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Science fiction has conditioned us to imagine futuristic cities as chromed-out metropolises—gleaming monoliths twisting and towering over LED-lit autoways and radiant biospheres. But what if cities of the future look less like something out of Blade Runner and more like the apocalyptic hellscapes of Mad Max?

Rendering of a futuristic megacity. Image: Flickr/Serendigity

Most of today’s urban centers are made from two of the most environmentally damaging building materials currently in use: steel and concrete. Together, their production accounts for a whopping 10 percent of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions. If you need a little bit of perspective, that’s only slightly less than the annual carbon footprint of the entire transportation industry.

Yet, with the global population count expected to surpass 8 billion by 2025, megacities such as Tokyo, London, and New York will be increasingly relied upon to not only house growing numbers of people, but also to scale up in a way that’s sustainable.

This construction conundrum was what inspired biomimetic engineer Michelle Oyen to tackle her newest—and sci-fi as hell—project: building cities out of bone.

Today, “bone cities” are more likely to conjure visions of Europe’s haunting, skeleton-filled ossuaries than anything remotely futuristic. But they might just be a feasible solution to building taller, stronger, and more carbon-friendly structures.

“I fly back and forth a lot between the UK and the US, and I’d been harbouring a lot of guilt about the effect that had on my carbon footprint. I’d always assumed, as many of us do, that air travel is a huge contributor to carbon emissions," Oyen, who also leads the University of Cambridge’s Department of Engineering, said in a statement. “But the truth is, while the emissions caused by air travel are significant, far more are caused by the production of concrete and steel, which of course is what most cities are built from.”

Oyen’s job is to look to nature for inspiration, so when faced with the problem of designing a building medium as strong as it is eco-friendly, that’s exactly what she did. Instead of throwing money and resources at “greening” unsustainable materials, Oyen opted to create an entirely new one. According to her research, which received funding from the the US Army Corps of Engineers, synthetic bone and eggshell perfectly fit that bill.

Ounce for ounce, bone is actually stronger than steel, and a cubic inch of it can bear four times the load than its concrete equivalent. Bone’s strength is derived from a composite of protein and insoluble salt or mineral called “hydroxyapatite,” which gives it the benefit of both stiffness and resistance. The ratio of this composite in a human femur, for example, is about 50:50, while something like an eggshell contains approximately five percent protein and 95 percent mineral content.

Using these ratios as a starting point, Oyen and her team were able to successfully produce samples of synthetic bone and eggshell by “templating” hydroxyapatite directly onto a substrate of natural collagen.

“One of the interesting things is that the minerals that make up bone deposit along the collagen, and eggshell deposits outwards from the collagen, perpendicular to it,” said Oyen. “So it might even be the case that these two composites could be combined to make a lattice-type structure, which would be even stronger—there’s some interesting science there that we’d like to look into.”

The group of engineers said their technique requires little energy and can be easily scaled, but because it currently requires the use of animal collagen as a protein source, they plan to replicate their results using more humane properties, such as synthetic polymers. It’s also unclear how much the production of artificial bone would cost compared to concrete and steel.

Is this what a "bone city" makes you think of? Image: Flickr/David Staedtler

There are still a lot of questions about how we could build cities of bone, but the most daunting is whether the construction industry would ditch the unsustainable for the avant-garde. Even wood, which has long been considered one of the most environmentally friendly building materials available, is only just starting to gain traction with urban city planners.

"All of our existing building standards have been designed with concrete and steel in mind. Constructing buildings out of entirely new materials would mean completely rethinking the whole industry,” Oyen added.

“But if you want to do something really transformative to bring down carbon emissions, then I think that’s what we have to do. If we’re going to make a real change, a major rethink is what has to happen."

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The devil looked a lot less cool in the 80s. Photo courtesy Spectacular Optical

In a complete surprise to its editors, Satanic Panic: Pop-Cultural Paranoia in the 1980s, sold out its first run. The second release by Spectacular Optical—a Canadian small-press publisher named after the ominous storefront from David Cronenberg’s Videodrome—explores the hysteria that percolated in the 1980s over devils hiding behind every door, be it in film, TV, music, or even children’s toys. Satan was everywhere. No one was safe.

Luckily the book’s UK publisher, FAB Press, has just released a new printing to catch up with the unexpected demand. We met up with editors Kier-La Janisse and Paul Corupe to talk about their book’s success, if Satan is still relevant in 2016, and what’s on the horizon.

VICE: Were you surprised the book sold out so quickly? Or were you surprised that the book was so quickly embraced?
Kier-La Janisse: I was surprised it sold out so quickly only because I usually don’t have that kind of luck, not to mention we only sold it in pre-sales through Indiegogo, on our website, and in person at events. And hardly anyone reviewed it—but the good thing about that is that it means the FAB Press edition can still get out there a lot more widely. But in terms of the appeal of the content, I wasn’t surprised people responded to it—people are very interested in this stuff and yet seem to have a superficial understanding of how it all played out, what influences were at work, etc. And so the book tries to show how all these different elements combined to create kind of a perfect storm.

What parts of the book still resonate in 2016?
Paul Corupe: Obviously, the popular fascination of the time has died down but most of it still resonates today since so much of it ended in questions, rather than answers. There are still heated corners of the internet who passionately debate this kind of stuff, and current scandals like the Jimmy Savile allegations seem to dredge up the past again and again. Like, if this stuff really happened, then the McMartin preschool case wasn’t so far fetched, right? Every time some kid up in court blames a heavy metal or rap song for what they did, the shadow of the panic will rise again

Janisse: As gets mentioned in the book a few times, this kind of a panic resurfaced in the UK in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal and in both cases the idea of organized child abuse always somehow gets lumped in with a supernatural conspiracy in a way that undermines the charges. So as far as that significant part of the Satanic Panic that involved sexual abuse cases, those allegations and anxieties have been more visible in the news in recent years, but the pop-cultural artifacts of the 80s relating to fears about heavy metal and Dungeons and Dragons, those are a part of their time, and so they are of interest to people due to a very distinct aesthetic that people are nostalgic about.

This fear of the unknown seems ludicrous today yet as a child I would have nightmares about Satan. My brother’s Iron Maiden wall poster scared me. Did either of you have the same fears?
I was raised Catholic so I definitely feared Satan and demons and all these things as a kid. And Catholicism is an especially fertile place for these anxieties to fester because Catholic imagery is so violent and grim. And in turn I think Catholicism totally fed my love of horror films—but my love of these films, and of dark music with gruesome theatrics—Alice Cooper was a favorite as a kid—also made me realize that it was possible to engage with these things and not be evil—so when musicians like Ozzy Osbourne were persecuted, or kids who played Dungeons and Dragons were portrayed as being under Satan’s spell, I felt it, because I knew that could be me. Luckily I was never denied access to horror films because my parents liked them too, but my mom’s anxiety about Satanism came out in other weird ways, usually involving household products we weren’t allowed to buy because of Satanic origins (i.e. anything made by Procter & Gamble).

With Alison Lang’s essay on the Geraldo TV special and Ralph Elawani’s essay on Satanic anxiety in Quebec, I sense that a large function of this book is to address the power and hypocrisy from white male authorities in the Catholic church, no?
Corupe: That’s certainly a good interpretation of what happened, although we tried to keep our focus on the pop culture aspects of the panic. For me, the book is more about the con artists, conspiracy theorists, and mentally unbalanced individuals that had this unprecedented impact on pop culture at the time. I don’t personally believe that the panic was really waged by the church and hardline religious types, but more by the supposed born-again Satanic priests who built cults of personality around claims that they committed atrocities before turning to God. It’s true that many influential religious organizations hypocritically embraced these figures and accepted their stories as authentic, but it’s not terribly surprising because they were being told what they wanted to hear—that those without God were tools of Satan.

Janisse: We just wanted to document things as objectively as possible (while still allowing individual authors their opinions) and as we were working on it, it became a much heavier thing than we anticipated, full of tragedy that was the result of hypocrisy, ignorance, and those who took advantage of it. So, yes, that did end up being the overarching theme of the book.

Do films on Satan still hold up due to their primal power or are they just plain silly?
Rosemary’s Baby, The Exorcist, and The Omen have not lost their power. That’s partially the primal urge to believe these stories due to centuries of being hammered over the head with them, but it’s also indicative of expert filmmaking. A great filmmaker should be able to imbue a film with that power regardless of whether or not the audience are even familiar with Catholicism. Take a movie like The Believers or Angel Heart—I would guess a big part of their audience were not familiar with the practices of Voodoo or Santeria—but the idea of a religion you are not a part of and don’t understand is probably even freakier to most people than something that uses traditional devil imagery as depicted in the Christian bible. Anyways, the classics I mentioned are not part of the Satanic Panic era—many of the films of that era remain thoroughly enjoyable—Trick or Treat or The Gate for instance—but are definitely campy and silly.

Are we seeing a return to the occult in cinema with movies like The Witch, Kill List, and the heavily Judeo-Christian The Conjuring? Why do you think that is? Before that, there seemed to be a period where the monster was Matthew Lillard or that Michael Myers simply had a bad childhood.
Corupe: Yes, House of The Devil (2009) seemed to kick off a wave of new Satanic thrillers over the last decade. I can’t really say why we’ve seen a resurgence, but perhaps it has something to do with the increased polarity of political viewpoints in the United States, and groups like the Westboro Baptist Church gaining media attention. To many, religion can still be an all-consuming and scary thing.

Janisse: Agreed—we are in a time of religious extremism, so it makes sense that religion has become a popular poison in horror films again, and I suppose Satanism and other types of marginal occult religions are easier to demonize without having to engage directly in a political discussion.

What’s your favorite, made-up, ludicrous ‘fact’ that was perpetuated in that era?
Corupe: There’s all kinds of facts that get passed around in TV specials and Christian videos of the time, from baby sacrifices to the Smurfs getting kids acclimatized to death to Satanists consulting on horror movies. But I particularly like Jack Chick’s comic book Spellbound, which says that all rock songs (including Christian rock) are essentially evil magic spells that are made by combining ancient druidic melodies with lyrics written by witches. Then, the master tape is blessed by "Satan’s top demon" at a ceremony under a full moon before it is put into the hands of impressionable teenagers. Seems plausible.

Why did Satanic Panic end?
Nothing concrete ever came of all the accusations. The McMartin trial fizzled out, the West Memphis 3 case began, and rock musicians began to actively rally behind their cause. Some of the concerns about heavy metal and Dungeons & Dragons faded as those particular pastimes started to fade in popularity to make way for other teenage preoccupations in the 90s. It was kind of like all the stars aligned in the 1980s for the panic to happen, but by the 1990s the case that the devil controlled popular culture started to unravel a bit. Of course, there are still people who believe this, though.

Kid Power, the first book by your company Spectacular Optical was about child empowerment in film. This book seems to be more about the scary puberty years where one would flirt with evil. What will the third book be?
Our next book is going to cover Christmas horror in film and TV. There’s never been a comprehensive look at this phenomenon, and we hope to look at everything from Santa slashers to holiday ghost stories to the recent resurgence of Krampus.

Follow Robert Dayton onTwitter.

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This article originally appeared on VICE UK

Pride took over central London on Saturday, with thousands of people streaming through the streets and sticking out the mid-afternoon downpour. Political stories made headlines throughout the day, from a London Met police officer on the job proposing to his partner on the other side of the barriers in the middle of the parade—he said yes—to Justine Greening, the international development secretary, casually announcing on Twitter that she’s in a relationship with a woman.

But the most emphasis was placed, fittingly, on remembering the 49 LGBT people murdered in a brutal shooting spree in a gay Orlando nightclub earlier this month. LGBT Muslims marched proudly, while London mayor Sadiq Khan called for a minute’s silence in honor of the people killed in the attack, when he addressed the crowds gathered at Trafalgar Square.

We sent photographer Sam Sargeant down to take it all in, including guys in puppy play masks, as well as Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley in Ab Fab character as Eddie and Patsy. Here’s what he saw.

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The great American cliché of getting laid at prom has never been harder. In the era of promposals—a trend of elaborate public proposals for prom—being a horny teen is simply not enough. These days, to get a date you need to stage some kind of elaborate performance and dress up as a suicide bomber or a fucking literal knight in shining armor.

When I was a teen in the early aughts, you were lucky if a guy begrudgingly muttered the one word question “prom?” when you crossed paths in the hallway. Asking someone to prom was kinda embarrassing! The only thing even close to approaching a promposal took place on TV. The then groundbreaking reality TV show Laguna Beach, which followed the lives of entitled rich kids in Southern California, featured one episode all about the lead up to prom. One boy spelled out his ask in rose petals on a girl’s front lawn. It. Was. “Epic.”

I remember thinking that was the kind of thing only an insanely rich kid would do—and not just because of the cost. The impetus to orchestrate something so lavish could only spring from a privileged mind. But the internet has created a universe in which every person with a connection to wifi has the chance to be famous (even if it’s just for five seconds). The allure of the promposal is born out of internet culture gone mainstream. And if you’re a teen, the only thing cooler than your date saying “yes” to your promposal is it also going viral.

One of the most popular promposals features a boy backing his ass up to Juvenile in gold short-shorts that read “PROM” (she said “yes”). But some cool(er) teens are using memes, of all things, to prompose. Mic tech reporter Melanie Ehrenkranz interviewed a 17-year-old girl whose boyfriend decided to capitalize on the appeal of dat boi with his proposal. “Here come dat boi!!!! o shit waddup!,” the inside of a chocolate box read. “Go to prom with MEME?"

Maxine says when she first met her boyfriend they connected over “music, dogs, and memes.” The casual way in which she lists “memes” along with other more tangible interests shows that they’ve transcended the internet in importance; These days, loving memes isn’t much different from having “movies” (or more broadly, pop-culture) as a passion. When Ehrenkranz asked Tyler, a junior in highschool, why Pepe the frog is the only acceptable promposal, he said: “Bc memes r life.”

Memes may seem trivial or stupid to older people, but by definition they are societally significant. The term, which refers to the way in which an idea spreads across culture and mutates along the way, was first coined by biologist Richard Dawkins as a way of discussing evolutionary theory. When a concept infiltrates our culture, it gains more and more importance when each person adds their own personal touch. Everyone has, at once, the same and different relationship to doge. So in 2016, what better way to express matters of the young heart? You can capitalize on the collective unconscious AND contribute to it! Even more awesome—and meta—is if you become a meme yourself in the process.

But on a much more innocent and simple level: memes are safe. For an insecure, awkward teen memes are a way to make a sincere gesture with a joke. They are a way to avoid the emotional risk of earnestness, every teen’s nightmare. Spelling your intentions out in rose pedals, for example, has the potential to be life-ruining. But a pepe? If she says “no” to your promposal you can text your friends “ayyy lmfao” and move on.

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数年前、祖母が「髭は好きではない。男の顔が髭に隠れてしまうからね」と断言した。私にとってそれは、とても興味深い意見だった。その話が頭の片隅にあったので、2013年11月にシュトゥットガルト(Stuttgart)で開催された「世界髭選手権(World Beard and Moustache Championships)」を取材した。
70名の参加者を撮影し終えると、祖母の発言が核心をついていたのではないか、と実感した。私が撮影した何人かは髭を堂々と見せつけ、自慢をしていたが、髭のせいで顔がはっきり見えなかったり、邪魔になりモゴモゴとした話し方になる参加者もいた。私はひとりにつき写真を3枚ずつ撮影した。世界各国から集まった参加者たちは、あらゆる階層の出身で、みな個性的だった。本記事では私がシュトゥットガルトで撮影した70人分のポートレートから厳選した30枚を紹介する。

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キース・J・“ガンディー・ジョーンズ”・ハンブリック(Keith J. “Gandhi Jones” Hanbrich)
髭を伸ばし続けた期間:27年 セットに要した時間:30分

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ニック・トーマス(Nick Thomas)
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サム・ホルコム(Sam Holcombe)
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アーン・ビエルフェルト(Aarne Bielefeldt)
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ダミアン・ナイト(Damien Knight)
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フリオ(Fulio)
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エリック・ジャンソン(Eric Jansson)
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ハンス・ピーター・ワイス(Hans Peter Weis)
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ベンジャミン・ユルゲンス(Benjamin Juergens)
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フィル・オルセン(Phil Olsen)
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ドリュー・マンカスター(Drew Muncaster)
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マイケル・ウォレッジ(Michael Wallage)
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セリム・トリグヴ(Selim Trygve)
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テッド・セドマン(Ted Sedman)
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フリッツ・センドホファー(Fritz Sendhofer)
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ショーン・レイガー(Sean Raiger)
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ジャレド・マクドナルド(Jared MacDonald)
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アル・アンダーウッド(Al Underwood)
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ノーバート・トップフ(Norbert Topf)
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ラインハルト・ヘス(Reinhard Hess)
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ステファン・ホフマイスター(Stefan Hofmeister)
髭を伸ばし続けた期間:21年 セットに要した時間:15分

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ポール・ルーフ(Paul Roof)
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イェルグ・エーゴン(Jerg Egon)
髭を伸ばし続けた期間:40年 セットに要した時間:10分

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マイク・イオマンス(Mike Yeomans)
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ローランド・ファン・デル・ブレムト(Roland van der Bremt)
髭を伸ばし続けた期間:ヒゲが生えはじめてからずっと セットに要した時間:30分

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ジョン・ディクソン(John Dickson)
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コリン・マキャロリ(Collin McArolle)
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アーウィン・バッチュ(Erwin Butsch)
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フィリックス・ハモジュ(Felix Hammoge)
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髭!髭!髭!髭!髭!髭!髭!髭!髭!髭! 髭!髭!髭!髭!髭!髭!髭!髭!髭!髭! 髭!髭!髭!髭!髭!髭!髭!髭!髭!髭!VICE JAPANで公開された投稿です。

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Everyone loves videos of animals being wacky. Especially kittens. The latest viral video of an animal being wacky is completely unlike any you’ve seen before, though.

The Alice Springs Reptile Center in Australia’s Northern Territory posted a video that the staff felt “deserves to go viral” in the form of a snake shedding its skin, “accidentally enter[ing] its sloughed skin,” and getting stuck, repeatedly going around and around in a perfect circle. This proceeded to go on for three hours before the snake busted out through a hole in the shed skin.

According to the Facebook post from the Center, “It’s a Stimson’s Python and has managed to shed completely within itself with its tail finishing inside its ‘sloughed mouth!’ So the Stimmy now fully sloughed is just going round and round inside its sloughed skin!” Those are a lot of exclamation points! The person maintaining their Facebook page had never seen anything like it in 30 years of working with reptiles, so there was excitement in the air.

Don’t worry about the snake’s health: It’s fine, and it wasn’t biting itself. “If the snake is healthy, and they don’t get it snagged on anything, the skin usually comes off in one piece. But in a perfect circle? Well, that’s very unusual.”

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Blaise Cepis’s new project, Horseradish, is an evolution of his previous body of work that also dealt with the abstraction of the human form through the pairing of portraits. In that project, aptly titled "All We Have Is Ice Water & Hot Sauce," he pokes fun at the contents of his fridge representing the simplicity of his image-making process. This way of thinking inspired his new exclusive series for VICE where Cepis really focused on the evolution in technique, equipment used, and location—his shitty apartment—which plays a key role in the playful photographs. Instead of contrasting images to make something new, these photographs blend the same imagery within to create visual trickery.

Blaise Cepis is an artist and photographer based in NYC.


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