3D Printing Against Daesh: “We Will Recreate What ISIS Destroyed”

digital archaeology

3D technology comes to the rescue after the destruction of several world cultural treasures by the militant group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

According to the United Nations, ISIS has destroyed and damaged 200 world heritage sites along with hundreds of statues and artefacts since 2014.

ISIS’ plan is simple. It is about erasing all traces of previous cultures to establish their own and take advantage of the media coverage following massing destructions of historic sites to grab the world’s attention. In addition, this cultural cleaning is a way for Daesh to finance their activities by selling to dealers and private collectors.

Yet those lost treasures that some call “blood artifacts” may not be lost forever.

Through her digital fabrication and 3D printing project “Material Speculation : ISIS”, Iranian artist and activist Morehshin Allahyari chose to focus on the reconstruction of selected artifacts and statues destroyed by ISIS in Iraq in 2015.

In addition, to repair history and memory, each 3D printed object comprises a flash drive and a memory card. The data in these flash drives contain materials: maps, images, videos and pdf files on the destroyed artifacts and sites. They were gathered thanks to a collaboration with different archeologists and historians, including and museum staff.

“Like time capsules, each object is sealed and kept for future civilizations.”
– Morehshin Allahyari

Just like Murehshin Allahyari artifacts, Palmyra has suffered numerous act of vandalism. The Syrian desert city known as the Venice of the Sands lost the triumphal arch from 2,000-year-old Temple of Bel.

Devastated, many archaeologists talked restoration and reconstruction such as American lawyer/archaeologist Roger Michel. Indeed, as the founder of Oxford’s Institute for Digital Archaeology, Michel has built a 3D facsimile arch from Palmyra’s destroyed Temple of Bel.

Thanks to 3D technology, Pamlyra’s rose again in London’s Trafalgar Square last April to coincide with world heritage week. It should then travel on to Times Square in New York City.

London, Trafalgar Square

This 3D replica of the 15-meters arch that formed the temple’s entrance is a gesture of defiance against ISIS’ desire to erase cultural and historical evidence.

“My intention is to show Islamic State that anything they can blow up we can rebuild exactly as it was before, and rebuild it again and again. We will use technology to disempower ISIS.” Roger Michel

Moving for some or uncanny for others, this incredible public display of 3D reconstruction is the proof that new technology can restore entire parts of 20th-century historical sites. Although out of their original context and site, 3D monuments or artefacts might still conserve their precious sense of place and craftsmanship, thus preserving everybody’s heritage.

By Pauline Schnoebelen

When political parties reverse their policy stance, their supporters immediately switch their opinions too

At least a significant portion of their supporters, according to U of Aarhus researchers.

When two competing political parties in Denmark reversed their policy stance on an issue — suddenly they both supported reducing unemployment benefits — their voters immediately moved their opinions by around 15% into line with their party.

The same thing happened when one of these parties shifted from opposing to supporting ending Denmark’s early retirement.

The researchers were studying how public opinion is formed. Their recent paper sheds light on how much influence political parties have over their supporters, according to the researchers, who surveyed their panel of subjects in five successive waves between 2010 and 2011. They studied the same group of party supporters before, during and after a policy reversal.

“We can see that [the] welfare programs were actually quite popular … and many of the voters of the center-right party were in favor of these welfare programs,” commented one of the researchers, Rune Slothuus. “Nevertheless, we can see that they reversed their opinion from supporting these welfare programs to opposing these welfare programs.”

“I was surprised to see the parties appeared this powerful in shaping opinions,” Slothuus said. “Our findings suggest that partisan leaders can indeed lead citizens’ opinions in the real world, even in situations where the stakes are real and the economic consequences tangible.”

The researchers pondered Western democracy in light of their findings: “If citizens just blindly follow their party without thinking much about it, that should lead to some concern about the mechanisms in our democracy. Because how can partisan elites represent citizens’ views if the views of citizens are shaped by the very same elites who are supposed to represent them?”

Source: How Political Parties Shape Public Opinion in the Real World. Rune Slothuus and Martin Bisgaard. First published: 04 November 2020 https://doi.org/10.1111/ajps.12550

The brain listens for things it is trying to predict

The brain interprets sounds as they contrast with its expectations; it recognizes patterns of sounds faster when they’re in line with what it is predicting it will hear, but it only encodes sounds when they contrast with expectations, according to Technische U researchers.

The researchers showed this by monitoring the two principal nuclei of the subcortical pathway responsible for auditory processing: the inferior colliculus and the medial geniculate body, as their subjects listened to patterns of sounds which the researches modified so that sometimes they would hear an expected sound pattern, and other times something unexpected.

Source: Alejandro Tabas, Glad Mihai, Stefan Kiebel, Robert Trampel, Katharina von Kriegstein. Abstract rules drive adaptation in the subcortical sensory pathway. eLife, 2020; 9 DOI: 10.7554/eLife.64501

We have a particular way of understanding a room

When several research subjects were instructed to explore an empty room, and when they were instead seated in a chair and watched someone else explore the room, their brain waves followed a certain pattern, as recorded by a backpack hooked up to record their brain waves, eye movements, and paths. It didn’t matter if they were walking or watching someone else, according to UC researchers led by Dr Matthias Stangl.

The researchers also tested what happened when subjects searched for a hidden spot, or watched someone else do so, and found that brain waves flowed more strongly when they had a goal and hunted for something.

Source: Matthias Stangl, Uros Topalovic, Cory S. Inman, Sonja Hiller, Diane Villaroman, Zahra M. Aghajan, Leonardo Christov-Moore, Nicholas R. Hasulak, Vikram R. Rao, Casey H. Halpern, Dawn Eliashiv, Itzhak Fried, Nanthia Suthana. Boundary-anchored neural mechanisms of location-encoding for self and others. Nature, 2020; DOI: 10.1038/s41586-020-03073-y

Extroverts and introverts use different vocabularies

Extroverts use ‘positive emotion’ and ‘social process’ words more often than introverts, according to new research conducted at Nanyang Technological U.

‘Love,’ ‘happy,’ and ‘blessed’ indicate pleasant emotions, and ‘beautiful’ and ‘nice’ indicate positivity or optimism, and are among the words found to be used more often by extroverts. So too are ‘meet,’ ‘share,’ and ‘talk,’ which are about socializing. Extroverts use personal pronouns — except ‘I’ — more too, another indication of sociability.

The correlation, however, was small, and the researchers think that stronger linguistic indicators need to be found to achieve their general goal, which is improving machine learning approaches to targeting consumer marketing.

Source: Jiayu Chen, Lin Qiu, Moon-Ho Ringo Ho. A meta-analysis of linguistic markers of extraversion: Positive emotion and social process words. Journal of Research in Personality, 2020; 89: 104035 DOI: 10.1016/j.jrp.2020.104035

WhatsApp is changing today - Users must give the app permission to send their private data to Facebook or lose account

WhatsApp was bought by Facebook in 2014, but has thrived while promoting itself as a privacy-respecting messaging app that now has 1.5b monthly active users. This week, though, WhatApp sent out an update to users’ phones that they must ‘consent’ to a new policy or lose access.

Whatsapp will now share more of your data, including your IP address (your location) and phone number, your account registration information, your transaction data, and service-related data, interactions on WhatsApp, and other data collected based on your consent, with Facebook’s other companies. Facebook has been working towards more closely integrating Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger.

Users who do not agree to ‘consent’ to the new policy will see their WhatsApp account become inaccessible until they do ‘consent.’ These accounts will remain dormant for 120 days after which they will be ‘deleted.’

The biggest change to the user policy, which many people ignored and clicked ‘agree’ to, thinking it was just another unimportant app update message, now reads,

‘We collect information about your activity on our Services, like service-related, diagnostic, and performance information. This includes information about your activity (including how you use our Services, your Services settings, how you interact with others using our Services (including when you interact with a business), and the time, frequency, and duration of your activities and interactions), log files, and diagnostic, crash, website, and performance logs and reports. This also includes information about when you registered to use our Services; the features you use like our messaging, calling, Status, groups (including group name, group picture, group description), payments or business features; profile photo, “about” information; whether you are online, when you last used our Services (your “last seen”); and when you last updated your “about” information.’

Notably, Elon Musk tweeted on the news, saying that WhatsApp users should switch to Signal, one of several popular privacy-focused messaging apps similar to WhatsApp.

The data sharing policy change doesn’t affect people in Europe due to GDPR data protection regulations.

3D Printing Against Daesh: “We Will Recreate What ISIS Destroyed”

3D technology comes to the rescue after the destruction of several world cultural treasures by the militant group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

According to the United Nations, ISIS has destroyed and damaged 200 world heritage sites along with hundreds of statues and artefacts since 2014.

ISIS’ plan is simple. It is about erasing all traces of previous cultures to establish their own and take advantage of the media coverage following massing destructions of historic sites to grab the world’s attention. In addition, this cultural cleaning is a way for Daesh to finance their activities by selling to dealers and private collectors.

Yet those lost treasures that some call “blood artifacts” may not be lost forever.

Through her digital fabrication and 3D printing project “Material Speculation : ISIS”, Iranian artist and activist Morehshin Allahyari chose to focus on the reconstruction of selected artifacts and statues destroyed by ISIS in Iraq in 2015.

In addition, to repair history and memory, each 3D printed object comprises a flash drive and a memory card. The data in these flash drives contain materials: maps, images, videos and pdf files on the destroyed artifacts and sites. They were gathered thanks to a collaboration with different archaeologists and historians, including and museum staff.

“Like time capsules, each object is sealed and kept for future civilizations.”
Morehshin Allahyari

Just like Murehshin Allahyari artifacts, Palmyra has suffered numerous act of vandalism. The Syrian desert city known as the Venice of the Sands lost the triumphal arch from 2,000-year-old Temple of Bel.

Devastated, many archaeologists talked restoration and reconstruction such as American lawyer/archaeologist Roger Michel. Indeed, as the founder of Oxford’s Institute for Digital Archaeology, Michel has built a 3D facsimile arch from Palmyra’s destroyed Temple of Bel.

digitalarchaeology.org.uk
Temple of Bel

Thanks to 3D technology, Palmyra’s rose again in London’s Trafalgar Square last April to coincide with world heritage week. It should then travel on to Times Square in New York City.

This 3D replica of the 15-meters arch that formed the temple’s entrance is a gesture of defiance against ISIS’ desire to erase cultural and historical evidence.

“My intention is to show Islamic State that anything they can blow up we can rebuild exactly as it was before, and rebuild it again and again. We will use technology to disempower ISIS.” Roger Michel

Moving for some or uncanny for others, this incredible public display of 3D reconstruction is the proof that new technology can restore entire parts of 20th-century historical sites. Although out of their original context and site, 3D monuments or artifacts might still conserve their precious sense of place and craftsmanship, thus preserving everybody’s heritage.

By Pauline Schnoebelen

Featured image (‘Temple of Bel’): ICONEM is a young Paris based start-up focused on 3D reconstruction and analysis of endangered archaeological sites, which the group considers to be part of our common heritage. To prevent destruction caused by conflict, looting or natural disasters, they send teams on the ground to train people and help them document this heritage.

When political parties reverse their policy stance, their supporters immediately switch their opinions too

At least a significant portion of their supporters, according to U of Aarhus researchers.

When two competing political parties in Denmark reversed their policy stance on an issue — suddenly they both supported reducing unemployment benefits — their voters immediately moved their opinions by around 15% into line with their party.

The same thing happened when one of these parties shifted from opposing to supporting ending Denmark’s early retirement.

The researchers were studying how public opinion is formed. Their recent paper sheds light on how much influence political parties have over their supporters, according to the researchers, who surveyed their panel of subjects in five successive waves between 2010 and 2011. They studied the same group of party supporters before, during and after a policy reversal.

“We can see that [the] welfare programs were actually quite popular … and many of the voters of the center-right party were in favor of these welfare programs,” commented one of the researchers, Rune Slothuus. “Nevertheless, we can see that they reversed their opinion from supporting these welfare programs to opposing these welfare programs.”

“I was surprised to see the parties appeared this powerful in shaping opinions,” Slothuus said. “Our findings suggest that partisan leaders can indeed lead citizens’ opinions in the real world, even in situations where the stakes are real and the economic consequences tangible.”

The researchers pondered Western democracy in light of their findings: “If citizens just blindly follow their party without thinking much about it, that should lead to some concern about the mechanisms in our democracy. Because how can partisan elites represent citizens’ views if the views of citizens are shaped by the very same elites who are supposed to represent them?”

Source: How Political Parties Shape Public Opinion in the Real World. Rune Slothuus and Martin Bisgaard. First published: 04 November 2020 https://doi.org/10.1111/ajps.12550

The brain listens for things it is trying to predict

The brain interprets sounds as they contrast with its expectations; it recognizes patterns of sounds faster when they’re in line with what it is predicting it will hear, but it only encodes sounds when they contrast with expectations, according to Technische U researchers.

The researchers showed this by monitoring the two principal nuclei of the subcortical pathway responsible for auditory processing: the inferior colliculus and the medial geniculate body, as their subjects listened to patterns of sounds which the researches modified so that sometimes they would hear an expected sound pattern, and other times something unexpected.

Source: Alejandro Tabas, Glad Mihai, Stefan Kiebel, Robert Trampel, Katharina von Kriegstein. Abstract rules drive adaptation in the subcortical sensory pathway. eLife, 2020; 9 DOI: 10.7554/eLife.64501

We have a particular way of understanding a room

When several research subjects were instructed to explore an empty room, and when they were instead seated in a chair and watched someone else explore the room, their brain waves followed a certain pattern, as recorded by a backpack hooked up to record their brain waves, eye movements, and paths. It didn’t matter if they were walking or watching someone else, according to UC researchers led by Dr Matthias Stangl.

The researchers also tested what happened when subjects searched for a hidden spot, or watched someone else do so, and found that brain waves flowed more strongly when they had a goal and hunted for something.

Source: Matthias Stangl, Uros Topalovic, Cory S. Inman, Sonja Hiller, Diane Villaroman, Zahra M. Aghajan, Leonardo Christov-Moore, Nicholas R. Hasulak, Vikram R. Rao, Casey H. Halpern, Dawn Eliashiv, Itzhak Fried, Nanthia Suthana. Boundary-anchored neural mechanisms of location-encoding for self and others. Nature, 2020; DOI: 10.1038/s41586-020-03073-y

Extroverts and introverts use different vocabularies

Extroverts use ‘positive emotion’ and ‘social process’ words more often than introverts, according to new research conducted at Nanyang Technological U.

‘Love,’ ‘happy,’ and ‘blessed’ indicate pleasant emotions, and ‘beautiful’ and ‘nice’ indicate positivity or optimism, and are among the words found to be used more often by extroverts. So too are ‘meet,’ ‘share,’ and ‘talk,’ which are about socializing. Extroverts use personal pronouns — except ‘I’ — more too, another indication of sociability.

The correlation, however, was small, and the researchers think that stronger linguistic indicators need to be found to achieve their general goal, which is improving machine learning approaches to targeting consumer marketing.

Source: Jiayu Chen, Lin Qiu, Moon-Ho Ringo Ho. A meta-analysis of linguistic markers of extraversion: Positive emotion and social process words. Journal of Research in Personality, 2020; 89: 104035 DOI: 10.1016/j.jrp.2020.104035

WhatsApp is changing today - Users must give the app permission to send their private data to Facebook or lose account

WhatsApp was bought by Facebook in 2014, but has thrived while promoting itself as a privacy-respecting messaging app that now has 1.5b monthly active users. This week, though, WhatApp sent out an update to users’ phones that they must ‘consent’ to a new policy or lose access.

Whatsapp will now share more of your data, including your IP address (your location) and phone number, your account registration information, your transaction data, and service-related data, interactions on WhatsApp, and other data collected based on your consent, with Facebook’s other companies. Facebook has been working towards more closely integrating Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger.

Users who do not agree to ‘consent’ to the new policy will see their WhatsApp account become inaccessible until they do ‘consent.’ These accounts will remain dormant for 120 days after which they will be ‘deleted.’

The biggest change to the user policy, which many people ignored and clicked ‘agree’ to, thinking it was just another unimportant app update message, now reads,

‘We collect information about your activity on our Services, like service-related, diagnostic, and performance information. This includes information about your activity (including how you use our Services, your Services settings, how you interact with others using our Services (including when you interact with a business), and the time, frequency, and duration of your activities and interactions), log files, and diagnostic, crash, website, and performance logs and reports. This also includes information about when you registered to use our Services; the features you use like our messaging, calling, Status, groups (including group name, group picture, group description), payments or business features; profile photo, “about” information; whether you are online, when you last used our Services (your “last seen”); and when you last updated your “about” information.’

Notably, Elon Musk tweeted on the news, saying that WhatsApp users should switch to Signal, one of several popular privacy-focused messaging apps similar to WhatsApp.

The data sharing policy change doesn’t affect people in Europe due to GDPR data protection regulations.

Music for Melting Icebergs : Pianist Ludovico Einaudi Performing on the Arctic Ocean

Pianist

60 year-old Italian composer and pianist Ludovico Einaudi performed his composition “Elegy for the Arctic” last Friday in the Svalbard islands in Norway facing sub-zero temperatures.

A grand piano standing majestically in the middle of melting icebergs is surely not a common sight. Yet, it is not only for the pleasure of the eye or the ear that Greenpeace ice breaking vessel Arctic Sunrise brought the musician against the backdrop of the Walhlenbergbreen glacier.

ludovico-einaudi-performs-in-the-arctic-ocean-greenpeace-designboom-1800

This unique performance on a platform floating on the Arctic Ocean was part of a campaign to protect the Arctic environment and send a conservation message to world leaders.

Being here has been a great experience. I could see the purity and fragility of this area with my own eyes. It is important that we understand the importance of the Arctic, stop the process of destruction and protect it.” Einaudi said in a statement.

The video was released on Tuesday to mark the start of the four-day meeting of the OSPAR Commission in Tenerife, Spain. OSPAR consists of 15 governments of the EU seeking to protect the marine environment of the North-East Atlantic.

unewstoday.net
According to Greenpeace, the Arctic is warming faster than any other place in the world with a continuing loss of sea ice volume.

As we watch this haunting performance accompanied by eerie sounds due to icebergs movements slowly melting with ice chunks crumbling and falling in the Ocean, let us not forget that we are witnessing the spectacular yet dramatic effects of rising temperatures.

https://twitter.com/MikeFincken/status/744780382071984128

The Greenpeace petition to protect the Arctic sea is online here.

“Until they change their view, those who would risk the Arctic should not be heard over those calling to protect what we love, not over Ludovico’s music, not over the piano and the glacier, not over eight million voices.”

When political parties reverse their policy stance, their supporters immediately switch their opinions too

At least a significant portion of their supporters, according to U of Aarhus researchers.

When two competing political parties in Denmark reversed their policy stance on an issue — suddenly they both supported reducing unemployment benefits — their voters immediately moved their opinions by around 15% into line with their party.

The same thing happened when one of these parties shifted from opposing to supporting ending Denmark’s early retirement.

The researchers were studying how public opinion is formed. Their recent paper sheds light on how much influence political parties have over their supporters, according to the researchers, who surveyed their panel of subjects in five successive waves between 2010 and 2011. They studied the same group of party supporters before, during and after a policy reversal.

“We can see that [the] welfare programs were actually quite popular … and many of the voters of the center-right party were in favor of these welfare programs,” commented one of the researchers, Rune Slothuus. “Nevertheless, we can see that they reversed their opinion from supporting these welfare programs to opposing these welfare programs.”

“I was surprised to see the parties appeared this powerful in shaping opinions,” Slothuus said. “Our findings suggest that partisan leaders can indeed lead citizens’ opinions in the real world, even in situations where the stakes are real and the economic consequences tangible.”

The researchers pondered Western democracy in light of their findings: “If citizens just blindly follow their party without thinking much about it, that should lead to some concern about the mechanisms in our democracy. Because how can partisan elites represent citizens’ views if the views of citizens are shaped by the very same elites who are supposed to represent them?”

Source: How Political Parties Shape Public Opinion in the Real World. Rune Slothuus and Martin Bisgaard. First published: 04 November 2020 https://doi.org/10.1111/ajps.12550

The brain listens for things it is trying to predict

The brain interprets sounds as they contrast with its expectations; it recognizes patterns of sounds faster when they’re in line with what it is predicting it will hear, but it only encodes sounds when they contrast with expectations, according to Technische U researchers.

The researchers showed this by monitoring the two principal nuclei of the subcortical pathway responsible for auditory processing: the inferior colliculus and the medial geniculate body, as their subjects listened to patterns of sounds which the researches modified so that sometimes they would hear an expected sound pattern, and other times something unexpected.

Source: Alejandro Tabas, Glad Mihai, Stefan Kiebel, Robert Trampel, Katharina von Kriegstein. Abstract rules drive adaptation in the subcortical sensory pathway. eLife, 2020; 9 DOI: 10.7554/eLife.64501

We have a particular way of understanding a room

When several research subjects were instructed to explore an empty room, and when they were instead seated in a chair and watched someone else explore the room, their brain waves followed a certain pattern, as recorded by a backpack hooked up to record their brain waves, eye movements, and paths. It didn’t matter if they were walking or watching someone else, according to UC researchers led by Dr Matthias Stangl.

The researchers also tested what happened when subjects searched for a hidden spot, or watched someone else do so, and found that brain waves flowed more strongly when they had a goal and hunted for something.

Source: Matthias Stangl, Uros Topalovic, Cory S. Inman, Sonja Hiller, Diane Villaroman, Zahra M. Aghajan, Leonardo Christov-Moore, Nicholas R. Hasulak, Vikram R. Rao, Casey H. Halpern, Dawn Eliashiv, Itzhak Fried, Nanthia Suthana. Boundary-anchored neural mechanisms of location-encoding for self and others. Nature, 2020; DOI: 10.1038/s41586-020-03073-y

Extroverts and introverts use different vocabularies

Extroverts use ‘positive emotion’ and ‘social process’ words more often than introverts, according to new research conducted at Nanyang Technological U.

‘Love,’ ‘happy,’ and ‘blessed’ indicate pleasant emotions, and ‘beautiful’ and ‘nice’ indicate positivity or optimism, and are among the words found to be used more often by extroverts. So too are ‘meet,’ ‘share,’ and ‘talk,’ which are about socializing. Extroverts use personal pronouns — except ‘I’ — more too, another indication of sociability.

The correlation, however, was small, and the researchers think that stronger linguistic indicators need to be found to achieve their general goal, which is improving machine learning approaches to targeting consumer marketing.

Source: Jiayu Chen, Lin Qiu, Moon-Ho Ringo Ho. A meta-analysis of linguistic markers of extraversion: Positive emotion and social process words. Journal of Research in Personality, 2020; 89: 104035 DOI: 10.1016/j.jrp.2020.104035

WhatsApp is changing today - Users must give the app permission to send their private data to Facebook or lose account

WhatsApp was bought by Facebook in 2014, but has thrived while promoting itself as a privacy-respecting messaging app that now has 1.5b monthly active users. This week, though, WhatApp sent out an update to users’ phones that they must ‘consent’ to a new policy or lose access.

Whatsapp will now share more of your data, including your IP address (your location) and phone number, your account registration information, your transaction data, and service-related data, interactions on WhatsApp, and other data collected based on your consent, with Facebook’s other companies. Facebook has been working towards more closely integrating Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger.

Users who do not agree to ‘consent’ to the new policy will see their WhatsApp account become inaccessible until they do ‘consent.’ These accounts will remain dormant for 120 days after which they will be ‘deleted.’

The biggest change to the user policy, which many people ignored and clicked ‘agree’ to, thinking it was just another unimportant app update message, now reads,

‘We collect information about your activity on our Services, like service-related, diagnostic, and performance information. This includes information about your activity (including how you use our Services, your Services settings, how you interact with others using our Services (including when you interact with a business), and the time, frequency, and duration of your activities and interactions), log files, and diagnostic, crash, website, and performance logs and reports. This also includes information about when you registered to use our Services; the features you use like our messaging, calling, Status, groups (including group name, group picture, group description), payments or business features; profile photo, “about” information; whether you are online, when you last used our Services (your “last seen”); and when you last updated your “about” information.’

Notably, Elon Musk tweeted on the news, saying that WhatsApp users should switch to Signal, one of several popular privacy-focused messaging apps similar to WhatsApp.

The data sharing policy change doesn’t affect people in Europe due to GDPR data protection regulations.

The World Press Photo Exhibition Tour – ‘Inspiring. Engaging. Educating. Supporting.’

The World Press Photo exhibition tour that showcases award-winning photographs is the most popular traveling photo event in the world.

Each year, over three and a half million people worldwide go see the images of this prestigious annual press photography contest. The 2016 touring exhibition featuring the winners and finalists will open in Amsterdam on 16 April. The photos will then be exhibited in more than a hundred cities in 45 countries.

Since its creation in 1955, World Press Photo rewarded many impactful images – the mutilated face of a Rwandan man at a Red Cross hospital, a naked girl running after a napalm attack in Vietnam or a Buddhist monk setting himself on fire – that have established styles in visual storytelling or have become iconic.

Through this annual contest, the World Press Photo foundation strives “to inspire, engage, educate, and support both visual journalists and their global audience” while promoting and securing freedom of information and freedom of speech.

Centered as much on the aesthetic and the technical as on the journalistic aspects of the images, the selected images present the reality of current issues and expose the beauty of life in 8 categories: Contemporary Issues, Daily Life, General News, Long-Term Projects, Nature, People, Sports, and Spot News.

This year, 5,775 photographers from 128 countries submitted a total of 82,951 images for judging. At the end of the selection, 41 photographers from 21 countries were awarded by the jury. The refugee crisis in Europe, the war in Syria and the Paris attack were among the entries.

The 2016 award ceremony will be held in Amsterdam on 22 and 23 April.

2016 : Syrian refugees for the World Press Photo of the year

 

The jury of the 59th annual World Press Photo Contest selected Hope for a New Life – a photography by Australian photographer Warren Richardson as the World Press Photo of the Year 2015.

Hope for a New Life - Warren Richardson
Hope for a New Life, World Press Photo of the Year 2015 – Warren Richardson


Hope for a New Life
shows refugees about to cross the border from Serbia into Hungary. Taken at night on 28 August 2015, this man and child were part of a movement of people trying to cross into Hungary before a secure fence on the border was completed.

Richardson brought additional information about his telling image: “I camped with the refugees for five days on the border. A group of about 200 people arrived, and they moved under the trees along the fence line. They sent women and children, then fathers and elderly men first. I must have been with this crew for about five hours and we played cat and mouse with the police the whole night. I was exhausted by the time I took the picture. It was around three o’clock in the morning and you can’t use a flash while the police are trying to find these people, because I would just give them away. So I had to use the moonlight alone.”

In a press release from World Press Photo, jury chair and photo director of Agence France-Presse Francis Kohn said about the image: “Early on we looked at this photo and we knew it was an important one. It had such power because of its simplicity, especially the symbolism of the barbed wire. We thought it had almost everything in there to give a strong visual of what’s happening with the refugees.”

 

Voting for the world press photo of the year 2015 (Frank van Beek/ Hollandse Hoogte)
Voting for the world press photo of the year 2015 (Frank van Beek/ Hollandse Hoogte)

 

General News, 1st prize stories : Sergey Ponomarev

Reporting Europe’s Refugee Crisis.
Refugees arrive by boat on the Greek island of Lesbos.
November 16, 2015

Sergey Ponomarev, Russia, 2015, for The New York Times)
(Sergey Ponomarev, Russia, 2015, for The New York Times)

A man struggles to board a train headed to the Croatian capital Zagreb, in Tovarnik, a town near the border with Serbia.
September 18, 2015

Sergey Ponomarev, Russia, 2015, For The New York Times
(Sergey Ponomarev, Russia, 2015, for The New York Times)

 

Spot News, third prize stories : Bulent Kilic

Broken Border.
People cross into Turkey through a broken fence, near the official border crossing at Akçakale. Akçakale and the Syrian town of Tel Abyad are directly adjacent to each other, with the border running through the middle.
June 14, 2015.

Bulent Kilic, Turkey, 2015, Agence France-Presse
(Bulent Kilic, Turkey, 2015, Agence France-Presse)

Refugees pass through broken border fences and trenches to enter Turkish territory.
June 14, 2015

Bulent Kilic, Turkey, 2015, Agence France-Presse
(Bulent Kilic, Turkey, 2015, Agence France-Presse)

 

Contemporary Issues, 1st prize singles : Zhang Lei

Haze in China.
Tianjin, an industrial and logistics hub in northeastern China shrouded in haze.
December 10, 2015

Zhang Lei, China, 2015, Tianjin Daily
(Zhang Lei, China, 2015, Tianjin Daily)

 

Contemporary Issues, 1st prize stories : Màrio Cruz

Talibes, Modern-day Slaves.
Series portraying the plight of Talibes, boys who live at Islamic schools known as Daaras in Senegal. Abdoulaye, 15, is a talibe imprisoned in a room with security bars to keep him from running away.
May 18, 2015

Mário Cruz, Portugal, 2015
(Mário Cruz, Portugal, 2015)

 

Daily Life, 1st prize singles : Kevin Frayer

China’s Coal Addiction.
Chinese men push a tricycle through a neighborhood next to a coal-fired power plant in northern Shanxi province. A heavy dependence on burning coal for energy has made China the source of nearly a third of the world’s CO2 emissions.
November 26, 2015

Kevin Frayer, Canada.
(Kevin Frayer, Canada)

 

General News, 1st prize singles : Mauricio Lima

IS Fighter Treated at Kurdish Hospital.
Doctor rubs ointment on the burns of Jacob, a 16-year-old fighter from the group calling itself Islamic State (IS) at a hospital in Al-Hasaka, northern Syria.
August 1, 2015

Mauricio Lima, Brazil, 2015 for The New York Times
(Mauricio Lima, Brazil, 2015 for The New York Times)

 

General News, second prize singles : Paul Hansen

Under the Cover of Darkness.
Volunteers assist refugees arriving on the Greek island of Lesbos, after crossing by boat from Turkey under cover of darkness to avoid detection.
December 6, 2015

Paul Hansen, Sweden, 2015, Dagens Nyhete
(Paul Hansen, Sweden, 2015, Dagens Nyhete)

 

Spot News, first prize stories : Sameer Al-Doumy

Aftermath of Airstrike in Syria.
A man pushes his bicycle past debris following airstrikes in Hamouria, Syria.
December 9, 2015

Sameer Al-Doumy, Syria, 2015, Agence France-Presse)
(Sameer Al-Doumy, Syria, 2015, Agence France-Presse)

 

Spot News, second prize singles : Corentin Fohlen

March Against Terrorism in Paris
People demonstrate their solidarity with victims of terrorist attacks, and voice support for freedom of speech, at the end of a rally at the Place de la Nation in Paris.
January 11, 2015

. Corentin Fohlen, France, 2015
(Corentin Fohlen, France, 2015)

 

People, 1st prize singles : Matic Zorman

Waiting to Register
.
Refugee children covered in rain capes wait in line to be registered at a refugee camp in Preševo, Serbia. October 7, 2015

Matic Zorman, Slovenia, 2015
(Matic Zorman, Slovenia, 2015)

 

Nature, 1st prize singles : Rohan Kelly

Storm Front on Bondi Beach.
A massive shelf cloud moves towards Bondi Beach.
November 6, 2015

Rohan Kelly, Australia, 2015, Daily Telegraph
(Rohan Kelly, Australia, 2015, Daily Telegraph)

 

Nature, second prize singles : Anuar Patjane Floriuk

Whale Whisperers.
A humpback whale and her newborn calf swim near Roca Partida, the smallest island of the Revillagigedo archipelago, off the Pacific coast of Mexico.
January 28, 2015

Anuar Patjane Floriuk, Mexico, 2015
(Anuar Patjane Floriuk, Mexico, 2015)

 

Nature, third prize singles: Sergio Tapiro

The Power of Nature.
Colima Volcano erupts with rock showers, lightning, and lava flows in Mexico.
December 13, 2015

Sergio Tapiro, Mexico, 2015
(Sergio Tapiro, Mexico, 2015)

 

The winning pictures are published in a yearbook available in multiple languages.

All the informations about the upcoming 2016 exhibition tour.

 

 

When political parties reverse their policy stance, their supporters immediately switch their opinions too

At least a significant portion of their supporters, according to U of Aarhus researchers.

When two competing political parties in Denmark reversed their policy stance on an issue — suddenly they both supported reducing unemployment benefits — their voters immediately moved their opinions by around 15% into line with their party.

The same thing happened when one of these parties shifted from opposing to supporting ending Denmark’s early retirement.

The researchers were studying how public opinion is formed. Their recent paper sheds light on how much influence political parties have over their supporters, according to the researchers, who surveyed their panel of subjects in five successive waves between 2010 and 2011. They studied the same group of party supporters before, during and after a policy reversal.

“We can see that [the] welfare programs were actually quite popular … and many of the voters of the center-right party were in favor of these welfare programs,” commented one of the researchers, Rune Slothuus. “Nevertheless, we can see that they reversed their opinion from supporting these welfare programs to opposing these welfare programs.”

“I was surprised to see the parties appeared this powerful in shaping opinions,” Slothuus said. “Our findings suggest that partisan leaders can indeed lead citizens’ opinions in the real world, even in situations where the stakes are real and the economic consequences tangible.”

The researchers pondered Western democracy in light of their findings: “If citizens just blindly follow their party without thinking much about it, that should lead to some concern about the mechanisms in our democracy. Because how can partisan elites represent citizens’ views if the views of citizens are shaped by the very same elites who are supposed to represent them?”

Source: How Political Parties Shape Public Opinion in the Real World. Rune Slothuus and Martin Bisgaard. First published: 04 November 2020 https://doi.org/10.1111/ajps.12550

The brain listens for things it is trying to predict

The brain interprets sounds as they contrast with its expectations; it recognizes patterns of sounds faster when they’re in line with what it is predicting it will hear, but it only encodes sounds when they contrast with expectations, according to Technische U researchers.

The researchers showed this by monitoring the two principal nuclei of the subcortical pathway responsible for auditory processing: the inferior colliculus and the medial geniculate body, as their subjects listened to patterns of sounds which the researches modified so that sometimes they would hear an expected sound pattern, and other times something unexpected.

Source: Alejandro Tabas, Glad Mihai, Stefan Kiebel, Robert Trampel, Katharina von Kriegstein. Abstract rules drive adaptation in the subcortical sensory pathway. eLife, 2020; 9 DOI: 10.7554/eLife.64501

We have a particular way of understanding a room

When several research subjects were instructed to explore an empty room, and when they were instead seated in a chair and watched someone else explore the room, their brain waves followed a certain pattern, as recorded by a backpack hooked up to record their brain waves, eye movements, and paths. It didn’t matter if they were walking or watching someone else, according to UC researchers led by Dr Matthias Stangl.

The researchers also tested what happened when subjects searched for a hidden spot, or watched someone else do so, and found that brain waves flowed more strongly when they had a goal and hunted for something.

Source: Matthias Stangl, Uros Topalovic, Cory S. Inman, Sonja Hiller, Diane Villaroman, Zahra M. Aghajan, Leonardo Christov-Moore, Nicholas R. Hasulak, Vikram R. Rao, Casey H. Halpern, Dawn Eliashiv, Itzhak Fried, Nanthia Suthana. Boundary-anchored neural mechanisms of location-encoding for self and others. Nature, 2020; DOI: 10.1038/s41586-020-03073-y

Extroverts and introverts use different vocabularies

Extroverts use ‘positive emotion’ and ‘social process’ words more often than introverts, according to new research conducted at Nanyang Technological U.

‘Love,’ ‘happy,’ and ‘blessed’ indicate pleasant emotions, and ‘beautiful’ and ‘nice’ indicate positivity or optimism, and are among the words found to be used more often by extroverts. So too are ‘meet,’ ‘share,’ and ‘talk,’ which are about socializing. Extroverts use personal pronouns — except ‘I’ — more too, another indication of sociability.

The correlation, however, was small, and the researchers think that stronger linguistic indicators need to be found to achieve their general goal, which is improving machine learning approaches to targeting consumer marketing.

Source: Jiayu Chen, Lin Qiu, Moon-Ho Ringo Ho. A meta-analysis of linguistic markers of extraversion: Positive emotion and social process words. Journal of Research in Personality, 2020; 89: 104035 DOI: 10.1016/j.jrp.2020.104035

WhatsApp is changing today - Users must give the app permission to send their private data to Facebook or lose account

WhatsApp was bought by Facebook in 2014, but has thrived while promoting itself as a privacy-respecting messaging app that now has 1.5b monthly active users. This week, though, WhatApp sent out an update to users’ phones that they must ‘consent’ to a new policy or lose access.

Whatsapp will now share more of your data, including your IP address (your location) and phone number, your account registration information, your transaction data, and service-related data, interactions on WhatsApp, and other data collected based on your consent, with Facebook’s other companies. Facebook has been working towards more closely integrating Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger.

Users who do not agree to ‘consent’ to the new policy will see their WhatsApp account become inaccessible until they do ‘consent.’ These accounts will remain dormant for 120 days after which they will be ‘deleted.’

The biggest change to the user policy, which many people ignored and clicked ‘agree’ to, thinking it was just another unimportant app update message, now reads,

‘We collect information about your activity on our Services, like service-related, diagnostic, and performance information. This includes information about your activity (including how you use our Services, your Services settings, how you interact with others using our Services (including when you interact with a business), and the time, frequency, and duration of your activities and interactions), log files, and diagnostic, crash, website, and performance logs and reports. This also includes information about when you registered to use our Services; the features you use like our messaging, calling, Status, groups (including group name, group picture, group description), payments or business features; profile photo, “about” information; whether you are online, when you last used our Services (your “last seen”); and when you last updated your “about” information.’

Notably, Elon Musk tweeted on the news, saying that WhatsApp users should switch to Signal, one of several popular privacy-focused messaging apps similar to WhatsApp.

The data sharing policy change doesn’t affect people in Europe due to GDPR data protection regulations.

John Oliver Is Urgently Asking America To #MakeDonaldDrumpfAgain

“Our main story tonight – and I cannot believe I am saying this – is Donald Trump.” Those were the introductory words of Sunday evening Last Week Tonight host John Oliver. On last Sunday’s segment, John Oliver decided that it was time to take on billionaire Republican candidate Donald Trump.

Screenshot

As Oliver pointed out, the show mostly tried to ignore Donald Trump until then. Yet as Trump has now won three states and recently received an endorsement from Chris Christie with polls that show him leading most Super Tuesday states, things are getting more serious than expected.

“At this point, Donald Trump is America’s back mole: it may have seemed harmless a year ago, but now that it’s gotten frighteningly bigger, it is no longer wise to ignore it,” said Oliver.

After running clips of Trump’s supporters describing their favourite candidate as an “independent” and “tough” man who “tells it like it is”, Oliver claims to understand why Trump’s supporters seem to like him so much through his polished image of an entertaining, truthful and successful candidate.

He decides to take a closer look at those qualities, starting with Trump’s said honesty. First noting that “PolitiFact checked 77 of his statements and rated 76 percent of them as varying degrees of false”, Oliver then specifically underlined a false statement made by Trump who claimed to have turned down an invitation to appear on Last Week Tonight “four or five times.”

“It was genuinely destabilizing to be on the receiving end of a lie that confident,” said Oliver. “I’m not even sure he knows he is lying, I think he just doesn’t care about what the truth is.”

He continued to dismantle Trump’s seeming qualities by calling into question the claim he made to Fox News that he was “self-funded” and contributed around twenty-five million dollars to his own presidential campaign.

“While it is true that he hasn’t taken corporate money, the implication that he has personally spent $20-25 million is a bit of a stretch, because what he’s actually done is loaned his own campaign $17.5 million, and has personally given just $250,000,” said Oliver before adding: “And that’s important because up until the convention, he can pay himself back for the loan with campaign funds.”

Oliver then tackles Trump’s biggest selling point – his business success and wealth. He admits that Trump is indeed very wealthy but “not only received a multi-million dollar inheritance from his father, but he’s also lost a huge amount.”

While keeping in mind Trump’s own words that says: “If I put my name on something, you know it’s gonna be good”, Oliver brings attention to Trump’s past business failures: “His name has been on some things that have arguably been very un-good, including Trump Shuttle, which no longer exists; Trump Vodka, which was discontinued; Trump Magazine, which folded; Trump World Magazine, which also folded; Trump University, over which he’s being sued; and of course, the travel-booking site GoTrump.com.”

He also points out Trump’s lack of financial instinct back in April 2006 – just before the entire housing market collapsed – when Trump told a CNBC interviewer :”I think it’s a great time to start a mortgage company” adding that “the real estate market is going to be very strong for a long time to come.”

He goes on to note Trump’s many political inconsistencies. After questioning Trump’s silence about former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke’s support for his campaign, Oliver reminds his audience of his particularly troubling declaration on killing the family members of terrorists to defeat ISIS, a rather worrying image of “the frontrunner for the Republican nomination advocating a war crime,” said Olivier.

According to Oliver, Trump may appear invincible and almost magical since he “has spent decades turning his own name into a brand synonymous with success and quality, and he’s made himself the mascot for that brand.” The mascot is supposed to symbolize wealth, power and success, but “it’s time to stop thinking of the mascot and start thinking of the man,” said Oliver.

He therefore concludes that people seem to automatically associate the name – or brand – “Trump” with wealth and success, hence the urgent need to separate the word from the man. In fact, it turns out that the name “Trump” is an alteration of what was once “Drumpf”, which is rather ironic considering Trump’s tweet mocking Jon Stewart’s Jewish family for having changed their name.

Untitled1

“Fucking Drumpf!” Oliver exclaimed. “Drumpf is much less magical.” Referring to Trump’s tweet on Jon Stewart’s name, Oliver added: “He should be proud of his heritage!”

Screenshot

Oliver thus asks his audience and America to make Donald Drumpf again to break the spell of his brand name. He announces the launch of the website http://donaldjdrumpf.com/ where people can purchase some #MakeDonaldDrumpfAgain hats and download a Drumpfinator Chrome extension that will replace ‘Trump’ with ‘Drumpf’ wherever it appears in their browser.

Untitled4

 

Untitled5

“If you are thinking of voting for Donald Trump, the charismatic guy promising to ‘Make America Great Again,’ stop and take a moment to imagine how you would feel if you just met a guy named Donald Drumpf: a litigious, serial liar with a string of broken business ventures and the support of a former Klan leader who he can’t decide whether or not to condemn,” said Oliver. “Would you think he would make a good president, or is the spell now somewhat broken?”

By Pauline Schnoebelen

Source: YouTube

When political parties reverse their policy stance, their supporters immediately switch their opinions too

At least a significant portion of their supporters, according to U of Aarhus researchers.

When two competing political parties in Denmark reversed their policy stance on an issue — suddenly they both supported reducing unemployment benefits — their voters immediately moved their opinions by around 15% into line with their party.

The same thing happened when one of these parties shifted from opposing to supporting ending Denmark’s early retirement.

The researchers were studying how public opinion is formed. Their recent paper sheds light on how much influence political parties have over their supporters, according to the researchers, who surveyed their panel of subjects in five successive waves between 2010 and 2011. They studied the same group of party supporters before, during and after a policy reversal.

“We can see that [the] welfare programs were actually quite popular … and many of the voters of the center-right party were in favor of these welfare programs,” commented one of the researchers, Rune Slothuus. “Nevertheless, we can see that they reversed their opinion from supporting these welfare programs to opposing these welfare programs.”

“I was surprised to see the parties appeared this powerful in shaping opinions,” Slothuus said. “Our findings suggest that partisan leaders can indeed lead citizens’ opinions in the real world, even in situations where the stakes are real and the economic consequences tangible.”

The researchers pondered Western democracy in light of their findings: “If citizens just blindly follow their party without thinking much about it, that should lead to some concern about the mechanisms in our democracy. Because how can partisan elites represent citizens’ views if the views of citizens are shaped by the very same elites who are supposed to represent them?”

Source: How Political Parties Shape Public Opinion in the Real World. Rune Slothuus and Martin Bisgaard. First published: 04 November 2020 https://doi.org/10.1111/ajps.12550

The brain listens for things it is trying to predict

The brain interprets sounds as they contrast with its expectations; it recognizes patterns of sounds faster when they’re in line with what it is predicting it will hear, but it only encodes sounds when they contrast with expectations, according to Technische U researchers.

The researchers showed this by monitoring the two principal nuclei of the subcortical pathway responsible for auditory processing: the inferior colliculus and the medial geniculate body, as their subjects listened to patterns of sounds which the researches modified so that sometimes they would hear an expected sound pattern, and other times something unexpected.

Source: Alejandro Tabas, Glad Mihai, Stefan Kiebel, Robert Trampel, Katharina von Kriegstein. Abstract rules drive adaptation in the subcortical sensory pathway. eLife, 2020; 9 DOI: 10.7554/eLife.64501

We have a particular way of understanding a room

When several research subjects were instructed to explore an empty room, and when they were instead seated in a chair and watched someone else explore the room, their brain waves followed a certain pattern, as recorded by a backpack hooked up to record their brain waves, eye movements, and paths. It didn’t matter if they were walking or watching someone else, according to UC researchers led by Dr Matthias Stangl.

The researchers also tested what happened when subjects searched for a hidden spot, or watched someone else do so, and found that brain waves flowed more strongly when they had a goal and hunted for something.

Source: Matthias Stangl, Uros Topalovic, Cory S. Inman, Sonja Hiller, Diane Villaroman, Zahra M. Aghajan, Leonardo Christov-Moore, Nicholas R. Hasulak, Vikram R. Rao, Casey H. Halpern, Dawn Eliashiv, Itzhak Fried, Nanthia Suthana. Boundary-anchored neural mechanisms of location-encoding for self and others. Nature, 2020; DOI: 10.1038/s41586-020-03073-y

Extroverts and introverts use different vocabularies

Extroverts use ‘positive emotion’ and ‘social process’ words more often than introverts, according to new research conducted at Nanyang Technological U.

‘Love,’ ‘happy,’ and ‘blessed’ indicate pleasant emotions, and ‘beautiful’ and ‘nice’ indicate positivity or optimism, and are among the words found to be used more often by extroverts. So too are ‘meet,’ ‘share,’ and ‘talk,’ which are about socializing. Extroverts use personal pronouns — except ‘I’ — more too, another indication of sociability.

The correlation, however, was small, and the researchers think that stronger linguistic indicators need to be found to achieve their general goal, which is improving machine learning approaches to targeting consumer marketing.

Source: Jiayu Chen, Lin Qiu, Moon-Ho Ringo Ho. A meta-analysis of linguistic markers of extraversion: Positive emotion and social process words. Journal of Research in Personality, 2020; 89: 104035 DOI: 10.1016/j.jrp.2020.104035

WhatsApp is changing today - Users must give the app permission to send their private data to Facebook or lose account

WhatsApp was bought by Facebook in 2014, but has thrived while promoting itself as a privacy-respecting messaging app that now has 1.5b monthly active users. This week, though, WhatApp sent out an update to users’ phones that they must ‘consent’ to a new policy or lose access.

Whatsapp will now share more of your data, including your IP address (your location) and phone number, your account registration information, your transaction data, and service-related data, interactions on WhatsApp, and other data collected based on your consent, with Facebook’s other companies. Facebook has been working towards more closely integrating Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger.

Users who do not agree to ‘consent’ to the new policy will see their WhatsApp account become inaccessible until they do ‘consent.’ These accounts will remain dormant for 120 days after which they will be ‘deleted.’

The biggest change to the user policy, which many people ignored and clicked ‘agree’ to, thinking it was just another unimportant app update message, now reads,

‘We collect information about your activity on our Services, like service-related, diagnostic, and performance information. This includes information about your activity (including how you use our Services, your Services settings, how you interact with others using our Services (including when you interact with a business), and the time, frequency, and duration of your activities and interactions), log files, and diagnostic, crash, website, and performance logs and reports. This also includes information about when you registered to use our Services; the features you use like our messaging, calling, Status, groups (including group name, group picture, group description), payments or business features; profile photo, “about” information; whether you are online, when you last used our Services (your “last seen”); and when you last updated your “about” information.’

Notably, Elon Musk tweeted on the news, saying that WhatsApp users should switch to Signal, one of several popular privacy-focused messaging apps similar to WhatsApp.

The data sharing policy change doesn’t affect people in Europe due to GDPR data protection regulations.

Splendour And Misery: Painting Prostitution At The Musée d’Orsay In Paris

The Gallien Girl

PARIS — Women of the night and their artistic impact is the subject of a major exhibition at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. The show focuses on prostitution seen through the eyes of painters between 1850 and 1910. This extraordinary undertaking, whose title is borrowed from Honoré de Balzac’s controversial novel ‘Splendeurs et Misères des Courtisanes’ (The Splendours and Miseries of Courtesans), aims to unveil the faces and bodies of prostitutes as a genuine and rich source of inspiration for the painters of the period.

The mid-nineteenth century generated an effort to depict a concrete contemporary reality with a new desire to reject Romantic modes of idealization in art and literature which opened a new range of subject considered worthy of representation. The prostitute’s body as the ultimate anti-academic subject matter previously considered socially inappropriate could eventually be brought in the frame and became emblematic of the modernist gaze. Widely represented across canvas and texts, prostitutes became a symbol for modernity and embodied modern life itself.

From Van Gogh, Manet to Picasso or Munch, the exhibition features various generations of painters across several countries. As already suggested by its title, the exhibition also intends to examine the contradictory connotations of disgust and beauty associated with prostitution. Yet if some artists emphasized the ‘misery’ of it in their work while others chose instead to highlight its ‘splendour’, artists were all operating under the prism of fascination. Whether as cubists, impressionists, postimpressionists or expressionists, all were trying with a particular brush to reveal this disorienting world of the unseen sometimes lugubrious, sometimes colourful, no matter the technique of representation.

As they were experimenting and looking for new pictorial ways of representing prostitution, the subject was treated very differently depending on the painter’s artistic vision. Rather than reproducing scenes accurately and realistically, painters like Edgar Degas or Constantin Guys based their visions mainly on fantasies, suggesting and sublimating the noisy brothel atmosphere through unconventional techniques. Some chose to paint the common spaces of prostitution such as streets, harshly illuminated rooms or the dark interiors of ‘cafés-concerts’ and ‘music-halls’, while others preferred the intimate details of a face or a body.

Along with its artistic impact, the event also examines the social and cultural aspect of prostitution through Salon painting, decorative arts, sculpture and photography. In addition, various documentary and archival materials made available to the public highlight the ambivalent status of prostitutes from the splendour of the ‘demi-mondaine’, a pleasure girl living on her wealthy clients, to the misery of the ‘pierreuse’, an often clandestine street walker.

The social subject of prostitution is still a complex one nowadays. The fact that the Musée d’Orsay decided to conclude the year with a celebration of artistic images of prostitution has a particular resonance in light of the latest debates on the subject in France. We cannot but connect it to the recent decision of the French senate to scrap important sections of a government-backed law on prostitution that brought hundreds of prostitutes in the streets of Paris and other French cities last April. In spite of this resonance, whether taken as a subtle reminder of the still open debate on the controversial prostitution law in France or as a pure celebration of nineteenth century artistic imagery of prostitution, this impactful event is definitely not to miss.

‘Splendour and Misery — Pictures of Prostitution, 1850-1910’
22 September to 17 January 2016 – Musée d’Orsay, Paris

Pictures of Prostitution

‘At the Moulin Rouge’, 1892, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, The Art Institute of Chicago

Pictures of Prostitution

‘Olympia’, 1863, Édouard Manet, Grand Palais, Paris

Pictures of Prostitution

‘The Absinthe Drinker’, 1901, Pablo Picasso, Hermitage Museum, St Petersbourg

Pictures of Prostitution

‘The Absinthe’, 1873, Edgar Degas, Grand Palais, Paris

Pictures of Prostitution

‘Party at the Moulin Rouge’, 1889, Giovanni Boldini, Grand Palais, Paris

Pictures of Prostitution (4)

‘The Gallien Girl’, 1910, Frantisek Kupka, Národni Galerie, Prague

Pictures of Prostitution

‘Rolla’, 1878, Henri Gervex, Grand Palais, Paris

Pictures of Prostitution

‘The Wait’, 1848, Jean Béraud, Musée d’Orsay, Paris

By Pauline Schnoebelen

 

When political parties reverse their policy stance, their supporters immediately switch their opinions too

At least a significant portion of their supporters, according to U of Aarhus researchers.

When two competing political parties in Denmark reversed their policy stance on an issue — suddenly they both supported reducing unemployment benefits — their voters immediately moved their opinions by around 15% into line with their party.

The same thing happened when one of these parties shifted from opposing to supporting ending Denmark’s early retirement.

The researchers were studying how public opinion is formed. Their recent paper sheds light on how much influence political parties have over their supporters, according to the researchers, who surveyed their panel of subjects in five successive waves between 2010 and 2011. They studied the same group of party supporters before, during and after a policy reversal.

“We can see that [the] welfare programs were actually quite popular … and many of the voters of the center-right party were in favor of these welfare programs,” commented one of the researchers, Rune Slothuus. “Nevertheless, we can see that they reversed their opinion from supporting these welfare programs to opposing these welfare programs.”

“I was surprised to see the parties appeared this powerful in shaping opinions,” Slothuus said. “Our findings suggest that partisan leaders can indeed lead citizens’ opinions in the real world, even in situations where the stakes are real and the economic consequences tangible.”

The researchers pondered Western democracy in light of their findings: “If citizens just blindly follow their party without thinking much about it, that should lead to some concern about the mechanisms in our democracy. Because how can partisan elites represent citizens’ views if the views of citizens are shaped by the very same elites who are supposed to represent them?”

Source: How Political Parties Shape Public Opinion in the Real World. Rune Slothuus and Martin Bisgaard. First published: 04 November 2020 https://doi.org/10.1111/ajps.12550

The brain listens for things it is trying to predict

The brain interprets sounds as they contrast with its expectations; it recognizes patterns of sounds faster when they’re in line with what it is predicting it will hear, but it only encodes sounds when they contrast with expectations, according to Technische U researchers.

The researchers showed this by monitoring the two principal nuclei of the subcortical pathway responsible for auditory processing: the inferior colliculus and the medial geniculate body, as their subjects listened to patterns of sounds which the researches modified so that sometimes they would hear an expected sound pattern, and other times something unexpected.

Source: Alejandro Tabas, Glad Mihai, Stefan Kiebel, Robert Trampel, Katharina von Kriegstein. Abstract rules drive adaptation in the subcortical sensory pathway. eLife, 2020; 9 DOI: 10.7554/eLife.64501

We have a particular way of understanding a room

When several research subjects were instructed to explore an empty room, and when they were instead seated in a chair and watched someone else explore the room, their brain waves followed a certain pattern, as recorded by a backpack hooked up to record their brain waves, eye movements, and paths. It didn’t matter if they were walking or watching someone else, according to UC researchers led by Dr Matthias Stangl.

The researchers also tested what happened when subjects searched for a hidden spot, or watched someone else do so, and found that brain waves flowed more strongly when they had a goal and hunted for something.

Source: Matthias Stangl, Uros Topalovic, Cory S. Inman, Sonja Hiller, Diane Villaroman, Zahra M. Aghajan, Leonardo Christov-Moore, Nicholas R. Hasulak, Vikram R. Rao, Casey H. Halpern, Dawn Eliashiv, Itzhak Fried, Nanthia Suthana. Boundary-anchored neural mechanisms of location-encoding for self and others. Nature, 2020; DOI: 10.1038/s41586-020-03073-y

Extroverts and introverts use different vocabularies

Extroverts use ‘positive emotion’ and ‘social process’ words more often than introverts, according to new research conducted at Nanyang Technological U.

‘Love,’ ‘happy,’ and ‘blessed’ indicate pleasant emotions, and ‘beautiful’ and ‘nice’ indicate positivity or optimism, and are among the words found to be used more often by extroverts. So too are ‘meet,’ ‘share,’ and ‘talk,’ which are about socializing. Extroverts use personal pronouns — except ‘I’ — more too, another indication of sociability.

The correlation, however, was small, and the researchers think that stronger linguistic indicators need to be found to achieve their general goal, which is improving machine learning approaches to targeting consumer marketing.

Source: Jiayu Chen, Lin Qiu, Moon-Ho Ringo Ho. A meta-analysis of linguistic markers of extraversion: Positive emotion and social process words. Journal of Research in Personality, 2020; 89: 104035 DOI: 10.1016/j.jrp.2020.104035

WhatsApp is changing today - Users must give the app permission to send their private data to Facebook or lose account

WhatsApp was bought by Facebook in 2014, but has thrived while promoting itself as a privacy-respecting messaging app that now has 1.5b monthly active users. This week, though, WhatApp sent out an update to users’ phones that they must ‘consent’ to a new policy or lose access.

Whatsapp will now share more of your data, including your IP address (your location) and phone number, your account registration information, your transaction data, and service-related data, interactions on WhatsApp, and other data collected based on your consent, with Facebook’s other companies. Facebook has been working towards more closely integrating Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger.

Users who do not agree to ‘consent’ to the new policy will see their WhatsApp account become inaccessible until they do ‘consent.’ These accounts will remain dormant for 120 days after which they will be ‘deleted.’

The biggest change to the user policy, which many people ignored and clicked ‘agree’ to, thinking it was just another unimportant app update message, now reads,

‘We collect information about your activity on our Services, like service-related, diagnostic, and performance information. This includes information about your activity (including how you use our Services, your Services settings, how you interact with others using our Services (including when you interact with a business), and the time, frequency, and duration of your activities and interactions), log files, and diagnostic, crash, website, and performance logs and reports. This also includes information about when you registered to use our Services; the features you use like our messaging, calling, Status, groups (including group name, group picture, group description), payments or business features; profile photo, “about” information; whether you are online, when you last used our Services (your “last seen”); and when you last updated your “about” information.’

Notably, Elon Musk tweeted on the news, saying that WhatsApp users should switch to Signal, one of several popular privacy-focused messaging apps similar to WhatsApp.

The data sharing policy change doesn’t affect people in Europe due to GDPR data protection regulations.

“Human” — What Does It Mean?

Human

The human experience on Earth. This is what French photographer and director Yann Arthus-Bertrand tried to capture in his last movie ‘Human,’ which premiered Saturday simultaneously at both the 72nd Venice Film Festival and the United Nations in New York City.

While some qualified ‘Human’ as the Godfrey Reggio’s ‘Koyaanisqatsi’ of our generation, Yann Arthus-Bertrand reportedly got inspiration from Terrence Malick’s ‘Tree of Life’ (Palme d’or at the Cannes Film Festival).

After his 1999 worldwide-acclaimed best seller photo-essay ‘Earth From Above,’ filled with stunning aerial photography of Earth, and his 2009 praised documentary ‘Home,’ which has been broadcast in 14 languages, Yann Arthus-Bertrand, a stalwart defender of the planet, presents his latest highly anticipated and ambitious work ‘Human.’

‘Breath-taking,’ ‘powerful,’ ‘authentic,’ those were some of the words whispered by the first members of the audience to step out of the cinema after the projection. This intense and compelling three-hour documentary presenting the extraordinary stories of ordinary people from around the world clearly did not leave the public indifferent. ‘Human’ received a standing ovation after its premiere at the Venice Film Festival in presence of the entire film crew, themselves in tears and very moved by the reaction of a stirred public.

“I think the only way to make people think is through emotions. Not through the brain — through the heart,” the director said during an interview at the Venice Film Festival.

Close up faces genuinely staring at the audience with a simple dark grey background, no context nor name, age, nationalities or explanations but only eyes, mouths, tears and voices telling about their stories, memories and thoughts. This is ‘Human’. Mothers, fathers, fighters, victims, children, murderers who were all asked to answer the same questions involving the meaning of life, love, happiness and war among other essential topics. The interviews were selected among more than 2,000 involving people in 60 countries for a period of three years. We do not have to know who those people are but just listen to their words and what they have to tell us about the privilege of being alive.

The compiled interviews are subtly mingled with lyrical aerial nature shots, ranging from enraged waves crushing on rocks and lighthouses, or slow motion close-ups of children riding horses in a green field to the busy enlightened streets and skyscrapers of New York. Sublimated by a grandiose orchestral soundtrack by Armand Amar, cities, oceans, crowds, deserts and forests form the pattern of human experience as the sound of men and women voices mingle with that of the wind and the sea. Through an alternation of powerful images, words and sensations with the help of a dedicate team, Yann Arthus-Bertrand hoped to restore — or awaken — human compassion.

The concluding seconds of the film focus on a visibly touched interviewee in her late fifties addressing directly the film crew. What should have been simple greeting words to the few people present on that day of filming became a message to everyone:

“You’ve brought up a lot of things for me today. You’ve made me feel important. You’ve made me feel that I had something to offer. You’ve made me feel that I had a place to go. You’ve made me feel like my stories were welcome. And you made me feel happy.”

“I think people need to feel that they’ve done something while they’ve lived. They need to feel that they’ve contributed.”

“Today you made me feel that I have contributed, and I am very grateful to that. Thank You.”

‘Home’ and ‘Human’ are both available on YouTube

Human

By Pauline Schnoebelen

When political parties reverse their policy stance, their supporters immediately switch their opinions too

At least a significant portion of their supporters, according to U of Aarhus researchers.

When two competing political parties in Denmark reversed their policy stance on an issue — suddenly they both supported reducing unemployment benefits — their voters immediately moved their opinions by around 15% into line with their party.

The same thing happened when one of these parties shifted from opposing to supporting ending Denmark’s early retirement.

The researchers were studying how public opinion is formed. Their recent paper sheds light on how much influence political parties have over their supporters, according to the researchers, who surveyed their panel of subjects in five successive waves between 2010 and 2011. They studied the same group of party supporters before, during and after a policy reversal.

“We can see that [the] welfare programs were actually quite popular … and many of the voters of the center-right party were in favor of these welfare programs,” commented one of the researchers, Rune Slothuus. “Nevertheless, we can see that they reversed their opinion from supporting these welfare programs to opposing these welfare programs.”

“I was surprised to see the parties appeared this powerful in shaping opinions,” Slothuus said. “Our findings suggest that partisan leaders can indeed lead citizens’ opinions in the real world, even in situations where the stakes are real and the economic consequences tangible.”

The researchers pondered Western democracy in light of their findings: “If citizens just blindly follow their party without thinking much about it, that should lead to some concern about the mechanisms in our democracy. Because how can partisan elites represent citizens’ views if the views of citizens are shaped by the very same elites who are supposed to represent them?”

Source: How Political Parties Shape Public Opinion in the Real World. Rune Slothuus and Martin Bisgaard. First published: 04 November 2020 https://doi.org/10.1111/ajps.12550

The brain listens for things it is trying to predict

The brain interprets sounds as they contrast with its expectations; it recognizes patterns of sounds faster when they’re in line with what it is predicting it will hear, but it only encodes sounds when they contrast with expectations, according to Technische U researchers.

The researchers showed this by monitoring the two principal nuclei of the subcortical pathway responsible for auditory processing: the inferior colliculus and the medial geniculate body, as their subjects listened to patterns of sounds which the researches modified so that sometimes they would hear an expected sound pattern, and other times something unexpected.

Source: Alejandro Tabas, Glad Mihai, Stefan Kiebel, Robert Trampel, Katharina von Kriegstein. Abstract rules drive adaptation in the subcortical sensory pathway. eLife, 2020; 9 DOI: 10.7554/eLife.64501

We have a particular way of understanding a room

When several research subjects were instructed to explore an empty room, and when they were instead seated in a chair and watched someone else explore the room, their brain waves followed a certain pattern, as recorded by a backpack hooked up to record their brain waves, eye movements, and paths. It didn’t matter if they were walking or watching someone else, according to UC researchers led by Dr Matthias Stangl.

The researchers also tested what happened when subjects searched for a hidden spot, or watched someone else do so, and found that brain waves flowed more strongly when they had a goal and hunted for something.

Source: Matthias Stangl, Uros Topalovic, Cory S. Inman, Sonja Hiller, Diane Villaroman, Zahra M. Aghajan, Leonardo Christov-Moore, Nicholas R. Hasulak, Vikram R. Rao, Casey H. Halpern, Dawn Eliashiv, Itzhak Fried, Nanthia Suthana. Boundary-anchored neural mechanisms of location-encoding for self and others. Nature, 2020; DOI: 10.1038/s41586-020-03073-y

Extroverts and introverts use different vocabularies

Extroverts use ‘positive emotion’ and ‘social process’ words more often than introverts, according to new research conducted at Nanyang Technological U.

‘Love,’ ‘happy,’ and ‘blessed’ indicate pleasant emotions, and ‘beautiful’ and ‘nice’ indicate positivity or optimism, and are among the words found to be used more often by extroverts. So too are ‘meet,’ ‘share,’ and ‘talk,’ which are about socializing. Extroverts use personal pronouns — except ‘I’ — more too, another indication of sociability.

The correlation, however, was small, and the researchers think that stronger linguistic indicators need to be found to achieve their general goal, which is improving machine learning approaches to targeting consumer marketing.

Source: Jiayu Chen, Lin Qiu, Moon-Ho Ringo Ho. A meta-analysis of linguistic markers of extraversion: Positive emotion and social process words. Journal of Research in Personality, 2020; 89: 104035 DOI: 10.1016/j.jrp.2020.104035

WhatsApp is changing today - Users must give the app permission to send their private data to Facebook or lose account

WhatsApp was bought by Facebook in 2014, but has thrived while promoting itself as a privacy-respecting messaging app that now has 1.5b monthly active users. This week, though, WhatApp sent out an update to users’ phones that they must ‘consent’ to a new policy or lose access.

Whatsapp will now share more of your data, including your IP address (your location) and phone number, your account registration information, your transaction data, and service-related data, interactions on WhatsApp, and other data collected based on your consent, with Facebook’s other companies. Facebook has been working towards more closely integrating Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger.

Users who do not agree to ‘consent’ to the new policy will see their WhatsApp account become inaccessible until they do ‘consent.’ These accounts will remain dormant for 120 days after which they will be ‘deleted.’

The biggest change to the user policy, which many people ignored and clicked ‘agree’ to, thinking it was just another unimportant app update message, now reads,

‘We collect information about your activity on our Services, like service-related, diagnostic, and performance information. This includes information about your activity (including how you use our Services, your Services settings, how you interact with others using our Services (including when you interact with a business), and the time, frequency, and duration of your activities and interactions), log files, and diagnostic, crash, website, and performance logs and reports. This also includes information about when you registered to use our Services; the features you use like our messaging, calling, Status, groups (including group name, group picture, group description), payments or business features; profile photo, “about” information; whether you are online, when you last used our Services (your “last seen”); and when you last updated your “about” information.’

Notably, Elon Musk tweeted on the news, saying that WhatsApp users should switch to Signal, one of several popular privacy-focused messaging apps similar to WhatsApp.

The data sharing policy change doesn’t affect people in Europe due to GDPR data protection regulations.