Category: culture

Student fined for smashing gallery window and …

Student fined for smashing gallery window and calling it art:

Does breaking a window count as art? Yes, murmured the 50 or so artniks who recently crowded into a former Edinburgh ambulance garage to view a film of sculptor Kevin Harman doing just that. No, insisted Kate Gray, director of the Collective Gallery in Cockburn Street, whose window it was.

The courts are on Gray’s side. Yesterday Harman, a prize-winning graduate of Edinburgh College of Art, was fined £200 for breaching the peace on 23 November, when he smashed a metal scaffolding pole through one of the gallery’s windows. Fiscal depute Malcolm Stewart described the affair as “a rather bizarre incident” which had left Collective staff “upset.”

As Harman, 27, had already paid £350 to have the window instantly replaced, his artistic intervention has proved pricey. The Collective’s decision to prosecute was promptly condemned by Harman’s supporters.

“They should have shaken his hand and bought him a drink,” declared Royal Academician Michael Sandle. Edinburgh art guru Richard Demarco, whose foundation recently awarded Harman a £2,000 scholarship, described the gallery’s action as “intensely regrettable”, and the artist as “a serious, hard-working and gifted person”.

Gray was unavailable for comment, as was the Edinburgh College of Art, where Harman is in the second year of a master’s course. It is understood that several of his tutors had been supportive of the project, which was initially labelled Brick. The scaffolding pole was substituted as a safer option.

The student, who has a piece in the current show of the Royal Scottish Academy, explained that he was less distressed by the fine than by the Collective’s dismissal of his work as “vandalism”, as the charge sheet put it. “There have got to be serious questions asked of their position as arbiters of art,” he told the Guardian.

Digital Human: Series 16, Episode 4 – Illusion

Student fined for smashing gallery window and …

Student fined for smashing gallery window and calling it art:

Does breaking a window count as art? Yes, murmured the 50 or so artniks who recently crowded into a former Edinburgh ambulance garage to view a film of sculptor Kevin Harman doing just that. No, insisted Kate Gray, director of the Collective Gallery in Cockburn Street, whose window it was.

The courts are on Gray’s side. Yesterday Harman, a prize-winning graduate of Edinburgh College of Art, was fined £200 for breaching the peace on 23 November, when he smashed a metal scaffolding pole through one of the gallery’s windows. Fiscal depute Malcolm Stewart described the affair as “a rather bizarre incident” which had left Collective staff “upset.”

As Harman, 27, had already paid £350 to have the window instantly replaced, his artistic intervention has proved pricey. The Collective’s decision to prosecute was promptly condemned by Harman’s supporters.

“They should have shaken his hand and bought him a drink,” declared Royal Academician Michael Sandle. Edinburgh art guru Richard Demarco, whose foundation recently awarded Harman a £2,000 scholarship, described the gallery’s action as “intensely regrettable”, and the artist as “a serious, hard-working and gifted person”.

Gray was unavailable for comment, as was the Edinburgh College of Art, where Harman is in the second year of a master’s course. It is understood that several of his tutors had been supportive of the project, which was initially labelled Brick. The scaffolding pole was substituted as a safer option.

The student, who has a piece in the current show of the Royal Scottish Academy, explained that he was less distressed by the fine than by the Collective’s dismissal of his work as “vandalism”, as the charge sheet put it. “There have got to be serious questions asked of their position as arbiters of art,” he told the Guardian.

Digital Human: Series 16, Episode 4 – Illusion

FromTheLabBench

FromTheLabBench:

Paige Jarreau’s blog is one to add to your lists of science blogs (I’m not the only one with a list right? Right?). Not only does it have cool science content, but it offers real insights for scientists about how to spread their work with the world. 

Digital Human: Series 16, Episode 2, Snake Oil

What is naturopathic medicine? – Naturopathic …

What is naturopathic medicine? – Naturopathic Diaries:

Big thanks to Britt Marie Hermes for sharing her story on today’s show. Her blog is excellent and gives great details on the dangers of unverified treatments presented as medicine.

The central concepts of naturopathic medicine were founded in a pre-scientific era and have failed to evolve with advancements in medicine and science. The naturopathic tenets combine the debunked theory of vitalism with precepts well-established in conventional medicine, such as disease prevention, patient education, and lifestyle counseling. Naturopathy’s blend of scientifically archaic ideas with practices already ingrained in medicine does not make for a superior system of healthcare. It amounts to a group of under-qualified health practitioners trained in dubious and debunked therapies (i.e. homeopathy and botanical remedies) trying to engage in the practice of medicine. Naturopathic therapies are not increasingly supported by scientific evidence. In fact, science increasingly substantiates the failures of these therapies as safe and effective interventions. The practice of naturopathic medicine, as taught by accredited naturopathic programs in North America, is unscrupulous and dangerous.

How do I know? I  practiced as a licensed naturopathic doctor in the United States for three years. I left after discovering that the naturopathic profession is rife with professional misconduct and unethical treatments, including:

  • ozone therapy
  • high-dose vitamin therapy
  • intravenous injections of vitamins, minerals, and herbs
  • homeopathy
  • hydrotherapy
  • naturopathic spinal manipulations
  • energy medicine
  • healing touch
  • alternative cancer therapies
  • the illegal use of unapproved pharmaceutical medications
  • experimental therapies for diseases including cancer and chronic illnesses

Naturopaths are advertising and talking about these practices behind closed doors. But in public, naturopaths claim these therapies are “evidence-based.” As a former member of this community, I feel ethically compelled to speak out against the quackery that comprises naturopathic medicine.

Naturopathic Diaries provides accurate information about naturopathic education, training, and common practices in an effort to protect patients. This information contests materials put out by the naturopathic profession, which I believe are misleading and often times, blatantly false. Naturopathy does not convey the same credibility or deserve the same respect as medicine.

Digital Human: Series 16, Episode 2, Snake Oil

Going viral in the online anti-vaccine wars

Going viral in the online anti-vaccine wars:

The Wellcome is one of the best places to go for a geek in London (if you’re a Digihuman listener I just assume you’ve the geek is strong within you), and they always have brilliant, well researched and vibrant collections on display.

The digital age may be amplifying anti-vaccination sentiment more than ever before, but fear has turned people away from medical progression for a long, long time.

Contemporary anti-vaccination campaigning started in earnest after the publication of Andrew Wakefield’s now infamous study suggesting that the combined measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine caused autism. The MMR scare snowballed to become the biggest science story of 2002, leading to demands in the British press for Tony Blair to disclose whether his son Leo had been given the vaccine.

In 2010 the study was retracted by its publisher, the Lancet, after an investigation discovered multiple conflicts of interest and manipulation of research data. Wakefield lost the right to practise medicine in the UK, but that didn’t stop him continuing his campaign against vaccines. In 2016 Wakefield released the documentary Vaxxed, which followed other anti-vaccination documentaries such as Trace Amounts and Calling the Shots. Vaxxed was pulled from the Tribeca Film Festival before its screening, following a public outcry about its message.

It’s pretty unlikely you’ll be seeing anti-vaccination documentaries at your local cinema. But anti-vaxxers are adept at using digital technology to sidestep what they see as official censorship, reaching new converts through ‘news’ articles, self-produced documentaries and memes. Despite this, anti-vaxxers aren’t a new digital phenomenon, but rather the latest incarnation of a social and political movement with a long history of resistance to large-scale vaccination programmes.

Digital Human: Series 16, Episode 2, Snake Oil

Scientists Who Selfie

Scientists Who Selfie:

Seriously though guys, scientists have the best selfies. I never get to pose with snapping turtles in my day to day job… argh, I made a wrong choice somewhere!!!

Digital Human: Series 16, Episode 2, Snake Oil

‘Vast Majority’ of Online Anti-Vaxxers Are Wom…

‘Vast Majority’ of Online Anti-Vaxxers Are Women:

We didn’t get into the fine detail of Dr Naomi Smith’s research into the dynamics of Anti-vax communities online, but the research is fascinating, and vital to understand. I hope there’s more to come in the future.

To get a better idea of how anti-vaxxer Facebook communities function, Smith and co-researcher Tim Graham, a postdoctoral research fellow at the Australian National University, who has a joint appointment in the Research School of Social Science and the Research School of Computer Science, dug into the groups’ posts, likes, shares and comments. They found the following:

  • Anti-vaxxer posts are highly shared, meaning that people frequently “shared” posts on their own Facebook pages or on their friends’ pages, Smith said. In all, there were more than 2 million shares across the six groups during the two-year period, she said. “This means that the page’s reach is much greater than the number of people who ‘like’ it,” Smith said.
  • Participants were moderately active across several anti-vaccination Facebook pages, “suggesting that users’ activity on anti-vaccination is more than just a product of Facebook’s recommender system” — a system that recommends like-minded groups to people, Smith said.
  • Despite their large size and high levels of activity, anti-vaccination groups are relatively loose-knit. “That is, they do not necessarily function as close-knit communities of support with participants interacting with each other in a sustained way over time,” Smith said. [Top 10 Golden Rules of Facebook]
  • Even though they are “loose,” these groups show features of “small-world” networks. “In small- world networks, information diffuses quickly and easily through the network, in this instance through user-generated comments,” Smith said. However, it’s difficult to say whether these small-world effects are due to the nature of the anti-vaxxer movement itself, or are an artifact of Facebook, a platform that can help spread information quickly, Smith said.
  • The sentiments expressed in these Facebook pages were “quite negative in tone, suggesting that users of the anti-vaccination pages feel not only morally outraged about the practice of vaccination, but structurally oppressed by seemingly tyrannical and conspiratorial government and media,” Smith said. Moreover, many posts had conspiracy-style beliefs placing blame on the government and media, Smith said. A 2011 survey found that conspiracy-style thinking is common among the general public and more pronounced in anti-vaxxers, a 2014 study in the American Journal of Political Sciencefound.
  • Anti-vaxxers had concerns about state-sanctioned harm and interference with their autonomy. “In particular, anti-vaccination Facebook pages commonly compare vaccination to the Holocaust, illustrating a strong sense of persecution,” Smith said.

Digital Human: Series 16, Episode 2, Snake Oil

The Quack Doctor

The Quack Doctor:

Pictured above – an advert for, and illustration of, Sequah, the travelling snake oil salemen Caroline Rance talked about in today’s podcast. It pained me to cut so much of Caroline’s interview out when editing the show (which is usually the case for DigiHuman guests) because she had so many stories of age old quackery. Check out her blog, some is funny, some tragic, some downright icky… but all fascinating.

Digital Human: Series 16, Episode 2, Snake Oil

To be fair, for a long time there wasn’t much …

To be fair, for a long time there wasn’t much difference between quacks and doctors.

Leeches are handy for improving blood flow in certain circumstances, but don’t powder them and don’t use in cases of plague… 

Digital Human: Series 16, Episode 2, Snake Oil

Memes Are People Too: Meet the Viral-Video Sta…

Memes Are People Too: Meet the Viral-Video Stars of ROFLCon:

Becca Rosen distills further insights from ROFLCon in “Are LOLCats Makings Us Smart?” Even LOLCats, it turns out, can teach us a great deal about human relationships, cultural values, and ourselves.

Ah, nostalgia…

Digital Human: Series 16, Episode 1: Gentrification