Sotheby's Besieged: Asher Edelman Reports From the Vanguard of the Revolution

Gustav Klimt's "Litzlberg on the Attersee" sold for $40.4 million to the din of jobless and struggling union workers picketing outside Sotheby's auction house in New York City last night. The serenity of the landscape painting, hung before a crowd of international art-buying elite on the seventh floor of the Upper East Side auction house, fell in stark contrast to the scene stories below, where protesting members of the Teamsters, art handlers who have been locked out of Sotheby's over a labor dispute since July, were being arrested and forcefully removed from the lobby. 

Gustav Klimt's "Litzlberg on the Attersee" sold for $40.4 million.

While most of the protestors honored the barricades set before the auction house entrance, blowing whistles and shouting obscenities at arriving attendees, some men made it into the auction house and staked their claim by sitting on the floor in the lobby. Sotheby's security guards did their best to encircle the seated protestors and greet guests as per usual, but just before the auction officially began the police arrived and began to drag the men out the main entrance.

"I think that you should watch very carefully for the possibilities of social unrest in this country, unless Washington wakes up."

Protestors implored onlookers to take pictures and film the police officers. Big Think contributor and art financier Asher Edelman attended the event, taking photos with his iPhone (below) and forwarding them to Big Think as further evidence that the prediction he made during his most recent Big Think interview is coming true. 

Art workers seated in the lobby of Sotheby's. (Asher Edelman, Nov. 2, 2011)


Sotheby's security guards block protestors from view. (Asher Edelman, Nov. 2, 2011)


Police officer's arrest protestors in Sotheby's lobby. (Asher Edelman, Nov. 2, 2011)


Police officers haul-off protestors to the roar of hundreds of jobless union workers. (Asher Edelman, Nov. 2, 2011)

How to make a black hole

Here's the science of black holes, from supermassive monsters to ones the size of ping-pong balls.

  • There's more than one way to make a black hole, says NASA's Michelle Thaller. They're not always formed from dead stars. For example, there are teeny tiny black holes all around us, the result of high-energy cosmic rays slamming into our atmosphere with enough force to cram matter together so densely that no light can escape.
  • CERN is trying to create artificial black holes right now, but don't worry, it's not dangerous. Scientists there are attempting to smash two particles together with such intensity that it creates a black hole that would live for just a millionth of a second.
  • Thaller uses a brilliant analogy involving a rubber sheet, a marble, and an elephant to explain why different black holes have varying densities. Watch and learn!
  • Bonus fact: If the Earth became a black hole, it would be crushed to the size of a ping-pong ball.

Russian reporters discover 101 'tortured' whales jammed in offshore pens

Protected animals are feared to be headed for the black market.

Politics & Current Affairs
  • Russian news network discovers 101 black-market whales.
  • Orcas and belugas are seen crammed into tiny pens.
  • Marine parks continue to create a high-price demand for illegal captures.
Keep reading Show less

China’s artificial sun reaches fusion temperature: 100 million degrees

In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.

Credit: EAST Team
Surprising Science
  • The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
  • Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
  • Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
Keep reading Show less