Mona Lisa Caffineated

The Mona Lisa, one of the world’s most famous paintings, has been recreated with 3,604 cups of coffee – and 564 pints of milk.The different colours were created by adding no, little or lots of milk to each cup of black coffee.It measures an impressive 20 feet high and 13 feet wide and took a team of eight people three hours to complete.It was created for The Rocks Aroma Festival in Sydney, Australia, and seen by 130,000 people who attended the one-day coffee-lovers event.

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Elaine Kelly, from event organisers the Sydney Harbour ForeshoreAuthority, was delighted with the result.She said: “Each coffee cup was filled with varying amounts of milk to create the different sepia shades of the painting.”We wanted to create an element of surprise and a sense of fun in the way we engaged with the public.”Once we had the idea of creating an image out of coffee cups we searched for something iconic to reproduce – and opted for the most iconic painting in history.”The Mona Lisa has been reproduced so many times in so many different mediums but, as far as we know, never out of coffee.”The result was fantastic.”After much planning it was great to see if coming together so well and the 130,000 people who attended the event certainly enjoyed it.”

Mona Lisa, also known as La Gioconda, is the 16th century portrait painted in oil by Leonardo Da Vinci during the Italian Renaissance. The work is owned by the French government and hangs in the Musee du Louvre in Paris, France, with the title Portrait of Lisa Gherardini, wife of Francesco del Giocondo. It measures 770 millimetres by 530 millimetres and has prompted debate for years over the reason for her famously enigmatic smile. Extensive scrutiny using X-ray apparatus suggests that restoration work has resulted in the original being painted over three times. Thanks to Juan Marcos.  Mona Lisa recreated with coffee – Telegraph.

America’s Gift to the World

Numerous world powers served as global or regional hegemons before we came along, and their record on economic development was painfully transparent: Elites got richer, and the masses got poorer. Then America showed up after World War II and engineered an international liberal trade order, one that was at first admittedly limited to the West. But within four decades it went virally global, and now for the first time in history, more than half of our planet’s population lives in conditions of modest-to-mounting abundance — after millennia of mere sustenance.

You may choose to interpret this as some sort of cosmic coincidence, but the historical sequence is undeniable: With its unrivaled power, America made the world a far better place.

via WPR Article | The New Rules: The Rise of the Rest Spells U.S. Strategic Victory.

Cities as Hotels

Private cities are happening now for a reason. Africa, India, and China are urbanizing more rapidly than has ever occurred in human history. In Africa, the number of urban dwellers is projected to increase by nearly 400 million, in India at least 250 million will move to cities and in China more than 400 million will move to cities in just the next 20 years. Not all of these people will move to older cities, which are not always in the right places and which rarely possess anything like the right material let alone the right political infrastructure. The rising middle-class want to live in first-world cities and in many of these countries only the private sector can deliver those cities.

The rapid urbanization of the developing world is an opportunity to remake cities anew. Private cities as hotels on a grand scale

via Cities as hotels — Marginal Revolution.

Globalization’s Greatest Victory

The past four years have seen a sharp contrast between recession-hit rich countries and buoyant emerging giants. Estimates from the Asian and African Development Banks, using a rather broad definition of middle class as living on $2-20 a day, confirm the picture. On this measurement, which includes many people who are only just above the poverty line, a third of Africans and three-quarters of Latin Americans were middle class in 2008. Meanwhile, the evidence that this progress will bring political demands that will reshape the developing world is mounting.

People ask, what did America do for the world? It set the conditions for this to happen – and then it defended that system from those who would do it harm. The US is only world power in history whose primary goal has been the peaceful rise of other great powers through trade and development.

via Thomas P.M. Barnett’s Globlogization – Blog – Chart of the Day: globalization’s greatest victory.

Latin America’s blind love with China may be over

Barbosa, who served as ambassador to Washington during the Luiz Inácio Lula de Silva government and now heads the foreign trade council of Brazil’s powerful FIESP industrialists federation, said Brazilian executives working for Chinese firms are also complaining about “long work days, frequent overtime, teleconferences in the wee hours, and production goals that are unrealistic and non-negotiable.”

As a result, 42 percent of Brazilian executives working for Chinese firms quit their jobs in their first year, he said, quoting a story in the daily Folha de Sao Paulo. Barbosa concluded that China’s business practices “should be followed with attention” by government authorities, labor unions and business associations.

Almost simultaneously, a new study by the United Nations Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), “Overview of Latin America’s insertion in the world economy,” shows that 87 percent of Latin America’s exports to Asia — mainly China — are raw materials, while only 13 percent are manufactured goods.

By comparison, 60 percent of Latin America’s exports to the United States are manufactured goods, and the remaining 40 percent raw materials, the study says.
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Citing an article in The Economist on China’s investments in Africa, Barbosa says that China “is destroying parks and forests in search of mineral and agricultural resources, and routinely violates the most elementary labor laws. Roads and Hospitals built by the Chinese are badly finished, among other things because their construction companies pay bribes to local officials.”

via Latin America’s blind love with China may be over – Andres Oppenheimer –

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