5 Intriguing Things: Wednesday, 1/22

Sperm smuggling in Gaza, Google Bus protest dioramas, permaculture design, Jeopardy archivists, and paperwork's relationship to the soul.

1. The logistics of smuggling sperm out of a Gaza prison.

"How could the semen be taken out of the prison, as Israel doesn't allow physical contact between the prisoners and their families? And how could the sperm be kept alive for at least six hours, the time needed for families to return to Gaza after the visit?

An Israeli decision to allow children under the age of eight to go behind the glass boards and hug their fathers enabled Tamer and Hana's scheme to succeed. Two of Hana's brothers are also jailed in Rimon prison with Tamer, and one of them has kids. So Farid's son, Rami, tossed a box containing his brother-in-law's sperm into his son's jacket during one of the visits.

At Erez checkpoint between Gaza and Israel, which is open only to international aid workers, some Gaza journalists and businessmen and desperate humanitarian cases, Hana was waiting impatiently for the sample. 

'I felt time is ticking quickly,' she recalled. Dr Abdel-Kareem Hindawi, a gynaecologist at the Gaza-based Basma IVF Center, told Al Jazeera the sperm was still alive and in excellent condition when he received it. The doctor and his colleagues began processing the sample and the insemination went smoothly."


Twitter Headquarters (coll.eo)

2. Artists create miniature Google Bus-protest dioramas in their series, The The Streetviews of San Francisco. Their artist statement is bot-written. 

"COLL.EO's works are a drawn reflection upon the art of media art itself. By exaggerating certain formal aspects inherent to our contemporary society, COLL.EO often creates work using creative game tactics, but these are never permissive. Play is a serious matter: during the game, different rules apply than in everyday life and even everyday objects undergo transubstantiation. By merging several seemingly incompatible worlds into a new universe, COLL.EO uses references and ideas that are so integrated into the process of the composition of the work that they may escape those who do not take the time to explore how and why these images haunt them. You have been warned."


3. Wilson Miner's cinematic cri de coeur: designers must change the processes through which they create digital products.*

"We’re beginning to recognize our own monocultures as the short-lived efficiencies we extracted from them begin to unravel. The premise that we can design for a manageable number of combinations of screen sizes, platforms, contexts, and devices is quickly eroding. The diversity of variables in our ever-changing digital environment demand thoughtful systems designed around principles durable enough to outlast increasingly brief cycles of obsolescence.

When we start with the assumption that optimizing for rapid, unbounded growth is a goal, we immediately narrow the possibility space. There are only so many choices we can make that will get us there. The same choices that made annual monoculture and the shopping mall the most efficient engines for short-term growth and profit are the same qualities that made them unsustainable in the long term.

There are more ways to scale than growth. There are more ways to deepen our impact than just reaching more people. What if we put just as much effort into scaling the impact of our work over time? Can we build digital products around sustainable systems that survive long enough to outlive us, that are purpose-built to thrive without our constant cultivation?"

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