Since January, foreign civilians have been targeted by insurgents in Kabul.
While war raged across Afghanistan, expats lived in a bubble of good times and easy money. But as the U.S. withdraws, life has taken a deadly turn
By Matthieu Aikins | August 18, 2014
—In the heart of Kabul’s heavily guarded diplomatic district, down a quiet side street, sits a dilapidated two-story building fronted by a beige boundary wall topped with razor wire. Its front entrance is a gaping hole blocked with corrugated iron, and its windows, missing their glass, have faint scorch marks at the corners, like raised eyebrows above sightless eyes. The alley to the right is pocked with bullet holes. The place is abandoned now. These faint signs of violence are all that’s left to mark the 21 people who were murdered inside last winter.
For those who believe there could be life in space, this discovery is huge: Scientists have reportedly found traces of plankton on the outside of the International Space Station.
—Russian scientists discovered the plankton while studying samples from the exterior of the ISS — samples they only found because they were doing a routine cleaning of the ISS’ windows. Scientists are now baffled about how these marine organisms made their way into space.
A new website aims to make it easy for anyone to track the trade of diverted weapons and ammunitions, with the intention of facilitating the work of governments, NGOs, and journalists. iTrace, funded by the European Union, takes data collected by on-ground investigations and maps it onto an instantly recognisable, Google Earth-style interface.
By Dani Shapiro…Credit Illustration by Sophia Foster-Dimino
—In the middle of my writing day, I sometimes take a Facebook break. I know I shouldn’t do this. I counsel my writing students not to do this. But writing is a solitary business, and—well, let’s face it, Facebook is tempting. It’s right there. A lonely writer can be connected with a whole range of humanity without ever leaving her desk chair. A Russian novel’s worth of tragedy and comedy is on display. A friend posts, “As I write this, my mother’s light is going out.” Another friend announces his divorce simply by switching his status from married to single. Still another friend anxiously awaits biopsy results. There are engagements, marriages, anniversaries, illnesses, college graduations, retirements, vacations, and endless photographs of cute dogs. All of these accompanied by responses, some numbering in the hundreds. Condolences and congratulations. Prayers and emoticons of hearts and hands pressed together in namaste. There’s something beautiful and absolutely genuine about it—Facebook is, after all, a way of staying connected in an increasingly busy and disconnected world—but it can also feel thin and undigested, a skimming over of data rather than a deep sink into the specificity and emotional reality of human experience. Death? Check. Divorce? Check. A namaste sign instead of a condolence note. A heart rather than a phone call.
Bodie, California has been on my bucket list ever since I first discovered my fascination for all things lost, forgotten and abandoned. In fact, the first leg of our California road trip has been more or less centered around reaching the historic gold mining town which boomed through the late 1800s, only to become completely deserted by the 1950s.
The Neanderthals died out about 10,000 years earlier than previously thought, new fossil dating suggests, adding to evidence that the arrival of modern humans in Europe pushed our ancient Stone Age cousins into extinction.
—Neanderthals’ mysterious disappearance from the fossil record has long puzzled scholars who wondered whether the species went extinct on its own or was helped on its way out by Europe’s first modern human migrants.
—”When did the Neanderthals disappear, and why?” says Tom Higham of the United Kingdom’s University of Oxford, who authored the new fossil dating study published on Wednesday in the journal Nature. “That has always been the big question.”
England’s most famous living novelist has moved to America—and tilted the literary world
—Here’s Martin Amis, one of the most celebrated and controversial novelists of our time, comfortably ensconced in an elegantly restored vintage Brooklyn brownstone, having just moved with his family from London to the United States, to the neighborhood with the endearingly Dickensian name of Cobble Hill. Many in the U.K., especially those who have read Lionel Asbo, his viciously satiric new novel that is subtitled State of England, have taken his move to America as a bitter farewell to the U.K., a land that has become, if you read the new work, dominated by sinister yobs (U.K. slang for vulgar, often violent bullies) and an ignorant, toxic tabloid- and porno-obsessed culture.
The economic crisis of 2008 drove hundreds of thousands of young Irish people from their homeland in search of work – as a result some rural communities are on the verge of dying out.
“Regan’s pub has gone. Paddy Jordan’s has gone. The one across from the station has gone.” Nicola speaks quietly as she carefully pours a pint of the black stuff, and paints a picture of business decline. “Two, no, three hotels have gone into receivership,” she adds.
As the severe drought continues for a third year, water levels in the state’s lakes and reservoirs are reaching historic lows
Bidwell Marina at Lake Oroville in Oroville, California, US, which is currently at 32% of its total 3,537,577 acre-feet capacity
At least not of the traditional, compulsory, watch-the-clock-until-the-bell-rings kind. As a growing movement of unschoolers believe, a steady diet of standardized testing and indoor inactivity is choking the creativity right out of our kids. The alternative: set ‘em free.
Rye Hewitt putting his pack basket, which he wove himself, to good use. He and his brother Fin learned how to make the wooden baskets from a friend of the family who also unschools her children. Photo: Penny Hewitt
In early September, in a clapboard house situated on 43 acres just outside a small town in northern Vermont, two boys awaken. They are brothers; the older is 12, the younger 9, and they rise to a day that has barely emerged from the clutches of dark. It is not yet autumn, but already the air has begun to change, the soft nights of late summer lengthening and chilling into the season to come. Outside the boys’ bedroom window, the leaves on the maples are just starting to turn.
Jacqueline Mars – Family Net Worth $60 billion – You may not know about her, but you certainly know about her family’s company that makes the famous Mars candies. Jacqueline slammed her Porsche SUV into a minivan in 2013 and managed to kill an 86-year-old woman. What was she charged with? Six-month license suspension and a $2,500 fine.
The funeral of hunger striker Bobby Sands, Belfast, May 1981 by Ian Berry.
In the Mist, a film about a Canary Island forest, opens the archives of Earth’s history.
eep in the woods”: The opening line of narration is perhaps a little unnerving, a Grimm way to begin a wildlife documentary, especially considering it is filmed on the sunny Canary Island of La Gomera. But, deep in the woods, delving into the past and surrounded by mystery and intrigue, a fairy tale is exactly what we find.
—The woods belong to Garajonay National Park, and comprise a subtropical relict laurel forest. Laurel forests were commonplace during the tertiary period, but were lost to the vast majority of the world millions of years ago. La Gomera gives us a glimpse of what the majority of Europe and Northern Africa would have been like before the last ice age. It is a living fossil, offering us an insight deep into the archives of our planet’s history.
bofransson:… Pierre Bonnard, L’Esterel, 1917… viα.
Reading Howl in China
My generation, once impassioned by the Western literature of rebellion, is now lulled by ‘Wealthy Socialism’
Photographer and urban explorer Ivan Kuznetsov shows us the world from a vantage point many of us will never experience first hand. Based in Moscow, the Russian photographer is a well-known ‘rooftopper’, which means he scales tall buildings and structures (often illegally) to take dizzying aerial photos of the world below. While ‘extreme’ rooftopping…
A makeup artist’s canvas is the face. In the case of Laura Jenkinson, this is quite literal. The London-based makeup artist has been drawing delightful cartoon characters around her mouth cleverly integrating her teeth and lips into the portraits.
Speaking about her methods, the 25-year old artist says, “I find a picture and then just hold it up to the mirror as a guide and draw straight onto my face – it’s easier than you think!. Ironically, drawing onto someone else is more difficult – I think it’s more straightforward drawing onto my own face.”
“I use theatrical make-up normally, but I occasionally use lipstick if I need to get the exact shade of something,” she added.
Hi, if you are reading this then they killed me. I wanted to tell you that I enjoyed talking to you, you seem like a really great lady. I’m sorry we didn’t meet under different circumstances. . . . Thank you for your kindness. Have a wonderful day.
—Letter from death row inmate Robert Coulson, June 25, 2002
—Early one morning in April, Michelle Lyons pulled up outside her daughter’s elementary school in Huntsville, seventy miles north of Houston. Set deep in the Piney Woods, Huntsville—which is home to no fewer than five prisons—is a company town whose primary industry is confinement. Many parents who were dropping their children off at school that day worked for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Huntsville’s largest employer. Michelle, who sat behind the wheel of her blue Chevy sedan nursing a travel mug of coffee, had worked for TDCJ herself for more than a decade. She had been the public face of the agency, a disarmingly friendly, upbeat spokesperson for the biggest prison system in the nation. Though she had left the position two years earlier, she was still well-known around town, and several mothers waved as her car idled in the drop-off line. “Have a beautiful day,” she murmured when her nine-year-old leaned in to kiss her goodbye.
Chevrolet Bel Air – Second Generation (1955–1957)
The Chevrolet Bel Air was a full-size automobile that was produced by the Chevrolet division of General Motors for the 1950–1981 model years. Initially only the two door Hardtops in the Chevrolet model range were designated with the Bel Air name from 1950 to 1952, as distinct from the Styleline and Fleetline models for the remainder of the range. With the 1953 model year the Bel Air name was changed from a designation for a unique body shape to a premium level of trim applied across a number of body styles.
—For 1955, Chevrolet’s full-size model received all new styling and power. It was called the “Hot One” in GM’s advertising campaign. Chevrolet’s styling was crisp, clean and incorporated a Ferrari-inspired grille. Bel Airs came with features found on cars in the lower models ranges plus interior carpet, chrome headliner bands on hardtops, chrome spears on front fenders, stainless steel window moldings, and full wheel covers. Models were further distinguished by the Bel Air name script in gold lettering later in the year.
When Kim Goodsell discovered that she had two extremely rare genetic diseases, she taught herself genetics to help find out why. Ed Yong tells her story.
—California has approved water rights agreements for a whopping five times as much water as it actually has, according to a study published Tuesday in Environmental Research Letters.
—In fact, the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB), which manages the allocation of water rights to various agencies and districts, has been over-promising water rights for the last 100 years. In some case, there is a tenfold difference between the amount of water allocated and the genuine water flow in the state.
Photographer Annie Leibovitz atop the Chrysler Building, New York City, 1991 by John Loengard. (i.imgur.com)
Moving in darkness
Pompa awoke for his 12-hour shift at 5 a.m. and put on the hand-me-down uniform he’d inherited from the officer he replaced, a size-44 waist that his mother had taken in to a 38. He checked his e-mail to see whether there were offers on the coin collection or the scrap metal he was selling online to help supplement his salary. Then he grabbed an energy drink and drove away from the ranch house he rented for $250 a month.
—“This is 807, heading out,” he said into the radio.
I never went to sleepaway camp as a child. Every June, my lucky classmates left for northern New England and returned two months later with macramé bracelets, tanned skin, and endless stories about “camp friends.” I felt like I was missing out on this whole other world.
The farm practice that underlies most agricultural use of antibiotics is known as “growth promotion”: It calls for giving very small doses of antibiotics routinely to meat animals because those doses cause them to gain fat and muscle more quickly than they would otherwise. Growth promotion dates back to the early days of the antibiotic era, and has always been somewhat mysterious. Though there were attempts to pick apart its mechanisms in the 1950s and 1960s (I’ve been reading some fascinating old accounts), for the most part, people simply accepted that it worked. It’s only in the past decade or so, as interest has increased in the microbes that reside everywhere in our and animals’ bodies (a vast community generally known as the microbiome), that researchers have begun trying to dissect what is going on.
Mount Etna, one of the 17 Decade Volcanoes and Europe’s tallest active volcano, has been putting on a great show. Adrenaline-seeking tourists have been getting up-close and personal for the rumbling and lava spewing spectacle in Italy. Even the astronauts aboard the ISS have taken note and grabbed some stunning shots. Here’s Mount Etna…[42 Photos]
Rarely do volcanologist get to watch the birth, growth, and death of a volcano. Paricutin provided such an opportunity. Paricutin is a cinder cone volcano located in the state of Michoacan, in Mexico, close to a lava-covered village of the same name. The volcano erupted on February 20, 1943, and continued erupting till 1952, during which it destroyed the villages of Parícutin and San Juan Parangaricutiro, burying both beneath ash and lava. San Juan Parangaricutiro’s church spire is all that remains of the village, poking out of the now solidified lava rock.
—Unlike most volcanoes, Parícutin volcano didn’t exist until that fateful day. This makes the volcano unique because it is one of the very few volcanoes whose birth has been witnessed by man. The volcano is located about 200 miles west of Mexico City, in the Michoacan-Guanajuato volcanic field, that contains about 1,400 volcanic vents. Paricutin is the youngest volcano to form in the Northern Hemisphere.
On a warm spring evening in Washington, D.C., a fleet of limousines and town cars delivered hundreds of guests, bedecked in black tie and long gowns, to a gala celebration of the American Dream: the annual awards night for the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans.
—Twelve new members (11 men, one woman) were honored for having risen from childhood poverty to positions as captains of commerce or celebrated public servants. Colin Powell, a 1991 award recipient, was among those in the audience. The new members’ speeches were brief, striking a balance between pride and humility, and all hewing to the rags-to-riches theme: “Who would have thought that I, from a farm in Minnesota/small town in Kansas/Little Rock, raised in an orphanage/with no indoor plumbing/working multiple jobs at 16, would end up running a $6 billion firm/a U.S. ambassador/employing 10,000 people. Only in America!”
A new club just opened in Stockholm (where I’m from) but I don’t really wanna go. You see it’s called ‘Sober’ and, as you can guess, to get in you have to be absolutely sober. It’s a concept that I find confusing and slightly awk so I called up the guy behind it—a stand-up comedian called Mårten Andersson—to see if he could convince me to give Sober a try.
We made it out of Death Valley. We drove through miles of Mars-like landscape in hairdryer heat (113 F) on seemingly endless roads. The valley’s one mad-made attraction, a 1920s Spanish Colonial Revival villa called Scotty’s Castle, hidden in an isolated desert oasis, was inexplicably closed. Low on gas after taking the lengthy detour to find it, let’s just say I’m glad I’m sitting here to tell you about our next adventure rather than hanging out with the valley vultures.
The Lucky Couple Continue reading
July 1939. Granville County, North Carolina. “Country filling station owned and operated by tobacco farmer. Such small independent stations have become meeting places and loading spots for neighborhood farmers in their off times.” Photo by Dorothea Lange for the Farm Security Administration….@.