Readings: Diller’s Creative Process, Google Cars, Africa’s Soccer Impostors

Some interesting articles I’ve read recently:

1) “Picturing Failure, Sketching Dreams” [Wall Street Journal] – an excellent profile of Elizabeth Diller and her creative process. She’s the architect behind The High Line in New York City. This passage about the creative process resonates with me strongly:

Ms. Diller said her creative breakthroughs usually come when she isn’t working. She might be watching a play by the experimental Wooster Group, or seeking out work by late French Dadaist Marcel Duchamp, known for his irreverent use of everyday objects. They might come while she’s reading—from an academic journal to People magazine. (Mr. Scofidio [Elizabeth Diller’s husband] sticks mostly to novels; the frequent traveler sometimes rips out each page of a paperback after he finishes it to lighten his load.)

Read the entire piece here, and please also check out my photo essay on The High Line.

(2) “Google Cars Drive Themselves, in Traffic” [New York Times] – very interesting development from Google. This is fascinating:

With someone behind the wheel to take control if something goes awry and a technician in the passenger seat to monitor the navigation system, seven test cars have driven 1,000 miles without human intervention and more than 140,000 miles with only occasional human control. One even drove itself down Lombard Street in San Francisco, one of the steepest and curviest streets in the nation. The only accident, engineers said, was when one Google car was rear-ended while stopped at a traffic light.

So is Google competing with DARPA’s Urban Challenge?

(3) “Africa’s Soccer Impostors” [Slate] – this is a sad, incredible story about a team that pretended to be Togo’s national soccer team while playing a game in Bahrain in September 2010. How did it happen?

After what must have been a grueling piece of detective work, the investigators pinned their suspicions on Tchanile Bana, a former national-team coach who had recently been suspended for taking another fake team to a tournament in Egypt.

The story is even more insane than most people would expect… In January 2010, Togo’s real national team traveled by bus into Angola’s Cabinda province, the site of its first match in the Africa Cup of Nations tournament, and this is what happened:

As the Togo team’s bus crossed into Cabinda, armed soldiers from a separatist sect opened fire, killing the driver and two staff members and wounding several players. The team’s French manager, Herbert Velud, was shot in the arm. For around half an hour, the rebels fired on the bus with machine guns and fought with the team’s Angolan security force while the players crawled under the seats.

So unfortunate and bizarre. Are there any national soccer teams that have had worse luck and misfortune? I should mention that the article is written by Brian Phillips, who authored a post that I claimed is an absolute must-read.

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