Today [actually yesterday] on New Scientist


On Getting Wasted, by John Trotta

I had already decided I was going to be a writer.
—I knew that meant going broke, drinking alone, and working shit jobs. Going broke and drinking had proven simple—I was well ahead of my peers in both fields—and so, midway through college, I decided it was time to put a résumé together. I needed some terrible work for stimulation. But I burned through my first few jobs so quickly that it was almost as though I’d never worked them. Two months as a night clerk at a hotel (caught sleeping), a week and a half in catering (spilled on a bride). Then there was the car wash, a month-long bid, but the boss said I wasn’t pushing the interior shampoo with enough fervor, I wasn’t invested, and soon I began to worry I was unsuited for occupation. I was certain I was a failure, some critical piece of character missing from my makeup. I was bound for destitution. My father had been right.
—Then, by cosmic intervention, a job appeared from nowhere that fit the bill perfectly. A friend had taken over Charleston, South Carolina’s largest junk-hauling franchise and needed someone to handle operations. It paid well, guaranteed hours, and would silence my despondency for a bit. So I took it.

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Lucienne Bloch gallery :: photos of Frieda Kahlo

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In a dining room adjoining the surgery suite of one of Beverly Hill’s most celebrated cosmetic surgeons, the office manager slices
into her cantaloupe while the facelift for an aging star gets underway next door.


Robert Capa, [Henri Matisse with cat curled between his legs, working from his bed, (Cimiez) Nice, France.] August 1949, 3328.1992…. via.

British troops asleep on the Boulogne quay after arriving in France to join their French and Belgian allies, 1914

Today’s picture shows the stage at Dodge City, Kansas. The picture was taken in the late 1800’s. This stage looks to have some sort of covering on it that I have not seen before.


Linguists: New-World Settlers Spent Millennia On Land Bridge |


April 1943. “Baltimore, Maryland. Third shift workers waiting on a street corner to be picked up by car pools around midnight.” Last seen at the lunch counter. Photo by Marjory Collins for the Office of War Information

via @.

Lion Cam Wildlife photographer Steve Mandel w/video


My Best Friend Was Sold Into ISIS Sex Slavery

Iraqi high schooler Hengi Abdullah escaped the Islamic State and now lives as a refugee, worrying about her best friend, Sara*, who wasn’t so lucky.


The Dragon Hill of Iquique, Chile

Cerro Dragon or The Dragon Hill is an enormous sand dune about 4 km long, located near the coast in the city of Iquique in Chile. Varying in height from 150 to 500 meters, it is the largest urban sand dune in the world; only the dunes of the Sahara are higher. The dune is situated on narrow rocky ledge above a cliff 500 feet high that forms a natural barrier to the sea. It is believed that the Dragon Hill was formed 20,000 years ago during the last ice age when the sea was out by a further 100 meters, exposing the shoreline to erosion and deposition by wind. Today, the dunes represents one of the most characteristic landscapes of Iquique, and is visible from throughout the city.

In 2005, Dragon Hill was designated a Nature Sanctuary with the intention of protecting the geological feature from human encroachment, especially by urban developers. Unfortunately, the designation has had little effect. The city dwellers are using the place to dump their garbage. The place is also frequented especially by paragliders and sand boarding lovers.


The Suicide Girls Turn Lucky 13: See Exclusive Photos from the New Book

Thirteen years and over 3,000 official Suicide Girls later, SuicideGirls is far more than just a website with punk-rock pinups. Over the span of the last decade, SG has been at the vanguard of ushering in a new global perspective on what beauty is, spawning, along the way, movies, photos, comic books, a clothing line, a burlesque tour, and more, not to mention becoming a social-media juggernaut with a combined reach of over 12 million faithful followers.


damien rice

I Don't Want To Change You by Damien Rice on Grooveshark

Nigel Grimmer: Art Drag Album uses portraiture to create drag characters (PHOTOS).


Feature: intellectual cowardice

“Are you afraid to finish your book?” My colleague was in the habit of needling his fellow scholars with this question. It struck particularly deep with me, because my book was about being afraid – or rather, it was about being excessively afraid and therefore failing to do what you should do. It was about cowardice.

via MOREn.

10 Allegedly Cursed Objects Throughout History | Mental Floss


Michael Scott Moore’s Kidnapping by Somali Pirates

The German-American surfing writer was kidnapped by Somali pirates in 2012—and held for two years and eight months. Joshua Hammer reports on his imprisonment, drawn-out negotiations to ensure his release, and the ugly business of kidnapping for cash. As the global debate over ransoming hostages heats up, just how should we be getting our journalists home?


NSA Documents Suggest a Close Working Relationship Between NSA, U.S. Companies

Newly disclosed National Security Agency documents suggest a closer relationship between American companies and the spy agency than have been previously disclosed.

The documents, published last week by The Intercept, describe “contractual relationships” between the NSA and U.S. companies, as well as the fact that the NSA has “under cover” spies working at or with some U.S. companies.

While not conclusive, the material includes some clear suggestions that at least some American companies are quite willing to help the agency conduct its massive surveillance programs.


The Command to Look, William Mortensen

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Derek Jeter’s retirement business model





Authors on Museums: the stuff of school trips is not often the stuff of romantic weekends too. Back in Paris, Allison Pearson rediscovers the magic of the Musée Rodin

From INTELLIGENT LIFE Magazine, Autumn 2009

You never forget your first kiss. Mine happened on a school trip to Paris over 30 years ago and it was either a happy coincidence or a divine joke that, during that same Easter, I encountered another unforgettable Kiss. The awkward, though increasingly absorbing, snog with Dave from Oadby on a hummocky camp-bed in a dormitory pungent with teenage socks retains a place in my personal gallery, but no longer in my heart. The other Kiss—by Auguste Rodin—started a love affair with a small museum on the Left Bank in which “Le Baiser” sits among the sculptor’s sublime works and several fine pieces by his mistress, Camille Claudel. The kisses bestowed by art, unlike those of men, are set in stone.


Paul Farmer · Diary: Ebola ·

I have just returned from Liberia with a group of physicians and health activists. We are heading back in a few days. The country is in the midst of the largest ever epidemic of Ebola haemorrhagic fever. It’s an acute and brutal affliction. Ebola is a zoonosis – it leaps from animal hosts to humans – which is caused by a filovirus (a thread-like virus that causes internal and external bleeding). It was first described in 1976 in rural Congo, not far from the Ebola River, as an acute-onset syndrome characterised by complaints of weakness, followed by fever and abdominal pain. Patients became dehydrated as a consequence of fever, vomiting and diarrhoea. Many became delirious and started to haemorrhage from the mouth, nose, vagina, at sites where intravenous lines had been placed, even from the eyes.

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via viα.

Interesting Photos of Elvis Presley Joins the Army in 1958

Elvis Presley served in the United States Army between March 1958 and March 1960. At the time of his draft he was one of the most well-known names in the world of entertainment.Before entering the Army, Presley had caused national outrage with his sexually charged performances and rock and roll music. Many parents, religious leaders, and teachers groups saw his draft, removing him from public view, as a positive thing. Despite being offered the chance to enlist in Special Services to entertain the troops and live in priority housing, Presley decided to serve as a regular soldier. This earned him the respect of many of his fellow soldiers and people back home who had previously viewed him in a negative light.Here is a collection of interesting black and white photos of joins the Army in 1958.


Diane Roark Battle with NSA by James Risen


—People like Diane Roark. She was perhaps the most courageous whistleblower of the post-9/11 era, and yet her story has never been fully told. She fought a lonely battle against the most powerful forces unleashed in Washington in the global war on terror. She has never received the recognition she deserves.
—Roark’s story also explains why, years later, Snowden felt that he had to go outside the system to let the American people know just how much the NSA’s domestic surveillance programs had grown since the early days after 9/ 11, when the Bush administration first launched the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping operation. Roark tried to work within the system, tried to go through the right channels . She was persecuted as a result.
—Roark’s story offers the most in-depth and personal look at the rise of the NSA’s domestic spying program ever provided, and explains how America allowed its most powerful foreign intelligence service to turn its tools on the United States. It is a lesson to remember as the government cracks down on people like Edward Snowden at the same time that the NSA continues to expand its spying on the digital lives of American citizens.

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Laura Poitras on the Crypto Tools That Made Her Snowden Film Possible

As a journalist, Laura Poitras was the quiet mastermind behind the publication of Edward Snowden’s unprecedented NSA leak. As a filmmaker, her new movie Citizenfour makes clear she’s one of the most important directors working in documentary today. And when it comes to security technology, she’s a serious geek.


Marc Asnin: Final Words is a book that opens the conversation about the death penalty through the final words of executed inmates (PHOTOS).


Bulgaria’s Vampire Graveyards

In a 7,000-year-old town in Bulgaria, over 100 graves have been uncovered, revealing skeletons with stakes through their hearts and mutilated bones. Meet the vampires that almost were.
—Vampires may be greeted with swoons today, but in medieval Eastern Europe they were dealt a metal spike through the chest.
—Last week, Bulgarian archaeologists unearthed an unusual 13th-century grave in an ancient city named Thracian.
—The bones are encrusted in dirt, revealing a bowed, partially crushed skull and a round stake emerging from the left side of the skeleton’s chest. The interred is believed to be a middle-aged man, who was incapacitated post-death—cause unknown—by a two-pound iron rod thrust through his heart and the removal of the lower half of his left leg. Both mutilations were meant to stop the man, who villagers believed was a vampire, from returning to haunt the town and prey upon its inhabitants, researchers say.

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Cognitive Dissonance about the FBI and NSA at 60 Minutes

[a once admired program is now becoming a laughing stock]


Unemployed men stand in line to get a free dinner at New York’s municipal lodging house, 1932, New York City by Dorothea Lange.

Shake It Off by Taylor Swift on Grooveshark


Circa 1910. “Topinabee Landing, Hamill’s Inland Route, Cheboygan-Petoskey, Michigan.” Excursionists on the dock, just in from an outing…. @.

Today’s picture is from around 1900, and it shows a Stage Coach on Fifth Avenue in New York. The street looks amazingly empty and clean. I am not sure what the building is that they are in front of.

via @.

Why the public apology is a tool of the powerful

Sorry but not sorry

No longer the hardest word, a public apology is now the defence strategy of the rich and powerful. Can it still do good?


Unidentified Photographer, The Four Great Chief’s Now Living, 1909 (2006.20.383)

via Fans in a Flashbulb.

Bye Bye Baby: Big Brother and the Holding Company |


One of the perks about having this blog is the emails I have received from famous photographers. One of them came from J. Ross Baughman, whose photos from Rhodesia and the controversy surrounding them we covered a few years ago.

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15 Words That Are Way More Interesting Than They Seem | Mental Floss


“Nobody ever lies about being lonely.”… via.


The Age of Vulnerability by Joseph E. Stiglitz

NEW YORK – Two new studies show, once again, the magnitude of the inequality problem plaguing the United States. The first, the US 4a8332ed5b601352b097aa5e9e34bd35.squareCensus Bureau’s annual income and poverty report, shows that, despite the economy’s supposed recovery from the Great Recession, ordinary Americans’ incomes continue to stagnate. Median household income, adjusted for inflation, remains below its level a quarter-century ago.
—It used to be thought that America’s greatest strength was not its military power, but an economic system that was the envy of the world. But why would others seek to emulate an economic model by which a large proportion – even a majority – of the population has seen their income stagnate while incomes at the top have soared?
—A second study, the United Nations Development Program’s Human Development Report 2014, corroborates these findings. Every year, the UNDP publishes a ranking of countries by their Human Development Index (HDI), which incorporates other dimensions of wellbeing besides income, including health and education.
—America ranks fifth according to HDI, below Norway, Australia, Switzerland, and the Netherlands. But when its score is adjusted for inequality, it drops 23 spots – among the largest such declines for any highly developed country. Indeed, the US falls below Greece and Slovakia, countries that people do not typically regard as role models or as competitors with the US at the top of the league tables.

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