A new English-language interpretation of the Muslim Holy book the Koran challenges the use of words that feminists say have been used to justify the abuse of Islamic women.
The new version, translated by an Iranian-American, will be published in April and comes after Muslim feminists from around the world gathered in New York last November and vowed to create the first women’s council to interpret the Koran and make the religion more friendly toward women.
This brings us to the most perverse suspicion of all. Perhaps the Third-World city is more than simply the source of the things that will define the future, but actually is the future of the western city. Perhaps some of those tourists who look to the Third World for an image of their own past are reflecting uneasily on how all the basic realities of the Third-World city are already becoming more pronounced in their own cities: vast gulfs between sectors of the population across which almost no sympathetic intelligence can flow, gleaming gated communities, parallel economies and legal systems, growing numbers of people who have almost no desire or ability to participate in official systems, innovations in residential housing involving corrugated iron and tarpaulin. Is it going too far to suggest that our sudden interest in books and films about the Third-World city stems from the sense that they may provide effective preparation for our future survival in London, New York or Paris?
(via Abstract Dynamics).
I hadn’t really thought of it quite like this, but yes I think some of my own interest in 3rd world megalopolisis is in gaining some insight about what the future may look like for all of us.
See also: Feral Cities, Grim Meathook Future, Biopunk: the biotechnology black market, and Adam Greenfield’s Design Engaged 2005 presentation (does anyone have better notes for this?).
Theologians and pop-culture experts see ‘The Matrix’ as a phenomenon shaping public opinion about religion
Here’s a piece from the Christian Science Monitor on the role of religion in the Matrix.
Mr. Frankfurter and other religious experts say “The Matrix” does not represent orthodox Christianity nearly as much as Gnostic Christianity.
Gnosticism never developed a well-defined theology, but it depicts Jesus as a hero figure who saves mankind through “gnosis,” or esoteric knowledge. In the Gnostic philosophy, the physical world is not part of God’s creation, but a manifestation of a lower god – a nightmarish reality that imprisons mankind, say religious experts. Gnostics believed they could achieve salvation, not by overcoming evil and sin with God’s grace, but by learning the “higher knowledge” about reality.
Gnostic threads are present in many religious traditions, including Sufism and Buddhism. As woven by “The Matrix,” these threads tie together current concerns with an ancient knot.
“All of this stuff has been bouncing around in the human brain for centuries. When it comes into this hip new iteration in the cyberworld, it all sounds familiar,” says Robert Thompson, professor of television and popular culture at Syracuse University in New York.
Link (via Purse Lips Square Jaw).
An interesting thing about Meetup, a web site for organizing local interest groups, is that it ranks cities by number of people signed up for certain meets.
What’s big, city by city?
Coachella, which Xeni says is “sort of like BurningMan, but with better music, more port-a-potties, somewhat less nudity, about as many E’d-out hula-hooping-and-flame-dancing love children, and half the dust and wind,” is over. But she took pictures.Festival of the 100th Monkey, the sequel to Phoenix Festival has been postponed ’til next year. Maybe I’ll go to the national Rainbow Gathering instead… but I doubt it.I’d love to go to Psygeocon, a psychogeography conference, next week but it’s in New York.I’m gonna try to make it to Burning Man this year. Any other cool gatherings coming up?
The first complete operation carried out by robots controlled by surgeons on the opposite side of the Atlantic has been successful. Surgeons based in New York used the robots to remove the gall bladder of a woman 7000 kilometres away in Strasbourg, France. (Link).
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