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"Tell the chef, the beer is on me."
Austerity fetishism is simply the latest expression of free market orthodoxy.
By David Crossland in Bad Arolsen, Germany
Global Web of Memory
Reorganizing the database is one of the tasks of Susanne Urban, the ITS head of research, who joined the archive in 2009 after working in Yad Vashem, Israel's official memorial to the Holocaust. She says she expects the archive to reveal a plethora of "mosaic stones" to complete the picture of the genocide rather than alter it.
"Here you keep getting confronted with the global aspect of the Holocaust and survival, you see how it started in Germany, spread across Europe and with the documents about the survivors we see how a web of memory has spread across the whole world. Here you get an overview over everything. What makes it so harrowing is that you don't just get one aspect, you get them all. You sense this monolith that was built of pain and sorrow."
The work may be fascinating, but it can also be exhausting and saddening. Urban has only two research assistants on temporary contracts, which she says isn't enough.
30-second animation of the changes in U.S. historical county boundaries,
1629 – 2000:
American Newspapers and Historical County Boundaries (1689-2000):
This visualization correlates the following data: 1) A database of newspapers published in the United States from the Library of Congress’ Chronicling America database, prepared and generously shared by the Rural West Initiative, Bill Lane Center for the American West, Stanford University. — 2) The Atlas of Historical County Boundaries provided by The Newberry Library’ Dr. William M. Scholl Center for American History and Culture.
German Language Newspapers in the US:
This animation is taken from the interactive data visualization of the Library of Congress’ “Chronicling America” directory of US newspapers. It shows all German-language newspapers in the US from 1690 to 2011:
(Gefunden bei publications.newberry.org)
“— Austria Tabak – in Rauch aufgelöst | KURIER.AT 2012-12-01
Der Innsbrucker Wissenschaftler, der den Skandal um die Tiroler Kinderheime aufdeckte, spricht gegenüber dem KURIER nicht nur von einer „ökonomisch völlig unvernünftigen Privatisierung, die die Republik Österreich, das Unternehmen und die Mitarbeiter schädigte“. Sondern auch über Missachtung des Aktienrechts, politische Interessen, Ideologie, Budgetnöte und „extrem viele Ungereimtheiten“. Nachzulesen im dieser Tage erschienenen Buch „Ohne Filter“ (StudienVerlag).
Der Anfang vom Ende begann in den 90er-Jahren, als die Austria Tabak (AT) den Sportartikelkonzern HTM, einen Sanierungsfall, übernahm. Dem Vorstand unter Beppo Mauhart war klar, dass das Tabakmonopol auf Dauer nicht zu halten war, man suchte wie die Big Player der Branche nach Diversifizierungen. Als die AT aufgrund hoher Wertberichtigungen für HTM erstmals vorübergehend in die roten Zahlen rutschte, überschlugen sich die Ereignisse. Innerhalb von nur sechs Wochen, nachdem der AT-Aufsichtsrat das Sanierungskonzept beschloss, wurden Mauhart und der gesamte Vorstand zum Rückzug gezwungen und HTM an den schwedischen Investor Johan Eliasch verschenkt. Der zahlte einen symbolischen Kaufpreis von 727.000 Euro und erhielt als Draufgabe das Sanierungskonzept sowie 87 Mio. Euro, die von der AT für die HTM vorgesehen waren. Rechnungshof und EU-Kommission attestierten, dass dieser Deal „nicht die kostengünstigste Alternative“ war.
„Stark auffällig, da darf man sich was denken“, kommentiert Schreiber dabei die Rolle des Investmentbankers Michael Treichl. Der Bruder von Erste-Group-Chef Andreas Treichl war für Warburg als Berater beim Kauf der HTM tätig. Dann arbeitete er am Sanierungskonzept mit, fädelte den Verkauf an seinen Freund Eliasch ein und zog schlussendlich in den Aufsichtsrat von HTM ein.
“— Prosecution of Anonymous activists highlights war for Internet control | Glenn Greenwald guardian.co.uk 2012-11-23
The issue here is not whether Anonymous activists can be rightfully prosecuted: acts of civil disobedience, by definition, are violations of the law designed to protest or create a cost for injustices. The issue is how selectively these cyber-attack laws are enforced: massive cyber-attacks aimed at a group critical of US policy (WikiLeaks) were either perpetrated by the US government or retroactively sanctioned by it, while relatively trivial, largely symbolic attacks in defense of the group were punished with the harshest possible application of law enforcement resources and threats of criminal punishment.
That the US government largely succeeded in using extra-legal and extra-judicial means to cripple an adverse journalistic outlet is a truly consequential episode: nobody, regardless of one's views on WikiLeaks, should want any government to have that power. But the manifestly overzealous prosecutions of Anonymous activists, in stark contrast to the (at best) indifference to the attacks on WikiLeaks, makes all of that even worse.
Macher der Facebook-Alternative ziehen sich zurück
The team behind Glyndebourne's landmark production of Handel's oratorio recall an emotional high
I had heard Lorraine Hunt singing Theodora in a concert performance, and was overwhelmed by the drama and sheer beauty of Handel's music. The story is basic tabloid fare, and Handel treats it almost entirely as interior drama. [An oratorio in three acts, it concerns the Christian martyrdom of Theodora and her Roman lover Didymus.] When Glyndebourne asked me where they should begin with staging Handel, it was easy. At that time, people didn't quite know what Theodora was: we were in a secret cathedral, discovering a masterpiece the world did not know.
The staging flowed in an extremely organic way. Visionary works such as this wait for another era in which they are allowed to speak in their own language and not have to ventriloquise the conventional wisdom of the day. A lot of it was done as in medieval or byzantine art – as simply as possible: the emotional and spiritual aura of each character was what we were concerned with.
The work is a soundtrack for two people leaving this world that is as chilling as anything Handel ever wrote. A lot of opera focuses on execution. It's a huge question: when we take people's lives as a society; when and how we justify killing. In the US, execution had been illegal for a period and then [in 1976] the Supreme Court decision turned it around. It was decided that lethal injection was "humane", but it was hidden away. I thought it was important to see what the process was. We investigated and were incredibly literal, down to the timing.
The effect was profound. During most performances, people had to be carried from the auditorium; there were emergency medical services standing by. I am not proud of putting people into an emergency medical van, of course, but I do think that's why the Greeks invented theatre: to put these things in front of citizens and say, how do we feel about them?
There was an incredible rehearsal where we ran the first act for the first time in the darkened theatre, and the piece just rose up, like some majestic host and said, "I'm here." We were weeping, holding each other, truly overwhelmed. The production remains a high point of all our lives.
Glyndebourne's general manager had asked if there was a Handel piece I would like to do. They had never staged anything of his there before. I wanted an oratorio, something that would use Glyndebourne's chorus, rather than an opera – and Theodora had stuck in my mind as incredibly moving. He said: "That's curious, the fellow we've asked to direct said the exact same thing!"
I had not met Peter before although of course I knew of him: he's a fellow of great notoriety, in the best sense of the word. You knew that he wasn't going to give you anything other than a controversial, or at least a very personal, sense of the drama. The fact that this Christian woman and her converted lover find themselves on a gurney in a Texas military hospital awaiting execution was incredibly shocking, but I found it horribly moving. We were talking about martyrdom, a word that's existed as long as humans have. Peter was hellbent on making a political statement, registering his dismay and revulsion about aspects of America, but also making music that was written several hundreds of years ago more relevant.
The starting point of any successful lyric piece is giving the singers a long leash. I gave space to them as well as to the music. We had so many happy moments in the casting. I wanted desperately to have Lorraine Hunt: the role of [Theodora's friend] Irene is strong and forthright, as Lorraine was as a singer and a human being. Richard Croft [as Didymus's friend Septimus] was also someone I particularly wanted; there is great honesty in the way he sings.
It's an incredibly emotional piece. We were all caught up in it. I remember Lorraine not being able to mark in rehearsals [sing in a way that rested her voice]. She'd be singing full voice at 11am.
• A DVD of the production is available from glyndebourne.com
Thanks to an inadvertent iconoclast, a second-rate fresco is now a 'masterpiece'. Turn her loose on artists that deserve attention
It's all over the internet, it's trending, tweeting, the funniest art joke of all time. You must know it by now. "Masterpiece of Jesus is destroyed after old lady's attempt to restore damage is a less-than-divine intervention", Worst painting restoration work in history", "Elderly woman destroys 19th century fresco with DIY restoration".
A woman said to be in her 80s in Borjanos in Spain took it upon herself to "restore" a fresco in the Sanctuary of Mercy church there. The original painting is an Ecce Homo by Elias Garcia Martinez and dates from the 19th century. But this triptych of photographs shows how totally it has been ruined. It's hilarious to see how the would-be restorer's efforts resulted in a complete reinvention of the painting as a crude image with a face like a neanderthal man's self-portrait. Oh dear. This pious art lover could have a career in slapstick if she wants, for her comic destruction of a work of art bears comparison with Rowan Atkinson giving Whistler's Mother a badly drawn cartoon face in the film Bean.
How did it happen? What was the well-meaning vandal thinking? Reports differ on the meaning of the middle picture in the before-and-after triptych: was this the result of water damage or the self-appointed artist's early effort to prepare the picture for restoration? Picturing how it happened is even funnier than seeing the contrasting versions themselves. Did she, like the Marx Brothers trimming a moustache in Monkey Business, try to fix one bit and then had to do another bit and then another until the whole thing was gone? Was it like Father Ted in the episode of the much-loved clerical comedy where he attempts to mend a car's bodywork with a hammer?
There is only one problem with this story. It doesn't really matter. Martinez is not a great artist and his painting Ecce Homo is not a "masterpiece". It is a minor painting in the dregs of an academic tradition. When it was painted, a boy called Pablo in another Spanish town was learning to paint in this same exhausted 19th-century style. Soon he would shake off the influence of his father the provincial artist Don Jose Ruiz y Picasso and start to reinvent art.
Google Martinez and you will find many, many references that have appeared in the last 24 hours to the botched restoration – and not much else. A previously obscure artist has become famous overnight because of the amateur restorer's exploit. A forgotten painting is now known around the world as a "masterpiece", because it was wrecked.
Perhaps this offers a new strategy for those who seek to popularise the Old Masters. What if even older, but far greater, paintings were to get the Mr Bean treatment?
After Rowan Atkinson gave a show-stopping Mr Bean performance as a keyboard player upstaging a Simon Rattle-conducted performance of Chariots of Fire in the Olympic opening ceremony, the composer Michael Nyman took exception to orchestral music being mocked in this way. Where did his sense of humour go? Surely he can see that classical music should use this strategy to popularise itself. We need Mr Bean disrupting performances of Monteverdi and Mahler. That will get the kids into the concert halls.
Similarly, the well-meaning restorer of this obscure Spanish painting should be turned loose on a couple of works that actually matter. Many true masterpieces are starved of the global attention this second-rate Ecce Homo has now got. She could be sent to Italy to see what she can do with the frescoes in the Palazzo Schifanoia in Ferrara. Revered by art historians, these paintings of the months of the year have never quite made it into popular culture. There are 12 paintings, one for every month, so one could be sacrificed for the good of the whole. A hideously repainted face on one of the lesser months might make their creator the 15th-century genius Francesco del Cossa as famous as the 19th century mediocrity Elias Garcia Martinez has now become.
Published on 18 Aug 2012 by RussiaTodayJulian Assange's case has raised numerous concerns among journalists and activists who fear being prosecuted for doing their job. RT interviews author and journalist Naomi Wolf, who says the US government is especially tough on those exposing official wrongdoing.
“ [...]— Gezwungen, sich zu verkaufen? Zur sozialen Lage von Journalistinnen und Journalisten | bpb 2012-07-10
Der Bamberger Student Daniel Stahl initiierte eine Unterschriftenaktion, bei der er innerhalb einer Woche über 1.700 Unterstützerinnen und Unterstützer fand. In seinem offenen Brief an die Verleger schrieb er: "Wir haben schlecht bezahlte Praktika in Ihren Verlagen gemacht und jahrelang für Zeilengeld gearbeitet. (…) Wir können schreiben, Videos drehen, kennen uns mit den Techniken des Web 2.0 aus. Wir sollen in den Verlagen Wochenenddienste schieben, Abendtermine wahrnehmen, uns tief in gesellschaftliche Probleme einarbeiten und Überstunden machen, die wir natürlich niemals bezahlt bekommen. Und jetzt soll auch noch das Einstiegsgehalt für junge Journalisten um 30 Prozent gekürzt werden?“ Zu den Unterzeichnern gehörten keineswegs nur Nachwuchsjournalisten.
Es schien, als habe man erkannt, dass es sich bei dem Streit um ein generationenübergreifendes Problem mit Folgen für den Journalismus insgesamt handelte. Doch bei dieser Initiative zeigte sich auch, wie weit die Verunsicherung unter Journalisten schon reicht: Zahlreiche Unterstützer trauten sich nicht, mit ihrem Namen öffentlich für die Forderungen einzustehen. Unter dem Brief steht hundertfach das gleiche Wort: "Anonym“. ”
“ [...]— Gezwungen, sich zu verkaufen? Zur sozialen Lage von Journalistinnen und Journalisten | bpb 2012-07-10
Die Prekarisierung des Journalistenberufs hat mehrere Ursachen. Eine davon ist die Erosion des klassischen Geschäftsmodells der Presse: Anzeigen wandern zu digitalen Werbeträgern ab (von denen längst nicht alle Online-Medien sind), und auch die Vertriebsumsätze sinken infolge von Abonnenten- und Leserverlusten. Diese Faktoren werden von Verlagen gern zur Begründung ihrer Sparmaßnahmen angeführt. Daran ist so viel wahr, als dass die Prekarisierung auch Folge eines mangelnden Wertbewussteins in unserer Gesellschaft für journalistische Arbeit ist. Journalismus wird immer weniger als die anspruchsvolle geistige Arbeit anerkannt, die er ist. Die Qualitätszeitung für 2,20 Euro empfinden viel [...]e als zu teuer, den Latte Macchiato nicht. Obwohl er oft mehr kostet und rascher verbraucht ist als eine reichhaltige Zeitung.
Eine weitere wichtige Ursache benennt die WDR-Journalistin Sonia Seymour Mikich, wenn sie den Einzug eines neuen Denkens und einer neuen Sprache in den Verlagen und Sendern beschreibt: "Wir machten es uns gemütlich, als 'benchmarking‘, 'audience-flow‘, 'controlling‘, 'usabilty‘, 'look and feel‘, 'performance‘ in unserem Handwerkskasten auftauchten und die 'tools‘ eines angesagten Superprofessionalismus wurden. Als hätten wir ’nen kleinen McKinsey im Ohr, lernten wir Neusprech.“ Und der damalige "Handelsblatt“-Chef Bernd Ziesemer warnte in einer Rede, bevor er in die Corporate-Publishing-Branche wechselte, seine Kollegen in den Redaktionen: "In den Verlagen haben oft kulturelle Analphabeten das Sagen, die schon lange keine Zeitung mehr lesen, aber sich berufen fühlen, uns Journalisten zu erklären, wie man eine Zeitung macht. Sie behandeln uns wie die Bandarbeiter der Lückenfüllproduktion zwischen den Anzeigen. In solche Hände dürfen wir uns nicht begeben!“
“— Free access to British scientific research within two years | Science | The Guardian 2012-07-15
Stevan Harnad, professor of electronics and computer science at Southampton University, said the government was facing an expensive bill in supporting gold open access over the green open access model.
He said UK universities and research funders had been leading the world in the movement towards "green" open access that requires researchers to self-archive their journal articles on the web, and make them free for all.
"The Finch committee's recommendations look superficially as if they are supporting open access, but in reality they are strongly biased in favour of the interests of the publishing industry over the interests of UK research," he said.
"Instead of recommending that the UK build on its historic lead in providing cost-free green open access, the committee has recommended spending a great deal of extra money — scarce research money — to pay publishers for "gold open access publishing. If the Finch committee recommendations are heeded, as David Willetts now proposes, the UK will lose both its global lead in open access and a great deal of public money — and worldwide open access will be set back at least a decade," he said.”
"Tell the chef, the beer is on me."
"Basically the price of a night on the town!"
"I'd love to help kickstart continued development! And 0 EUR/month really does make fiscal sense too... maybe I'll even get a shirt?" (there will be limited edition shirts for two and other goodies for each supporter as soon as we sold the 200)