1) New York Times: “From the city that has banned cars from broad swaths of Broadway and put picnic tables in Times Square, here comes another great reshaping of New York’s streetscape. The Bloomberg administration is moving ahead with what amounts to a radical, river-to-river reimagining of another major corridor: 34th Street.”
Automobiles would be banned on the block between Fifth Avenue and Avenue of the Americas, creating a pedestrian plaza bookended by Herald Square and the Empire State Building. The result would be a street effectively split in two.
2) American Society of Landscape Architects: “Certainly, it’s very difficult to preserve an evolving landscape. We live in a transitional world and have to adapt to our own constants. Sometimes it’s very difficult to imagine that something will remain exactly the same. We had to define heritage categories that are intrinsically evolving. We’re trying at UNESCO to change our approach a little bit to create a vision of how heritage can be seen in a transitional world.”
3) Archaeology: “The stone city of Nan Madol, in Pohnpei, one of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), consists of 92 man-made islands built on a coral reef at the edge of a mangrove swamp. The buildings of this mysterious 1,000-year-old site, which was the ceremonial and political seat of an ancient dynasty, are made of stacks of cut stone “logs,” each weighing up to 50 tons. Today, issues of ownership and sovereignty hold up plans to rehabilitate Nan Madol and make it eligible for a UNESCO World Heritage designation.”
4) BusinessWeek: U.S. Smart Bombs Rely on Metals Dominated by China
5) Popular Science: “An aging transmission line built in 1948 is the only link between the U.S. power grid and the little city of Presidio in West Texas. So Presidio has invested in a single huge battery that can power the entire town and serve as emergency backup for the frequent outages caused by the line going down.”
6) Daily Telegraph: “Archaeologists in Italy have unearthed the remains of a 6th century BC temple-style building complete with detailed assembly instructions which they have likened to an Ikea do-it-yourself furniture pack.”
7) BBC: “The Nottingham Caves Survey… will use a 3D laser scanner to produce a three dimensional record of more than 450 sandstone caves around Nottingham from which a virtual representation can be made.”
The area which now makes up Nottingham city centre was once known as Tiggua Cobaucc, which means “place of caves.” The caves date back to the medieval period and possibly earlier. Over the years they have been used as dungeons, beer cellars, cess-pits, tanneries and air-raid shelters.
8a) “The Falmouth Convention is a three-day conference in an unconventional form… Conceived as an international meeting of artists, curators and writers to explore the significance of time and place in relation to contemporary art and exhibition making, it has been planned to respond to the situation in Cornwall and other such dispersed, rural areas.”
8b) “Described in the eighteenth century as the ‘richest square mile in the old world,’ the Gwennap Mining District will be the setting for a field trip led by the Falmouth-based arts organisation Urbanomic, ‘a journey into an historical process that assembled the powers of geology, mechanics, hydraulics, mineralogy and metallurgy, salvation and combustion, steam and capital into a mighty, infernal machine that traumatised the Cornish landscape and kick-started the industrial revolution.’”
Visiting lesser-known sites where these components interacted and evolved during the height of the mining trade in Cornwall, the field trip will discover what lies beneath the tourist emblem of the abandoned engine-house. With the guidance of rogue scientists, agrosophists and geophilosophers, it will uncover “the complexities of subterranean poetics and aesthetics, and confront the industrial behemoth that made the earth scream.”
9) Popular Science: “While three-dimensional printing has come a long way, engineers still struggle with fabricating objects smaller than a quarter,” but “researchers have hit upon a technique that could produce any number of microscopic medical or mechanical devices through folding, rather than layered printing.”
10) National Geographic Channel: “Take an inside look at what may be the toughest disciplinary tool in the U.S. prison system: solitary confinement.”
Extra Credit: “The European Union has declared travelling a human right, and is launching a scheme to subsidize vacations with taxpayers’ dollars for those too poor to afford their own trips.”