Roman Vishniac, [Jewish refugees from Germany leaving France for Palestine on board the S.S. Providence, Marseille Harbor], April 1947
Roman Vishniac’s entire archive of recently discovered negatives, spanning the 1920s to 1970s, includes a large body of previously unknown material documenting the lives and experiences of Holocaust survivors and Displaced Persons in postwar Europe.
“Would kids really be better off if their parents stayed together, fighting and yelling and tiptoeing around?”
—A boy plays hopscotch in his schoolyard. (Charles Platiau/Reuters)
—A growing body of literature now suggests that the earlier we turn back the clock in kids’ development, the more profound the impact of their environment. Early childhood is critical—race and class differences in achievement are pretty much evident by the time kids reach kindergarten, for instance. Even what happens before you’re born turns out to have consequences for decades afterward. The Chernobyl nuclear disaster lowered the IQs and graduation rates of kids who were in utero all the way over in Sweden, where some of the radioactive iodine blew. An earthquake in Chile resulted in fewer boys being born (boys are a riskier genetic bet and thus have a higher rate of miscarriage under stress) and lower achievement among those whose mothers were closest to the epicenter. If pregnant women fast during Ramadan, their babies suffer. And so on.
Over the years, entrepreneurs and corporate executives have devised any number of clever ways for getting rich off the working poor, but you’d have to look long and hard to find one more diabolically inventive than the RAL. Say you have a $2,000 tax refund due and you don’t want to wait a week or two for the IRS to deposit that money in your bank account. Your tax preparer would be delighted to act as the middleman for a very short-term bank loan—the RAL. You get your check that day or the next, minus various fees and interest charges, and in return sign your pending refund over to the bank. Within 15 days, the IRS wires your refund straight to the lender. It’s a safe bet for the banks, but that hasn’t stopped them from charging astronomical interest rates. Until this tax year, the IRS was even kind enough to let lenders know when potential borrowers were likely to have their refund garnished because they owed back taxes, say, or were behind on child support.
Workers at an underground test freeze, in 2012. All photos via Kevin O’Reilly.
The Northern Canadian territories often get written off by all of us as a frigid tundra of nothingness. But it’s probably about time we start paying attention to the situation up there. Yellowknife is currently sitting on 237,000 tons of arsenic—enough to kill the entire human population of our planet a few times over.
The world’s failure to take meaningful action on climate change may one day be seen as the gravest mistake of our time. How to account for this failure?
There are many reasons for it — but principally lack of leadership. Governments won’t succeed in this endeavor until they start risking political capital on the cause and, equally important, rethink their arguments. Climate change is neither an inevitable cataclysm nor a scientific hoax, the twin poles that have defined this debate. It is a relatively straightforward but profound risk against which the world must insure itself.
“Tell me about yourself… your struggles, your dreams, your telephone number.” — Peter Arno… via.
Untitled #96 is a photograph made by American visual artist Cindy Sherman in 1981. In 2011, a print was auctioned for $3.89 million, making it the most expensive photograph ever sold at that time. It has since been surpassed by Rhein II.
There are many misconceptions when it comes to modern American Indians and the way we identify ourselves in society. As a Seminole Indian woman, I’ve had my share of “rain dance” jokes and uncomfortable conversations.
—These stereotypes stem from inaccurate portrayals in popular culture that were never properly challenged. They establish a limited perception. Movies, television shows, mascots. There’s poverty porn, media that sensationalizes marginalized communities with exploitative or voyeuristic motives. Even Disney perpetuates these problems.
Choose a song from the list and it plays it on a continuous loop. It also analyses the song and creates unique playthroughs each time. You will never listen to that particular song in the same way ever again, I cannot promote this enough. (labs.echonest.com)
Scottish and American scientists have found a new way to prevent flu infections that could, in theory, be used to fight an epidemic long before a vaccine is ready.
—The method, successfully tested only in mice thus far, is a nasal spray of engineered proteins that coat the receptors in the nose and throat to which flu viruses attach.
—Mice that got the spray as long as a week before being given a lethal dose of viruses from the 2009 pandemic flu were fully protected, according to the team at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland that invented the proteins.
—“We think it has potential,” said Dr. Robert G. Webster, a leading flu expert at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis. If one of these viruses “like H5N1 or H7N9 gets away, you could use it in a family or a community.”
“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.” –Albert Einstein
—In view of this well-known quote… constructing optical illusions, carefully arranging trick-perspective sculptures and painting three-dimensional illusory street canvases becomes the only respectable, true-to-life and “realistic” occupation left to any thoughtful artist and thinker in this bizarre world of ours. Being always fascinated by such exploits and attracted by the “twisted mirrors” of the realm of the Unreal, we present to you our fifth installment in this highly popular DRB series – with more to come in the near future.
—We start with a recursive Painting Illusion, also called the Droste effect (first used back in 1320, by Italian painter Giotto di Bondone):
Russian archaeologists have resumed excavations in a remote site near the Arctic Circle in the attempt to understand a perplexing find of medieval mummies clad in copper masks….Roughly 1,000 years old, the mummies were found during a series of excavations that started in 1997 in a Siberian necropolis near the village of Zeleniy Yar, at the base of a peninsula local people called “the end of the Earth.”…The archaeologists found 34 shallow graves with seven male adults, three male infants, and one female child wearing a copper mask. Buried with a hoard of artifacts, most of the bodies had shattered or missing skulls, and smashed skeletons.
Washington – Obama has given the CIA the task of editing a torture report that is very critical of the CIA. This was a bit too much for even Sen. Dianne Feinstein who has often supported the agency.
Feinstein chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee which voted last week to publicly release part of the 6,600 page review. The executive branch was to black out sections that might compromise national security. The White House however has given the CIA the lead in the redacting process. That this is a clear conflict of interest since the report is highly critical of that organization’s treatment of terror suspects seems not to matter.
Source: Cryptogon Via: International Business Times:
—A prestigious research institute in France said it had lost thousands of tubes of samples of the deadly Sars coronavirus.
—A routine inventory check at Paris’ Pasteur Institute revealed that 2,349 tubes containing fragments of the virus responsible for the deaths of 774 people in 2002 were missing, the centre named after French chemist Louis Pasteur said.
—The institute was quick to reassure the public and said that the contents of the missing vials had no infectious potential. They contained only part of the virus and had no ability to spread.
There was nothing surprising about my professor’s lecture on Shakespeare until, out of the blue, she started talking about ghostwriting. I was in the back of the packed auditorium with the other teaching assistants. Taking notes, working fast to revise my plans for discussion section the next day in response to what she said in lecture. The ghostwriting reference stopped me short.
—Ghosts are all over these plays, she pointed out. Shakespeare supposedly played the part of the ghost in Hamlet, but it didn’t stop there. Shakespeare’s plays are filled with “ghost writers”—“legible erasures” that forecast debates about their authorship. How much of these plays did Shakespeare write himself? What was co-written, or added by an actor or a compositor or a later editor? Anxieties about this, my professor argued, are linked to the ghosts and ghostwriters that haunt the tragedies.
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The US government does not represent the interests of the majority of the country’s citizens, but is instead ruled by those of the rich and powerful, a new study from Princeton and Northwestern Universities has concluded.
The report, entitled Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens, used extensive policy data collected from between the years of 1981 and 2002 to empirically determine the state of the US political system.
The bizarre magic of the world’s greatest kid’s—is it for kids?—television show.
By Maria Bustillos
Adventure Time is a smash hit cartoon aimed primarily at kids age six to eleven. It’s also a deeply serious work of moral philosophy, a rip-roaring comic masterpiece, and a meditation on gender politics and love in the modern world. It is rich with moments of tenderness and confusion, and real terror and grief even; moments sometimes more resonant and elementally powerful than you experience in a good novel, though much of Adventure Time’s emotional force is visually evoked—conveyed through a language of seeing and feeling rather than words.
April 15 is tax day in the USA, but don’t let that get you down. Instead, lift your eyes toward the heavens during the darkness and wee hours of the morning to view the first of four total lunar eclipses, spaced six full moons apart. Those four consecutive total lunar eclipses are called a tetrad. Christian Pastor John Hagee dubbed them “Blood Moons” denoting change for Israel; these total eclipses of the moon occur on Jewish holidays such a Passover in April 2014 and April 2015, and Sukkot, or the Feast of Tabernacles, in September 2014 and September 2015. Some folks are even claiming this series of blood-red moons is heralding the end is nigh. You’ve might have seen “blood red” moons before as the term has previously been applied to the coloring of Harvest moons. One thing that’s for sure, if you live in the USA, then you have a front row seat for a tetrad of lunar eclipses. Here’s a calculator to figure when you can see it from where you live. Here are some beautiful photos of blood red moons, aka total lunar eclipses. [20 Photos]
On a windy and rainy day in Boston, the city marked a year since the attack at the Marathon. Two homemade bombs killed three and injured more than 250 people near the finish line last year. Symbolic events took place today culminating with a flag-raising ceremony and moment of silence. –Lloyd Young (20 photos total)
Never mind Michael Lewis. The most interesting and provocative thing to be written of late about financial innovation in general, and high-frequency trading in particular, comes from Joe Stiglitz. The Nobel prize-winning economist delivered a wonderful and fascinating speech at the Atlanta Fed’s 2014 Financial Markets Conference today; here’s a shorter version of what Stiglitz is saying.
Markets can be — and usually are — too active, and too volatile.
We know solitary confinement annihilates the minds of its victims — but what does it do to the rest of us?
I first met Five Omar Mualimm-ak at a forum on solitary confinement in New York City. He wore track shoes with his tailored suit. ‘As long as the Prison Industrial Complex keeps running, so will I,’ he explained. After hearing him speak about the connections between racism, poverty, mass incarceration and police violence, I invited Five to speak at a conference I was organising in Nashville, Tennessee. He arrived, as always, in a suit and track shoes. As we walked across campus to a conference reception, I worked up the courage to ask him how he got his name. He told me: ‘I spent five years in solitary confinement, and when I came out I was a different person.’
—In an article for The Guardian last October, Five described his isolation as a process of sensory and existential annihilation:
After only a short time in solitary, I felt all of my senses begin to diminish. There was nothing to see but grey walls. In New York’s so-called special housing units, or SHUs, most cells have solid steel doors, and many do not have windows. You cannot even tape up pictures or photographs; they must be kept in an envelope. To fight the blankness, I counted bricks and measured the walls. I stared obsessively at the bolts on the door to my cell.
Frazier Glenn Cross, the suspect charged with murder today in the killings of three people near Jewish sites in Kansas on Sunday, is a self-avowed anti-Semite who has founded white supremacist groups such as the White Patriot Party and a branch of the Ku Klux Klan.
—Is this 73-year-old typical of today’s Klan? With a sordid history and current climate of social intolerance for racism, why do people still join the Klan?
The United States has some pretty cool stamps and, once the Harvey Milk stamp is released next month, at least one commemorating an openly LGBTQ American. But it’s difficult to imagine a future where America’s stamps are as amazingly, graphically gay as Finland’s. This fall, the country will begin selling stamps that feature the “confident and proud homoeroticism” of Tom of Finland, an artist renowned as “beyond question the most influential creator of gay pornographic illustration.”
The Fort Hood shooting shines a spotlight on an overall epidemic, but suicide rates are higher for older generations.
—The Fort Hood shooting reignited the national debate over the surge of suicides among those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. But older veterans have been largely overlooked in the conversation.
—Nearly 70 percent of all veterans who commit suicide are age 50 or older, according to the Veterans Affairs Department. This is double the suicide rate for the same age group in the nonveteran community.
—Although national tracking of veteran suicide rates is unreliable at best, the VA estimates that 22 veterans commit suicide each day. This means approximately 8,030 veterans kill themselves every year, more than 5,540 of whom are 50 or older.
More is always better, right? Well, maybe not. Ultradistance runners have been warned that their mileage isn’t exactly healthy. But they aren’t the only ones who should be thinking about the long-term ramifications of their training.
By: Devon Jackson
We’ve always been told to reach past our limits to truly feel alive, but doing so might be killing us.
—If we were to tell you that studies now show that running anything beyond 20 miles a week could kill you, you’d cut back from your 50-, 60-, 80-mile-a-week habit straightaway, right? Yeah. Sure you would.
—For years, athletes, particularly those of you known to scientists as EEs (Extreme or Endurance Exercisers)—marathoners, ultrarunners, triathletes—have tended to eat whatever you damn well please, under the assumption that all calories being more or less equal, if you’re burning 3,500 a day, you can have that bacon double cheeseburger and the vanilla shake no problemo. Turns out, not only has that been magical thinking dietetically, but even more disheartening, all those extra miles may have been doing you more harm than good—if your only goal is to live as long a life as possible.
– The revolution in Ukraine and Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea have generated a serious security crisis in Europe. But, with Western leaders testing a new kind of financial warfare, the situation could become even more dangerous.
—A democratic, stable, and prosperous Ukraine would be a constant irritant – and rebuke – to President Vladimir Putin’s autocratic and economically sclerotic Russian Federation. In order to prevent such an outcome, Putin is trying to destabilize Ukraine, by seizing Crimea and fomenting ethnic conflict in the eastern part of the country.
Young German boys with wooden clubs chase a battered and bloodied Jewish woman during the Lviv pogroms 1941 (i.imgur.com)
The first world war was the defining event of the 20th century. Thousands of books have been written about every aspect of it. More are on the way
—WITH four months to go before the centenary of the start of the first world war, the bombardment of new books from competing historians is growing heavier. Unlike many of the young men who went off to fightMORE.
Three decades ago, A. streptococcus was a bacteria that could cause a bit of strep throat, but not much else. Today, it can eat your flesh.
—Its odyssey from essentially benign bacteria to flesh-eating terror was just chronicled by researchers at the Houston Methodist Research Institute in the largest bacterial genome study ever and was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
—A. streptococcus is a good bacteria to study for a couple reasons: It’s extremely common, infecting some 600 million humans each year, infects only humans, and, as I’ve already noted twice, it’s the leading cause of necrotizing fasciitis, a “rapidly progressive,” horrifying disease that the Centers for Disease Control says “destroys muscles, fat, and skin tissue.” Research centers around the world also have samples of it from the last 30 years or so—all those popsicle sticks stuck down people’s throats during strep tests were not in vain.
Between 2008 and 2011, 26 major American corporations paid no net federal income taxes despite bringing in billions in profits, according to a new report (PDF) from the nonprofit research group Citizens for Tax Justice. CTJ calculates that if the companies had paid the full 35 percent corporate tax rate, they would have put more than $78 billion into government coffers.
—Here’s a look at the 10 most profitable tax evaders and the politicians their CEOs, employees, and PACs give the most money to.
The head of the CIA just made a secretive journey to Ukraine—to do what, he won’t say. But the answer could change the power equation in the hottest of geopolitical hotspots.
-=–The Obama administration is now considering a new policy to share more real-time intelligence with the interim government in Kiev after pressure from some in the U.S. military, Congress and U.S. allies in Ukraine.
—Over the weekend, CIA Director John Brennan met with Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and First Deputy Prime Minister Vitaliy Yarema to discuss the formation of new, more secure channels for sharing U.S. intelligence with the country now fighting pro-Russian secessionists in its eastern cities, according to U.S. and Western officials briefed on the meeting.
The sound and style of a city through the eyes of Elmore Leonard, its foremost author
—Few cities have as rich a cultural and sporting history as Detroit. From the ’80s Pistons to Bob Seger, Eminem to Miguel Cabrera, the Motor City is a rich tapestry of compelling figures, unbelievable moments, and uniquely American ingenuity.
—On April 17, ESPN will premiere 30 for 30: Bad Boys, a documentary about those unforgettable Pistons teams. To celebrate, Grantland will devote an entire week, from April 11 through April 18, to the various stories of this wholly original place.
—I. Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport
—Let’s open here in 1974, with a dude named Bobby Shy playing a game of snooker on the airport’s mezzanine floor before heading over to the bathroom, dropping a dime in the coin slot to open up a stall, and doing a quick bump of cocaine off a Little Orphan Annie spoon. Let’s follow Bobby Shy as he struts over to a locker, no. 258, scans the empty hallway all the way down to the Eastern Airlines counter, opens the locker, ducks back into the men’s room with a manila envelope, and slides it under the door of the third stall, where another lowlife by the name of Leo Frank, who owns a nude modeling studio out on Woodward Avenue, is sitting on the throne waiting for it. (“Mail’s here,” Bobby Shy says, before walking out.) What’s supposed to be in the envelope is blackmail money, from a factory owner named Harry Mitchell, who cheated on his wife and got caught on film; what’s actually in the envelope is a copy of the Wall Street Journal and a sheet of letterhead with the words “BAG YOUR ASS” written on it in Magic Marker.