DW Documentary (March 25, 2023) – Pangolins, native to Asia and Africa, are threatened with extinction. Their meat is considered a delicacy in Africa and their scales are sold as a health remedy in Asia. The protected animals are poached and smuggled on a large scale.
Pangolins are the most smuggled animals in the world – and demand is growing. Asian pangolins recently made headlines when they were suspected of being carriers of the COVID-19 coronavirus. On the banks of the Congo River, the pangolin sells for just a few euros.
But in cities like Kinshasa, its meat sells for a hundred times that price and – although illegal – is eaten in the best restaurants. Even more profitable is the sale of pangolin scales, which are highly prized in Asia for their supposed medicinal properties. The native Asian pangolins are already nearly extinct.
The film shows how just a handful of these animals can be rescued during police raids, then reintroduced into the wild by dedicated conservationists. From hunters in the bush of the Democratic Republic of Congo to bushmeat markets to the backrooms of Vietnam, reporters follow pangolin smugglers as they ply their trade.
0:15 NASA launches space based pollution monitor – It’s called TEMPO, which stands for Tropospheric Emissions: Monitoring of Pollution. Built by Ball Aerospace, TEMPO will measure levels of major air pollutants every hour from a geostationary orbit 22,000 miles above the equator. It will monitor a huge region of North America from Canada’s oil sands in northern Alberta to below Mexico City at a resolution of up to 4 square miles. Air pollution poses a major threat to human and planetary health as 99% of the global population breathes air that exceeds WHO health guidelines. Air pollution carries a total economic cost of more than $8 trillion. Therefore, monitoring it is critical to understanding its impacts. Though TEMPO is due to launch in April 2023, watch to learn more about how it will monitor air pollution from space.
1:58 8 best countries for working women – The Economist ranked 29 OECD nations according to the role and influence of women in the workplace. Iceland scores well on numerous factors. From low childcare costs to education attainment for women to female representation at senior levels. At the current rate, it will take 132 years to close the global gender gap How does your country support women at work?
3:23 What is the polycrisis? – Today we are once again beset by seemingly unconnected crises. Such as the war in Ukraine, the climate crisis and the aftermath of COVID-19. “So economics, politics, geopolitics and then the natural environment blowing back at us – and those 4 things, they don’t reduce to a single common denominator. They don’t reduce to a single factor. And that’s why I think the polycrisis term has a real utility descriptively as much as anything else, because it’s kind of hand-waving, of course, it’s kind of arm waving. It’s going, look, there’s a lot of stuff happening here all at once. And that precisely is what we’re trying to wrap our minds around.”
6:54 Are Chatbots going to take our jobs? – “I get this question asked 10 times a week, which is that, look, is conversational AI going to take away jobs? And my consistent answer is no. And the best analogy I will give to you is banks and ATMs. So prior to the technology of ATMs, the most common reason why people would walk into a bank would be to take out money. So imagine there’s no ATMs and 90% of the reason why somebody goes inside the bank is to say, I need to take out some cash, I need to take out some money. As a result, you know, you and I don’t even remember these days, but banks used to be crowded. There used to be long lines and so on. Here comes the ATM, which automates really what should be a very simple task.”
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The Local Project – (March 21, 2023) – Only reachable by boat, Marra Marra Shack by Leopold Banchini Architects is a hidden eco-friendly timber cabin that embraces a quiet lifestyle removed from the bustle of city living.
Video timeline:00:00 – Introduction to the Eco-Friendly Timber Cabin 00:46 – The Site and its Location 01:06 – The Brief: Simplicity and Discovery 01:30 – Working with a Remote Construction Site 01:59 – Hand Built and Off-Grid 02:32 – A Walkthrough of the Cabin 03:06 – The Feature Window 03:57 – A Timber Structure 04:29 – Custom Made Furniture 05:00 – The Materials 05:36 – Hidden in Plain Sight
As Leopold Banchini Architects’s first Australian project, the hidden eco-friendly timber cabin required only two bedrooms, easy living spaces and a connection to landscape. Using the occasion to discover the Australian landscape, the Swiss architect has used the unique crafts only available in this country. The entire building has been completed by two carpenters and using materials that required no heavy machinery.
Additionally, each chosen material responds directly to the complexity of weather, tides and floods experienced in the unique riverside location. Sitting on a slope, the hidden eco-friendly timber cabin welcomes guests with an awe-inspiring reveal upon arrival at the renovated jetty. After walking up the stairs the house tour begins at the entrance to the main living spaces, which includes the living room, dining area and kitchen. Located to the rear of the shack are two smaller bedrooms with bathrooms, both of which have been designed to offer solitude where the owners can enjoy their own space.
Finished with a large window that overlooks the river, the living room gives the impression that the home sits upon the water instead of above. By using counterweights, the opened window turns the living space into an inside and outside deck, allowing a deeper connection to the wider surrounds. The interior of the hidden eco-friendly timber cabin has been imbued with locally sourced timbers, including iron bark that is used for the pillars that hold the home together. Other elements within the home, including the stairs and flooring, are made from turpentine wood from the old jetty, while spotted gum forms the structural beams along the roof of the cabin.
Additionally, the furniture of the home has been designed specifically for Marra Marra Shack by using leftover wood from the construction. Other elements in the home, including the fireplace, sink and all steel elements, have been custom made to resolve the few needs of the owners while staying in the house. Being in the middle of an Australian national park, the architect had to respond to certain elemental outcomes including floods, fire and tide heights. Built up on a slope to respond to the conditions, the exterior of the home has also been covered in fibre cement and plaster board to address fire safety in the warmer months.
While the exterior of the hidden eco-friendly timber cabin appears to be made of other materials, it is evident when entering the home that the interior is entirely made of timber. Elevated and surrounded by trees, Marra Marra Shack does not transform the landscape but becomes one with it.
Architectural Digest (March 24, 2023) – Michael Wyetzner of Michielli + Wyetzner Architects returns to AD, this time breaking down five of the most common skyscraper styles dotting the New York City skyline. From set back ‘wedding cakes’ to the supertall buildings of the future, Michael gives expert insight on the different skyscraper styles that coalesce into one unforgettable view.
The vision of Gilbert & George is committed to raw realism, but is also deeply romantic: finding heightened or disturbed emotion in ordinary things, in a way that renders the subjects of their art extraordinary and richly atmospheric; individual, yet connected by common feelings. The vision of Gilbert & George derives from the union of lucidity and heightened feeling; their art from the balance of control and loss of control.
March 25, 2023: Georgina Godwin and the weekend’s biggest discussion topics. Alex von Tunzelmann reviews the papers, Andrew Mueller recaps what we learned this week, and we find out how attitudes of young adults towards the US and China are changing.