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Esther Schindler writes "If you ever needed evidence that Isaac Asimov was a genius at extrapolating future technology from limited data, you'll enjoy this 1964 article in which he predicts what we'll see at the 2014 world's fair. For instance: "Robots will neither be common nor very good in 2014, but they will be in existence. The I.B.M. exhibit at the present fair has no robots but it is dedicated to computers, which are shown in all their amazing complexity, notably in the task of translating Russian into English. If machines are that smart today, what may not be in the works 50 years hence? It will be such computers, much miniaturized, that will serve as the "brains" of robots. In fact, the I.B.M. building at the 2014 World's Fair may have, as one of its prime exhibits, a robot housemaid*large, clumsy, slow- moving but capable of general picking-up, arranging, cleaning and manipulation of various appliances. It will undoubtedly amuse the fairgoers to scatter debris over the floor in order to see the robot lumberingly remove it and classify it into 'throw away' and 'set aside.' (Robots for gardening work will also have made their appearance.)" It's really fun (and sometimes sigh-inducing) to see where he was accurate and where he wasn't. And, of course, the whole notion that we'd have a world's fair is among the inaccurate predictions."

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00_NOP writes "Researchers from the New School for Social Research in New York have demonstrated that if you read quality literary fiction you become a better person, in the sense that you are more likely to empathize with others [paper abstract]. Presumably we can all think of books that have changed the way we feel about the world — so this is, in a sense, a scientific confirmation of something fairly intuitive."

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Christianity is on the edge of extinction in its birthplace, the Middle East.
Escaping sectarian violence, kidnappings, religious fatwas, economic hardship and severe persecution, the oldest Christian communities in the world are leaving the region.
Nowadays there are more Iraqi, Turkish and Palestinian Christians living in the Diaspora in Europe, the US or South America than in their native countries, while the current events in Egypt and Syria indicate a similar fate for its Christian population.

With the current speed of this Christian Exodus continuing, out of 12 million Christians in the middle East only 6 million will be left in the year 2020. It’s a real probability that within one generation Christianity, as a live religion and culture, will have vanished from the Middle East. I want to document this vanishing people and culture and record a historic process with severe political, economic and cultural consequences for the Middle East.

Christians have always been part of the intellectual and economic elite of Middle Eastern societies and their migration leads to a brain-drain, sided with the withdrew of financial assets and, equally important, cultural and intellectual force. This lack of resources will only accelerate the problems Middle East as a whole is facing and fuel the vicious circle of poverty, ill-education and extremist violence in the Region.

Working on the project since early 2011, I have repeatedly been to Turkey, Iraq, Egypt, Israel, Gaza and Palestine. During this time I established a network of different NGOs, local churches and individuals that have helped me setting up contacts and logistics needed for this project.
To complete the project, thus to further depict the complexity of the phenomenon and to deepen its understanding, I will need to visit the Christian communities in the remaining countries of the Levant: Jordan, Lebanon, Syria.

 

Bio

Andy Spyra, born 1984 in Germany, is a freelance photographer currently based in Germany. He worked one year as a staff photographer for the local newspaper in his hometown before he became a freelance photographer. He’s working on assignments and personal longtermprojects in the Balkans and more recently in the middle East.

His Projects include a documentation of the ongoing conflict in Kashmir as well a four year long visual engagement with the aftermath of the genocide in Bosnia. Since 2011 he’s been working on a longtermproject about the christian exodus from the Middle East.

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TRANSCENDENCE

After a couple days marked by minor teasers for Transcendence, we’ve now got a full trailer that uses actual footage rather than voiceover and stock images and illustrations.

Christopher Nolan’s longtime cinematographer Wally Pfister makes his directorial debut here, and in the cast and style of the footage there’s a very recognizable set of faces and characteristics. Johnny Depp stars as a scientist who is incarnated as a computer-housed intelligence, with anti-tech terrorists on his trail and potentially a non-human agenda of his own. Cillian Murphy, Rebecca Hall, Morgan Freeman, Kate Mara, and Paul Bettany are among the supporting cast.

Check out the footage below.

Transcendence opens on April 18.

Dr. Will Caster (Johnny Depp) is the foremost researcher in the field of Artificial Intelligence, working to create a sentient machine that combines the collective intelligence of everything ever known with the full range of human emotions. His highly controversial experiments have made him famous, but they have also made him the prime target of anti-technology extremists who will do whatever it takes to stop him. However, in their attempt to destroy Will, they inadvertently become the catalyst for him to succeed—to be a participant in his own transcendence. For his wife Evelyn (Rebecca Hall) and best friend Max Waters (Paul Bettany), both fellow researchers, the question is not if they can…but if they should. Their worst fears are realized as Will’s thirst for knowledge evolves into a seemingly omnipresent quest for power, to what end is unknown. The only thing that is becoming terrifyingly clear is there may be no way to stop him.

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This was a weekend of the Sun and Moon -- a coincidence of the summer solstice and the "Supermoon". Friday was the summer solstice (in the northern hemisphere), welcomed by humans for thousands of years as the longest day of the year. In ancient times, people celebrated this day as the center point of summer. Some still observe the solstice with ceremonies and prayers, gathering on mountaintops or at spiritual landmarks. Over the weekend, skywatchers around the world were also treated to views of the so-called Supermoon, the largest full moon of the year. On Sunday, the moon approached within 357,000 km (222,000 mi) of Earth, in what is called a perigee-syzygy of the Earth-Moon-Sun system (perigee: closest point of an elliptical orbit; syzygy: straight line made of three bodies in a gravitational system). Photographers across the globe set out to capture both events, and collected here are 24 images of our two most-visible celestial neighbors. [24 photos]

The largest full moon of 2013, a "supermoon" scientifically known as a "perigee moon", rises over the Tien Shan mountains and the monument to 18th century military commander Nauryzbai Batyr near the town of Kaskelen, some 23 km (14 mi) west of Almaty, Kazakhstan, on June 23, 2013. (Reuters/Shamil Zhumatov)     

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burn magazine

Emerging Photographer Fund – 2013 Recipient

 

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EPF 2013 WINNER

 Diana Markosian

My Father, The Stranger

play this essay

 

I knocked on the door of a stranger.

I’ve traveled halfway around the world to meet him.

My father.

I was seven years old when I last saw him.

As the Soviet Union collapsed, so did my family.

I remember my father and I dancing together in our tiny apartment in Moscow and him giving me my first doll.

I also remember him leaving.

Sometimes he would be gone for months at a time and then unexpectedly be back.

Until, one day, it was our turn to leave.

My mother woke me up and told me to pack my belongings. She said we were going on a trip. The next day, we arrived at our new home, California.

We hardly ever spoke of my father. I had no pictures of him, and over time, forgot what he looked like.

I often wondered what it would have been like to have a father.

I still do.

This is my attempt to piece together a picture of a familiar stranger.

 

Bio

Diana Markosian is a documentary photographer and writer.

Her reporting has taken her from Russia’s North Caucasus mountains, to the ancient Silk Road in Tajikistan and overland to the remote Wakhan Corridor in northeastern Afghanistan.

Diana’s images have appeared in The New York Times, The Sunday Times, Marie Claire, Foreign Policy, Foto8, Time.com, World Policy Journal, Human Rights Watch, and Amnesty International, amongst others.

Her work has been recognized by a diverse range of organizations including UNICEF, AnthropoGraphia, Ian Parry Scholarship, Marie Claire Int’l, National Press Photography Association, Columbia University and Getty Images. In 2011, Diana’s image of the terrorist mother was awarded photo of the year by Reuters.

She holds a masters from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.

 

Related links

Diana Markosian

 

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thanksomuch:

lullsartery:

St Bartholomew

(*He was an early Christian martyr that was skinned. If you look closely, you’ll notice that’s not a robe, but actually his removed skin hanging around him* )

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