This Banksy Stencil In San Francisco Really Says It All

banksy

Everyone’s talking about Banksy yet again, after the celebrated graffitist’s clever rendition of Vermeer’s “Girl with a Pearl Earring” on the side of a building.

If you’re struggling to understand what Banksy is about, consider this image of his 2010 work on the side of a building in San Francisco’s Mission District.

Arguably one of his most important works, “This’ll look nice when framed” ironically points to Banksy’s philosophy that art can exist outside of traditional venues like museums, galleries, or displays in people’s homes. It can be found anywhere in our busy world.

The stencil’s punchline is that it’s not for sale. It will never look nice in a frame because it cannot be framed.

In further irony, however, even this stencil has been manufactured into prints that people have put up for sale.

Hungary’s Orban stonewalls US corruption allegations

BRUSSELS – Hungary is demanding the US hand over evidence after the Americans placed an entry ban on six officials close to Viktor Orban’s government last week.

The Hungarian prime minister in Brussels on Friday (24 October) told reporters that his country would not launch any investigation into the corruption allegations on the six without first seeing some proof.

“Without evidence you cannot accuse anyone,” he said. One of the accused is reportedly his own special advisor.

Orban told this website he was not proud that Hungary was the first EU member state to have a US-entry ban on officials.

Normally being first is something to be proud of, “but not in this case”, he said.

The US, for its part, says it has credible information that the six are either engaging in or benefiting from corruption.

Andre Goodfriend, the US deputy chief of mission in Budapest, earlier this week said the corruption in Hungary was weakening its democratic institutions.

As for the accusations against the six, Goodfriend in a tweet said Hungary “should investigate on evidence provided by (Hungarian) citizens, not (only) by the US.”

Decade-old rules

The US blacklist stems from a decade-old rule that was until now usually reserved for nailing high-ranking officials from corrupt governments in developing nations and oppressive states.

The so-called ‘Presidential Proclamation Number 7750 and its Anti-Kleptocracy Provision’ allows the US authorities to impose entry bans without proof of charges. Names are not disclosed for privacy reasons.

The privacy distinction has generated some controversy among pro-transparency and civil rights groups in Hungary.

“In our point of view this is not personal data, instead this should be published as data of public interest if the banned persons undertake public service,” said a contact at the Budapest-based Hungarian Civil Liberties Union.

But Hungarian media report the six are high-ranking officials from Orban’s centre-right Fidesz party, including the prime minister’s own advisor Arpad Habony.

Other individuals include the president of Hungary’s national tax and customs administration (NAV) and two other managers from the same institution as well as the head of the Szazadveg Economic Research Institute, a government-backed and -financed think tank.

One of the two managers is said to run the NAV’s anti-corruption and fraud investigative department.

It is not the first time the national tax authority has run into trouble.

Last November, a former staff member blew the whistle on companies committing VAT fraud with the complicit help of the NAV.

The disgruntled employee finally went public after his complaints through the official and government channels went ignored. Police then raided his home in mid-December 2013, seizing documents and hard disks.

Crackdown on NGOs

Critics say the spate of restrictive media laws along with a recent police crackdown on Norwegian-backed NGOs is part of the Orban’s larger agenda to turn Hungary into an illiberal state.

Victoria Nuland, the US’ top diplomat on Europe, earlier this month made a thinly veiled attack on Orban.

“How can you sleep under your Nato Article 5 blanket at night while pushing ‘illiberal democracy’ by day; whipping up nationalism; restricting free press; or demonising civil society?,” she said.

US president Barack Obama also criticised Hungary in a speech in September when he placed Hungary in the same league as Egypt in terms of “overt intimidation” against civil society.

The European Commission, for its part, has refused to comment on Hungary’s crackdown on the Norwegian backed NGOs.

“As EU funds are not involved, we are not a party in the ongoing Hungarian investigation over the use of the funds and we can’t take any specific position regarding this specific case,” an EU commission spokesperson said in September.

Designer Find: Get Inspired With These Creative Potted Planters

You may have seen our post about “5 Tips For Your Patio’s Planters”, the first tip of which is to pick the right container. Picking the right container is rarely an easy task if you want to be clever.

It is easy enough to buy a clay pot and place it somewhere on the patio, because that will almost always look great, but there are so many other creative options out there to consider for housing your plants!

These fabulous photos and ideas will inspire you to show off your green thumb in an interesting and creative way.

VERTICAL PLANT GARDENS DOUBLE AS FUNCTIONAL AND BEAUTIFUL DECOR

Via Better Homes & Garden

If you have a small patio then maybe pots on the ground is the wrong choice for you. One option you have is to use a wall surface and go vertical! First of all, using a picture frame for this is a great idea! Secondly, putting it in a picture frame allows you to hang it, perhaps on the side of your house or a shed, or even indoors as well!

Via Laurel Lake

Using these wooden frames looks great as a divider or to add some height, but it is an added bonus if you can put some vertical plants inside! Since it is essentially a wall, you can even use this idea to hide eyesores like hoses and air conditioners.

Via Vertical Garden Institute

Popular even in some restaurants, you can also go big and put all kinds of vibrant plants in this big palette, then hang it outside on your house!

 

HOUSE YOUR PLANTS IN COOL GLASS CONTAINERS

Via lhstaytonplants on Etsy

Terrariums are great, unique ideas, but they are not only limited to the indoors. Done right, you can use glass well to showcase your plants, whether they be sitting on a table or railing, or suspended from a patio covering.

This simple terrarium appears to be hanging from an umbrella, and succeeds in adding an elegant look thanks to the teardrop glass.

Via wayneworks on Etsy

This simple design features a plank of wood suspended by rope with glass jars stuck through the holes! This not only frees up ground space but also uses those old jars in a really creative and stylish way!Via Uncommon Goods

Or maybe a standard terrarium is more your style! There are plenty of tutorials for making a homemade terrarium, but be careful where you place them, as they are not supposed to be placed in direct sunlight!

 

ARE THINGS STACKING UP IN A BEAUTIFUL WAY?

Via Better Homes and Gardens

Similar to the space-saving idea of planting vertically, you can place pots on a wall, while still planting them horizontally.

These colorful pots full of colorful flowers really evoke feelings of spring! Using the fence, a lot of brightness is able to be crammed into a small area that just could not be done on the ground, where the pots would be harder to notice. Here, they become the center of attention.

Via Flickr

These ladders are another great way to climb on up! Those four pots stack nicely on the steps and really save a lot of space!

 

RECYCLE!

Recycling something old and using it as a pot is always fun and interesting, whether it be a kitchen sink or an old bucket. These ideas are all great and add a splash of creativity to any yard.

 

Via Angelo Fernandes

2 liter soda bottles seem to have an unlimited amount of uses other than holding soda, whether you’re making a rocket or making a whirlpool, but you can also put plants in them. This wall of hanging plants looks so nice that you almost forget that your favorite carbonated beverage once occupied your pots!

Via BootsNGus on Etsy

You could bake a cake or you could pot a plant! This bundt cake pot works surprisingly well for holding plants and if you didn’t stop and stare for a while, you would never know!

Via Vivin Casa

What do you do with old light bulbs after they burn out? Just throw them away? If they’re not frosted bulbs, upcycling them into hanging pots can be a great way to display your plants from the air.

 

USE SOMETHING UNCONVENTIONAL FOR A BIG STATEMENT 

Via Fungardenz

While some of these ideas probably already seem outside the box, using an unexpected item can sometimes work out well for your patio. These painted cinder blocks stack nicely in the corner and the holes work great as containers for plants. You would not usually associate cinder blocks with garden décor, but with a nice green coat of paint, it looks pretty good!

Via Design Milk

Using a ball of yarn for a hanging plant is certainly not conventional, but it does look really good! It requires a mossy exterior, as regular dirt would fall out, but the possibilities for a yarn ball hanger are still plentiful.

If you incorporate one of these ideas may challenge the status quo of potted plants, but will certainly turn some heads! Don’t be afraid to use your imagination and a little bit of a design sense will make your potted plants stand out from the rest!

 

This Incredible Star-Shaped Superyacht Will Cost Half-A-Billion Dollars

This new superyacht — called the STAR — doesn’t even look like a boat at first glance, but like some sort of strange iceberg floating in the water. 

Which makes sense considering that it was specifically designed to be unlike any other yacht on earth, measuring 433 feet long and almost 200 feet high.

“The inspiration came directly from the stars,” designer Ignor Lobanov told Business Insider. “The profile of the yacht makes a perfect star when reflected in the water.”

The symmetrical concept vessel from Lobanov was created in collaboration with BMT Group and Alex Malybaev. Their goal was to redefine luxury yachts.

STAR 4

The initial idea for the STAR came when Malybaev, from FIRMA branding agency, together with Lobanov decided that despite the advances in modern architecture and car design, all yachts looked too much alike. 

The two were fed up with the traditional look of a yacht, and Malybaev drew the first sketch of the STAR on a napkin. “I looked at the sketch and set to work. The idea was so great that I wanted to prove it could become a yacht,” said Lobanov in a press release.

STAR 3

The STAR has been developed as a private yacht, but could also be the world’s most exclusive floating hotel, as it can host up to 200 day guests and 36 overnight guests. 

It also has a helipad, an underwater viewing deck, and four elevators providing access to the boat’s eight decks.

STAR 2

The incredible vessel has been designed with a maximum speed of 18 knots and over 37,6oo square feet of luxury interior space.

The top deck of the yacht will also have a range of visibility of over 20 kilometers and incredible views, according to Lobanov.

STAR 5

The STAR’s incredible technical development features “a symmetrically fore and aft double ended hull form, with all electric architecture and fully azimuthing propulsion,” according to the press release

Basically, the STAR will have some incredible features that allow it to rotate easily without the constraints of traditional anchors.

STAR 6

Lobanov will also collaborate with BMT Nigel Gee for help with naval architecture and technical feasibility.

“STAR is a tangible view of a 21st century interpretation of art and science,” said James Roy, Yacht Design Director of BMT Nigel Gee, in a press release. “We are fortunate to live in an era where technology makes the delivery of bolder designs more possible — for clients who are adventurous innovators anything is truly possible.”

STAR 7

But this remarkable concept will not come cheap. The lavish super yacht will cost around €400 million, or about USD $500 million, Lobanov told Business Insider. 

For more information about the STAR, check out the Igor Lobanov’s page here.

India spurns US offer and purchases guided missiles from Israel for $525m

Narendra Modi indiai miniszterelnök a siacheni katonai táborban beszél. 2014. október 23. Fotó: AFP - Indiai Kormány

Deal for at least 8,000 missiles and 300 launchers comes amid border tensions with China and exchanges of fire with Pakistan

India has opted to buy Israel’s Spike anti-tank guided missile, a defence ministry source said on Saturday, rejecting a rival US offer of Javelin missiles that Washington had lobbied hard to win.

India will buy at least 8,000 Spike missiles and more than 300 launchers in a deal worth 32bn rupees ($525m), the source said after a meeting of India’s Defence Acquisition Council.

Prime minister Narendra Modi’s five-month-old government wants to clear a backlog of defence orders and boost India’s firepower, amid recent border tensions with China and heavy exchanges of fire with Pakistan across the Kashmiri frontier.

“National security is the paramount concern of the government,” the source quoted Defence Minister Arun Jaitley, who also holds the finance portfolio, as telling the procurement panel. “All hurdles and bottlenecks in the procurement process should be addressed expeditiously so that the pace of acquisition is not stymied.”

Among other business cleared by the panel, India will issue a request for proposals to supply six submarines, added the source, who was not authorised to comment on the record and did not elaborate.

Spike is a man-portable “fire and forget” anti-tank missile that locks on to targets before shooting. It is produced by Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defence Systems, which declined to comment.

It beat out the rival US Javelin weapons system, built by Lockheed Martin Corp and Raytheon Co, that defense secretary Chuck Hagel pitched during Modi’s visit to Washington at the end of September.

Senior US officials had said they were still discussing the Javelin order as part of a broader push to deepen defence industry ties with India by increasing the share of production done in the country.

Analysts estimate that India, the world’s largest arms buyer, will invest as much as $250bn in upgrading its Soviet-era military hardware and close the gap on strategic rival China, which spends three times as much a year on defence.

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