Stunning Space-Inspired Paintings by Michael Kagan

Brooklyn based artist  Michael Kagan composes stunning large-scale paintings, which pay homage to everything related to astronauts. Depicting space stations, spacesuits, and rocks in a heavy blue hue, Kagan’s work is both symbolic and abstract. He uses quick and thick brush strokes to create texture and dimension as well as to construct a highly expressive image. 

To maintain a realistic portrayal of space, Kagan captures a fleeting moment or instance, which is usually seen in photograph. The presence of two astronauts, the spaceship takeoff and the working machinery are snapshots of sough-after figures. 


Life in the Paris Suburbs

For nearly a decade, the Spanish photographer Arnau Bach has been photographing the youth of the 93 for his project “Suburbia.” Originally inspired by the media’s coverage of the banlieue riots of 2005, Bach spent long periods of time in the neighborhood between 2006 and 2012; he returned to the area to take photographs for The New Yorker in March of this year. 

See more on newyorker.com.

A Faith For Yourself.

I was listening to a sermon podcast last night at the gym (I always work out to sermons, they fire me up and I feel doubly productive), and the pastor suddenly said, “You don’t need me. You don’t need a preacher to tell you what the Bible says. Thank God for scholars and seminaries, but there’s no secret insider information. It’s all here. You can open up this book and have a faith for yourself.”

I wanted to yell “amen” in the gym. I’m not that kind of guy, to yell amen even at church, and this wasn’t a new thought I hadn’t heard before — but I thought of how alarmingly dependent we’ve become on forming our faith and philosophy from others. We wait for Sundays or the right celebrities or our circle of like-minded bloggers to affirm a kind of pre-established dogma, but don’t often investigate their words down to the bottom. And they’re just people, too, learning like me and you.

I’m not always silent before God to really discern why I believe a certain idea. I run to blogs and books and podcasts too quickly. Sometimes I try to transplant what works for someone else on to myself, and it doesn’t work, and I beat myself up for failing. Other times I’ll blame a church or pastor or my community because I trusted them to grow me better, when it was really up to me to learn how to fish. I pride myself on being a “thinker,” but too many times I’ve subconsciously let others do the thinking for me. I trick myself into thinking that having a “click” moment in a sermon is the same thing as real passion and action. I’m very hasty to wonder what someone else thinks about the most recent headlines.

Yes, thank God for scholars and smart people and informed blogs. But in the end, these can only be supplements to the road we must travel ourselves, and we cannot sustain the entire weight of our faith and life and philosophy on other minds who have a road of their own.

You can have a faith for yourself. You don’t need me or an articulate witty blogger or someone who has the secret sauce to a better-life-in-seven-easy-steps. There are no shortcuts. There aren’t enough words out there to get you where you need to go. Most of the journey is up to you, and me, and each of us in community doing our part.

Don’t trust me. There’s only One you can truly trust, and He will light the way as we trust Him together.

— J.S.

Campus Pride releases annual list of the 25 most LGBTQ-friendly colleges
Campus Pride releases Top 25 list of the “Best of the Best” LGBTQ-friendly campuses across the nation

This week, Campus Pride released this year’s edition of its Top 25 LGBTQ-Friendly Colleges & Universities list. 

Campus Pride rates colleges and universities around the country based on a number of LGBTQ-friendliness measures, and for the last seven years has compiled a list of the top performers. This is the first year that Campus Pride has also upped the standards required for higher scores, citing the changing needs of LGBTQ college students. 

Here’s the list of schools:

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I think that with a story as bleak as this one, it’s incredibly important to look towards the future. Even though residential schools spent 150 years systematically stripping indigenous Canadians of their culture, their language, and their identity, First Nations customs are once again thriving. Ceremonies and traditions that were once banned by the government have returned, and more and more children are being brought up speaking their languages, dancing, drumming, singing, smudging, sweating. And the act of cultural reclamation is definitely healing – most of the survivors I met who said they had managed to begin to heal and to forgive had all made some marked effort to claw back a part of the cultural identity that had been taken away from them all those years ago. This is Daniella Zalcman sharing work from my latest Pulitzer Center project on Canada’s residential school survivors. For more, please check out the @newyorkerphoto account where I’m also posting for the week. 

Image and caption by Daniella Zalcman, via Instagram. 

Daniella is reporting from Canada for her upcoming project, “Signs of Your Identity.” See more of her past work for the Pulitzer Center here

An Artist’s Self-Portraits Depict the Effects of LSD in 9 Hours

Reddit user whatafinethrowaway asked a friend to compose a series of self-portraits in coloring pencils, which reveal the effect of drugs on her work. Modeled after the 1950s “Nine Drawings” experiment, where researchers of the U.S. government gave an artist drawing materials and a dose of LSD 25, the young artist transformed the experiment to suit her.

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Snow on the Acropolis by Robert Wallace
Via Flickr:
It has been snowing in Athens for two days (25Jan2006), which brings back memories of the last big snowfall there, two years ago (February 2004), when I took this unusual photograph of the Acropolis and Lycabettus Hill covered in snow. 
© Robert Wallace

Notice how Orion Pax refers to Damus/Glitch. “The one with the claws”.

In fact it is on very few occasions that we see actual references to Empurata victims as Empurata victims. The name itself is not affixed to them in general speech. We see references to one-eyes, claws, but never the name itself. They are referenced in ways that marks them lesser than others. One eye when everyone else has two. Claws instead of hands.

Either the name of the punishment is not that well known, or, more likely, the empuratas are “dehumanized”, made lesser compared to others, either because they were punished or because that they no longer have the same ability as others. They’re stigmatized and isolated from others.

And Orion Pax, in a true Cybertronian “Where are they positioned in relation to me?” fashion, someone known to try to be just and fair, judges Damus without even realizing it, because culture has made him do it.

balkan-trash asked:

Hello, I've been reading a lot of travelogues recently and I noticed that a lot of them have the same narrative of "American person goes to Italy, discovers how the Italians are endearingly inefficient yet learns important lessons about life and love." (A really egregious example of this is 'the Venice Experiment by Barry Frangipane). As a Croatian, I get annoyed when people are so patronizing towards us, and i was wondering how you feel about those books.

Hello and thanks for writing! I mostly feel angry whenever I read about travelogues like that. We discussed a couple of similar instances here and here last year and I think it’s mainly disrespectful and a wasted opportunity to actually create bridges between different cultures. Today we’ve been arguing on Twitter over another article (I won’t link to it because they don’t deserve the views, since it’s pretty clear they’re using it as clickbait) about an American who stayed for one year in Genova and wrote a list of impressions that generalizes his single experience to the whole country and says completely false things. The thing I hate the most about this “genre” is that approaching a different culture is never seen as an opportunity to learn, but only to judge like: “We do this different and thus inherently better and God forbid I even bother to understand why you do it like that, you silly uncivilized kids”. That’s the worst attitude one could ever have towards a different set of rules and traditions. And let’s not even mention how most of the times they either keep up with stereotypes from 50 years ago or act surprised when they see those stereotypes that are meant to make us look ancient prove to be completely false.

That said, if anyone knows of a good travelogue about Italy that doesn’t follow this wretched path of disrespect, please recommend them to us!