series from Emily Wilson and Thomas Jones.

Dating to the ninth century B.C., Homer’s timeless poem still vividly conveys the horror and heroism of men and gods wrestling with towering emotions and battling amidst devastation and destruction, as it moves inexorably to the wrenching, tragic conclusion of the Trojan War. Renowned classicist Bernard Knox observes in his superb introduction that although the violence of the Iliad is grim and relentless, it coexists with both images of civilized life and a poignant yearning for peace.

France Views: The 2022 ‘Lyon Festival Of Lights’

FRANCE 24 English – The annual Festival of Lights – a spectacular display of illuminations projected on historical monuments and public buildings across town – kicked off in Lyon in France this Thursday. But with Europe in the grip of an energy crisis, this year’s extravaganza has also been designed to use as little electricity as possible while still putting on a memorable show.

Previews: New York Times Magazine – Dec 11, 2022

NYT Mag (December 11, 2022)The 10 Best Actors of 2022 – See a portfolio of this year’s Great Performers, including Michelle Yeoh, Daniel Kaluuya, Michelle Williams.





The Cienfuegos Affair: Inside the Case that Upended the Drug War in Mexico

A Times Magazine-ProPublica investigation reveals how the U.S. painstakingly built a case against a Mexican general suspected of links to organized crime — and then decided to let him go.

News: Griner Released In Swap, Finland And Sweden NATO Talks, Iowa Caucus

December 9, 2022 We ask if Russia is opening up to diplomatic negotiation. Plus, the Finnish defence minister’s visit to Turkey, a case for Iowa remaining first in the US primaries and the world reacts to Britain’s new coalmine.

Front Page: The New York Times – December 9, 2022


Bill to Protect Same-Sex Marriage Rights Clears Congress

The House gave final approval to the measure, with lawmakers from both parties voting in favor. It now heads to President Biden to be signed into law.

News Analysis: In Brittney Griner Deal, Putin Used Pain, a Familiar Lever

By seizing the basketball star, the Russian president made things so painful for the U.S. that it capitulated and turned over a convicted arms dealer. Can the same tactic work in the war in Ukraine?

Brittney Griner Is Freed as Part of a Prisoner Swap With Russia

Ms. Griner has been at the center of a fraught geopolitical showdown between Washington and Moscow. The Biden administration traded her for Viktor Bout, a notorious Russian arms dealer known as the “Merchant of Death.”

‘Zero Covid,’ Once Ubiquitous, Vanishes in China’s Messy Pivot

As China casts aside many Covid rules, it is also playing down the threat of the virus. The move could help ease the burden on hospitals but comes with its own risks.