DEVO Is Now Selling COVID-19 Personal Protective Equipment: Energy Dome Face Shields

According to DEVO's co-principle songwriter and bassist Gerald Casale, the experimental art band turned early MTV pop-punk darlings were “pro-information, anti stupid conformity and knew that the struggle for freedom against tyranny is never-ending.”

Their singular performance garb also set them apart, and none more so than the bright red plastic Energy Dome helmets they donned 40 years ago this month, upon the release of their third album, Freedom of Choice.




The record, which the band conceived of as a funk album, exploded into mainstream consciousness. The visuals may have made an even more lasting impact than the music, which included the chart topping "Whip It."

Even the most anti-New Wave metalhead could identify the source of those domes, which have been likened to upturned flower pots, dog bowls, car urinals, and lamp shades.

What they probably don’t know is the Energy Dome was “designed according to ancient ziggurat mount proportions used in votive worship. Like the mounds, it collects energy and recirculates it. In this case, the dome collects energy that escapes from the crown of the human head and pushes it back into the Medula Oblongata for increased mental energy.”

Thus sayeth Casale, anyway.

DEVO’s 2020 concert plans were, of course, scotched by the coronavirus pandemic, but the band has found an alternative way to mark the 40th anniversary of Freedom of Choice and the birth of its iconic headgear.

In addition to face masks emblazoned with the familiar red tiered shape, DEVOtees with money and confidence to spare can ante up for a DIY Personal Protective Equipment kit that transforms a standard-issue Energy Dome into a face shield.

It’s worth noting that before taking your converted energy dome out for a particle deflecting spin, you’ll have to truffle up a hard hat suspension liner and install it for a proper fit.

Casale heralded the opening of DEVO’s merch store in a Facebook post:

Here we are 40 years later, living in the alternate reality nightmare spawned by Covid 19 and the botched response of our world “leaders” to do the right thing quickly. We are not exaggerating when we say that 2020 could be the last time you might be able to exercise your freedom of choice. If you don’t use it, you can certainly lose it.

Uh, he’s talking about voting, right, rather than storming the capitol building to demand the premature reopening of inessential businesses or making outsized threats in response to grocery store mask policies?

Perhaps the power of the Energy Dome is such that it could reawaken the pro-information, anti-stupidity sensibilities of some dormant DEVO fans among the unmasked rank and file.

As Casale himself posited in an interview with American Songwriter: "You make it taste good so that they don’t realize there’s medicine in it."

Pre-order masks and PPE kits from DEVO’s official merch store.

Download instructions for installing a hard hat suspension replacement inside the Energy Dome prior to attaching the shield.

via Consequence of Sound

Related Content:

Japanese Designer Creates Free Template for an Anti-Virus Face Shield: Download, and Then Use a Printer, Paper & Scissors

The Philosophy & Music of Devo, the Avant-Garde Art Project Dedicated to Revealing the Truth About De-Evolution

The Mastermind of Devo, Mark Mothersbaugh, Presents His Personal Synthesizer Collection

Devo’s Mark Mothersbaugh & Other Arists Tell Their Musical Stories in the Animated Video Series, “California Inspires Me”

Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, theater maker and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine.  Here latest project is an animation and a series of free downloadable posters, encouraging citizens to wear masks in public and wear them properly. Follow her @AyunHalliday.

16 Ways the World Is Getting Remarkably Better: Visuals by Statistician Hans Rosling

It certainly may not feel like things are getting better behind the anxious veils of our COVID lockdowns. But some might say that optimism and pessimism are products of the gut, hidden somewhere in the bacterial stew we call the microbiome. “All prejudices come from the intestines,” proclaimed noted sufferer of indigestion, Friedrich Nietzsche. Maybe we can change our views by changing our diet. But it’s a little harder to change our emotions with facts. We turn up our noses at them, or find them impossible to digest.

Nietzsche did not consider himself a pessimist. Despite his stomach troubles, he “adopted a philosophy that said yes to life,” notes Reason and Meaning, “fully cognizant of the fact that life is mostly miserable, evil, ugly, and absurd.” Let’s grant that this is so. A great many of us, I think, are inclined to believe it. We are ideal consumers for dystopian Nietzsche-esque fantasies about supermen and “last men.” Still, it's worth asking: is life always and equally miserable, evil, ugly, and absurd? Is the idea of human progress no more than a modern delusion?




Physician, statistician, and onetime sword swallower Hans Rosling spent several years trying to show otherwise in television documentaries for the BBC, TED Talks, and the posthumous book Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World—and Why Things Are Better Than You Think, co-written with his son and daughter-in-law, a statistician and designer, respectively. Rosling, who passed away in 2017, also worked with his two co-authors on software used to animate statistics, and in his public talks and book, he attempted to bring data to life in ways that engage gut feelings.

Take the set of graphs above, aka, “16 Bad Things Decreasing,” from Factfulness. (View a larger scan of the pages here.) Yes, you may look at a set of monochromatic trend lines and yawn. But if you attend to the details, you'll can see that each arrow plummeting downward represents some profound ill, manmade or otherwise, that has killed or maimed millions. These range from legal slavery—down from 194 countries in 1800 to 3 in 2017—to smallpox: down from 148 countries with cases in 1850 to 0 in 1979. (Perhaps our current global epidemic will warrant its own triumphant graph in a revised edition some decades in the future.) Is this not progress?

What about the steadily falling rates of world hunger, child mortality, HIV infections, numbers of nuclear warheads, deaths from disaster, and ozone depletion? Hard to argue with the numbers, though as always, we should consider the source. (Nearly all these statistics come from Rosling’s own company, Gapminder.) In the video above, Dr. Rosling explains to a TED audience how he designed a course on global health in his native Sweden. In order to make sure the material measured up to his accomplished students’ abilities, he first gave them a questionnaire to test their knowledge.

Rosling found, he jokes, “that Swedish top students know statistically significantly less about the world than a chimpanzee," who would have scored higher by chance. The problem “was not ignorance, it was preconceived ideas," which are worse. Bad ideas are driven by many -isms, but also by what Rosling calls in the book an “overdramatic” worldview. Humans are nervous by nature. “Our tendency to misinterpret facts is instinctive—an evolutionary adaptation to help us make quick decisions to avoid danger,” writes Katie Law in a review of Factfulness.

“While we still need these instincts, they can also trip us up.” Magnified by global, collective anxieties, weaponized by canny mass media, the tendency to pessimism becomes reality, but it's one that is not supported by the data. This kind of argument has become kind of a cottage industry; each presentation must be evaluated on its own merits. Presumably enlightened optimism can be just as oversimplified a view as the darkest pessimism. But Rosling insisted he wasn’t an optimist. He was just being “factful.” We probably shouldn’t get into what Nietzsche might say to that.

via Simon Kuestenmacher

Related Content:  

Positive Psychology: A Free Course from Harvard University 

Against All Odds: A Gentle Introduction to Statistics Hosted by Harvard Geneticist Pardis Sabeti (Free Online Course)

David Byrne Launches Reasons to Be Cheerful, an Online Magazine Featuring Articles by Byrne, Brian Eno & More

Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

Building Your Resilience: Finding Meaning in Adversity–Take a Free & Timely Course Online

The Great Courses has made available a free and rather timely course--Building Your Resilience: Finding Meaning in Adversity. Divided into 24 lectures and taught by Molly Birkholm, the course gets introduced with the following text:

Recent research shows that we grow into our best and most joyful selves not when we avoid our problems but when we embrace them, confident that we are resilient enough to work through them to an appropriate resolution. Our problems are an important part of our path.

Resilience is our ability to physically, emotionally, and mentally bounce back from adverse circumstances. Without it, we would be down for the count every time we ran into a problem. Stuck in traffic and late for a meeting? It’s your resilience that allows you to make the necessary phone calls and keep moving forward, confident that you can handle this stressful situation as it evolves. Without it, you’d make a U-turn and give up. Recovering from the flu or recent surgery? It’s your resilience that helps you take care of yourself appropriately and look forward to a better future. Our capacity to thrive in life depends directly on our resilience.

Sharing her own fascinating journey, as well as the latest research by neurologists and psychologists, trauma specialist Molly Birkholm shows us how to gauge our current level of resilience and improve from there. In Building Your Resilience: Finding Meaning in Adversity, you’ll learn how all of our challenges—from everyday stresses to life-altering traumas—can bring wisdom and growth. In 17 fascinating classes and 7 “hands-on” practice sessions, you’ll learn about and experience the process of building the inner calm and clarity of mind that create greater resilience. With Ms. Birkholm’s warm and optimistic demeanor, you’ll feel her encouragement every step of the way as you move toward building your best and most fulfilling life.

Watch all 24 lectures above, or over on YouTube. Building Your Resilience: Finding Meaning in Adversity will be added to our collection, 1,500 Free Online Courses from Top Universities.

Find more courses in The Great Courses catalogue here.

Would you like to support the mission of Open Culture? Please consider making a donation to our site. It's hard to rely 100% on ads, and your contributions will help us continue providing the best free cultural and educational materials to learners everywhere.

Also consider following Open Culture on Facebook and Twitter and sharing intelligent media with your friends. Or sign up for our daily email and get a daily dose of Open Culture in your inbox. 

Related Content:

How Buddhism & Neuroscience Can Help You Change How Your Mind Works: A New Course by Bestselling Author Robert Wright

Positive Psychology: A Free Course from Harvard University 

What Are the Keys to Happiness?: Take “The Science of Well-Being,” a Free Online Version of Yale’s Most Popular Course

How to Find Emotional Strength & Resilience During COVID-19: Advice from Elizabeth Gilbert, Jack Kornfield, Susan David & Other Experts

The Art of the New Deal: Why the Federal Government Funded the Arts During the Great Depression

It’s odd to think that the gray-faced, gray-suited U.S. Cold Warriors of the 1950s funded Abstract Expressionism and left-wing literary magazines in a cultural offensive against the Soviet Union. And yet they did. This seeming historical irony is compounded by the fact that so many of the artists enlisted (mostly unwittingly) in the cultural Cold War might not have had careers were it not for the New Deal programs of 20 years earlier, denounced by Republicans at the time as communist.

The New Deal faced fierce opposition, and its passage involved some very unfortunate compromises. But for artists, it was a major boon. Programs established under the Works Progress Administration in 1935 helped thousands of artists survive until they could get back to plying trades, working as professionals, or building world-famous careers. Artists and art workers once supported by the WPA include Dorothea Lange, Langston Hughes, Orson Welles, Ralph Ellison, Zora Neale Hurston, Gordon Parks, Alan Lomax, Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock, James Agee, and dozens more famous names.

There were also thousands of unknown painters, photographers, sculptors, poets, dancers, playwrights, etc. who received funding in their local areas to put their skills to work. “Through the WPA,” the National Gallery of Art writes, artists “participated in government employment programs in every state and county in the nation.” As to the question of whether their work deserved to be paid, “Harry Hopkins,” Jerry Adler writes at Smithsonian, “whom President Franklin D. Roosevelt put in charge of work relief, settled the matter, saying, ‘”Hell, they’ve got to eat just like other people!”




He turns the question about who "deserves" relief on its head. Dance may not be necessary by some people’s lights but eating most certainly is. Why shouldn’t artists use their talent to beautify the country, collect and archive its cultural history, and provide quality entertainment in uncertain times? And why shouldn't the country's artists document the enormous building projects underway, and the major shifts happening in people's lives, for posterity?

Roosevelt, taking many of his cues from Eleanor, spoke of funding the arts in much grander terms than the pragmatic Hopkins. He elaborated on his belief in their “essential” nature in a speech at the dedication of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s new building in 1939:

Art in America has always belonged to the people and has never been the property of an academy or a class. The great Treasury projects, through which our public buildings are being decorated, are an excellent example of the continuity of this tradition. The Federal Art Project of the Works Progress Administration is a practical relief project which also emphasizes the best tradition of the democratic spirit. The W.P.A. artist, in rendering his own impression of things, speaks also for the spirit of his fellow countrymen everywhere. I think the W.P.A. artist exemplifies with great force the essential place which the arts have in a democratic society such as ours.

In the future we must seek more widespread popular understanding and appreciation of the arts. Many of our great cities provide the facilities for such appreciation. But we all know that because of their lack of size and riches the smaller communities are in most cases denied this opportunity. That is why I give special emphasis to the need of giving these smaller communities the visual chance to get to know modern art.

As in our democracy we enjoy the right to believe in different religious creeds or in none, so can American artists express themselves with complete freedom from the strictures of dead artistic tradition or political ideology. While American artists have discovered a new obligation to the society in which they live, they have no compulsion to be limited in method or manner of expression.

He began the address with several airy phrases about freedom and liberty; here, he defines what that looks like for the artist—the ability to have dignified work and livelihood, and to operate with full creative freedom. Of course, artists, especially those employed in decorating public buildings, were constrained by certain “American” themes. But they could interpret those themes broadly, and they did, picturing scenes of hardship and leisure, recovering the past and imagining better futures.

It couldn't last. “The WPA-era art programs reflected a trend toward the democratization of the arts in the United States and a striving to develop a uniquely American and broadly inclusive cultural life,” the National Gallery explains. Art from this period “offers a window through which to explore the social conditions of the Depression, the mainstreaming of art and birth of ‘public art,’ and the opening of government employment to women and African Americans.” Opponents of the programs pushed back with red baiting. Arts funding under the WPA was ended in 1943 by a Congress, says scholar of the period Francis O’Connor, who could “look at two blades of grass and see a hammer and sickle.”

See much more New Deal art--including plays, photography, art posters and more--at the National Gallery of Art, the National ArchivesSmithsonian, and at the links below.

Related Content:

Yale Presents an Archive of 170,000 Photographs Documenting the Great Depression

Striking Poster Collection from the Great Depression Shows That the US Government Once Supported the Arts in America

Young Orson Welles Directs “Voodoo Macbeth,” the First Shakespeare Production With An All-Black Cast: Footage from 1936

Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Washington, DC. Follow him @jdmagness

How to Find Emotional Strength & Resilience During COVID-19: Advice from Elizabeth Gilbert, Jack Kornfield, Susan David & Other Experts

There are many roads through the coronavirus crisis. One is denial, which only makes things worse. Another is service and self-sacrifice, a choice we honor in the medical professionals putting their lives at risk every day. For most of us, however, the best course of action is non-action—staying home and isolating ourselves from others. Days bleed into weeks, weeks into months. It can seem like life has come to a complete halt. It hasn’t, of course. All sorts of things are happening inside us. We don’t know how long this will last; current courses of action don’t bode well. What do we do with the fear, anger, loneliness, grief, and buzzing, ever-present anxiety?

Maybe the first thing to do is to accept that we have those feelings and feel them, instead of stuffing them down, covering them up, or pushing them onto someone else. Then we can recognize we aren't by any means alone. That’s easier said than done in quarantine, but psychologists and inspirational writers and speakers like Elizabeth Gilbert have come together under the auspices of the TED Connect series, hosted by the head of TED Chris Anderson, to help.




TED, known for showcasing “thinkers and doers [giving] the talk of their lives in 18 minutes (or less),” has wisely recognized the need to dig much deeper. Anderson and head of curation Helen Walters’ conversation with Gilbert, above, runs a little over an hour.

As for that ceaseless anxiety, Gilbert suggests we should all give ourselves “a measure of mercy and compassion.” We might feel like we need permission to do so in societies that demand we constantly justify our existence. But admitting vulnerability is the beginning of strength. Then we find constructive ways forward. The kind of resilience we can build in isolation is the kind that can outlast a crisis. Still, it is hard won. As Anderson says above, in addition to the external battle we must fight with the virus and our own governments, “there’s this other battle as well, that is probably equally as consequential. It’s a battle that’s going on right inside our minds.”

Rather than killing time waiting fitfully for some acceptable form of normal to return, we can build what psychologist Susan David calls “emotional courage.” In conversation with TED’s Whitney Pennington Rogers, above, David reveals that she herself has good reason to fear: her husband is a physician. She also understands the consequences of a collective denial of suffering and death. “The circumstance that we are in now is not something that we asked for, but life is calling on every single one of us to move into the place of wisdom in ourselves… into the space of wisdom and fortitude, solidarity, community, courage.” We move into that space by recognizing that “life’s beauty is inseparable from its fragility.”

Themes of courage and connection come up again and again in other TED Connects interviews, such as that above with Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks and below with author Priya Parker. Elsewhere on the internet, you’ll find similar kinds of advice.

On the Tim Ferris show, you can hear interviews with Jack Kornfield on finding peace in the pandemic, Esther Perel on navigating relationships in quarantine, and Ryan Holiday on using Stoicism to choose “alive time over dead time.”

Stoicism has gathered a particularly rich store of wisdom about how to live in crisis. In his own meditation on isolation, Michel de Montaigne drew on the Stoics in advising readers to “reserve a backshop, wholly our own and entirely free, wherein to settle our true liberty, our principle solitude and retreat…. We have a mind pliable in itself, that will be company; that has wherewithal to attack and to defend, to receive and to give: let us not then fear in this solitude to languish under an uncomfortable vacuity.” In other words, the road through isolation, though fraught with painful emotions and uncertainties, can be, if we choose, one of significant personal and collective growth.

Related Content:

Free Courses on the Coronavirus: What You Need to Know About the Emerging Pandemic

How Stress Can Change Your Brain: An Animated Introduction

An Animated Introduction to Stoicism, the Ancient Greek Philosophy That Lets You Lead a Happy, Fulfilling Life

Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

Japanese Designer Creates Free Template for an Anti-Virus Face Shield: Download, and Then Use a Printer, Paper & Scissors

A few years ago we featured the Japanese art of chindōgu, or the invention of amusingly "useless" inventions. The chindōgu canon includes such simultaneously sensible and nonsensical objects as miniature toecap umbrellas (to keep one's shoes dry in the rain) and chopsticks fitted with miniature fans (to cool down ramen noodles before consumption). Today we present a Japanese invention that may at first glance look chindōgu-like, but would never qualify due to its simplicity and sheer usefulness: an anti-virus face shield that anyone can make in three easy steps. After you've downloaded the template, all you need is a printer, paper, scissors, and some kind of clear plastic sheet.

"Healthcare workers around the world are putting their lives on the line to fight COVID-19 but their battle continues to be fought uphill as a shortage of medical supplies threatens to disrupt an already overwhelmed system," writes Spoon & Tamago's Johnny Waldman. We've all read of the lack of necessities like face masks and ventilators in some of the most afflicted countries, and in such places having access to face shields could make a real difference in the number of lives saved.




"Face shields are typically made with multiple parts and would be difficult to create and assemble at home," Waldman notes. "But Tokujin Yoshioka’s brilliant idea simplifies the design greatly, allowing it to be held in place with ordinary eyewear." Best known as an artist and designer, Yoshioka has made his name creating striking sculptures, installations, works of architecture, and many other objects besides.

Yoshioka even designed the torch for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, shaped like a Japanese cherry blossom and made with the same aluminum extrusion technology used to manufacture the country's equally iconic bullet trains. Clearly the coronavirus-caused postponement of the games hasn't got Yoshioka too down to continue pursuing his calling. "I am grateful to the brave and dedicated healthcare workers for fighting the contagious disease," he writes in the note accompanying the video at the top of the post that shows you how to make and wear his face shield. As you can see, it's made to be worn with glasses, so the non-bespectacled will need to stick with other forms of protection against the virus — or take the opportunity to order some fashionable frames of the kind that all the best designers seem to be wearing these days.

via Spoon and Tamago

Related Content:

Watch “Coronavirus Outbreak: What You Need to Know,” and the 24-Lecture Course “An Introduction to Infectious Diseases,” Both Free from The Great Courses

Interactive Web Site Tracks the Global Spread of the Coronavirus: Created and Supported by Johns Hopkins

Why Fighting the Coronavirus Depends on You

The 10 Commandments of Chindōgu, the Japanese Art of Creating Unusually Useless Inventions

Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall, on Facebook, or on Instagram.

Free Books About Pandemic & Contagion from Duke University Press

From Duke University Press comes free books on pandemics and contagion. They write: "Amid the worldwide spread of COVID-19, it’s a challenging time, and our thoughts are with those affected by this disease. In support and solidarity, we are providing free access to the following books and journal articles to help build knowledge and understanding of how we navigate the spread of communicable diseases. Listed books are free to read online until June 1, 2020, and journal articles are free until October 1." Titles include: Contagious: Cultures, Carriers, and the Outbreak Narrative; Virulent Zones: Animal Disease and Global Health at China’s Pandemic Epicenter; Red State, Blue State, Flu State: Media Self-Selection and Partisan Gaps in Swine Flu Vaccinations; and more. Enter the collection here.

via Hyperallergic

Would you like to support the mission of Open Culture? Please consider making a donation to our site. It's hard to rely 100% on ads, and your contributions will help us continue providing the best free cultural and educational materials to learners everywhere.

Also consider following Open Culture on Facebook and Twitter and sharing intelligent media with your friends. Or sign up for our daily email and get a daily dose of Open Culture in your inbox. 

More in this category... »
Quantcast