On 3 June 2013, a debate on sex work was arranged by Solas, Centre for Public Christianity. The debaters were Laura Lee (Sex worker rights campaigner, blogger and sex worker), Douglas Fox (of theInternational Union of Sex Workers, editor of the blog Harlots Parlour and sex worker), Rhoda Grant MSP (who has put forward a Bill to criminalise sex purchase in Scotland) and Richard Lucas (a minister and member of Solas – you can read his blog here). Laura Lee and Douglas Fox were debating against Richard Lucas and Rhoda Grant.
The debate opened with a statement by each of the panel. Laura Lee told her story of how she was working as an independent escort when a member of the community outed her on “every social media platform they could find”. She and her 7 year old daughter were bullied, her car was vandalized and her daughter was told by a well-respected, churchgoing adult man that her mother “will die of AIDS” – a statement which caused the child to panic as she believed it. A paedophile who had returned from a long prison sentence for molesting children was accepted by the same community.
Rhoda Grant’s main points were that “demand is met by coercion” and sex work is “trafficking”, not free choice. Ms Grant confused sex work with paedophilia and child abuse. She used Syrian women to back up her argument which isn’t relevant to her Bill as its scope is UK-limited.
Laura Lee took offence to Grant’s use of the term “prostituted women”. Laura said “It suggests we can’t consent to sex because we’re not there of our own free will. But we can, just like a barman can refuse to serve a customer.” She said that clients have reported incidents of violence towards sex workers to Crimestoppers and that the Ugly Mugs scheme which protects sex workers by creating a database of violent clients is now at risk due to funding.
LANL has always been an early adopter of transformational high performance computing (HPC) technology. For example, in the 1970s when HPC was scalar; LANL acquired the first Cray-1 vector supercomputer. When HPC was vector; LANL acquired the first TMC CM-5 massively parallel supercomputer; the first #1 on the TOP500 list. In the 2000s, HPC was distributed memory; LANL and IBM built Roadrunner, the first hybrid supercomputer and the first supercomputer to attain a sustained petaflop/second.
Roadrunner Open Science: important strides taken
Open Science (unclassified work) on Roadrunner, the world’s first petaflop/s computer, resulted in significant breakthroughs in materials, astronomy, and laser plasma science. Presented here are images, movies, and brief explanations of the exciting new work done on Roadrunner by seven Principal Investigators (P.I.s):
Roadrunner was a supercomputer built by IBM at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, USA. The US$100-million Roadrunner was designed for a peak performance of 1.7 petaflops. It achieved 1.026 petaflops on May 25, 2008 to become the world’s first TOP500 Linpack sustained 1.0 petaflops system. It was unique because the computer was built from off the shelf parts, with many novel design features including the first hybrid computer built at the supercomputing scale.
In November 2008, it reached a top performance of 1.456 petaflops, retaining its top spot in the TOP500 list. It was also the fourth-most energy-efficient supercomputer in the world on the Supermicro Green500 list, with an operational rate of 444.94 megaflops per watt of power used. The hybrid Roadrunner design was then reused for several other energy efficient supercomputers. Roadrunner was decommissioned by Los Alamos on March 31, 2013. In its place, Los Alamos uses a supercomputer called Cielo, which was installed in 2010. Cielo is smaller and more energy efficient than Roadrunner, and cost $54 million.
IBM & Department of Energy Unveil Petaflop Supercomputer
Taksim Gezi Park is an urban park in Taksim Square, in Istanbul‘s Beyoğlu district. It is one of the smallest parks of Istanbul. In May 2013, plans to replace the park with a reconstruction of the former Taksim Military Barracks (demolished 1940) intended to house a shopping mall sparked the 2013 Taksim Gezi Park protests in Turkey.
At the grounds of today’s Taksim Gezi Park, a military barracks was constructed in 1806. Named the Halil Pasha Artillery Barracks (Turkish: Halil Paşa Topçu Kışlası), it was a grand building designed in Ottoman, Russian and Indian architectural style. The barracks suffered considerable damage during the 31 March Incident in 1909, and waited to be repaired.
In 1936, the French architect and city planner Henri Prost (1874–1959) was invited to Turkey by President Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. He was tasked with the preparation of Istanbul’s rough-cut urban planning, which lasted until 1951. In accordance with Prost’s planning, the barracks building was demolished in 1940 by the city governor and mayor Lütfi Kırdar (in office 1938–1949).
In the time before the demolition took place, the internal courtyard of the barracks was rearranged and used as the Taksim Stadium. Turkey national football team played their first ever official international match in this stadium against the German team on October 26, 1923 that ended up with a 2–2 draw.
Prost’s city plan, which came in 1939 into force, provided amongst others a large continuous green park, called Park No. 2, covering an area of 30 ha (74 acres) between the neighborhoods of Taksim, Nişantaşı and Maçka extending to Bosphorus including the Dolmahçe Valley. The large park was intended to offer recreation and green space to Istanbul’s residents as well as to the visitors when the city has grown further.
The contruction of the park was completed in 1943, and it was opened under the name “İnönü Park” in honor of the second president İsmet İnönü (in office 1938–1950) by Lütfi Kırdar personally. The covering area of the park diminished in later years with the building of big hotels in the zone. Nevertheless, the park remained an important recreational area within the downtown of the city, and its outlook changed often with restorations.
2013 resistance against redeveloping the site
From 28 May 2013, the plans of replacing Taksim Gezi Park with a reconstruction of the historic Taksim Military Barracks (demolished in 1940), with the possibility of housing a shopping mall. The protests developed into riots when a group occupying the park was attacked by police. The subjects of the protests have since broadened beyond the development of Taksim Gezi Park, developing into wider anti-government demonstrations. The protests have also spread to other cities in Turkey, and protests have been seen in other countries with significant Turkish communities.
In 31 May 2013, police suppressed the protesters with tear gas, arrested at least 60 people and injured hundreds. The police action received wide attention online. Protesters organized and gathered on İstiklal Avenue, reaching thousands on the night of 31 May.
‘Uncivilised’ Taksim Gezi Park plans spark Turkish Summer
A leading Turkish architects’ association has condemned the lack of consultation over controversial regeneration plans which sparked major protests in Istanbul last week as ‘anti-democratic’
The country’s equivalent of the RIBA commented as occupation of the city centre Taksim Gezi Park – reportedly threatened with demolition to make way for mixed-use redevelopment – entered its seventh day.
In a statement Association of Turkish Consulting Engineers and Architects said ‘participation of citizens in the decision-making process’ was the ‘most important requirement of modern and sustainable urban management’.
It warned failure to engage the public in the scheme represented an ‘unhealthy’ way to reshape cities and violated ‘social rights’.
Protest groups descended on the 30 hectare garden last Tuesday (28 May) after bulldozers uprooted trees in what was thought to be the start of work on the controversial Topçu Barracks Project.
The high-profile scheme backed by Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan reconstructs an historic barracks building which was demolished in 1940 to create the square. It is suggested the new building would include a shopping mall.
Taksim Protest Not Just About Turkey’s Trees at Gezi Park
Motivation behind Turkish demonstrations is more complicated than protection of public green space. Spotty media coverage blurs underlying causes; a real-life case of not seeing the forest for the trees.
Weeklong protests allegedly started over demolition of a popular Istanbul park – an issue we covered months ago here. Taksim Gezi Park site is earmarked for a new shopping mall. Urban development sparks protests the world over, so what blew this one to epic proportions?
A peaceful protest began in response to government actions viewed as favoring profit over people and nature. But, similar to “Occupy” movements and the Arab uprisings, the Taksim demonstrators embrace many distinct causes, there is no singular focus.
Sure, there are environmental mandates. There are demands for free speech and entitlement to nonviolent demonstration. There are pleas to maintain separation between secular government and majority religion. There are calls for greater protections for Turkish democracy and human rights.
And the elephant in the Square may be Turkey’s muzzled media, which is unable to report on it all. There are more journalists in jail in Turkey today than in any other country, and penalties are steep for broadcasting state-sensitive stories. Most of the news concerning the protests has come from social media which is fascinating but unreliable, beholden to the writer’s point of view.
When branded organizations join the fray, resultant media attention and self-promotion further skew the story.
Greenpeace sent Green Prophet an update saying that is has declared solidarity with the park protestors, demanding the right to peaceful protest and urging that people and planet come before private profit. They opened their offices, adjacent to the park, offering protesters first aid and a place to rest.
#OccupyGeziPark Taksim Istanbul Türkiye 28 mayis 2013
Noam Chomsky (2013) on “Silicon Valley, the Internet, Google, Wikileaks and…..
Noam Chomsky, Professor Emeritus
Department of Linguistics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Interviewed in person at his office in the MIT Stata Center on August 15, 2012 by Critical.Org’s Jegan Vincent de Paul
This interview of Noam Chomsky was conducted as part of Compare and Contrast: Codes of Conduct, a project by Jegan Vincent de Paul commissioned by ZERO1 and curated by Regina Moller with support from the National Endowment for the Arts. For further information about the project please see:
This is one of a series of four interviews by Jegan Vincent de Paul on comparing Washington, DC to Silicon Valley on a number of different terms. The interviewees are Noam, Chomsky, Joi Ito, Susan Crawford and John Perry Barlow.