The joy of the Internet is also its drawback: there is simply too much information, much of it excellent, for the mind to absorb. I hope that in making these suggestions for your web surfing I have singled out some of the best.

Every so often a portrait hits my eye with such impact that I keep coming back to it. In this case an image by George Rivera that was shown at Mission College calls me back repeatedly. The show was called "A Journey of Hope", and the image bears the title "Reality Faith Life". Each time I have more questions to ask of it, and each time the anwers are different. Rivera is the Executive Director and Senior Curator at the Triton Museum in Santa Clara, California. He has an extensive resume and an enormous talent.

I was hoping to quote this entire poem to you, but a letter to poet Thulani Davis asking for permission went unanswered. Let me just say that "skinny-dippin' in the gene pool" is as much a clap of thunder as George Rivera's portrait above. If Rivera believes in hope, cast in deep shadows, Davis' hope is struggling to breathe under the bigotry and war-driven lives we live. Her comment, "Your survival is not required/for history or hollywood" gives you a tiny idea of where her mind and her words dwell.

In a provocative article titled "Your E-Book is Reading You", Alexandra Alter of the Wall Street Journal alerts readers to the dramatic change in the act of reading itself. Once a solitary pursuit, a private interchange between reader and author, eReading has now become the object of intense scrutiny by companies like Barnes and Noble, Apple, and of course Google. They intently analyze how long you read one book, for example, how quickly you read, what search terms you use to find a book, and how often you re-read the same book or even the same paragraph. You and I have become fodder for the voracious data-crunching behemoths. I hesitate to think what they will do with this information.

In an article titled "Glorious Legacy of a Crabby Loner", Standpoint magazine attempts to understand and wonder at the complexity of Benjamin Britten's music. At one point compared to Mozart and Wagner, Britten became a virtual icon. Subsequently he was villified for "domestic sadism brought to stage". I read recently that one art critic complained that "Cezanne could paint bad breath". In this article the writer stresses that Britten excelled in "composing the unspeakable".

The Matthew Marks Gallery in New York is showing the stainless steel sculpture of Charles Ray. I have worked with stainless steel for years, and I can attest to the difficulty of working with this material let alone producing figurative body sculptures with it. Ray has been included in two Venice Biennales and five Whitney Biennales. He lives and works in Los Angeles.

So much is going on in the field of architecture that it is almost impossible to keep up with it. Included is a relatively new field of performance architecture, described as "urban interventions" and meant to present provocative public spaces. This particular site features clothes as an architectural material. Next up for consideration: a 3D printed house. Proposed by a Dutch architect, it looks like a giant Mobius strip and is but one of many fascinating adventures contemplated in the new field of 3D printing.

If you are planning a trip to Hong Kong, or even if you are not, an ambitious center of cultural activity should be on your agenda. Located in the West Kowloon cultural district, the project aims to build seventeen sites for culture and the arts. The first building, the Xiqu Chinese Opera venue, is already under construction, while an extensive collection of Chinese art has been donated for the area's M+ Museum of Visual Culture, expected to open in 2017. Lars Nittve, who formerly was the founding director of the Tate Modern in London, has been appointed Executive Director of M+. In spite of doubts raised by the world-wide recession, architect Norman Foster is going ahead with his master plan, carefully designed to take full advantage of the waterfront site. The founding philosophy of the entire project is to create a cultural venue for Hong Kong natives, rather than a tourist destination.

In South China, remains of what appears to have been an unknown human species have been unearthed. The bones of at least five people apparently originated between 11,500 and 14,500 years ago and have been nicknamed The Red Deer Cave people. They seem to resemble a combination of modern and archaic humans. Some characteristics include large teeth and broad noses. Stone tools and artifacts were also found at the locations.

The country of Yemen has a long history of discrimination against a population called the Akhdam,, commonly referred to as the Untouchables. Claiming nearly 1.5 million people out of Yemen's 26 million citizens, the Akhdam prefer to be called "the marginalized people". They are believed to be descendants of the Ethiopians who ruled in Yemen before the advent of Islam roughly 1,400 years ago. Their living conditions are intolerable, as photographed by Khaled Abdullah.

c.Corinne Whitaker 2013