People tend to find it unnerving to ride in an elevator with no buttons; they feel as if they had been kidnapped by a Bond villain. Helplessness may exacerbate claustrophobia. In the old system—board elevator, press button—you have an illusion of control; elevator manufacturers have sought to trick the passengers into thinking they’re driving the conveyance. In most elevators, at least in any built or installed since the early nineties, the door-close button doesn’t work. It is there mainly to make you think it works. (It does work if, say, a fireman needs to take control. But you need a key, and a fire, to do that.) Once you know this, it can be illuminating to watch people compulsively press the door-close button. That the door eventually closes reinforces their belief in the button’s power. It’s a little like prayer. Elevator design is rooted in deception—to disguise not only the bare fact of the box hanging by ropes but also the tethering of tenants to a system over which they have no command.
So striking were the achievements of western civilization, moreover, and so overwhelming was the power that they gave the western nations, that new leadership in the rest of the world converted almost en masse to western views. The Japanese after the Meiji Restoration of 1867, the Bolsheviks of 1917, the Turks of the late Ottoman Empire, the virtually stateless Jews of Eastern Europe, and, gradually, the colonized peoples of Asia and Africa all sought a state and a nation based upon some form of western principles. The First World War led to the founding of a series of new modern states in eastern Europe, and the Second led rapidly to the independence of former colonies all over the globe. The Second World War also left most of the world living in the sphere of influence of one or the other of the two superstates that had done most to win it, the United States and the Soviet Union.
It was not altogether accidental, it seems to me, that this era of the spread of western civilization was also, we can now see, the great era of the printed word. Books played the most important part in the spread of new ideas. Newspapers—which during the 20th century developed an ideal of objectivity—created a worldwide educated public. Public business revolved around speeches, laws, constitutions, and diplomatic correspondence. The news of the day is filled with evidence that all this is now ceasing to be true, that western civilization has certainly passed the peak of its influence in the world, and that we are sliding towards a new form of anarchy without any idea of where it might end.
from Manuel L. Quezon III
Album: The Lego Movie: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Track: Everything Is AWESOME!!!
Artist: Tegan and Sara feat. The Lonely Island
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The story behind “Awakenings,” as summarized by both the writer and some of the patients.
from Manuel L. Quezon III
December 30, 2013 is the 117th anniversary of the martyrdom of Dr. Jose P. Rizal. We are likewise commemorating centenary of the unveiling of the Rizal Monument, the tomb and memorial to Rizal—and which has, since then, served as the de facto symbol of our nationhood.
We’ve prepared a feature on the history and the enduring legacy of the Rizal Monument and of the landscape that surrounds it—a feature that includes a comprehensive essay, photo galleries featuring the Rizal Monument and Luneta from the Spanish era to the present, architectural perspectives, and contextual maps.
TODAY IN HISTORY: The most bravo of the indios—the “Tagalog Christ,” in the immortal lines of the Basque intellectual Miguel de Unamuno—was executed by musketry in Bagumbayan, on December 30, 1896, for sedition and for inciting an uprising: Jose P. Rizal—scholar and writer, practicing ophthalmologist, celebrated ilustrado, and he who would be designated as the Philippines’ national hero.
Though you may pay tribute to Rizal in your own way, may we remind you that by virtue of Republic Act No. 229 (signed by President Elpidio Quirino on June 9, 1948), cockfighting, horse racing, and Jai Alai are all prohibited on Rizal Day. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
December 30, Rizal Day, has always been among the foremost red-letter days for us Filipinos. Last year’s commemoration coincided with the centennial of the re-internment of Rizal’s remains; this year, we are commemorating the centenary of the Rizal Monument itself.
So, Tumblr: Above may be some helpful guidelines on how one can go about commemorating the martyrdom of Rizal.
Did you know that Guiuan Airport in Eastern Samar was originally an American air base during World War II, and that the first plane to land there was a Fairchild L-3 Cub on December 18, 1944? [Learn more here]
ABOVE: An aerial view of Guiuan Airfield sometime during the American occupation. img via
ABOVE: The historic meeting of two icons of democracy, Nelson Mandela and Cory Aquino, in Cape Town, South Africa, 1996.
The Presidential Museum and Library today commemorates the death of former South African President and anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela. Rest in peace, Madiba.
On behalf of the entire Filipino people, I extend our deepest condolences to the family of Mr. Mandela, the people of South Africa, and all men and women of peace and goodwill who mourn the passing of a truly great man. For today, as Nelson Mandela united his people in the spirit of compassion and inclusiveness, so too does he unite the rest of the world—not only in grief and mourning, but also in respect and admiration for a life lived with strength, courage, humility, and dignity. His memory will serve as a durable guide to humanity as we seek to bequeath to future generations a world better than we found it.
—From the statement of President Benigno S. Aquino III on the passing of Nelson Mandela [read here]
"Free Nelson Mandela": the stirring song by Special AKA.
RIP, Nelson Mandela.
I first heard this song from an American classmate in late 1985, as the world watched the Snap Election unfold, that classmate said, “You Filipinos are fighting for freedom like Mandela and his people.” A side memory is when I played it at home during the Christmas holidays and my dad started tapping his feet and then danced the Merengue to the song —the last time I saw him dance.
How everyone thrilled when Mandela was released from jail —and thus launched a peaceful revolution that ended Apartheid and brought such sweeping change to South Africa.
Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
DID YOU KNOW? The Andres Bonifacio Monument edition
- Did you know that the 23 figures on the Bonifacio monument are all in bronze, cast in Italy?
- Did you know that Guillermo Tolentino had Php125,000 at his disposal to construct the monument and realize his vision? In today’s money, that roughly equivalent to Php38M!
- Did you know that the cornerstone for the Bonifacio monument was ceremonially installed on November 30, 1929 (Bonifacio’s 66th birth anniversary) by Doña Aurora Quezon, the wife of then-Senate President Manuel L. Quezon?
Learn more quick facts about the Andres Bonifacio Monument here. And do visit our grand Bonifacio 2013 feature page on the Official Gazette: we have a never-before-seen timelapse video of the monument and so many beautiful detailed shots of the figures.
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Even before the Abdusalamov tragedy, it had been a difficult year for HBO Boxing, which used to be the leading boxing network. Two months ago, its rival Showtime broadcast the year’s biggest fight, and by comparison, this weekend’s Pacquiao broadcast felt small. The idea was to celebrate the emergence of Pacquiao, who is Filipino, as a pan-Asian sports star. But both Pacquiao and his much less accomplished opponent, Brandon Ríos, lost their previous fights, making this, in Lampley’s rather euphemistic judgment, “one of the most unusual pay-per-view ventures of all time.” Of course, by the time viewers heard him say that, they had already paid as much as $69.99 for the privilege of seeing Pacquiao face an opponent that just about every expert agreed was outmatched. HBO, unable to credibly promise either excellence or competitiveness, instead promised action: it would be Pacquiao, with his “blistering combinations,” against Ríos, who “walks through punches.”
Despite that, the result was something that looked a bit like one of Floyd Mayweather’s recent, lop-sided fights: Pacquiao, far quicker than Ríos, won easily but not bloodily; his performance was dominant but civilized. In the twelfth round, it seemed as if Pacquiao might be able to knock Ríos out, but he held back, and was rewarded with a near-shutout decision. (The victory revived speculation about Pacquiao fighting Mayweather, although it did nothing to change the general consensus that Mayweather would win without much trouble.) In the post-fight press conference, Pacquiao explained what had happened in the twelfth round. “I back off a little bit, and give him a chance to finish,” he said. “You know, I’m not doing that because I’m tired or anything. I’m doing that because boxing is not about killing each other. Boxing is about entertain people.” Of course he’s right, in general. But in some fights—some of the best fights—the distinction isn’t so clear.