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Why are US cities still so segregated?

7 minutes

73 cows

15 minutes

ORIGINAL

The forgotten (female) quantum pioneer, Grete Hermann

4 minutes

My dead dad’s porno tapes

14 minutes

Commodity city

10 minutes

Why racial segregation is a design feature, not a bug, of US cities

The National Housing Act of 1934, part of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s ‘New Deal’ following the Great Depression, was aimed at making home ownership affordable for lower-income Americans. However, the maps that were drawn up by the government-sponsored Home Owners’ Loan Corporation (HOLC), which was intended to prevent new homeowners from defaulting on their loans, in fact targeted minorities by making race and country of birth important zoning categories. The practice of relegating homebuyers considered ‘hazardous’ to creditors to certain sections of the city became known as ‘redlining’ due to the districts’ red colour on HOLC maps. Although the Fair Housing Act of 1968 prohibited discriminatory housing practices, it is rarely enforced, and the devastating effects of redlining are still strikingly obvious today in almost every US city. This video essay explains how redlining continues to touch almost every facet of daily life, including health, education, wealth and policing, for urban minorities in the US.

Video by NPR’s Code Switch

Narrator: Gene Demby

Producer: Kara Frame

Why racial segregation is a design feature, not a bug, of US cities

The National Housing Act of 1934, part of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s ‘New Deal’ following the Great Depression, was aimed at making home ownership affordable for lower-income Americans. However, the maps that were drawn up by the government-sponsored Home Owners’ Loan Corporation (HOLC), which was intended to prevent new homeowners from defaulting on their loans, in fact targeted minorities by making race and country of birth important zoning categories. The practice of relegating homebuyers considered ‘hazardous’ to creditors to certain sections of the city became known as ‘redlining’ due to the districts’ red colour on HOLC maps. Although the Fair Housing Act of 1968 prohibited discriminatory housing practices, it is rarely enforced, and the devastating effects of redlining are still strikingly obvious today in almost every US city. This video essay explains how redlining continues to touch almost every facet of daily life, including health, education, wealth and policing, for urban minorities in the US.

Video by NPR’s Code Switch

Narrator: Gene Demby

Producer: Kara Frame

Can you be a beef farmer if the animals are your friends?

After his father died in 2011, Jay Wilde inherited his family’s small beef farm in the English county of Derbyshire, and quickly found himself in an excruciatingly difficult position. A vegetarian for more than 25 years, his deep concern for animals only increased as he spent endless hours with his herd. Coming to recognise them as individuals with rich inner lives rather than just ‘units of production’, Wilde eventually found the emotional burden of sending his cattle to the abattoir too crushing to bear. In 73 Cows, Wilde and his wife Katja recall how they came to make the logistically and financially challenging choice to transition to vegan-produce farming. Melancholic yet stirring and gently hopeful, this short documentary by the UK director Alex Lockwood deftly traces the complexities of Wilde’s decisionmaking process. In doing so, it reaches far beyond the English countryside, asking viewers to reckon with the moral intricacies of eating animals.

Director: Alex Lockwood

Splitting the truth: the philosopher that physics forgot

In the early 20th century, Newtonian physics was upended by experiments that revealed a bizarre subatomic universe riddled with peculiarities and inconsistencies. Why do photons and electrons behave as both particles and waves? Why should the act of observation affect the behaviour of physical systems? More than just a puzzle for scientists to sort out, this quantum strangeness had unsettling implications for our understanding of reality, including the very concept of truth.

The German mathematician and philosopher Grete Hermann offered some intriguing and original answers to these puzzles. In a quantum universe, she argued, the notion of absolute truth must be abandoned in favour of a fragmented view – one in which the way we measure the world affects the slice of it that we can see. She referred to this idea as the ‘splitting of truth’, and believed it extended far beyond the laboratory walls and into everyday life. With a striking visual style inspired by the modern art of Hermann’s era, this Aeon Original video explores one of Hermann’s profound but undervalued contributions to quantum theory – as well as her own split life as an anti-Nazi activist, social justice reformer and educator.

Animation by Kaleida Studio

Directed and Animated by Julie Gratz and Ivo Stoop 

Designed by Julie Gratz    

Produced by Kellen Quinn 

Writers: Sally Davies and Elise Crull

Sound designers: Eli Cohn, Ben Chesneau, Maya Peart

Narrator: Jan Cramer

What you can tell about a person from the junk they leave behind

The Canadian filmmaker Charlie Tyrell delves into his late father’s belongings in an effort to better understand the man’s inscrutable inner life, including his somewhat cold and distant demeanour towards his three children. Finding no answers in those titular, poorly hidden VHS tapes, Tyrell tugs at the roots of his family tree, uncovering an intergenerational cycle of abuse that makes him reconsider his complicated relationship with his father. Crafted with humour and heart, Tyrell’s inventive and deeply personal collage of animations, archival footage and audio recordings was a hit at the Sundance Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival in 2018, among others.

Director: Charlie Tyrell

Producer: Julie Baldassi

Writers: Josef Beeby, Charlie Tyrell

Five miles of fake flowers, cat cushions and muzak: enter the world’s largest market

The Yiwu International Trade City in China is the world’s largest wholesale market for consumer goods, stretching some five miles and featuring roughly 75,000 vendors. The Chinese-American filmmaker Jessica Kingdon’s observational documentary Commodity City employs static shots of everyday scenes from the market – mostly without dialogue – to convey the seemingly endless stretches of vendor booths that specialise in everything from cat pillows to Santa figurines. Through these vignettes, Kingdon captures the incongruous interplay of boredom and commerce, vastness and claustrophobia that characterises this otherworldly space, offering a hypnotic anthropologic exploration of consumer culture and capitalism.

Director: Jessica Kingdon

Producers: Daniel Cooper, Kira Simon-Kennedy

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Essay/
Political Philosophy
The voice of Hobsbawm

How the Marxist ideas of a British historian ended up on the bookshelves of Indian civil servants and Brazilian housewives

Emile Chabal

Essay/
Religion
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It’s one of the most successful, and in some ways unlikely, interfaith movements in the modern world

Dan Hummel