Of all the rooms in my house, my favorite is the bathroom. Bedrooms and kitchens have their charms, sure, but neither approaches the bathroom’s blend of solitude and comfort. The bathroom is where magazines are read and ideas are generated; where a modicum of privacy and a moment of respite is possible. A good bathroom break is like a small-scale spa visit—a few minutes of self-care that can make the rest of the day a little more bearable.
—For month two of my self-bettering experiment, I’m going to overhaul my bathroom—testing products, speaking to experts, and adopting the latest methods to make the most of my morning ablutions. What kind of toothbrush should I be using? How should I shower? Which brand of toilet paper is best? My goal is to make my bathroom as comfortable as possible—a luxurious Shangri-La retreat that will leave me coddled and rejuvenated.
The U.S. military used a camera as a torture device at Abu Grahib. To add further humiliation to detainees who were already put in cages, urinated on, stripped naked then stacked in macabre human pyramids, their photos were taken during these degrading acts. “I wanted to use the camera to restore these peoples’ humanity through beautiful portraiture,” says photographer Chris Bartlett, whose exhibition, “Iraqi Detainees: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Ordeals,” opens tonight in New York.
The next Asian group to come to the U.S. in large numbers were the Japanese. They initially came to Hawai’i as cheaper replacements for Chinese workers beginning around 1890. In Japan’s case, they also experienced economic and military domination by the west, which began when Commodore Matthew Perry sailed into Tokyo Bay in 1853 with his infamous “black ships,” threatening war if Japan did not open itself up for trade with the west. As a result, Japan’s economy became dependent on the west and ordinary citizens struggled to survive economically.
—But unlike workers from China, Japanese workers were actively recruited to work in Hawai’i and the U.S. and were initially closely supervised by the Japanese government to insure that they were doing well. Also unlike the Chinese, Japanese workers were mainly concentrated in agricultural jobs. However, once again, the Japanese eventually received the same type of discriminatory treatment the Chinese had received earlier, which culminated in 1907 Gentlemen’s Agreement. Japan agreed to stop issuing passports for Japanese workers to go to the U.S., even though this did not seriously reduce the amount of Japanese immigrants coming into the U.S.
—That’s how long I want to live: 75 years.
—This preference drives my daughters crazy. It drives my brothers crazy. My loving friends think I am crazy. They think that I can’t mean what I say; that I haven’t thought clearly about this, because there is so much in the world to see and do. To convince me of my errors, they enumerate the myriad people I know who are over 75 and doing quite well. They are certain that as I get closer to 75, I will push the desired age back to 80, then 85, maybe even 90.
—I am sure of my position. Doubtless, death is a loss. It deprives us of experiences and milestones, of time spent with our spouse and children. In short, it deprives us of all the things we value.
Wonder Woman, introduced in 1941, was a creation of utopian feminism, inspired by Margaret Sanger and the ideals of free love.
—The Wonder Woman Family Museum occupies a one-room bunker beneath a two-story house on a hilly street in Bethel, Connecticut. It contains more than four thousand objects. Their arrangement is higgledy-piggledy. There are Wonder Woman lunchboxes, face masks, coffee mugs, a Frisbee, napkins, record-players, T-shirts, bookends, a trailer-hitch cover, plates and cups, pencils, kites, and, near the floor, a pressed-aluminum cake mold, her breasts like cupcakes. A cardboard stand holds Pez dispensers, red, topped with Wonder Woman’s head. Wonder Woman backpacks hang from hooks; sleeping bags are rolled up on a shelf. On a ten-foot-wide stage whose backdrop depicts ancient Greece—the Parthenon atop the Acropolis—Hippolyte, queen of the Amazons, a life-size mannequin wearing sandals and a toga, sits on a throne. To her left stands her daughter, Princess Diana, a mannequin dressed as Wonder Woman: a golden tiara on top of a black wig; a red bustier embossed with an American eagle, its wings spread to form the letters “WW”; a blue miniskirt with white stars; bracelets that can stop bullets; a golden lasso strapped to her belt; and, on her feet, super-kinky knee-high red boots. Nearby, a Wonder Woman telephone rests on a glass shelf. The telephone is unplugged.
Virginia Woolf, 1925 Credit Photograph from Hulton Archive / Getty
—In August, 1925, Virginia Woolf published an essay titled “American Fiction” in the London Saturday Review, where she serenely ruled out the importance of a number of leading U.S. novelists, including Henry James, the well-respected (but now forgotten) Joseph Hergesheimer, and, perhaps most eyebrow-raisingly, Edith Wharton. Wharton’s masterpiece “The Age of Innocence” had been published just four years earlier, winning that year’s Pulitzer Prize in fiction—the first for a female author. Woolf was careful to say that it was impossible to “dismiss” such “distinguished names,” but she added that their praises were qualified because they were “not Americans,” by which she seemed to mean that, although these authors were born and raised in America and often wrote books set in their country of origin, they had become foreigners after years of living abroad, and had, osmotically or chameleonically, taken on the artistic traditions of their adoptive cultures. Instead of the invigorating innovation of a Walt Whitman, who had the sense to stay home (and whom Woolf extolled as “the real American undisguised”), these transplanted authors wrote what sounded like classic British fiction; or, as Woolf put it, “They do not give us anything we have not got already.”
Plutonium may be the most feared and fearsome substance in the entire periodic table.
Plutonium may be the most feared and fearsome substance in the entire periodic table.
—It’s best known as the main ingredient of atomic bombs like the infamous Fat Man, dropped on Nagasaki on 9 August 1945, which killed some 70,000 people. Japan surrendered six days later, but the threat of nuclear annihilation locked the world into Cold War for decades.
—Yet the story of plutonium is not all about Armageddon or the threat of it. It is also the story of an incredible voyage of discovery into an unknown world.
—To find the oldest living thing in New York City, set out from Staten Island’s West Shore Plaza mall (Chuck E. Cheese’s, Burlington Coat Factory, D.M.V.). Take a right, pass Industry Road, go left. The urban bleakness will fade into a litter-strewn route that bisects a nature preserve called Saw Mill Creek Marsh. Check the tides, and wear rubber boots; trudging through the muddy wetlands is necessary.
—The other day, directions in hand, Rachel Sussman, a photographer from Greenpoint, Brooklyn, went looking for the city’s most antiquated resident: a colony of Spartina alterniflora or Spartina patens cordgrass which, she suspects, has been cloning and re-cloning itself for millennia. The city’s oldest trees, among them the Queens Giant, a tulip poplar near the Long Island Expressway, have been living, at most, for centuries. But the Staten Island marshes, formed after the Wisconsin Glacier receded from New York, date back thousands of years. Surrounded by commercial property, and buffeted by pollutants—from oil to heavy metals—they remain a resilient prehistoric fixture. Scientists had suggested that she look there.
Imagine yourself a tourist in an East African park, binoculars raised to watch lions, elephants, buffalo, antelopes — the iconic large mammals of the savanna. Suddenly one of the continent’s greatest and least understood wildlife spectacles springs from the ground in front of you: millions of driver ants emerging from their subterranean nest. At first a teeming mob, the ants soon form a column, so densely packed that they walk over one another, and the whole comes to resemble a twisting, writhing bundle of ropes.
—No living creature dares to touch them. Every one of the foragers is ready to bite and sting, and posted along the column are soldiers on raised legs with pincer-shaped mandibles poised upward. The driver ants are well organized, yet they have no leaders. The vanguard consists of whichever of the blind workers happen to reach the front at the moment. These dash forward briefly before yielding to others that press from behind.
Martin Amis…THE ZONE OF INTEREST…310pp. Cape. £18.99….978 0 224 09974 5US: Knopf. $26.95.978 0 385 35349 6…Published: 17 September 2014
“Hexenteich am Unterharz” by Robert Müller 1815–54 Photograph: akg-images
—Martin Amis isn’t new to the business of turning the horrors of history into fiction, but he has never done so more thoughtfully than in this disquieting novel. Amis first wrote about the Holocaust in Time’s Arrow (1991), in which readers were distracted from their revulsion by a teasing reverse chronology. In The Zone of Interest, the confrontation with “that which happened” (Paul Celan’s phrase) is direct. The mechanisms of atrocity are described with a level of restraint that has not always been evident in Amis’s work, and unanswerable questions about the origins of the “Final Solution” are framed with humility and grace. And yet a different kind of question, posed by the novel’s very existence, refuses to disappear: the question of using Auschwitz as the material for a novel in the first place.
In 2005, Utah set out to fix a problem that’s often thought of as unfixable: chronic homelessness. The state had almost two thousand chronically homeless people. Most of them had mental-health or substance-abuse issues, or both. At the time, the standard approach was to try to make homeless people “housing ready”: first, you got people into shelters or halfway houses and put them into treatment; only when they made progress could they get a chance at permanent housing. Utah, though, embraced a different strategy, called Housing First: it started by just giving the homeless homes.
The disturbing implications of a long-standing expectation
—NPR reporter Shereen Marisol Meraji recently dropped in on a professional-etiquette class for teens to see what they made of traditional chivalry. “I can open my own door. I don’t see the point,” 18-year-old Chiamaka Njoku told her. “Most of these doors are automatic anyway.”
—But the young woman took a less progressive stance on the topic of money: “If a man wants to pay for the whole meal, I would not stop him,” she said. Why, as other sexist institutions gradually dissolve, does this one stubbornly hang on?
Thousands of people today started to evacuate the area near the Mayon Volcano in the Philippines after scientists warned of an imminent eruption. Compiled here are images from volcanic activity around the globe in the last couple of months. –Lloyd Young (18 photos total)
Australia’s biggest ever anti-terror police raids took place this morning at 4am, involving nearly 900 law enforcement officers, arresting 15 suspects.
—The Australian Federal Police, as well as state police and intelligence operatives, hit 25 locations in the outer suburbia of Australia’s largest city, Sydney, in a co-ordinated operation to
From the father of Economic History who developed theories to explain why capitalist economies have fluctuations and crises – to the greatest economic thinker of the 20th century
Why is this day different from all others?
Why do we need an International Talk Like a Pirate Day?
—>Make no mistake. We do. But it’s a little hard to articulate why, especially when you’ve made the mistake of referring to your wife as a scurvy bilge rat and tried to order her back into the galley.
—Talking like a pirate is fun. It’s really that simple.
everal years ago, I asked a biologist friend what she thought of a recently fashionable notion in environmentalist circles: that pristine nature was an illusion, and our beloved wilderness an outdated construct that didn’t actually exist. She’d just finished her shift at the local boardwalk, a volunteer-tended path through a lovely little peat bog that formed after the last ice age, near what is today eastern Maine’s largest commercial shopping area.
catmota: Dog. Ang Kiukok (1931 – 2005)… viα.
The fall of the first family of televangelism came swiftly.
—Two Oral Roberts Ministries employees crouched on a desk on their hands and knees, their heads sticking through a hole in the wall. The voices of the Oral Roberts University Board of Regents on the speakerphone conference call one floor below carried up through the thin ceiling panels. Patriarch Oral Roberts was urging Richard, his successor, not to go on Larry King Live that evening.
—“I think I should,” they heard Richard tell his father. Oral thought Larry King would eat Richard alive.
One of the most active ISIS members on social media is a woman named “Shams,” who calls herself “Bird of Jannah” and runs a blog called Diary of a Muhajirah.
Fernando Livschitz of Black Sheep Films edits mundane traffic footage, descending a routine intersection into choreographed chaos. Fernando’s editing skills are a sight to behold, and you can view his impressive portfolio here.
—To see what an actual intersection with no traffic lights looks like, check out this video.
Though in some traditions goddesses exist only in the spiritual realm, in Nepal they live and breathe.
–These kumari, or “living goddesses,” are pre-pubescent girls considered to be the earthly manifestations of divine female energy, incarnations of the goddess known as Taleju, the Nepalese name for Durga.
—[...]Selected as children, they live in temples, are carried in chariots during festivals and are worshipped by thousands of Hindus and Buddhists. They retire upon puberty.
The iconic Domino Sugar Refinery in Brookly NY dates back to 1882 and was once the largest sugar refinery in the world.
—In 2004 operations ceased and plans are in place for mixed use development.
Researchers propose that short-range, localized electric fields on the surface of minerals may have played a part in directing the chemistry that led to the molecules of life.
Credit: GunnerVV via flickr
—Quantum mechanical simulations of the famous Miller experiment, in which simple molecules are exposed to an electrical discharge to produce amino acids, as may have happened on the early Earth as a precursor to life, suggest that a previously unseen intermediate, formamide, may play a key role in the chemical pathways.
And our friend and ally, NATO member Turkey, refuses to impede their oil sales. The Islamic State is going to be around for awhile. “ISIS controls areas with 60 oil wells, Israeli source,” ANSAmed, September 18, 2014 (thanks to Insubria):
—(ANSAmed) – TEL AVIV/BAGHDAD/BEIRUT, SEPTEMBER 18 – ISIS has ”extraordinary economic resources” enabling it to gain strength in vast areas of Syria and Iraq, forging alliances with local tribes and other groups, according to an Israeli source quoted by Haaretz on Thursday. The source said ISIS controls areas with 60 active oil wells, providing revenues varying from three to six million dollars a day.
Being around people who are different from us makes us more creative, more diligent and harder-working
—The first thing to acknowledge about diversity is that it can be difficult. In the U.S., where the dialogue of inclusion is relatively advanced, even the mention of the word “diversity” can lead to anxiety and conflict. Supreme Court justices disagree on the virtues of diversity and the means for achieving it. Corporations spend billions of dollars to attract and manage diversity both internally and externally, yet they still face discrimination lawsuits, and the leadership ranks of the business world remain predominantly white and male.
In the digital drug trade as in the physical one, taking out one kingpin only makes room for another ready to satisfy the market’s endless demand. In the case of the FBI’s takedown of the Silk Road, the latest of the up-and-coming drug kingpins is far more evolved than its predecessor—and far less principled.
Since it launched early this year, the anonymous black market bazaar Evolution has grown dramatically, nearly tripling its sales listings in just the last five months. It now offers more than 15,000 mostly illegal products ranging from weapons to weed, cocaine, and heroin.
Otto Frank, Anne Frank’s father and only surviving family member, revisiting the attic, May 3rd, 1960