Inflatable tank dummy as art. Michael Sailstorfer, T 72 (sand), 2008,
courtesy Johann König, Berlin, photos Alexis Zavialoff, CVG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
Inflatable dummy tank next to a real U.S. Army medium tank Mark IV. Dec. 5, 1945
Puerility makes everything into a game, even things that are not games, even things that must not be games. Puerility is detailed, nitpicky, often rulebound, but always in the service of play. Longinus detects a formal puerility in writing that evinces a desire to be pleasing. I might revise that: not so much a desire to be pleasing as to be fun.
In 1973, two social scientists, Horst Rittel and Melvin Webber, defined a class of problems they called “wicked problems.” Wicked problems are messy, ill-defined, more complex than we fully grasp, and open to multiple interpretations based on one’s point of view. They are problems such as poverty, obesity, where to put a new highway—or how to make sure that people have adequate health care.
Solutions to wicked problems …are only better or worse. Trade-offs are unavoidable. Unanticipated complications and benefits are both common. And opportunities to learn by trial and error are limited. You can’t try a new highway over here and over there; you put it where you put it. But new issues will arise. Adjustments will be required. No solution to a wicked problem is ever permanent or wholly satisfying, which leaves every solution open to easy polemical attack.
Atul Gawande on why universal health-care in the United States is a wicked problem, and why the uninsured are still vulnerable: http://nyr.kr/MDJqA8
I’ve signed up for Code Club, a national project to encourage primary-school children to learn computer programming. Code Club are going to provide a 12-week curriculum based around Scratch.
Little Free Library brings neighbors together through books: A nationwide movement, Little Free Library prompts bibliophiles to put up small shelved structures outside their homes where people can take books and leave some too. The result can be conversation, friendship and a sense of community.
In the half a year that Beggs’ Little Free Library has perched on a post in front of his Sherman Oaks home, it has evolved into much more than a book exchange. … When a 9-year-old boy knocked on his door one morning to say how much he liked the little library, Beggs knew he was on to something.
Photo: Fiona Sassoon, 10, gets some neighborly advice from David Dworski, left, on book selections at Dworski’s diminutive outdoor library in Venice. Credit: Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times
Definitely doing this when I have my own place some day.
I’ve seen at least one of these in the new neighborhood that I’m moving to in Walla Walla.
In that Empire, the Art of Cartography attained such Perfection that the map of a single Province occupied the entirety of a City, and the map of the Empire, the entirety of a Province. In time, those Unconscionable Maps no longer satisfied, and the Cartographers Guilds struck a Map of the Empire whose size was that of the Empire, and which coincided point for point with it. The following Generations, who were not so fond of the Study of Cartography as their Forebears had been, saw that that vast Map was Useless, and not without some Pitilessness was it, that they delivered it up to the Inclemencies of Sun and Winters. In the Deserts of the West, still today, there are Tattered Ruins of that Map, inhabited by Animals and Beggars; in all the Land there is no other Relic of the Disciplines of Geography.
Suarez Miranda,Viajes de varones prudentes, Libro IV,Cap. XLV, Lerida, 1658
On Exactitude in Science
From Jorge Luis Borges, Collected Fictions, Translated by Andrew Hurley Copyright Penguin 1999 .
In order to save the books, they had to threaten to burn them. At least, that’s the story told by Leo Burnett Worldwide, a Michigan advertising company that just won nine awards at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. The kudos were for a P.R. campaign on behalf of the Troy, Mich., public library. A ballot measure was up before the Troy electorate last summer, seeking a local property tax increase to cover the operating costs of the library. Without the funds, the city council maintained, the library would have to be closed.
Leo Burnett Worldwide stepped into the debate as a ringer, pretending to be a Tea Partyish outfit called Safeguarding American Families (SAFE) that planned a bonfire of library books should it succeed in getting the ballot measure defeated. They created a Facebook page and went around town putting up yard signs advertising a “Book Burning Party” to be held after the election. The response from the public was almost equal parts puzzlement and ire, but when the moment of truth came, voters turned out in droves and the measure passed.
Grupa TOK performance, Serbia ‘73
Public performance art, using protest signs with minimal patterns.
More photos here