Marieke van der Velden's swimming pools - in pictures

By Kathryn Bromwich

Dutch photojournalist Marieke van der Velden has taken pictures of swimming pools in every country she's visited since 2009. Her work with NGOs has taken her to places such as Burkina Faso, Liberia and Iraq, where she finds out about local pools by asking her drivers. ‘Whenever I'm in the neighbourhood of a pool it always feels a bit like a holiday,' she says. ‘They have a quiet, positive atmosphere. They give me a rest from the reportages the subjects aren't always easy.' She hasn't yet been to a place that didn't have a pool but she's choosy about what she shoots: ‘I have to “click” with a pool I think it's because of the shape. If it's just a simple swimming pool it's not enough'

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Source: Marieke van der Velden's swimming pools – in pictures


Life and work of Francis Bacon to be celebrated in new institute in Monaco

By Dalya Alberge

Venture will bring together previously unseen photographs as well as oil paintings from the 1920s to the 1980s

A unique scholarly institute devoted to Francis Bacon is to open in Monaco, where the painter drew inspiration from the light and landscape, as well as the principality's gambling dens and bars.

The idea of the wealthy Lebanese-born property developer Majid Boustany, the Francis Bacon MB Art Foundation's collection will bring together previously unseen photographs, oil paintings from the 1920s to the 1980s, and furniture and rugs from Bacon's spell as an interior designer. There will also be an extensive library open to scholars and members of the public by appointment.

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Source: Life and work of Francis Bacon to be celebrated in new institute in Monaco


Minnesota Becomes First State to Ban Anti-Bacterial Soap Chemical

Triclosan is a toxic ingredient found in anti-bacterial soap

Score a victory for smart legislation! Late last week, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton signed a bill that would prevent manufacturers from using Triclosan in most consumer hygiene products. [1]

A lot of people might be wondering… what is triclosan? Despite the fact that they've probably used it. In fact, it's estimated that the chemical is used in three-quarters of all anti-bacterial body washes and liquid soaps sold around the country, and some manufacturers even use it in products like deodorant and toothpaste.

Why is Triclosan Bad?

Why ban Triclosan? Way back in 2012, we reported on how this chemical in antibacterial soaps might actually impair muscle function, but now there are new findings and additional worries. Studies have shown that the chemical can interfere with hormones that are needed for reproduction and development in lab animals, as well as potentially helping resistant bacteria to develop faster. [2]

Additionally, the use of Triclosan has become so pervasive that a University of Minnesota study published last year found increasing levels of the chemical in a number of lakes around the state. This is worrisome because Triclosan can break down into dangerous dioxins in the water. [3]

Triclosan Has Been a Problem on the Radar for a While

This comes on the heels of a rule that was proposed by the FDA in December saying that manufacturers of antibacterial soaps and body washes need to show both that their products are safe for people to use on a daily basis as well as being more effective than simply using regular soap and water. [4] This second part might be particularly difficult since a number of critics – the FDA included – have argued that there's no evidence for Triclosan soaps being better at keeping diseases from spreading than just washing with soap and water.

Minnesota's ban wouldn't go into effect until January 1, 2017, but many believe that manufacturers may get rid of Triclosan long before then. Several companies are already working hard to do just that.

Industry is Listening to Consumers

By 2015, Johnson & Johnson plans to remove Triclosan from all of its products, and Procter & Gamble products should be Triclosan-free by the end of this year. Seeing the benefits of removing the potentially dangerous chemical, they've even begun marketing some products like Crest as “Triclosan-free.”

While it remains to be seen how much of an impact this ban will really have, and if other states will follow, it's certainly a step in the right direction for those trying to protect their loved ones from dangerous, unwanted chemicals.

-Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM


  1. City Pages. Minnesota becomes first state to ban triclosan, controversial ingredient in antibacterial soaps. (last accessed 2014-05-29)
  2. Leah M. Zorrilla, Emily K. Gibson, Susan C. Jeffay, Kevin M. Crofton, Woodrow R. Setzer, Ralph L. Cooper and Tammy E. Stoker. The Effects of Triclosan on Puberty and Thyroid Hormones in Male Wistar Rats. Toxicol. Sci. (2009) 107 (1): 56-64.
  3. Cale …read more

    Source: Minnesota Becomes First State to Ban Anti-Bacterial Soap Chemical


David Shrigley: 'It's difficult in the world of fine art to have a comic voice'

By Interview by Tim Lewis

The artist on the Glasgow School of Art fire, greasy-haired painters, even numbers and the fourth plinth

You live-tweeted the fire at the Glasgow School of Art. How did you feel as your old college went up in flames?

I was asked to go on BBC News that night and I couldn't do it because I was really upset. I didn't feel like I wanted to be on TV. People were weeping in the streets outside, but once the fire was out everyone took stock a little bit. It's a total disaster, but when you think of decades and decades of ever more experimental mixed-media work and painters standing near pools of turpentine smoking roll-ups, it's crazy it's not happened before.

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Source: David Shrigley: ‘It's difficult in the world of fine art to have a comic voice'


4 Dangers of Food Dyes

Food dye

Artificial additives pervade our food supply at epic proportions. Manufacturers claim the stuff is added to enhance flavor, appearance, texture, and shelf life. Food dyes, a food additive used to deepen the color of candy, dry mixes, soups, and even bread, have gotten an increasing amount of criticism these last few years. Health authorities in Austria and Norway have even banned the use of artificial food dyes and European health authorities require a warning label on food that contains the synthetic ingredients. In Britain, warn labels caution that children who consume foods containing artificial food colorings are at greater risk for developing hyperactive behavior and ADHD. Meanwhile, the FDA in the United States has yet to say much about the proven health dangers surrounding these synthetic ingredients. So just how dangerous are artificial food dyes? The next four facts will inform you.

1. Made From Petroleum

Originally made from coal tar, food dyes now come from an unrefined fuel source — petroleum. Consuming petroleum in any amount isn't the most pleasant thought; however, that's just what you may be doing if you eat non-organic, processed foods. Many popular sports drinks, sodas, powdered mixes, and energy drinks contain petroleum-derived food colorings. [1]

2. Possible Carcinogen

Red 40 and Yellow 5 and 6 contain the chemical benzene, a known carcinogen. The CDC claims that very little is known about the health effects of benzene, despite the mountain of evidence pointing at its cancer-causing potential. [2] While most of the world has banned the use of artificial additives containing this compound, American companies freely use Red 40 and Yellow 5 and 6 in many common processed food products. Processed macaroni and cheese, for example, commonly use Yellow 6 to bring out the food's bright-yellow hue.

3. Contributes to ADHD Risk

Numerous studies have established a significant link between artificial food dyes and hyperactivity in children. An Australian study examining food dyes' effects on 200 children found that 75% of parents noticed an improvement in behavior and attention once dyes were eliminated from their child's diet. [3] Other research has validated this finding, suggesting future studies to determine safe intake levels for these products (if they exist, which I doubt). [4]

4. Estrogen Enhancers

Perhaps “enhance” isn't the best word because this isn't a good thing. Sunset yellow (Yellow 6) and tartrazine (Yellow 5) have been shown to behave like estrogen in the human body. [5] Why is this bad? Because high levels of estrogen, regardless of the source, can contribute to breast cancer and may decrease male sex drive, among other highly undesirable effects. [6][7]

Alternatives Exist – Choose Wisely!

The only way to completely avoid artificial food dyes is to consume an unprocessed, whole-food diet. If you're in a time crunch and have to purchase a processed food item, make sure it is organic. Organic products are prohibited from using …read more

Source: 4 Dangers of Food Dyes


Massimo Vignelli obituary

By Deyan Sudjic

Italian designer who captured the spirit, if not the geography, of modern New York

The greatest achievement of the designer Massimo Vignelli, who has died aged 83, was to give America a modern look. With its citrus fruit-salad of colour and its bold typography, Vignelli's work on the New York subway system redefined Manhattan in the 1970s. When the city was at its lowest ebb, threatened by bankruptcy and violent crime, the maps and the signage he designed for the decrepit network were an optimistic statement in the midst of all the decay, a glimpse of better times to come.

The subway map that Vignelli and his collaborators produced in 1972 was actually a diagram the most striking piece of public signage since Harry Beck had designed the London Underground map in 1933. The contrast between Beck, with his engineering background, earnest-looking in spectacles, and the suave Italian Vignelli, in a collarless jacket, could not have been greater. London's map looked like a brilliant translation of a circuit board; New York's was a flamboyant work of art. But Beck's diagram is still in use, whereas Vignelli's disappeared after a few years.

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Source: Massimo Vignelli obituary