We’re going to ease into Cuba with Che Guevara, and his lasting impression that is still a strong force in the country.
Pictures of him are on buildings, signs, clothing, cars and even hang on people’s walls.
From lavish political murals to towering Soviet-realist statues, North Korea’s government-run Mansudae Art Studio produces exuberant pro-government propaganda for show at home and abroad. While there are few countries in the world willing to host to works of art produced in the Hermit Kingdom, some Mansudae-made statues have found homes overseas. In recent years, the studio’s international division, Mansudae Overseas Projects, has created several massive works of nationalist art at the request of foreign governments—almost exclusively on the African continent. (You too can purchase your own North Korean objet d’art, price on request, from Mansudae’s website.)
It’s been over a hundred years since Rutherford’s discovery of the atomic nucleus, an ingenious experiment where he bombarded some gold foil that had been hammered incredibly thin — so it was only a few atoms in thickness — with subatomic particles. What he found was that while most of those particles passed right through the foil, similar to what you might expect, a few bounced off at odd angles, including many that were returnedopposite to their original direction.
At its core, this big data revolution is about how humans create and preserve a historical record of their activities. Its consequences will transform how we look at ourselves. It will enable the creation of new scopes that make it possible for our society to more effectively probe its own nature. Big data is going to change the humanities, transform the social sciences, and renegotiate the relationship between the world of commerce and the ivory tower.
For years theologians and Christian apologists have convinced themselves and their followers that they have a knock-out scientific argument for the existence of God. They claim that the parameters of physics are so finely tuned that if any one of these parameters were just slightly different in value, then life would not be possible anywhere in the universe.
Assuming—on no basis whatsoever—that those parameters are independent and could have taken on any value over a wide range, they conclude that the probability of a universe with our particular set of parameters is infinitesimally small. Further assuming—also on no basis whatsoever—that the probability of a divine creator is not equally infinitesimally small, they conclude that a creator fine-tuned the universe for life. Note that there is also no basis whatsoever to assume that this creator was the personal God worshipped by Christians, Muslims, and Jews or the God of any other religion. An impersonal, deist creator works equally well.
Since last December, when officials from Cuba and the United States announced that the two countries, locked in a Cold War stand-off for 54 years, would seek to normalise relations, the tourist industry has been admonishing us to travel to Cuba ‘before it changes’.
Despite Cuba’s listless youth being well-versed in American culture – be it the latest fashions, pop songs or movies – on the surface Cuba remains stuck in a time warp. For tourists, the museum piece aspect of Cuba is a big part of the appeal. Thus visitors to Havana can go for a ride in a Cadillac, take in the neo-classical architecture (along with the smoke from a good cigar) and sip a mojito at Ernest Hemingway’s old drinking spot.
But hurry, the tourist brochures scream, the Yankees will soon be coming to spoil it all!