Read time: 3 minutes


Of Ben-Hur and Galley Slaves

Few characters are more synonymous with the golden age of the Hollywood epic than the two played by Charlton Heston: Moses in The Ten Commandments and Judah Ben-Hur in Ben-Hur. Although the chariot race scene in Ben-Hur is the one that most captured the storytelling and grand scale of production in that classic film, the imagery of Judah chained to an oar in the hull of a Roman warship is the most poignant. This writer takes a deep historical dive into the details of the “galley slave” and their use (or they mythical use) in Roman imperial ships of war.


2If Judah Ben-Hur Had a Corporate Job

Performance art isn’t my thing, usually. However, every once in awhile, through the magic of the internet, I come across an artist whose work I not only “get,” but which gets me. This work by Jefferson Pinder is just such a work. The imagery of watching six African-American men in business attire silently row themselves to exhaustion is a powerful commentary on the issues of both race and labor.

3The Spark That Survived Igniting the Arab Spring

Eight years ago, the flames of the Arab Spring were in full burn mode. Sparked by a pair of self-immolations made in protest in Tunisia, the organic resistance movement used the internet to unexpectedly jump over country borders and quickly spread across the Mediterranean. In the space of two short months, the countries of Egypt, Libya, Syria and Yemen were all pulled into chaos … chaos that continues to burn through blood and treasure to this day.

Only one of those two Tunisian men actually died from their self-set ordeals. This is the compelling story of the one who survived.

4The Art of Marketing Genes

Sooyun Choi is a senior product designer at the consumer genetic sequencing company 23andMe. More interestingly, she is the artist behind 23andMe’s visual brand. Choi designed the bright, colorful chromosome graphics that wrap around the company’s home DNA collection kits as well as the company’s web presence. On her personal site, Choi explains the thought processes that went into the design work, as well as how all the different graphical elements tie together to form a coherent voice for 23andMe’s brand.

Her collection of non-work-related artwork is worth viewing as well. As the father of a daughter/aspiring artist, I love seeing examples of how people’s passion for making art can be a fruitful career in ways beyond the traditional one of selling art as art.


5China Leading the Way to 5G

There are so many areas all around us where change is happening on an exponential curve, making it nearly impossible to envision what is coming in even the near term. For example, the amount of information that gets transmitted wireless-ly across the cellular radio spectrum is about to get freaky fast with the advent of 5th Generation mobile internet technology. Confusion about 5G abounds thanks to the marketing spin by US mobile carriers, all fighting to find ways to “claim” the title of first to roll out 5G services. Profit-driven storytelling efforts aside, though, this article by MIT Technology Review explains how China is racing ahead to do the real, infrastructure-building work needed to support a 5G data ecosystem. It’s truly hard to overestimate how radically different our world is about to become when everything is connected and constantly communicating with everything else.