Saturday, October 8, 2022

Arsonist Set Fire to Easter Island


An Arsonist Set Fire to Easter Island, Charring and Cracking the Sacred Moai Figures: ‘The Damage Cannot Be Undone’
An Arsonist Set Fire to Easter Island, Charring and Cracking the Sacred Moai Figures: ‘The Damage Cannot Be Undone’
By Jo Lawson-Tancred

An Arsonist Set Fire to Easter Island, Charring and Cracking the Sacred Moai Figures: ‘The Damage Cannot Be Undone’

The fire is believed to have been started deliberately, according to the island's mayor.


Moais seen on the outer slopes of Rano Raraku volcanic crater. Photo by John Milner/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images.

A fire set on Easter Island has badly damaged the sacred “moai” statues—some irreparably, according to the director of the park.

The blaze was set deliberately on Monday around the Rano Raraku volcano, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it spread over an area of 148 acres. Mayor Pedro Edmunds Paoa has called the event an act or arson. “All the fires Rapa Nui are caused by human beings,” he told the local broadcaster Radio Pauta. 

“The damage caused by the fire can’t be undone,” he continued. “The cracking of an original and emblematic stone cannot be recovered, no matter how many millions or euros or dollars are put into it.”

It is unclear how many statues were damaged.

A lack of volunteers slowed down the response to the fire, according to Ariki Tepano, director of the Ma’u Henua community, which who oversees the parks management. 

One of the charred moai statues following a serious fire on Easter Island started on October 3, 2022. Photo courtesy of the Rapa Nui Municipality.

Standing at around 13 feet tall and weighing approximately 74 tons, the monolithic human figures were carved out of volcanic rock by the Polynesian tribe Rapa Nui more than 500 years ago to embody ancestral spirits. They were placed in a ring around the island, facing inland. 

Easter Island, one of the world’s most remote inhabited islands, is a special territory of Chile. It is has been closed to the public while the damage is assessed, having only reopened three months ago following two years of closure during the pandemic.

There are nearly 1,000 of the moai on Easter Island, distinctive for their huge heads. Their bodies are often buried beneath the earth and have in recent years been excavated

Evidence of charring on two moai statues following a serious fire on Easter Island started on October 3, 2022. Photo courtesy of the Rapa Nui Municipality.

Delegates from the island have previously tried to convince the British Museum to return Hoa Hakananai’a, a maoi that was taken in 1868 and given to Queen Victoria, who later donated it to the museum.

Edmunds Paoa has, however, said he believes the statue may be better off staying in its current location, suggesting the museum might offer the island a financial commitment instead. 

The statue is one of the British Museum’s most photographed exhibits. Museums in France, Belgium, the United States, and New Zealand also have moai in their collections.

Return to the Office If There’s Art

 ... poor little young workers... in the U.S. it's the big goodbye and the quiet quiting and all that SNOWFLAKE shit... in Portugal, only the imigrants work; in the UK they want art... if you consider the photos bellow, specially the first one, who can create anything useful while being near that UGLY WALL?

this p.c. mentallity SUCKS!

TfT » The fLIPADOS Team, over and out


Younger Workers Are More Likely to Return to the Office If There’s Art Around, a U.K. Survey Finds

Lean offices with little art are no different from animal cages, a psychology expert says.

Seventy-five percent of workers age 18–29 preferred working in offices with a lot art to working from home. Photo: myHQ Workspaces on Unsplash.

Young people want to go back to the office instead of continuing to work from home as the Covid pandemic dwindles, according to the latest survey in the U.K. But there is one thing they want more in the workplace specifically in the post-pandemic era: art.

These are just two of the findings in the Art of the Workplace Report, which last month surveyed of 3,000 office workers across the U.K., from age 18 to those in their 60s, who work between two and four days a week in the office.

Among the respondents in the youngest age bracket (18–29), 63 percent of them preferred working in the office to working at home. This went up to 75 percent among those who work in offices that have a lot art.

The findings revealed in the report, commissioned by long-time corporate arts patron Brookfield Properties in partnership with the international self-help organization The School of Life, corresponds to the larger trend of soaring art sales among young buyers from Generation MZ—Millennials (born in 1981–96) and Gen Z (born in 1997–2012).

Christie’s, for example, saw a strong influx of new and younger clients between January and June 2022, a spokesperson told Artnet News. Thirty percent of all its buyers in the first half of the year were new to Christie’s, and 34 percent of those new buyers were millennials, up from 31 percent the previous year, the auction house said.

Sotheby’s, on the other hand, said that the number of bidders and buyers under the age of 40 has increased dramatically over the pandemic. The number of younger bidders recorded in 2021 was up by 67 percent, compared to 2019, whereas the number of buyers increased by 60 percent over the same time, a spokesperson told Artnet News.

Art creates a breathing space for office workers. Courtesy of Brookfield Properties.

Phillips reported a similar trend, saying that in 2021, 50 percent of all buyers across online-only and live auctions were first-time clients with the auction house. And half of the lots sold in live auctions went to online buyers in 2021, a 32 percent increase from 2019. “Online buyers tend to be younger,” said a spokesperson from Phillips.

The survey, carried out by research agency Perspectus Global, also confirmed the importance of art and cultural activities in the workplace. Some 77 percent of respondents liked having cultural, social, or health events in the workplace, while 69 percent of them said having interesting and visually attractive art pieces in the office contributed to their wellbeing.

In comparison, less than 10 percent of those who work in “lean offices,” which have little art or other amenities, said they felt inspired at work.

“We found that using art as a form of enrichment has the capacity to boost productivity by up to 17 percent. If you use art as a vehicle to empower people at work, then productivity can increase by as much as 32 percent,” said Dr. Craig Knight, a chartered psychologist and founder of workplace psychology agency Identity Realization Ltd.

He also compared humans working in offices with little art to animals being placed in cages. “Lean offices are a bad idea,” he said.

Building codes saved this Florida town


keep the brain healthy

Leaders | Thinking outside the box

How to keep the brain healthy

Neuroscience is experiencing a renaissance. Not before time

Disorders of the brain are a growing worry. Twelve mental-health conditions affect about 970m people around the world according to the Global Burden of Disease Project: more than one in ten of the population. Patchy data mean that this figure could well be an underestimate. On top of that, neurological problems, such as stroke, dementia, migraine, Parkinson’s, epilepsy and brain injury are collectively the leading global source of disability. Ageing populations with unhealthy ways of life are likely to make this problem much worse everywhere.

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In an ideal world science would be coming to the rescue. But the brain is a complex organ—sometimes described as the most complex structure in the known universe. Through good fortune and subsequent diligence, 20th-century science provided some pharmacological tools with which to treat some of the things that go wrong with it. But its fundamental mysteries have proved difficult to unravel. As a result, progress has been much slower than in treatments for the heart or cancer.

Indeed, it has sometimes been hard to discern much progress at all. The private sector spent an estimated $43bn on research into therapies for Alzheimer’s disease between 1998 and 2017 and came up empty-handed. That epic failure is perhaps the biggest reason why, in the 2010s, many drug firms abandoned or cut back on neuroscience research.

Happily, there are signs of a change afoot. In our Technology Quarterly this week we report on a renaissance in neuroscience, with many drug companies, some of them big ones, showing renewed interest in the field. This fresh energy is coming from a variety of techniques and ideas. Optogenetics, which uses genetic manipulation to get animal brains to reveal their workings—and open them up to change—through the use of light, is transforming brain science in the laboratory, as is the growth of tiny brain-like “organoids”. More precise diagnosis and well-validated biomarkers, which reveal the course of disease, are improving clinical trials. A growing openness to the investigation of previously recreational and stigmatised drugs is widening the range of possible medicines. New kinds of treatment, such as gene therapy, are expanding the range of diseases that can be tackled. Other advances are spurring progress in dealing with chronic pain.

At the same time a growing mound of “cohort” data is proving critical to understanding the biological roots of brain dysfunction. Projects like the uk Biobank track tens or even hundreds of thousands of individuals over a generation or more. They should help answer questions about the roots of brain disorders such as dementia that may take decades to emerge.

As hopes rise for tackling this final frontier of biomedicine, it is worth remembering that the secrets to a healthy brain are not only going to come from a pill or psychotherapist’s couch. The health of the brain is influenced by what goes on outside it, such as nutrition, exercise, the abuse of alcohol, education, social connections and pollution. Of particular relevance these days is air pollution—which could have a negative influence on brain health at both the beginning and the end of life. None of this should be surprising: the health of the brain is tied to the health and the well-being of the body that it sits in. Efforts to ensure better brain health are an investment that will keep paying dividends for individuals, and for societies, for decades to come. 

This article appeared in the Leaders section of the print edition under the headline "Thinking outside the box"

LeadersSeptember 24th 2022

How thinking hard makes the brain tired

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The Economist this week

A special edition on the brain

From reading the words in this newsletter, to tasting coffee on your tongue, to feeling excitement at the prospect of lunch, your experiences are the work of your nerve cells. So are your moods, chains of reasoning, and good and less good habits. The whole panoply of human experience can be found in electrochemical pulses passed along and between the 90bn nerve cells, also known as neurons, that make up the brain.

The brain is so complex that scientific understanding of it can seem decades behind that of other organs. But neuroscience is undergoing a renaissance. Many of our recent articles, such as our recent Technology Quarterly on fixing the brain, probe these new approaches. Others focus on fresh discoveries, such as the link between playing a musical instrument and better cognition or the fact that new fathers’ cerebrums shrink. Whichever articles you read from the selection below, we hope that they will make you think differently. 

Natasha Loder
Health policy editor

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