Tag Archives: death

Future PR

Selling cars with superlatives.

By 2020, nobody shall be seriously injured or killed in a new Volvo.

It sounds fantastical but — according to Volvo — it’s true. According to the Volvo site:

This statement from 2008 clearly formulates a long-term vision to create cars that will not crash. Volvo Cars’ strategy to achieve Vision 2020 includes cooperating with social partners, integrating preventative and protective safety systems into the car and, in particular, to better understands people in traffic situations. Driver behaviour is a contributing factor in over 90 percent of all accidents.

“The goal is unique in that Volvo Cars has designated a year and is showing a social responsibility that also extends to people in other vehicles and pedestrians,” says Anders Eugensson, safety expert at Volvo Cars. ”We are very clear about the fact that our cars should not negatively affect other people at the moment of an accident. In addition, no unprotected roadusers should be seriously injured or killed.”
Whilst other car companies have also hit on the potential of future tech for safety, no one brand has been so bold as to turn it into a PR-able brand story. Which is what Vision 2020 is. And — vitally — it’s entirely credible.

According to Ed Kim, an analyst at automotive research firm AutoPacific, the zero-fatality goal is achievable. Within the next ten years, the confluence of safety technologies such as road sign recognition, pedestrian detection and autonomous car controls will produce far safer cars. Vision 2020 is a Utopian vision which suggests that the auto wreck – that horror symbol of the 20th Century – could be consigned to the past. A vision that Volvo now has the potential to own.

Story stolen with glee from Slashdot.

Image: Car Crash by Andy Warhol.
This post originally appeared on Anne-Fay’s work blog: Noise.

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Paris is Burning

Paris’s best-known taxidermist is set to rise from the ashes ….

Deyrolle was founded 177 years ago by Jean-Baptiste Deyrolle, an eminent entomologist, but recently a short circuit triggered a fire in the shop. The disaster has galvenised a Parisian-style rescue effort.

French soldiers on a routine patrol smelled the smoke and tried to secure the building. They were joined by dozens of firefighters and hundreds of police officers in battling the blaze. The French Army opened one of its nearby military depots as a warehouse for the burned animals and objects.

Christine Albanel, the minister of culture, sent out an all-points bulletin to the provincial museums of France for the donation of classic wooden display cases.

Hermès reissued its “Plumes” scarf in a limited edition to raise money. Gallimard, the publishing house, joined in the fund-raising by releasing a slim history of Deyrolle with a preface by the French novelist Pierre Assouline. One French woman donated 50 boxes of butterflies. A Frenchman gave back the head of a bull he had bought at Deyrolle a few months before.

Ninety percent of the shop’s stock, including most of the animals, a celebrated fossil collection, an antique skeleton of a Nile perch and a 19th-century diorama of more than 100 birds, was lost. The dark-wood cabinets that housed birds, butterflies and beetles went up in flames.

Artists and photographers who had drawn inspiration from one of the most celebrated taxidermy sites in the world donated their works. Christie’s Europe offered to sell those items as a fund-raising auction, waiving its commission along the way.

Since the fire, some of the rooms in the multistoried, 4,300-square-foot space have been reopened. The back corridors still smell of smoke, but new animals are slowly moving in: a giraffe, a lion, an ostrich, a camel, a zebra, a tiger, a peacock, among many others. It lives!

With thanks to Jessica Joslin for flagging and no thanks to Sophie and Nick.

Source: New York Times.

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This matters. Get involved.

XDR-TB — extreme (or ‘extensively’) drug-resistant tuberculosis — may well be the next pandemic. Preventable but untreatable, the disease preys on some of the world’s most vulnerable people. A recent survey suggests that amongst HIV-positive patients in Africa, it has a close to 100% mortality rate, and kills in weeks.

Sadly, the emergence of XDR-TB is a product of human error. TB can usually be treated with a course of four standard anti-TB drugs. If these drugs are misused or mismanaged, multidrug-resistant TB (MDRTB) can develop. MDRTB takes longer to treat with second-line drugs, which are more expensive and have more side-effects. XDR-TB can then develop when these second-line drugs are also misused or mismanaged and therefore also become ineffective.

This is Bad News. It is also important news, as the existence of — and need for action on — XDR-TB has been under-reported in the West.

That’s about to change. And you can help.

With the support of the good people at the TED conference, acclaimed photojournalist James Nachtwey has spent the last year traveling the world, documenting the plight of those suffering from XDR-TB.

The images will be unveiled in London on the fly tower of the National Theatre 7-11pm on Friday 3rd and Saturday 4th October. A gallery called The Emergency Room will open between October 7th and 22nd, just off Brick Lane. There you can view the photographs, together with an installation which will track their diffusion around the world. A group of researchers from think tank Demos, together with a coalition of artists and designers, will be working in the gallery, exploring new techniques for the distribution of news photography in the digital age.

This is an important project. If you are a blogger or journalist, or can offer any creative, financial or logistic support, we urge you to contact the Emergency Room and have a chat. For our part, BST is providing the team with monitoring and analysis of the project’s influence on online discussion around XDR-TB. Darrell was also asked by Demos/TED to contribute some thoughts on the future of photojournalism to the project blog.

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The Cross Bones Geese

Remembering Southwark’s Outcast Dead

Southwark’s Cross Bones graveyard is the final resting place of some 15,000 outcasts and cholera victims. According to Southwark borough’s website:

There is a long established tradition that it was a final resting place for ‘Winchester Geese’, ie prostitutes, from the legalised brothels or ‘stews’ of Bankside. This dates back to the days when the Bishop of Winchester ran Bankside and licensed the ‘Geese’.

Stow, in his Survey of London in 1603, describes the burial site as being appointed to single women forbidden the rites of the church so long as they continued a sinful life. However, by Victorian times, when the area was stricken by poverty and disease, the site was used as a pauper’s burial ground.
Cross Bones Graveyard was finally closed in 1853 on the grounds that it was ‘completely overcharged with dead’ and that further burials were ‘inconsistent with a due regard for the public health and public decency’. A warehouse was built upon it.

Recent archaeological digs for the Jubilee Line extension have uncovered evidence of a highly overcrowded graveyard where bodies are piled up on top of each other and tests have shown that many of the bodies are women and children with diseases ranging from smallpox, TB and paget’s disease to osteoarthritis and vitamin D deficiency.

The long sleep of the Cross Bones dead is being disturbed by the construction of the new Crossrail line, which will run through the middle of old Southwark. The graveyard now lies beneath a gated construction site.

But the cholera victims and Geese are not forgotten — there is a small shrine erected by the local community and, for the last few years, the gate itself (on Redcross Street, SE1) has been kept garlanded with flowers, ribbons and tributes both Pagan and Christian. According to a note on the gate, there’s a vigil at 1900 on the 23rd of every month.

More photos on Flickr.

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RIP Old Sparky

Finally, an RIP that’s nice to know

On February 8th, the US state of Nebraska declared that execution by electric chair amounted to an unconstitutionally cruel and unusual punishment. The US state was the only one still using electrocution as its sole method of execution and the move came after a condemned man, Raymond Mata, appealed against his sentence. In its nine-decade history, this particular chair had been used 15 times. old-sparky.JPG

Little by little, America is beginning to balk at capital punishment: the method rather the madness of it. The most popular method — lethal injection — is currently being investigated by the Supreme Court and Nebraska may struggle to find a replacement way of meting out ‘justice’.

Source: The Economist.

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Something Stupid

RIP Lee Hazlewood.

Cake or death.jpgSinger songwriter and producer who famously collaborated with Nancy Sinatra dies aged 78. According to the BBC report, on being diagnosed with kidney cancer in 2005, Hazlewood gave away his gold and platinum discs to friends outside the music industry and started worked on his final album, Cake Or Death.

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R.I.P. Robert Altman

The veteran film maker dies aged 81.

mash.jpgA five-time Academy Award nominee for best director, most recently for 2001’s Gosford Park, Altman finally won a lifetime achievement Oscar in 2006.

“No other filmmaker has gotten a better shake than I have,” Altman said while accepting the award. “I’m very fortunate in my career. I’ve never had to direct a film I didn’t choose or develop. My love for filmmaking has given me an entree to the world and to the human condition.”

Obituary at Seattle Pi.

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RIP Willi Ninja

The man who showed Madonna how to strike a pose is dead.

1288383576-large.jpgStar of the seminal documentary about the New York ballroom scene Paris is Burning and legendary Vogue-er, Willi Ninja also appeared in Malcolm McLaren’s pre-Madonna attempt at popularising the scene, Deep in Vogue. Only the other day, thanks to YouTube, we found a lot of proof that Vogue-ing wasn’t dead (see below). Now sadly one of its grande dames is.

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RIP Vladimir Tretchikoff

The king of 1970s mass market art dies aged 92.

Vladimir-Tretchikoff-Chinese-Girl-103255.jpgClearly a lurid palette helps you live longer. The artist adored by 1970s households and kitsch revivalists died on 26th August. In his prime, the painter of that curiously green Chinese Girl was the wealthiest artist in the world after Picasso — despite being at the opposite end of the market.

His garish colours matched exactly the fixtures and fittings of the average 1970s household (avocado bath tubs anyone?) but Tretchikoff defended his somewhat startling representations of women saying,

If I wanted to convey ideas through my paintings, why should I obscure the subject?

During the revival in interest in his work in the 1990s, Tretchikoff maintained his poise as a serious painter and refused to allow one of his paintings to adorn the cover of a book on kitsch. His work, he maintained, was symbolic realism. His adopted homeland of South Africa begged to differ. The National Gallery in Cape Town has never deigned to purchase an original Tretchikoff on the grounds that “he is not really regarded as a South African artist”.

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RIP Arthur Lee

Love frontman dies aged 61.

arthurlee1.jpgIt’s not been a good summer for psychedelia. Arthur Lee, frontman of legendary rock group Love, and genuine BigShinyThing died of leukaemia on Friday.

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