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Globalist haircuts, sleek retro-futuristic cars, and undiscovered trade routes.
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Where'd You Get That?

Welcome back to the Pixel Fable newsletter. Today we look at how ideas move through humans, societies, and countries — sometimes it's an engineered process, and sometimes it's a chain of serendipitous events.

Ghanaian Barbershop Signs

A stylized barbershop sign from Ghana.
Colorful, ubiquitous, and sometimes puzzling, these barbershop signs hang in front of salons and barbershops across Ghana. Notice how Western style, especially Black American style, has crept into the paintings. You might be able to pick out American personalities, brands, or even names! Globalization melds fashion and style across continents and across cultures.

Some of the signs are for sale online.

Visual Futurism with Syd Mead

Futuristic car and party scene designed by Syd Mead.
Syd Mead for US Steel; via Gavin Rothery.
"Visual Futurist" Syd Mead worked on Star Trek, Bladerunner, Aliens, and Tron, among a variety of commercial projects. In this interview with Alexa Roman, Mead discusses his career as an artist, and the process of imagining what comes next.
"The embarrassing part is, the technology is moving so fast that science fiction is — you can buy it at Best Buy. Only maybe five, six years away from when it was considered fantasy. So a lot of science fiction movies now are circulating around interpersonal, social issues, because the technology part of it is really not that fantastic anymore."

A Persian in Ancient Japan

Nigatsu-do temple stairs in Nara, Japan.
Nigatsu-do temple stairs in Nara, Japan. Photo via RedToby.
The Japan Times reports that a group of archaeologists used infrared imaging to read an ancient Japanese document, on which they found the name of a Persian official. This indicates that Nara, the country's capital city at that time, was more multicultural than researchers had previously understood.

Akihiro Watanabe, from the Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, speculated to The Japan Times that "Nara was a cosmopolitan city where foreigners were treated equally."

Stories like this indicate an alternate timeline covered up by Western hegemony, one in which people of color were conscious actors and writers of their own history. They traveled, they traded, and the ensuing cultural exchanges were rich and complex.
That's all for now. If you come across a link that you think I'd like, please send it along! And if you need a bedtime story, Pixel Fable has a variety of options... but I can't promise you good dreams.
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