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Only two of San Francisco's 87 public sculptures depict women — its newest will honor Maya Angelou
- San Francisco board has issued a new ordinance that'll ensure 30 percent of all public art portrays female historical figures.
- Maya Angelou has been chosen as the first historical figure to be recognized.
- The sculpture concept has come down to three finalists — its completion date is slated for winter of 2020.
Maya Angelou will be commemorated in a new permanent art installation in San Francisco. Poet and novelist, Angelou had a storied relationship with the city. She attended the George Washington High School, and was said to have been one of San Francisco's first African American female streetcar conductors.
The announcement follows an outcry from the community asking for better representation of women in sculptures. In 2018, San Francisco's board of supervisors passed a city ordinance calling for representation of historical women to reach at least 30 percent. After a year of legislation, the ordinance finally went through. As of today, only two of the 87 public statues depict women. Those being, a sculpture of Florence Nightingale and a bust of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D–CA).
Maya Angelou was chosen because of her life's celebrated and influential career.
The San Francisco Arts commission remarks, "The artwork is intended to honor one of the most significant literary artists and activists of our time, and will be an ever-present role model and inspiration to girls and young women."
Maya Angelou’s sculpture
The city's Art Commission sent out a call for art applications in November of 2018. They received more than 100 qualified submissions. After whittling those down to the best 13 artists, they eventually chose three finalists. The statue will be installed by December 31, 2020 with an estimated cost of around $400,000. The city will supply the majority of the funding with the help of some private donors.
The three proposals come from the following artists: Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle, Jules Arthur, and Lava Thomas. All of which, are strikingly beautiful and well designed.
Kenyatta C. Hinkle’s proposal, “The 3 Mayas”
Kenyatta C. Hinkle, an American artist and assistant professor of painting at UC Berkeley proposed "The 3 Mayas," which is a seven foot tall and three sided. It'll consist of three versions of Maya in different stages of her life. The first, as a little girl holding a book, a teenager in a streetcar uniform, and finally a middle age woman holding her most famous book, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.
Speaking with the San Francisco Chronicle, Hinkle referenced a speech by the author's son, Guy Johnson. "He said that his mother would not stand for any injustice being carried out in her presence — she would never turn her back to injustice." You will never see the back of this monument. You will always have a version of Maya looking at you."
Jules Arthur’s proposal, “The Gift of Literature”
Jules Arthur, an artist from New York City, proposed "The Gift of Literature," as a granite wall with a quote from Angelou regarding the importance of reading.
When I look back, I am so impressed again with the life-giving power of literature, If I were a young person today, trying to gain a sense of myself in the world, I would do that again by reading, just as I did when I was young. – Maya Angelou
The statue will feature Angelou on one side as a young girl standing with one leg atop a birdcage and stack of books. The other side of the granite will have the older Angelou, looking at the reflection of her younger self. Arthur calls this a work of "metamorphosis."
Lava Thomas’s proposal, “Portrait of a Phenomenal Woman”
Lava Thomas's design is a towering nine-foot sculpture that is shaped like a book, with a portrait on Agelou's face on the front.
Regarding the sculpture, the artist stated, "I want my monument to… convey Dr. Angelou's towering achievements her intelligence, her wisdom, and to emphasize her insistence on our shared humanity."
This iteration of Angelou artwork also includes a quote by the author: "If one has courage, nothing can dim the light which shines from within."
The artists' designs have been on display at the San Francisco Library, so that the public could provide feedback. The finalist will meet with the Visual Arts Committee on August 21 and then be approved on September 9th.
The Arts commission intends on releasing more plans for future female public art after getting further input.
How would the ability to genetically customize children change society? Sci-fi author Eugene Clark explores the future on our horizon in Volume I of the "Genetic Pressure" series.
- A new sci-fi book series called "Genetic Pressure" explores the scientific and moral implications of a world with a burgeoning designer baby industry.
- It's currently illegal to implant genetically edited human embryos in most nations, but designer babies may someday become widespread.
- While gene-editing technology could help humans eliminate genetic diseases, some in the scientific community fear it may also usher in a new era of eugenics.
Tribalism and discrimination<p>One question the "Genetic Pressure" series explores: What would tribalism and discrimination look like in a world with designer babies? As designer babies grow up, they could be noticeably different from other people, potentially being smarter, more attractive and healthier. This could breed resentment between the groups—as it does in the series.</p><p>"[Designer babies] slowly find that 'everyone else,' and even their own parents, becomes less and less tolerable," author Eugene Clark told Big Think. "Meanwhile, everyone else slowly feels threatened by the designer babies."</p><p>For example, one character in the series who was born a designer baby faces discrimination and harassment from "normal people"—they call her "soulless" and say she was "made in a factory," a "consumer product." </p><p>Would such divisions emerge in the real world? The answer may depend on who's able to afford designer baby services. If it's only the ultra-wealthy, then it's easy to imagine how being a designer baby could be seen by society as a kind of hyper-privilege, which designer babies would have to reckon with. </p><p>Even if people from all socioeconomic backgrounds can someday afford designer babies, people born designer babies may struggle with tough existential questions: Can they ever take full credit for things they achieve, or were they born with an unfair advantage? To what extent should they spend their lives helping the less fortunate? </p>
Sexuality dilemmas<p>Sexuality presents another set of thorny questions. If a designer baby industry someday allows people to optimize humans for attractiveness, designer babies could grow up to find themselves surrounded by ultra-attractive people. That may not sound like a big problem.</p><p>But consider that, if designer babies someday become the standard way to have children, there'd necessarily be a years-long gap in which only some people are having designer babies. Meanwhile, the rest of society would be having children the old-fashioned way. So, in terms of attractiveness, society could see increasingly apparent disparities in physical appearances between the two groups. "Normal people" could begin to seem increasingly ugly.</p><p>But ultra-attractive people who were born designer babies could face problems, too. One could be the loss of body image. </p><p>When designer babies grow up in the "Genetic Pressure" series, men look like all the other men, and women look like all the other women. This homogeneity of physical appearance occurs because parents of designer babies start following trends, all choosing similar traits for their children: tall, athletic build, olive skin, etc. </p><p>Sure, facial traits remain relatively unique, but everyone's more or less equally attractive. And this causes strange changes to sexual preferences.</p><p>"In a society of sexual equals, they start looking for other differentiators," he said, noting that violet-colored eyes become a rare trait that genetically engineered humans find especially attractive in the series.</p><p>But what about sexual relationships between genetically engineered humans and "normal" people? In the "Genetic Pressure" series, many "normal" people want to have kids with (or at least have sex with) genetically engineered humans. But a minority of engineered humans oppose breeding with "normal" people, and this leads to an ideology that considers engineered humans to be racially supreme. </p>
Regulating designer babies<p>On a policy level, there are many open questions about how governments might legislate a world with designer babies. But it's not totally new territory, considering the West's dark history of eugenics experiments.</p><p>In the 20th century, the U.S. conducted multiple eugenics programs, including immigration restrictions based on genetic inferiority and forced sterilizations. In 1927, for example, the Supreme Court ruled that forcibly sterilizing the mentally handicapped didn't violate the Constitution. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendall Holmes wrote, "… three generations of imbeciles are enough." </p><p>After the Holocaust, eugenics programs became increasingly taboo and regulated in the U.S. (though some states continued forced sterilizations <a href="https://www.uvm.edu/~lkaelber/eugenics/" target="_blank">into the 1970s</a>). In recent years, some policymakers and scientists have expressed concerns about how gene-editing technologies could reanimate the eugenics nightmares of the 20th century. </p><p>Currently, the U.S. doesn't explicitly ban human germline genetic editing on the federal level, but a combination of laws effectively render it <a href="https://academic.oup.com/jlb/advance-article/doi/10.1093/jlb/lsaa006/5841599#204481018" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">illegal to implant a genetically modified embryo</a>. Part of the reason is that scientists still aren't sure of the unintended consequences of new gene-editing technologies. </p><p>But there are also concerns that these technologies could usher in a new era of eugenics. After all, the function of a designer baby industry, like the one in the "Genetic Pressure" series, wouldn't necessarily be limited to eliminating genetic diseases; it could also work to increase the occurrence of "desirable" traits. </p><p>If the industry did that, it'd effectively signal that the <em>opposites of those traits are undesirable. </em>As the International Bioethics Committee <a href="https://academic.oup.com/jlb/advance-article/doi/10.1093/jlb/lsaa006/5841599#204481018" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">wrote</a>, this would "jeopardize the inherent and therefore equal dignity of all human beings and renew eugenics, disguised as the fulfillment of the wish for a better, improved life."</p><p><em>"Genetic Pressure Volume I: Baby Steps"</em><em> by Eugene Clark is <a href="http://bigth.ink/38VhJn3" target="_blank">available now.</a></em></p>
A leading British space scientist thinks there is life under the ice sheets of Europa.
- A British scientist named Professor Monica Grady recently came out in support of extraterrestrial life on Europa.
- Europa, the sixth largest moon in the solar system, may have favorable conditions for life under its miles of ice.
- The moon is one of Jupiter's 79.
Neil deGrasse Tyson wants to go ice fishing on Europa<div class="rm-shortcode" data-media_id="GLGsRX7e" data-player_id="FvQKszTI" data-rm-shortcode-id="f4790eb8f0515e036b24c4195299df28"> <div id="botr_GLGsRX7e_FvQKszTI_div" class="jwplayer-media" data-jwplayer-video-src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/GLGsRX7e-FvQKszTI.js"> <img src="https://cdn.jwplayer.com/thumbs/GLGsRX7e-1920.jpg" class="jwplayer-media-preview" /> </div> <script src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/GLGsRX7e-FvQKszTI.js"></script> </div>
Water Vapor Above Europa’s Surface Deteced for First Time<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="9c4abc8473e1b89170cc8941beeb1f2d"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/WQ-E1lnSOzc?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
Answering the question of who you are is not an easy task. Let's unpack what culture, philosophy, and neuroscience have to say.
- Who am I? It's a question that humans have grappled with since the dawn of time, and most of us are no closer to an answer.
- Trying to pin down what makes you you depends on which school of thought you prescribe to. Some argue that the self is an illusion, while others believe that finding one's "true self" is about sincerity and authenticity.
- In this video, author Gish Jen, Harvard professor Michael Puett, psychotherapist Mark Epstein, and neuroscientist Sam Harris discuss three layers of the self, looking through the lens of culture, philosophy, and neuroscience.
The newly discovered galaxies are 62x bigger than the Milky Way.
- Two recently discovered radio galaxies are among the largest objects in the cosmos.
- The discovery implies that radio galaxies are more common than previously thought.
- The discovery was made while creating a radio map of the sky with a small part of a new radio array.