New wave of air pollution in Pancevo

From B92 I learned that it was a bad day for pollution in Pancevo,a town just outside Belgrade:

“Air pollutants in Pančevo reached high levels of concentration yesterday, but have receded since midnight.

Yesterday at 11:30, Pančevo municipal president Srđan Miković turned on the sirens signalling a chemical hazard, after the concentration of benzene in the air reached 117.5 micrograms/m .

Why do people continue to live there? Pancevo was an industrial park created east of Belgrade for heavy industry. Over the years people started moving to the area to be closer to their factories and a town of 100,000 has sprung up. Now its residents regularly protest about the pollution problem and they live with the threat of mass poisoning and chemical sirens!

The Visa Abolition Campaign

One of the most pernicious retardants of development in Serbia and other Balkan countries is the near impossibility of travel for young people.

This is caused by the ludicrous visa restrictions these Balkan countries are subject to.

The system is slow, expensive and utterly corrupt.

Now there is a figh back led by a trans-Balkan coalition called the Visa Abolishment Campaign.

Please visit their site and read about the damage this unfair via system is wreaking in the region.

Rochegrosse (1859–1938)

Rochegrosse (1859–1938):

The Booty (pre-1893) – Georges Rochegrosse
Etched by Eugene-Andre Champollion, sourced here

Rochegrosse (1859-1938) is above all else the painter of Flaubert‚Äôs Salammb√¥, which he illustrated in great detail with absolute accuracy but a complete lack of understanding. The antique pictures which the artists of the fin de si√®cle offer us are more often than not laborious reconstructions and pretexts to depict nudes. Dreamers of Decadence, Philippe Jullian, page 140.”

(Via Jahsonic)

Low, middle and high culture

From Jahsonic:

With all this talk on nobrow, low and high culture, maybe it’s time to define the concepts of these cultures a little better. The best effort so far defining low and high culture is the following schema by American sociologist Herbert J. Gans from his 1974 book Popular Culture and High Culture: an Analysis and Evaluation of Taste.

High culture

  • Interest in creative process and symbolism
  • Preference for experimentation
  • Introspection preferred to action
  • Accepts different levels of meaning
  • Expects consideration of philosophical, psychological and social issues

Upper middle culture

  • A less literary verbal culture
  • Figurative and narrative art preferred, especially if illustrative of individual achievement or upward mobility
  • Enjoys nineteenth-century art and opera, but not early music or contemporary art

Lower middle culture

  • Form must unambiguously express meaning
  • Demands conclusions
  • Unresolvable conflicts not made explicit
  • Interested in performers, not writers or directors
  • Influenced by word-of-mouth judgement

Low culture

  • No concern with abstract ideas: form must be entirely subservient to content
  • Demands crude morality with dramatic demarcations, but usually limited to family or individual problems
  • Performer is paramount: enjoys vicarious contact with ‚Äôstars‚Äô
  • Considers ornateness attractive

-Schema adapted from Herbert J. Gans (1974) by Stephen Bayley (1991)

(Via Jahsonic)

Science of Psychopathy

Science of Psychopathy: “David Pescovitz: The cover story of Science News this week is about psychopaths, defined in the article as those pleasant individuals who ‘lack a conscience and are incapable of experiencing empathy, guilt, or loyalty.’ (On the cover, Ted Bundy.) From the article:

Psychiatrist Hervey Cleckley wrote The Mask of Sanity (1941, Mosby), a classic textbook on psychopathy. Cleckley portrayed psychopaths as superficially charming, intelligent people who don’t feel deep emotions and lie about almost everything because they neither understand nor care about others…

Although psychiatrists don’t currently label psychopathy as a formal personality disorder, a wave of new research has yielded insights into how psychopaths think and suggested biological and temperamental roots of this condition.

These findings have not only sparked debate among researchers but also attracted widespread interest among lawyers and judges. Courts in the United States and other countries increasingly rely on psychopathy measures to make sentencing judgments. New studies suggest that being labeled a psychopath increases the likelihood that an offender will be locked up indefinitely or even executed.

Link

(Via Boing Boing)