Modern structures in Bali made of Bamboo

TED Talk. Elora Hardy: Magical houses, made of bamboo

3.04.2021

Imagine you were the fortunate citizen of a lush tropical island, say Bali, and financially privileged enough to afford an extraordinary home built according to your most daring desires. Ideally, renewable materials would be used almost exclusively so that your new residence became a sustainable and thus environmentally friendly affair. Bamboo is one of these resources – abundantly available locally, easily cultivated and growing back rapidly. It is light yet sturdy, albeit a little stubborn when it comes to delivering reliably straight rods: No two poles are alike and creative thinking is required on a permanent basis in order to come up with a feasible design. In Elora’s case, her enigmatically shaped edifices are the surprising result of these given twists and curves. Bamboo structures can now last a lifetime. Whereas formerly they used to get eaten away by insatiable termites and bugs, this building material receives treatment with a boron solution, a natural salt despised by hungry insects.

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Reading time: about 1 minute
Constitution Hill Johannesburg

Johannesburg: Constitution Hill

1.03.2021

 

Before setting off on a journey to foreign latitudes, a general plan of action seems a reasonable idea. When time and funds are limited, the most has to be made of both. The aim is an agreeable cocktail of experiences upon whose long-lasting effect individual memories and emotions can foster. Sometimes even carefully charted programmes are missing a vital link. One that takes travellers back into a country’s historical and political past, grim as it may have been. Then it will be understood why the past is inseparable from the present and the future and why landmarks such as Joburg’s Constitution Hill epitomise the lifeblood of an entire nation.

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Reading time: about 5 minutes
A curled blurr of colours in blues and pinks

TED Talk: How to beat stage fright

12.02.2021

Phobias: A Plague or Mutations of the Basic Instinct?

Phobia is Greek and means to be afraid of something. In the non-Greek world, it is mainly used in psychological terms, signifying severe fear as in: terrified and: neurotic and: in need of professional treatment. Those in the grip of a veritable phobia are panic-stricken and paralyzed when it comes to tackling certain situations. Phobias are relics of our evolutionary past and were quite useful back then. Should a ferocious sabre-toothed tiger – teeth bared – spring up inadvertently from the undergrowth with an intimidating roar, the primitive brain would switch to red-alert and reliably signal to the short-legged homo erectus: RUN as fast as you can! It was a matter of survival, and the same basic instinct takes control over us in perilous situations until this day.

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Reading time: about 3 minutes
Vegan Diet

Vegan food trend: Crying for substitution

8.02.2021

As will soon become obvious, this article was written by an omnivorous female who believes in the power of a well-balanced diet – and still respects animals and their rights and our environment in a healthy and practicable manner.

The ambition for a good and wholesome cuisine has always been fresh produce and to tamper with it as little as possible: to retain vits, minerals and trace elements, maintain its original shape, colour, size and taste and to offer a pleasant sight on the plate. Boiling vegetables to death or to make a pallid mash of virtually everything has luckily dropped out of fashion – reason enough for palates and eyes each to heave a huge sigh of relief.

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Reading time: about 5 minutes
Mamuthone Mask_Credits: Enrico Spanu:www.enricospanu.com. License: CC BY-NC-SA..

Sardinia: Mamoiada Carnival

13.01.2021

From man to beast

Even a candidate as stubborn as winter himself must get cold feet at the sight of a Mamuthone (header image) – not to speak of an entranced hoard of them foot-stamping and cow-bell-rattling on streets and around the many bonfires lit for the grave occasion. The noise is deafening and the atmosphere perturbing. The aim of this ancestral rite is to scare winter and any evil away with all the might one can muster. Thus, room is made for spring and to welcome the good it promises to bring. In order for nature not to oversleep, the tradition of stamping and rattling, by employing full weight of body and bells, is a drastic means of reliably shaking her out of hibernation and to remind her: Now is the time for renewal! Measures that seem to have worked over ages. Read article

Reading time: about 4 minutes