OSLO, Norway – Two years after receiving its first deposits, a "doomsday" seed vault on an Arctic island has amassed half a million seed samples, making it the world's most diverse repository of crop seeds, the vault's operators announced Thursday. Cary Fowler — who heads the trust that oversees the seed collection, which is 620 miles (1,000 kilometers) from the North Pole, said the facility now houses at least one-third of the world's crop seeds. "In my lifetime, I don't think we'll go over 1.5 million. I'd be rather surprised if we go over a million," Fowler told The Associated Press. "At that point, we'd have all the diversity in the world ... and the most secure samples." Located in Norway's remote Svalbard archipelago, the Svalbard Global Seed Vault is a safeguard against wars or natural disasters wiping out food crops around the globe. It was opened in 2008 as a master backup to the world's other 1,400 seed banks, in case their deposits are lost. War wiped out seed banks in Iraq and Afghanistan, and another bank in the Philippines was flooded in the wake of a typhoon in 2006. The Svalbard bank is designed to withstand global warming, earthquakes and even nuclear strikes. Despite the rapid progress, Fowler said the bank still has significant holes in its collection. "There are a few unique collections that we don't have up there yet — Ethiopia and some of the Indian materials and some of the Chinese materials," he said. The most recent additions include a mold-resistant bean from Colombia and a collection of nearly every agricultural soybean species developed in the U.S. in the last century.
In the 1990s Bill Geerhart was an unemployed, not-so aspiring screenwriter in his 30s. To pass the time, he channeled his inner child, 10-year-old Billy, and started writing letters to famous and infamous people and institutions. These letters, written in pencil on elementary school ruled paper, asked funny but relevant questions to politicians, serial killers, movie stars, lobbyists, CEOs, and celebrity lawyers.
Geerhart saved copies of his letters and the replies he got back. This week, Harper Collins published them in a book called Little Billy's Letters: An Incorrigible Inner Child's Correspondence with the Famous, Infamous, and Just Plain Bewildered. The publisher gave us permission to run some of our favorites. -via boingboing
I received an email this morning from my friend Melissa. It was in regards to a slightly offensive blog she had come across. At first I thought she was upset over something on my blog. It was regarding the apparent lack of style among Chinese people. She forgot to send the reference link, but of course, it wasn't my blog. And in retrospect it'd be highly improbable since I don't agree with that sentiment at all.
Both of us find humor in most tongue and cheek racial jokes or truths, but sometimes there are obscure things that exist that are just kind of weird. So I went to the blog for myself to see how offended I'd get. It's called "chinesepeoplehavenostyle.blogspot.com. It's blog header depicts a warped burberry background reading: FASHION EXISTS IN CHINA, BUT DOES STYLE? WHAT KEY PEOPLE AND INSTITUTIONS HAVE AND ARE FACILITATING THE EMERGENCE, PRACTICE, AND REIFICATION OF THE CONCEPT OF STYLE? THIS BLOG IS MEANT TO DEBATE AND EXPLORE THESE QUESTIONS.
After reading a few posts, it is apparent that although the author himself chose to name his blog as such, he seems to appreciate the fundamental Chinese color aesthetic that is found throughout the streets. And let me clarify, this guy lives in China, not in America. Yet, "Chinese" style is easily applicable to Chinese-Americans that never leave the mental confines of the motherland. Anyways, what Chinese color aesthetic might I be talking about? The highly common one which I can only vaguely define as lots of color, textile blocking. Chinatown ladies have a lot of this going on. I think this frequent use of color blocking exists predominately with older generations. The idea of color blocking suggests a sort of sharpness,boldness, and efficiency, which to me, references Mao period,cultural revolution minimalism in dress. The color blocking thing could also be a trivial and or a combination end product of readily accessible, mass produced, garments that are (SHOCKINGLY) mostly made in china. It is quite clear that although China has quickly become an economic driving force in the world today, it has not become a parallel of contemporary fashion that say, Japan has become.
What are the key institutions that are facilitating the emergence, practice, and reification of the concept of Chinese style? I think communism is a key institution with wide ranging social effects that even trickle into collective fashion sensibilities. I don't think it is a question of whether Chinese people have a "lack of style" as it is there is a style that exists, but it is heavily defined by economic elements as well as an underlying, cultural, emphasis on frugality. I mean, everyone has STYLE. If he is trying to say Chinese people have cheap style that is something different altogether.
Anyway, his sight seems to have a lot of upcoming Chinese designers, so I think this guy likes fashion, he just thinks everyone should wear Burberry basically. His blog is basically loaded with street photos of people in their like 7-11 and construction workwear. It's like he's mocking people with jobs. He defines style as such, "The fastest way I can explain the differences amongst these three words, or concepts, is that clothing is the most basic form and style is the most advanced."
He goes on to explain, "Clothing in theory only existed when pieces of clothing were used strictly for the function of modesty or protection (depending on whether or not your viewpoint is religious). Today, since each piece of clothing is loaded with signifiers and connotations and meaning, no person uses "clothing." For everyone dressing in today's world, clothing is fashion, but there are those that have progressed to practicing style.
The largest percentage of style-practicing citizens are from the West (where exactly, that can be debated), but I would argue that China is perhaps at one of the lowest percentages in terms of population that practices style."
Essentially, he is arguing that clothing transcends itself only if it has a western label. When you mix and match western labels, that is when you are truly able to develop "style." This fashion prophecy sounds pretty archaic and the opposite of enlightening. He just articulated an annoying and shitty thought. It's like a crappy salesguy trying to convince me I should buy something really expensive. Fashion blogs are all, pretty equally, a pain in the ass.
Holy shit, this is too funny!! Imagine playing this bad in front of thousands of people? I guess it's not so bad when everyone in the audience is deaf. They probably just took a sample from the rockband game to do make background noise.