Today's Featured Article's Archives. November-December, 2008

December, 2008

The Dollar Slipped on Thursday

The dollar slipped against the yen in Asian trade on Thursday, December 25, after more bleak data on the US economy.
The dollar was trading at 90.36 yen in the afternoon in Tokyo, down from 90.59 yen in shortened pre-Christmas New York trading on Wednesday. The greenback dipped due to sell orders from Japanese exporters, although importers' orders cancelled out much of the fall. The euro bought 1.3993 dollars, barely changed from 1.3991 dollars in New York, while slightly easing to 126.48 yen from 126.68. U.S. and European markets were to be closed Thursday. The dollar's fall was limited after another round of grim U.S. economic data. Positive figures would be a surprise but markets are well braced for bad data from the United States. The personal income contracted 0.2 percent in November from the previous month while consumption expenditures shrank 0.6 percent, in a further sign of consumer retrenchment. New U.S. jobless claims rose by 30,000 over the past week to 586,000. The pressure was easing somewhat on the U.S. currency as the economic downturn becomes increasingly global. For one thing, Japanese exporters' performance is rapidly worsening, and that means less dollar-selling for settlement. Non-Japanese investors are unlikely to buy Japanese stocks actively in this environment. So the money flow from overseas may become thinner. The dollar was mixed in regional Asian trade. It eased to 1,304.30 South Korean won from 1,309.70 on Wednesday, to 47.41 Philippine pesos from 47.66, to 1.4428 Singapore dollars from 1.4478 and to 32.95 Taiwan dollars from 33.05. The dollar firmed to 34.75 Thai baht from to 34.60 and to 11,200 Indonesian rupiah from 11,165.

Nakagin Capsule Tower in Tokyo Need Local Support for Maintenance

Nakagin was built in the Metabolist style of the 1970s by Japanese architect Kurokawa Kisho. The tower rises 14 floors and is composed of 140 individual capsules designed to be apartments or business offices. The Metabolism movement wanted to create a new system of architecture focused on adaptable, growing and interchangeable building designs, and is the forefather of things like stackable prefab housing.
The complicated nature of the Nakagin building and several design flaws may have ensured its demise. Budgetary concerns over repairing and maintaining the building caused residents to vote that it ought to be demolished. With it goes an integral piece of Japanese architectural history.
The unique Nakagin Capsule Tower in Tokyo is a futuristic-looking architectural marvel that without local support for maintenance and preservation may not survive long enough for the future to see it.

The U.S. Want Answers...

A senior military intelligence official said that while Moscow has sent out conflicting responses to reports on the sale of long-range S-300 missiles, the U.S. believes it is taking place. It appears no equipment has yet been delivered to Iran, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Russia's state arms export agency said it is supplying Iran with defensive weapons, including surface-to-air missiles, but did not say whether Russia includes sophisticated S-300 missiles. The U.S. is seeking clarification from Russia. The U.S. have repeatedly made clear at senior levels of the Russian government that the U.S. would strongly oppose the sale of the S-300, and this is not the time for business as usual with the Iranian government. Iran currently has an antiquated missile defense system, dating back to the 60s and 70s. The Russian sale would provide Tehran a much longer range, more mobile and lethal capability: with a range of 75 miles, the Russian system would allow Iran to reach coalition forces operating in Afghanistan and Iraq. Both the U.S strongly opposed the sale, saying that supplying such an advanced anti-aircraft system to Iran would shift the military balance of power in the Middle East and would make any strike at Iran's first nuclear power plant (which Russia is helping to build) more difficult. Officials acknowledge that the sale of the S-300 system is not prohibited by the resolution. The U.S. fear that Iran could use the S-300 missiles to protect its uranium enrichment plant at Natanz or the country's first atomic power plant now under construction at Bushehr by Russian contractors. Iran insists its uranium enrichment program is intended solely for civilian energy needs, but the U.S. and other nations believe Iran is secretly developing nuclear weapons.The sale of S-300 missiles presents a decision point for Israel, since once the anti-aircraft system is in place it could deter any strike.

What Your Blood Type Says About You

Type O: You are the social butterflies, self-confident and popular. You are creative and always the center of attention. You make a good impression on people, and you’re often attractive. Your stubbornness helps you reach your goals. You make good leaders. In love, O is most compatible with O and AB. Common career choices: banker, politician, investment broker, gambler, minister, and pro athlete.

Type A: Type As are filled with worry and anxiety. You’re perfectionists, often shy, sensitive. You are sensitive to color and your surroundings. Often introverted, you’re thoughtful and stable. You like are fashionable, but never flashy or gaudy. You often shun reality for fantasy worlds. A is most compatible with A and AB in the love. Career choices: accountant, writer, computer programmer, librarian, economist, and gossip columnist.

Type B:
You often complete the ambitious tasks set before you. Very charming, you’re good at reading people. Though critical of appearance, you aren’t picky. Type Bs are impulsive individualists, they often create their own path in life, very strong, optimistic. B is most compatible with B and AB. Career choices: cook, talk show host,
hairdresser, military leader, and journalist.

Type AB: ABs
can be dualistic, possessing both A and B traits. You may be
hesitant and confident, shy and outgoing, often stand out from others. You don’t like labels, are logical and determined to do things correctly. You like to help others, often speak in a serious manner. AB can find love and happiness with any other blood type. Career choices: teacher, sales representative, bartender, lawyer, and social worker.

Image Comics & Top Cow Productions

Studio Space image comicsStudio Space: The world's greatest comic illustrators at work by Joel Meadows and Gary Marshall, with introduction by Guillermo del Toro published by Image Comics in 2008. This unique title features artwork of twenty artists, including Brian Bolland, Tim Bradstreet, Howard Chaykin, Steve Dillon, Tommy Lee Edwards, Duncan Fegredo, Dave Gibbons, Adam Hughes, Joe Kubert, Jim Lee, and other creators of the best comics books. This book pulls the curtain and let reader to learn about the places and techniques many of the favorite artists use. The readers will be surprised that most artists use the same brush, eraser and the pen you use, and many of them use interior tools. You will get a sense of the uniqueness of their workspace, and you may catch a glimpse of what makes them special, and make them tick...
Art of Marc SilvestriThe Art of Marc Silvestri with commentaries from David Finch, Brandon Peterson, Billy Tan, Mike Choi and Michael Broussard published by Top Cow Productions in 2008. Driven by his commitment to excellence, Marc Silvestri gained a lot of followers in late 80s. His popularity continued to grow when he founded Top Cow Productions. Top Cow has grown from comic books into a company with ongoing development in video games, anime, and future films.
Top Cow Productions is unique in the comic book publishing world. Its commitment to quality entertainment, and delivering this entertainment to fans on a consistent basissets Top Cow apart from the rest of the comics world.Comic books are unlike any other form of entertainment. It takes a company that understands the art form to allow the medium to bloom in today's competitive market: you will find most Top Cow books on the best sellers list. This is why Top Cow characters strike such a chord with the followers all over the world, and why Top Cow has set a new standard in today's comic book market. Top Cow has helped to keep the "classic" medium a vital form of entertainment in today's culture -Marc Silvestri understands what it meant to produce a quality comic book, and his popularity is continuing to grow...

November, 2008

US Intelligence Prediction for 2025

The report, Global Trends 2025, is published every four years by the National Intelligence Council to give U.S. leaders insight into looming problems.
The U.S. and its dollar could further decline in importance during the next two decades...
The warming earth will extend Russia and Canada's growing season and ease their access to northern oil fields, strengthening their economies. Russia's potential emergence as a world power may be clouded by lagging investment in its energy sector, persistent crime and government corruption.
The organized crime plaguing Russia could take over the government of an Eastern or Central European country. The report is silent on which one...
Countries in Africa and South Asia may find themselves unstable and ungoverned, as state regimes collapse or wither away under security problems and water and food shortages brought about by climate change and a population increase.
As the world's population competes for declining and shifting food, water and energy resources, the potential for conflict will be greater in 2025 than it is now.
Al-Qaida's terrorist franchise could decay "sooner than people think."
The report contains info about a geopolitical rise in non-Arab Muslim states outside of the Middle East (including Turkey and Indonesia), and says Iran could also be a central player in a new world order...
The report suggests the world may complete its move away from its dependence on oil, and that the U.S. dollar, while remaining important, will decline to "first among equals" among other national currencies.
U.S. global power will likely decline, as Americans' concerns about putting resources into solving domestic problems may cause the U.S. to pull resources from foreign and global problems...

Zero in New York

Sperone Westwater is pleased to present, for the first time in the United States, a survey of works by members of the Zero group created between the late 1950s and late 1960s
Inspired by the recent survey "Zero: Internationale Kunstler-Avantgarde er 50er/60er Jahre," which opened at the Museum Kunst Palast in Dusseldorf and traveled to the Musee d'Art Moderne in Saint Etienne (2006-2007), "ZERO in New York" has been organized by David Leiber, Director of Sperone Westwater and Mattijs Visser, Founding Director of the Zero Foundation.
The Zero movement was initiated in the late 1950s by two Dusseldorf-based artists, Heinz Mack and Otto Piene. The term "Zero," which the artists coined to describe their concept, later came to define an international movement taken up by artists across Europe. "ZERO in New York" concentrates on the movement's artistic output between 1957 and 1966 and examines the unusually collaborative relationship that developed between groups of artists in Germany, The Netherlands, France, Italy, Belgium, and Switzerland in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
Reacting to the personally-charged expressionism of the Post-War period, Zero artists aimed to banish any trace of personal style and instead bring elements of the non-art world into their work. Informed by new materials and technologies, and incorporating elements of light, fire, and water, Zero was characterized by an idealistic spirit of collaboration in pursuit of new concepts of light, movement, and energy. Working in an environment without galleries and contemporary art spaces, these artists came together to exhibit their work in a series of one-day-only evening exhibitions, often staged in their studios. Manifestos were often published in association with the shows, such as "Zero1" (1958), "Zero 2" (1958), and "Zero 3" (1961). These included texts in multiple languages written by artists and curators active in the Zero circle who sought to define what they termed "The New Artistic Conception." With its serial preservation, vibrant light structures and strong theoretical component, Zero was a progressive art movement that revolutionized Post-War art and led to the formation of the Post-War Avant-Garde. In describing the meaning and significance of the name "Zero," Otto Piene wrote:
"From the beginning we looked upon the term [Zero] not as an expression of nihilism - or as a dada-like gag, but as a word indicating a zone of silence and of pure possibilities for a new beginning as the count-down when rockets take off - ZERO is the incommensurable zone in which the old state turns into the new."
From the original German Zero group, works by Heinz Mack, Otto Piene and Gunter Uecker will be shown in "ZERO in New York" till December 20, 2008. Of particular note there are three important light sculptures by Piene that were made for his first New York exhibition in 1995. Also on view works by other German practitioners, including Gerhard von Graevenitz, and Adolf Luther, works by a Dutch group of artists "Nul", and many more...

U.K.: Frances Lincoln: The Road to Fascination

Frances Lincoln Limited was founded by Frances Lincoln in 1977. The company published their first books two years later, and have been creating illustrated remarkable books of the highest quality with special emphasis on art and architecture, design and landscape, gardening and the outdoors. All Frances Lincoln books have a strong multicultural element and an excellent reputation worldwide. Their publishing partners include Oxfam, The Royal Horticultural Society, The Victoria and Albert Museum and Amnesty International. Frances Lincoln Limited wants all their books to reflect the richness and diversity of the contemporary world we live in today. Frances Lincoln died, aged 55, in February 2001. Her husband, John Nicoll, now runs the company. Frances Lincoln Limited publish well over 100 new books a year, and have nearly 1000 in print. Frances Lincoln Limited turnover is around £6 million per annum. They have offices in
Kentish Town, London, U.K. Mlinaric On Decorating Mlinaric on Decorating by Mirabel Cecil and David Mlinaric published by Frances Lincoln in October, 2008. David Mlinaric never wanted to be anything other than an interior decorator and designer. He had been born in 1939, in London, on the eve of the Second World War, to an English mother and Yugoslav father. His cosmopolitan background gave him a feeling of objectivity towards the England in which he brought up. David always had been fascinated by buildings, inside and out. One of his childhood memories was as a small boy sheltering in the underground Grotto, built by the poet Alexander Pope on the banks of the Thames at Twickenham. It was used as a wartime air-raid shelter... Illustrated with 200 color photographs, Mlinaric on Decorating explores David Mlinaric's outstanding skills in the crafting classic modern interiors as elegant as the historic rooms. This fabulous title of style and glamour is a result of the collaboration with acclaimed writer and journalist Mirabel Cecil. Mlinaric on Decorating distills a lifetime of creative experience into a glorious volume. From his small practice 45 years ago in London, David has become the most acclaimed interior designer of our time, with offices in London, Paris, and New York. David Mlinaric's commissions include small country houses and retail spaces, museums and galleries, embassies and estates. His client list includes Mick Jagger, Eric Clapton, Mary Wells Lawrence and Lord Rothschild. You can find out more about it in this book.

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