Anna Positano – Architecture photography

Copyright Anna Positano

A city is like a complex organism which constantly reinvents itself, destroys itself and rebuilds itself. 
Rotating cranes are mere indicators of this constant process of redesign.
For us inhabitants of these organisms, it is a creeping process which is difficult to grasp but which is omnipresent. It doesn’t matter whether we live in a large city or a small town.
The office- and shopping complexes which shoot from the ground are the most visible signs of this change in large cities. In towns, the signs are the quickly proliferating housing developments of the suburbs.
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Arrival – Contact with aliens

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On Thursday, the sci-fi movie “Arrival” will start in Germany. I was really excited by its trailer when I first saw it a few weeks ago.
The plot: twelve spaceships land in different places on our planet and a physicist and a linguist are supposed to help the military establish contact with the alien.
What nearly sounds like atypical Roland Emmerich plot, has so far gotten a very good review of 93 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

The Nautilius magazine has published a very exciting interview with the linguist Jessica Coon, who adviced the film makers and the actress of the main part, Amy Adams.

ALS – Communication possible

The day before yesterday I wrote something about the “Chip in the brain” und today I came across this article in the Scientific American about this  research at the University Utrecht.
A brain implant makes it possible for a woman with ALS to communicate with her environment again. The implant links her neuronal activity with a computer and this way she can select e.g. a letter via a monitor in about one minutes time. This may sound slow, however, a human, whose muscles completely cannot be steered by the brain anymore due to ALS and thus is completely locked in to him- or herself is capable of communicating again.

If you want to read more about this, you can find the scientific article here.

The chip in the brain

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Grégoire Courtine could one day go down in history as the scientist which enabled people with spinal injuries to walk again.

Soure: Smithsonian Magazin on his work

Last year I saw Courtine’s talk ‘s on the Hello Tomorrow conference and was highly impressed.
Video recordings of his experiment are’t contained within the article.
This video above from 2012 shows his work, that he did with monkeys, with rats.

And there also is a TED Talk with Grégoire Courtine:

Robert J. Gordon: It’s not all that bad

It’s reassuring to know that there are humans which have an overview over the last 15 years and which are able to evaluate today’s world.
This interview with the economist Robert J. Gordon was published in the 07/2016 issue of the magazine brand eins. It is very much worth reading, especially for all those that believe that our time is extraordinary.

If you’d like to read more by Robert J. Gordon, you can do so with his new book.

To feel like a coral

VR-Simulation / Immersive Science Learning

Even if it rains more during the summer and if the rain barrells overflow more frequently, it is difficult for me to grasp what climate change means.
VR could be a solution for this. If you are the owner of a HTC Vive, you can download the simulation of coral reef here and experience the effects of coral death.
The simulation was developed in the Virtual Interaction Lab at the Stanford University.


Artikel Stanford-News, 18th October 2016: “Stanford researchers release virtual reality simulation that transports users to ocean of the future”

Smithsonian Magazine: How Virtual Reality Can Help Us Feel the Pain of Climate Change


“Immersive Science Learning in Virtual Reality – Jeremy Bailenso, director of the Stanford Virtual Human Interaction Lab”

Scientific article, what it means to feel like a cow or a coral in a VR Reality.

Created by robots

The brickwork reminds me of the walls which I built for our expansion at home. Of course, this brickwork is much prettier and more regular, as it wasn’t built by humans but by a robot.
It was designed and implemented by Dr Philip F. Yuan’s architecture office Archi-Union in Shanghai.

You can find further articles and photos in the De Zeen Magazin.

Short portrait of the architecture office

Update – Kajo-Keji Health Training Institute

In April, we introduced you to the work of Dr Lou L Koboji and his Kajo-Keji Health Training Institute. Since then, a lot has happened.

The Ministry of Health Republic of South Sudan has become a new grant funder of the institute and is now paying monthly operational costs. Together with the Segal Family Foundation, Indiegogo and other private sponsors a total grant of $38,500 (USD) was received in the first quarter of this year. In addition, an earned income of $67,598 (USD) was raised in form of tuition fees. These are paid by organisations and foundations for particular students or by the students themselves.

The construction of further facilities has been going ahead. Solar units have been installed and the boys hostel has been renovated.  And by the end of July, the new teaching block with four classrooms and an office room was finished.

Currently, 208 students are studying at the institute. In total 77 new students from South Sudan were admitted in 2016 and additionally, 3 students from the Nuba Mountains in Sudan now also are studying in Kajo-Keji.

All in all, one can say, that the teaching by the institute has been a positive impact on the health education in South Sudan. So far, the students of at Kajo-Keji have reached over 34.000 people with community based health education and services and they have been teaching classes on health and STI education at 8 secondary and 13 primary schools.

In addition, more than 1.680 patients have been diagnosed and treated during the hospital attachment of the students and over 300 mothers have been attended to within the frame of maternal child health.

As Dr Koboji was initially motivated to improve the health care system in South Sudan by the death of Mrs. Kiden, a mother who died in Terekeka during childbirth, maternal and child health care is the first priority at the institute. It is ensured that the students do not miss a single hour in the maternity ward, antenatal clinic and paediatric ward. Also, starting in October this year, training for midwifes to address the problems of maternal health care is going to start at Kajo-Keji.

Before the end of this year, the year-three students are expected to graduate and return to their home states. Aciro and William are two of these students and we are hoping to accompany them during their transition from their learning period at the institute to the application of their knowledge at their new work places.

As it stands, the Kajo-Keji Health Training Institute will continue to grow, as Dr. Koboji plans to offer more attachments for the students within hospitals and nursing by December. And his mission will stay the same – improving the health care in South Sudan.