From Mafia Home to Art Gallery

Italy is home to the oldest operating museum, the Uffizi, and the country is (probably) home to the oldest operating mafia. But it may come as a bit of a surprise to find out that an old mafia home is being converted to a new museum.

In an ongoing and complicated effort to stop the influence of the mafia on Italian society a former mafia mansion seized by the police is being converted to an art gallery. This is not the first time that old property belonging to mafia crime lords has been converted to something that benefits all people.

Today, construction crews are busy turning the Coppola residence – seized by the Italian state following his arrest in 2012 – into the area’s first museum.

A temporary exhibit called The Light Wins Over the Shadow, which takes its inspiration from Caravaggio, will open on 22 June and will include works of art from the Uffizi and other galleries. The exhibit will be dedicated to the memory of Peppe Diana, a local priest who was shot in the head by Camorra members in 1994 as he prepared for mass.

“Only through the promotion of civil society can we build a community that will always be ready to protect itself from this kind of infiltration,” Natale told the Guardian, as he participated in a memorial ceremony in nearby Castel Volturno for a local businessman killed seven years ago for resisting the Camorra.

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Boycott Bottled Water for a Better World

Bottle water is a sham and you all know this. The problem is that a lot of people don’t and that our society permits these individuals to continue their unwarranted consumption.

Water is the oil of the 21st century in terms of politics and conflict. It’s best not to make the situation worse by engaging in a system which denies people access to their local water while massive corporations make huge profits from water.

What’s more is that the water from your taps (in the developed world at least) is cleaner and safer than bottled water.

The reason you should boycott bottled water is because it enables a bullshit, backwards vision for society.

Boycotting bottled water means you support the idea that public access to clean, safe water is not only a basic human right, but that it’s a goddamn technological triumph worth protecting. It means you believe that ensuring public access to this resource is the only way to guarantee it will be around in a few more years.

Clean, safe drinking water that flows freely out of our faucets is a feat of engineering that humans have been been perfecting for two millennia. It is a cornerstone of civilization. It is what our cities are built upon. And over the years the scientists and hydrologists and technicians who help get water to our houses have also become our environmental stewards, our infrastructural watchdogs, our urban visionaries. Drinking the water these people supply to our homes is the best possible way to protect future access to water worldwide.

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MIT Encourages Solar Energy to Power the Future

Solar roof
Solar roof

Now that climate change has reached the point that it is happening regardless if we stop all human produced carbon output we desperately need to change how we generate electricity. MIT has concluded that a mass adaptation of solar energy is the best route to go. They argue that by installing solar panels far nearly everywhere we can generate more than we need to power the planet.

Solar electricity generation is one of “very few low-carbon energy technologies” with the potential to grow to very large scale, the study said. “As a consequence, massive expansion of global solar-generating capacity to multi-terawatt scale is a very likely and essential component of a workable strategy to mitigate climate change risk.”

The research strongly recommends that a large fraction of federal resources available for solar R&D focus on environmentally benign, emerging thin-film technologies that are based on Earth-abundant materials.

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Fossil Fuel Divestment Continues to be Profitable

The ongoing process of investment firms divesting from fossil fuels continues to be a good idea for the planet and for profits. It’s worth noting that the big push behind this was a student-led movement to get universities to divest their giant pools of money from unethical investments.

Let’s hope that this continues for many years to come!

* When SRI investment professionals divest of fossil fuel companies, the three places they are most likely to reallocate those investments are: renewable energy companies (59 percent); “proportionately across the remaining portfolio (56 percent); and clean technology companies (52 percent). (Respondents were allowed to provide multiple answers to this survey question.)

* Many more survey respondents (61 percent) are concerned about “stranded asset” risks to investors created by climate change than those who are not (15 percent). Only one in four respondents either don’t know about or are unsure about this “carbon bubble” risk.

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Band of the Month: The Holy Gasp

Hey!
May’s band is The Holy Gasp!

The most musically important band I’ve heard in quite a spell, The Holy Gasp’s party mix of Afro-Cuban surf punk wizardry grabs you quick and hard, and doesn’t let you go.
Check out their refreshing approach to getting a message across with body-moving protest songs to sing-and-shake along with.

Band of the Month by Greg O’Toole

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