Musée Rodin, Paris
The Gates of Hell
As the leaves begin to change and the weather turns a bit cooler, people all over the country reach for their jackets and begin to crank up the heat. It is natural to cozy up to the fireplace and drink warm tea to fight off a cold, but few people tend to think about the needs of their pets during the colder months of the year. In fact, once temperatures drop below 20°F, you should be aware that dogs could potentially develop cold-associated health problems like hypothermia and frostbite, not to mention be more susceptible to household pests such as fleas and ticks. As a responsible pet owner, you will definitely want to ensure that you are caring for your beloved furry friends during cool winter months.
(image by Beth Ireland)
Exercising your pets in cold weather
Seeing as up to 60% of dogs are overweight, and about half of those are obese, it is important to ensure your dog is eating healthfully and receiving enough exercise even during cold winter months. Hide-and-seek is a fun way to get your dog up and moving around the house while signing them up for an indoor agility or swimming class can provide them with the opportunity to socialize with other dogs while getting their workout in. If you own a larger breed of dog, however, simply let them play out in the cold weather! 30 to 40 minutes of playtime in the snow will not only work their heart and other muscles, it will tire them out so they aren’t so rowdy cooped up inside the house.
Ensure your home is pest-free
While it might seem like your home is immune to pests during cold, dry winter months, the National Pest Management Association encourages homeowners to take several precautions against common winter pests like mice, rats, raccoons, cockroaches, and spiders. Because your pet will likely be kept inside more during this time of the year, it will be more important than ever to ensure that your home is pest-free and safe. In the instance that preventative measures didn’t work and you are required to treat your home, remove your pets from the area before you begin applying pesticides and talk to your pesticide company about the potential risks their products could have.
Be mindful of the heat
Pets can be just as prone to drastic changes in heating and cooling indoors as humans. During the cold winter months, it is important to be mindful of leaving the indoor heat blasting on all day, especially if your pet is left at home alone. Be sure to never leave your pet alone in front of a heater or open fire, and be mindful of how long they are left exposed to a hot environment in general. If you prefer to keep your home a bit cooler, you might try investing in a warm dog jacket that should suffice in keeping them toasty on top of their natural fur coat.
Keeping the whole family safe
As the days turn colder and shorter, it is important to keep the health of your home and family in mind. Ensure that your home is free of pests and other potential hazards and germs as your family will likely be spending a lot of time indoors together. Treat your pet as another member of the family and ensure they receive enough love, warmth, and exercise and they will enjoy spending the cold winter indoors with you as well.
Venus de Milo isn’t Venus at all, but rather Aphrodite, Greek goddess of love and beauty. Or it may be, according to some historians, Amphitrite, the sea goddess. The statue is also known as Aphrodite de Milos.
This one is definitely Aphrodite
The Da Vinci painting is more famous than the person who it is a portrait of. The real Mona Lisa is Lisa del Giocondo, wife of affluent Florentine silk merchant Francesco del Giocondo. It is believed Giocondo commissioned da Vinci to paint this portrait to adorn a new home.
Cleopatra was the last ruler of Ptolemaic Egypt. She was the wife of Mark Antony. After a defeat in a decisive battle that was part of the war of the Roman Empire, Antony and Cleopatra fled to Egypt where each committed suicide. Cleopatra died by allowing a poisonous asp to bite her.
Artemis was the Greek goddess of hunting, the daughter of Zeus and the twin sister of Apollo. Her arrows were believed to be used to punish the misdeeds of men. To the Romans, she was known as Diana of Versailles.
Athena was the warrior goddess and protector of Athens. She was born out of the head of her father Zeus and was known to accompany heroes into battle.
Art historians have not been able to agree on just what victory Winged Victory commemorates. But they agree that it depicts the goddess Nike, Greek goddess of strength, speed and victory. Also known as the Winged Goddess, she was believed to be able to convey to humans the strength to be victorious. (Ad campaigns for Nike sneakers offer much the same.)
More than 12,000 people have died from gun-related violence so far this year and more than 23,506 others were injured. (Gun Violence Archive)
Every day, 342 people in America are shot in murders, assaults, suicides & suicide attempts, unintentional shootings, and police intervention. (Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence)
In 2016 gun homicides made up 74.5 percent of all homicides in the United States — the highest share in well over 80 years of complete federal data. (Wonkblog)
Americans are more likely to die from gun violence than the combined risks of drowning, fire and smoke, stabbing, choking on food, airplane crashes, animal attacks, and natural disasters.(Business Insider)
Since 1968, when these figures were first collected, there have been 1,516,863 gun-related deaths on US territory. Since the founding of the United States, there have been 1,396,733 war deaths. (The Guardian)
99.85% of Americans will know a victim of gun violence (Preventive Medicine)
Gun deaths and injuries jump 70% in the weeks following (some) nearby gun shows. (Annals of Internal Medicine)
Every day, 8 children and teens die from gun violence: 4 are murdered, 3 die from suicide and 1 is killed unintentionally (Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence)
1.7 million children live with unlocked, loaded guns – 1 out of 3 homes with kids have guns. (Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia)
In states with increased gun availability, death rates from gunshots for children were higher than in states with less availability. (Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia)
About 50 women a month are shot to death by intimate partners in the U.S. (Everytown for Gun Safety)
The number of mass shootings in the US this year has already reached 297 (Business Insider)
The rate at which public mass shootings occur has tripled since 2011. (Business Insider)
In the U.S., firearms remain the most common method of suicide, accounting for 51% of all suicides committed. One study found that military veterans used firearms in about 67% of suicides in 2014. (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs)
America has 4.4 percent of the world’s population, but almost half of the civilian-owned guns around the world. (Vox)
Compared to 22 other high-income nations, the U.S. gun-related murder rate is 25 times higher. (CBS 2017)
Although it has half the population of the other 22 high-income nations combined, the U.S. had 82 percent of all gun deaths, 90 percent of all women killed with guns, 91 percent of children under 14 and 92 percent of young people between ages 15 and 24 killed with guns. (CBS)
The U.S. is ranked 4th out of 34 developed nations for the highest incidence rate of homicides committed with a firearm. (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development)
A U.S. male aged 15–24 is 70 times more likely to be killed with a gun than their counterpart in the eight (G-8) largest industrialized nations in the world (Forbes)
More people are typically killed with guns in the U.S. in a day (about 85) than in the U.K. in a year, if suicides are included.[ (Forbes)
America has six times as many firearm homicides as Canada, and nearly 16 times as many as Germany (Vox)
Other Guns in America posts
In my last Guns in America post I talked about how technology may hold the promise to make guns safer. That is by producing smart guns that recognize the owner and prevent firing by anyone else. There is another aspect of technology that could dramatically change gun ownership and make it anything but safer. That technology is 3-D printing and it can and has already been used to manufacture guns.
3-D printed guns need not be registered and may be printed by felons, suspected terrorists, people with mental illnesses, minors and others who may be restricted from conventional gun ownership. You don’t go through a background check before you print your own gun. 3-D guns aren’t traceable by law enforcement. Made of plastic, they can pass by metal detectors in the airport, in government buildings and in stadiums and arenas and are easily destroyed if the sheriff’s on your tail..
The first 3-D printed gun was produced by a 30-something Texan named Cody Wilson, a self-described crypto-anarchist, whatever that is. In 2013 he produced a plastic pistol called the Liberator. Wilson founded a company called Defense Distributed. One of the goals of Defense Distributed was to make the blueprints for 3-D printed guns freely available online. Below is a screenshot of Defense Distributed’s defcad.com page which offers a schema for the 3-D printing of an AR-15 rifle. (The AR-15 is the rifle used by the hater in Pittsburgh to murder 11 people in a synagogue last Saturday.)
The company also sells a machine called the Ghost Gunner which can be used to carve gun components out of aluminum. They claim to have sold 6,000 of these units.
One of Wilson’s other ventures was a crowd-funding Web site called Hatreon which catered to the nazis and white supremacists who go kicked off of the more mainstream sites. Just last month we got a further look into Wilson’s character when he was arrested in Taiwan and accused of sexual assault. The charges stem from Wilson having allegedly paid a 16-year-old girl $500 for sex after having met her on the dating site SugarDaddyMeet.com. Taiwan doesn’t have an extradition treaty with the U.S. but the Taiwanese apparently wanted nothing to do with this guy and shipped him right back. Wilson has since resigned his position at Defense Distributed.
Wilson’s plans to make the blueprints for 3-D printing of guns available on the internet set off a long string of litigation. After the Liberator was unveiled in 2013 the Obama State Department issued a restraining order to prevent Defense Distributed from making the schemata openly available online. Two years later the company, along with a gun advocacy group called the Second Amendment Foundation, sued the State Department claiming the restraining order was a violation of their First Amendment rights. Then along came Trump and this past July the State Department settled with Defense Distributed, not only allowing them to publish their gun printing blueprints but actually paying part of their legal fees.
That settlement, which was due to go into effect Aug. 1, prompted a suit by eight states, including New Jersey, to block the publication of the gun blueprints. They got a favorable ruling from Seattle Federal Judge Robert Lasnik who opined “the states are likely to suffer if the existing restrictions are withdrawn and that, over all, the public interest strongly supports maintaining the status quo through the pendency of this litigation.” Since that ruling the number of states that joined the lawsuit has grown to 19.
The Defense Distributed home page now looks like this:
Wilson has nonetheless continued to make the gun blueprints available. He claims he is following the judge’s ruling to not make them freely available on the Web site but is instead charging for them (pay what you wish) and shipping them off via email.
Yesterday the New Jersey State Legislature passed a bill that prohibits the distribution of programming files used to create guns on 3-D printers and bans the purchase or assembly of gun components without serial numbers. The vote in the state Senate was 31-0.
In the history of the internet we have not seen a government or an industry or a law that has been completely successful in shutting off the flow of information. Wilson, who is likely on his way to jail, can be shutdown, but there are many others ready to take his place. As Vox reporter German Lopez comments: “The technology is out there, and the information is inevitably going to end up on the internet at some point.”
If it’s any consolation I did find a comment on a reddit group by a guy who calls himself SpoopyTheGreat and claims to be a gun advocate and an experienced 3-D printer operator saying of these plastic guns “I just want to say that I would never consider firing one of these. Basically, you’d be lucky to fire more than a couple of shots before having that small shrapnel bomb of a gun detonate a few feet from your face.” Sounds like chaos.
Other Guns in America posts
Picasso has an almost legendary reputation as a womanizer. He also has a reputation as a misogynist. He has been quoted as commenting “for me there are only two kinds of women, goddesses and doormats.” He supposedly made that remark at age 61 to 21-year-old art student Francoises Gilot, with whom he would have a 10-year affair,.
London Telegraph art critic Marc Hudson describes Picasso’ portrayal of women as follows: “alongside images of exquisite tenderness are women pulled and gouged into tortured shapes, women cut in bits and reconfigured on the canvas.” Of the seven most important women in Picasso’s life, two committed suicide, two went crazy and another died of natural causes four years into their relationship.
Photos (except for the last drawing) are from the Musée National Picasso in Paris.
Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, which Picasso preferred to call Le Bordel d’Avignon, depicts five nude prostitutes from Avignon Street in Barcelona.
At the time Picasso painted La Fermiere, he was married to but separated from Olga Koklova, a Russian ballerina he had married in 1918; having an affair with Marie-Theresa Walter who gave birth to his first daughter; and had just met Surrealist photographer Dora Maar, who would be his lover into the 40’s.
There are many Picasso works titled Tête de Femme (Woman’s Head). Several were painted in 1939 alone and were inspired by Maar.
The women with a pillow is Jacqueline Roque, his last wife, who he married in 1961 at age 79.
The drawing below is of Genevieve Laporte who had an affair with Picasso in the 1950’s. (There was a modest 50-year age difference between the two.) She originally met Picasso when she was an art student interviewing him for her school magazine. Laporte later wrote a book titled “Un amour secret de Picasso.” This drawing was used as the cover for some editions of the book.
In 2016, 3,000 children were unintentionally shot, and 127 were killed in shootings, often with improperly stored guns.
Technology offers what is at least a partial answer for all of these problems. It’s called the smart gun and it’s smart because it can identify the owner of a weapon and prevent anyone else from firing it. A number of smart guns have been developed using different technologies including fingerprint scanners like we use to unlock our phones, PINs, radio frequency identification (RFID) and biometric sensors. There are also location guns that use geometric fencing to restrict the firing of a gun to a fixed geographic area. That would suit the gun owner who wants the gun for the purpose of protecting his or her home or place of business. Location technology could also alert a gun owner if a gun was removed from its proper location or restrict the firing of a gun in certain places, like schools or police stations.
Smart guns have been around for a couple decades. The location gun was invented in 1984. Yet most of the smart guns that have been designed and tested have never been produced commercially. A German smart gun exists that is sold in Europe. But there aren’t any smart guns on the store racks in the U.S. Why? Because of the gun lobby and specifically the National Rifle Association (NRA) and the millions of dollars it spends on lobbying and direct campaign contributions to lawmakers to dissuade them from any legislation that would regulate guns. The NRA spent $30 million to elect Trump and a report by CNN showed that all but six Republican members of Congress received money from the NRA. Eight of them got over a million dollars.
Why would the NRA not support safer guns? Why would they not want to see firearms that protect children and possibly reduce crime? Per their Web site, here is the official NRA statement: “The NRA doesn’t oppose the development of ‘‘smart’ guns, nor the ability of Americans to voluntarily acquire them. However, NRA opposes any law prohibiting Americans from acquiring or possessing firearms that don’t possess ‘smart’ gun technology.”
That statement is disingenuous because the NRA has fought against every attempt to research, manufacture or sell a smart gun. At one point the gun manufacturer Smith & Wesson announced a initiative to research and develop smart guns. The NRA led a boycott of Smith & Wesson that impacted their business to the point of laying off 125 workers. Not surprisingly, the manufacturer abandoned that effort.
The State of New Jersey has been in the middle of this battle over smart guns. Back in 2002 the state enacted what was called the Childproof Handgun Law. The law stated that once “personalized handguns are available” anywhere in the U.S., all guns sold in New Jersey must be smart guns. This legislation seemed to confirm the argument of gun advocates that the availability of smart guns would lead to regulation that would restrict other guns. That of course led to a redoubling of the efforts by the NRA and others to keep smart guns off the market.
Newark-based New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) was one of the leaders in researching smart guns. They had developed a gun with an owner recognition system based on biometric sensors embedded in either the handle or trigger. Their scientists developed a viable offering, but no gun makers or sellers would touch it. Eventually funding dried up and NJIT closed down the unit.
This story, however, does not end here. There are any number of entrepreneurs prepared to disrupt the gun manufacturing industry, potential manufacturers who don’t have a legacy business that can be threatened or bullied. One such effort is a Philadelphia-based start-up LodeStar Firearms which plans to introduce next year a semi-automatic handgun with a user recognition lock. LodeStar is hoping to score a contract with a metropolitan police department and surely will be pointing out the statistics of how many cops get shot with their own guns.
And New Jersey State Senator Loretta Weinberg, the originator of the Childproof Handgun Law, hasn’t given up either. She introduced a revised bill in 2015 that would simply have required gun sellers to offer one smart gun option. At the time New Jersey had a Republican governor Chris Christie who was hoping to be the party’s Presidential candidate in 2016. He vetoed the bill. Christie has since left office and been replaced by a progressive Democrat so another attempt is likely.
In the meantime, our President and Congress assure us that we will maintain the freedom to own a gun that isn’t secured in our home. A gun that one of our children could get his hands on and shoot himself with. A gun that could be stolen and used to rob the local convenience store,
Other Guns in America posts
The United States has the most lax gun laws of any developed country in the world. The 2nd Amendment itself is a one of a kind law (‘Well Regulated Militias’ and the Right to Bear Arms). Yet there have been some efforts to control guns and gun violence, dating back over 200 years.
Gun control measures have usually come about after a wave of gun violence that prompted a demand from the public. Throughout the 19th century and early in the 20th, the gun restrictions that existed were either local or statewide. The shock of the Burr-Hamilton duel and the subsequent death of some other national politicians on the dueling grounds led 18 states to ban the practice of dueling (The Americanization of the Duel). While those new laws set the practice in decline it wasn’t until the widespread bloodshed of the Civil War that it disappeared.
In the latter half of the 19th century, gun violence on the Western frontier prompted some of even the most notorious “Wild West” towns like Dodge City and Tombstone to require visitors to check their guns before entering town. Many states also had what were called “may carry” laws that allowed local officials to determine who may carry a firearm. These laws were clearly more restrictive than the open carry laws that are in effect in most U.S. states today.
It was a another wave of gun violence that resulted in the first federal gun control laws. That violence happened in the 1920’s and was a result of the 16th Amendment, or as we know it, Prohibition. Drinking alcohol was illegal, but it was far from stopped. What Prohibition killed were the legal brewers, distillers and distributors, to be replaced by smugglers, moonshiners, bootleggers and ultimately gangs of mobsters who, in keeping America wet, shot up each other and anyone else who was in the way.
That wave of lawlessness coincided with an advance in the deadliness of gun technology. Maybe, like me, you grew up watching “The Untouchables” or more recently saw the “Boardwalk Empire” series. In either case, you’ll be familiar with the “tommy-gun.” Invented in 1918 by a guy named Thompson, hence the name, the tommy-gun was fully-automatic, meaning you pulled the trigger once and produced a deadly barrage of bullets in a matter of seconds. It became the weapon of choice for the mobsters and gangs of the black market alcohol trade. It was the tommy-gun that was used in the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, a mob assassination of seven rival gang members in Chicago.
Once again the American public was roused by the gun violence that they read about in the papers and saw on the newsreels. While most folks might not of much cared if one mobster shot another, the violence of the weapons being used was a public safety issue. Newsreels of the time showed pictures of urban areas pock marked by bullet holes and told stories of children caught in the crossfire.
Many states responded by banning automatic (and in some case semi-automatic) weapons. Beginning with West Virginia in 1925, 27 states passed laws banning the tommy guns. The first federal response to Prohibition era violence was a 1927 law banning mail-order pistols. A more comprehensive response was the 1934 National Firearms Act. This legislation was targeted at machine guns and short-barreled shotguns. But being sensitive to gun advocates and the 2nd Amendment, the legislation didn’t outright ban these weapons, instead it imposed a $200 tax on the sale of these guns and required the buyer to register, be fingerprinted and photographed. While the $200 tax might not have been a deal killer for many gangsters, what mobster wants to register?
Mob violence did in fact decline after passage of the National Firearms Act, but one also needs to take into consideration that by that time, Prohibition had been repealed. The 1934 legislation has been amended and added to, but it is still in effect and it has been successful in getting machine guns off the street. Despite the wave of mass killings and gun violence that has beset the U.S., virtually none of it has been committed with fully-automatic weapons. The National Firearms Act, however, did not address the issue of semi-automatic weapons and we have paid the price for that omission. The mass shooter in Las Vegas who killed 58 people last year used a semi-automatic rifle. So did the murderer of 49 people in an Orlando nightclub in 2016. The Parkland, Fla., high school shooter used a semi-automatic AR-15 rifle, as did the Sandy Hook Elementary School murderer.
The National Firearms Act also gave rise to a test of the definition of the 2nd Amendment before the Supreme Court. The United States vs. Miller case in 1939 was brought by two defendants with a criminal records who claimed that the requirement to register and pay a tax on a short-barrel shotgun violated their 2nd Amendment rights. The court took a literal definition of the 2nd Amendment and ruled against the defendants because the gun involved is not one that would be used in a “well-regulated militia.” More recent court rulings have adopted broader interpretations of the 2nd Amendment and interpreted it as protecting individual’s right to own guns with no regard for the “well-regulated militia” qualifier.
We now are in the midst of another wave of gun violence in America which has raised the public voice of those seeking more stringent control of firearms. It remains to be seen whether this will result in new and more restrictive gun laws. So far, that has not been the case with a Republican controlled legislature. We are, however, only weeks away from a mid-term election that could change control of Congress as well as a number of state houses.
Atelier des Lumieres is a digital art museum in Paris’ 11th arrondissement. It is housed in an old iron foundry that dates back to 1935. The museum opened in April of this year. The initial exhibition features the works of Gustav Klimt, the Austrian painter whose works are from the late 19th and early 20th century.
The photos here, taken in September, are from the Klimt exhibition. Digital images of his works are projected on the walls, floors and ceilings of the converted foundry. They are set in motion and accompanied by a classical music score.