The Norden – Police.

Holy shit, the contrast. Watch. Just watch. I want to live in Finland. Thanks to Ice Swimmer for this one! I was particularly impressed with the training, which shocked the LA cop. Not only the 3 years, but that they were being trained as part of the community, not as apart and elite, like is done here in uStates.

The Norden.

Architectural Matryroshka.

Blockoshka architectural nesting dolls. All images courtesy of Studio Zupagrafika.

Blockoshka architectural nesting dolls. All images courtesy of Studio Zupagrafika.

Oh, these are so cool!

Parts of Moscow, East Berlin, Warsaw, and Prague are nearly indistinguishable from each other thanks to their architecture. After mass destruction from World War II, rows of Modernist, high-rise housing blocks popped up during the Cold War, a result of Communist urban planning that gives many Eastern European cities a repetitive, rectangular aesthetic. To help shine light on and define the differences and similarities between these housing blocks in each city, Poznán-based design studio Zupagrafika has created Blokoshka, a set of nesting dolls—or as the studio calls them, “Modernist architectural matryoshka”—made up of typical building types from the four cities.

The top and largest layer, in red, represents the “sleeping districts” of Moscow’s, semi-suburban communities dedicated solely to housing blocks. Inside the largest piece fits the typical East Berlin Plattenbau. These buildings, made of concrete slabs, were erected quickly and en masse in the 60s in order to accommodate an influx of new residents from further east, and an increasing desire for the-then modern designs that provided a better alternative to pre-war buildings.

Open another layer of Blokoshka, and reveal a yellow building representing Warsaw, another city that was essentially leveled by the Nazis in World War II. Finally, the smallest architectural nesting doll is a blue Panelák, a pre-fab concrete tower representative of the places where many Czechs still live today.

The Zupagrafika team, David Navarro and Martyna Sobecka, tell The Creators Project that their inspiration for these works, which follow projects like Eastern Blocka collection of Warsaw-inspired building models, comes from a love of the Modernist aesthetic, and a desire not to see these iconic buildings renovated and erased from history.

Via The Creators Project. Find out more about Blokoshka on Zupagrafika’s website, here.

Carla Hayden: Technosavvy public warrior.

News of the Nerdy kind, the best kind of news! For those of us with a deep and everlasting love of books, of libraries, of books about libraries, and *deep breath* okay, there is amazing news. Carla Hayden is the new Librarian of Congress, and for the first time in its 200 year history, not male, and not white. Dr. Hayden is also an actual librarian, which will make a change from the usual scholar appointments. This is making history, and it’s history a lot of people will miss. Don’t be one of them, read up on Dr. Hayden, and the importance of the Librarian of Congress. Think Progress has a great article up.

Facebook, Oh Facebook, Part III.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. CREDIT: AP Photo/Paul Sakuma.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. CREDIT: AP Photo/Paul Sakuma.

Rather than someone putting out highly questionable content, this time it’s the company itself. FB has been taken to task over its lack of diversity, and that lack is still in place. According to the company, that just isn’t their fault, no. There aren’t any women or PoC who are qualified! They just aren’t there, only white guys are qualifying for working at FB.

On Thursday, Facebook released its latest diversity numbers and didn’t have much to show for increases in women and people of color. Its technical workforce is 48 percent white and 83 percent male, while just 3 percent is Hispanic, 1 percent is black, and 17 percent is female. That’s just a 2 percent increase in its female technical workforce from 2014, while its numbers on black and Hispanic workers in that area didn’t budget at all.

The company said on Thursday that it’s “been working hard” to increase the diversity among its ranks. But it also indicated that the hardest work must be done by others.

“It has become clear that at the most fundamental level, appropriate representation in technology or any other industry will depend upon more people having the opportunity to gain necessary skills through the public education system,” Maxine Williams, global head of diversity, wrote in the release of its data. The company indicated to the Wall Street Journal that the main problem is an empty pipeline — that there just aren’t enough skilled people of color and women to hire in the technology field.

Interesting that they have a woman making the statement. I wonder if they think that’s going to make people think they are telling the truth? “Look, we have a woman in charge of diversity, and she says…

But that explanation ignores the numbers. A USA Today investigation in 2014 concluded that black and Hispanic people were graduating with computer science and engineering degrees from top-tier universities at twice the rate that they were getting hired by big tech firms. That year, the workforces of technology companies in Silicon Valley were just 2 percent black and 3 percent Hispanic on average. But 4.5 percent of all new graduates with bachelor’s degrees in the field from prestigious universities were black and 6.5 percent were Hispanic.

Women have a similar experience. A 2013 report from the Census Bureau found that among college graduates with science and engineering degrees, men were employed in science, technology, engineering, or math at twice the rate of women — 31 percent for men versus 15 percent for women. A different report from last year found that four years after they graduate, less than a quarter of female computer science and engineering majors get a job in their field.

One half of the problem is on the hiring side, where white, male employees have been found to be more likely to hire people who look like them than others in all industries. Technology also thinks of itself as a “meritocracy” where people succeed on skills alone, no matter what they look like, which ignores implicit biases. For example, many people are turned away from jobs for not being a “culture fit,” which can also be read as not fitting in with an already white and male office.

Ohhh, not a “culture fit.” So that’s the new name of the white boys club. This problem certainly isn’t Facebook’s alone, the whole tech industry suffers from culture fit, with a variety of excuses for remaining that way. It’s past time for STEM fields to stop all that mirror gazing, and actually look at that vast pool of people who would like a job. I’m pretty sure if you look hard enough, you might manage to see people who aren’t white, and and aren’t male. In the meantime, don’t place your failures on the shoulders of people who have studied and worked their asses off, and put up with discrimination and microaggressive environments, just so they can do the work they love, and would like to be employed in.

Via Think Progress.

Sunday Facepalm

vanished-left-behind-next-generationLeft Behind: Next Generation. Are you excited yet? If you remember those awful, never ending books by Tim LaHaye, then you already know how awful this will be. For those who aren’t familiar with those awful ’90s books, they can be found in dusty, remaindered stacks just about everywhere.

The new faith-based film “Vanished: Left Behind – Next Generation,” is expected to make waves in cinemas this September. The movie tells the story of Jesus Christ’s second coming through the eyes of young adults.

Make waves? I have some doubts here. One thing about young people? They grow older, and generally, they have a good, long time in front of them. I had a fevered moment as a Jesus Freak in my teens (tent days at Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa. Yeah, Chuck, Romaine, Lonnie, all that.) I lived at Mansion Messiah in Newport Beach. I believed in the rapture. I waited. And that right there is the whole problem – people have been waiting. Everyone thinks it’s going to happen in their generation, because of course, it’s the worst one yet! It would have saved me some time, and got me back to reality quicker if anyone had bothered to point out that the whole ‘Jesus is coming back’ business was supposed to be in the apostles’ lifetimes, and it had zero relevance all these centuries later, and that the whole rapture gig was made up fairly recently.

The movie is inspired by The New York Times bestselling book series “Left Behind,” which is written by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins, according to The Christian Post. The series was translated into film by Kirk Cameron 16 years ago. Another movie based on the same book series was made in 2014 starring Nicholas Cage.

Really? Huh. Well, glad I missed that one.

It might seem like there’s nothing new to add to “Vanished: Left Behind – Next Generation.” But the film still managed to put a unique spin to the tale of the apocalypse by presenting it through the perspective of millennials.

No, that’s not a unique spin. That’s not even out of the ordinary in any way.

The film’s synopsis reads: “When a billion people around the globe suddenly vanish and chaos engulfs the nation — headstrong 15-year-old Gabby (Amber Frank) is thrust into adulthood way too soon. The event forces Gabby, along with her younger sister Claire (Keely Wilson) and the two teen boys vying for Gabby’s affection, Josh (Mason Dye) and Flynn (Dylan Sprayberry) — to try to figure out what has happened and how they fit into this dangerous new world.”

Minus the Jesus juice, this sounds like every other teen / coming of age flick ever made.

Full story here.