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November 9th, 2014
08:44 AM ET

Using art to save the Asian elephant

Call it the elephant in the room. It may be a cliché, but the fact that elephant populations are dwindling around the world is a growing problem that can’t be ignored.

Africa has seen its elephant population decline from 1.3 million several decades ago to an estimated 419,000 now. Poaching still goes unchecked in some parts of the continent.

The Environmental Investigation Agency’s latest report says the situation is especially grim in Tanzania.

Tanzania lost 10,000 elephants to poaching last year alone – more than any other country in Africa.

And the EIA makes damning allegations about China, the world's largest ivory market. It links some smuggling to Chinese officials who have accompanied the president to Africa. Beijing has denied the claims.

But it’s not just African elephants facing a perilous future. Their Asian cousins are also in a battle for survival. FULL POST

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Filed under: Art & Science • China • General
June 25th, 2014
12:48 PM ET

Drawing the line between porn and art

After years of pressure, Japan has passed a law banning the possession of child pornography. The move finally brings it in line with the rest of the developed world.

Child rights advocates say it is long overdue. But many say the law doesn’t go far enough, because it excludes sexually explicit depictions of children in anime and manga.

Campaigners say this is a loophole that needs to be closed.

Others worry that censoring drawings and animations could hurt creative industries and violate a constitutional right to free speech.

“When you try to become the ‘thought police’ and tell people what they can draw, what they can write, what they can dream – you go down a very slippery slope,” says Roland Kelts, an author on Japanese pop culture.

Kelts draws a clear line of distinction between actual children used in pornographic scenes and drawings depicting them.

He argues, “No child is exploited when an artist sits down to draw a picture.”

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Filed under: Art & Science
August 22nd, 2012
03:14 PM ET

Clearing the air in China

I have a simple, though unscientific, method of checking the air quality here in Hong Kong. If I can't see across the harbor to Kowloon from my window, I opt against running outside.

In mainland China, air pollution is a particularly contentious issue. The government is resistant to independent monitoring of its environment.

But kites could help residents of Beijing breathe easier.

Photo courtesy FLOAT Beijing

FULL POST

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Filed under: Art & Science • China
December 2nd, 2011
09:52 PM ET

An online marketplace for digital art

When Bill Gates built his gigantic mansion on Lake Washington, one of the most talked-about features was the video wall that displayed digital versions of artwork.

While many marveled at this innovative idea in the early 90s, few had the ability to recreate a digital art collection at home.

Fast forward to 2011, this is about to change with the launch of s[edition] – a new website for “digital limited edition art”.

But what exactly does that mean?

According to co-founders Harry Blain and Robert Norton, s[edition] enables artists to create purely digital artwork, such as the images below, with technology that limits how many copies of the piece can exist.

FULL POST