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Shorts




The bells of London
Higher, stronger, louder! That's what the artist Martin Creed wants the starting note of the Olympics to sound like. Creed wants everyone in the UK to ring a bell at 8. 12 am on July 27, the day of the Olympics opening ceremony, as part of his London 2012 festival project All the Bells Work No 1197. Any bell will do. Church bells, bicycle bells, alarm bells, sleigh bells, door bells, telephone bells and even that public nuisance, the mobile phone bell. Please do not switch off your mobiles or put them on silent. Instead, let them peal like bells. Getting into the spirit of things, the Guardian website has an interactive bell-ringing page that encourages readers to click on different bells and hear them ring. You're probably going to be drowned out in any case by the sonorous Big Ben, which will chime non-stop for three minutes to officially ring in the games or by the special 27-tonne giant bell being struck specially for the Olympics inscribed with a line from a speech by Caliban in William Shakespeare's The Tempest: "Be not afeard, the isle is full of noises. "


Just compose it
London mayor Boris Johnson's love of Greek - he's known to quote Virgil and Homer at the drop of a hat - has made him commission a poem for the Olympics in ancient Greek, in the style of Pindar, the poet famous for his odes celebrating victories in the athletic competitions of fifth-century Greece. The poem, which has been written by Armand D'Angour, a fellow of Jesus College, Oxford, has turned out rather nicely, except for a small hitch at the end. The last two lines of the poem are: Good luck to all who strive to win:/ applaud, and let the Games begin! But since the Greek for victory is 'Nike', and since the brand is not a sponsor of the Games, its use is liable to be tricky for Johnson. "Armand's endorsement of Adidas' rival is bold, and, I am sure, heartfelt, " deadpanned Tim Whitmarsh, professor of ancient literatures at the University of Oxford. Let the sponsorship wars begin.


Digital AIDS quilt
It's considered one of the largest pieces of community-crafted folk art in the world: the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt. In June 1987, a group of strangers in San Francisco gathered to remember the names and lives of their loved ones who had died of AIDS. Each of them sewed a panel in the memory of the dead person, and this was the start of a quilt that now covers 1. 3 million square feet. With nearly 50, 000 panels accumulated, it weighs 54 tonnes and is so massive that it can't even be viewed in a single piece. It will eventually run out of display space, as people continue to succumb to the disease and new panels are added. To accommodate the continued growth of the quilt, Microsoft has helped create a digital exhibit that displays the quilt in its entirety online. You can zoom in and view it block by block - but with each of the 6, 000 blocks holding eight panels, it'll take you well over a month to view the whole thing.

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