Necessary Angels. They are not doctors. They are not nurses. They are illiterate women from India's Untouchable castes. Yet as trained village health workers, they are delivering babies, curing disease, and saving lives—including their own. Photo Gallery. Video.
Photo Tampering Through History. A regularly-updated collection, from 1860 to present, of examples of photo manipulation. Sometimes the changes are made for historical revisionism, sometimes for political maneuvering, and sometimes it's just a "wtf?" The page is part of a larger body of work by Dartmouth's Hany Farid, who has some other interesting goodies online. [Warning for the Pepsi Blue detectives: In some of his pages, he's shilling for his consulting services]
Long before people called themselves Muslims or Hindus, long before they fought and died over these or any labels... water dripped and froze inside the Amarnath Cave at the heart of Kashmir. Amarnath Cave official site. Amarnath Cave pilgrimage. Amarnath virtual tour. Wikipedia's page on the Amarnath land transfer.
Baby Bust! After 200 years of exponential population growth, and just four decades after overpopulation doomsaying began filling the bestseller lists, the First World is suddenly gripped with underpopulation hysteria. The governments of the developed world have always maintained an interest in birthrates and procreation, but the reasons why are changing, and the ensuing demographic debates about gender, race and culture are "ideologically fraught and scientifically questionable."
From the Bookstalls of a Nigerian Market. Onitsha Market Literature consists of stories, plays, advice and moral discourses published primarily in the 1960s by local presses in the lively market town of Onitsha [in then-newly-independent Nigeria]... In the fresh and vigorous genre of Onitsha Market Literature, the commoner wrote pulp fiction and didactic handbooks for those who perused the bookstalls of Onitsha Market, one of Africa’s largest trading centers. Examples: How To Write And Reply Letters For Marriage, Engagement Letters, Love Letters And How To Know A Girl To Marry, Learn To Speak 360 Interesting Proverbs And Know Your True Brother, Struggle For Money [All full-text links are in pdf format, and some are quite large]. With links to additional resources.
The Doll Games emerged in Berkeley, California, at a time when race, gender, politics, and sexuality were fiercely and publicly debated... The Doll Games held up a funhouse mirror to their times, and what survives of them are historical documents of a wobbly, comical sort. But the Doll Games transcend their epoch. Intricate, obsessional, moral, violent and sexual, funny and tragic... Obedient to no rules except those its practitioners invented for themselves, completely collaborative, the Doll Games defined a truly interactive art form. In this theater of two, every audience member was a co-creator. [some text and pics NSFW]
1968: Lessons Learned. Dissent Magazine examines the transcontinental legacy of one of the most tumultuous years in world history. Essays from Marshall Berman, Robin Blackburn, Mitchell Cohen, Ralf Fuecks, Vivian Gornick, Michael Kazin, Enrique Krauze, Lillian B. Rubin, Christine Stansell and Michael Walzer.
"How about if we say we met on an oil rig and we were lovers for 50 years!" What if real life was like Facebook? [YouTube, 2 mins.] From Idiots of Ants. Via.
The Serenader. Roberto’s long moon-shadow stretches absurdly across the walls of the house as he plucks prettily at his guitar while his drunk client swaggers like a cat... Like many men in San Cristóbal, Roberto holds two jobs. At night he plays and sings the love songs that men use to woo women; in the day he teaches guitar to young men who may someday be his competition. Of the two jobs, serenading is far more lucrative.
Frozen Dead Guy Days. Thousands of waving spectators line the streets of Nederland, Colo. (pop. 1,394), as a parade filled with skeletons, helmeted Vikings, pompadoured Elvises and antique hearses makes its way down First Street to mark the beginning of Frozen Dead Guy Days—a celebration that’s part Mardi Gras, part county fair, and all tongue-in-cheek. The 2008 celebration will be held March 7-9.
Affairs of the Lips. "We kiss furtively, lasciviously, gently, shyly, hungrily and exuberantly. We kiss in broad daylight and in the dead of night. We give ceremonial kisses, affectionate kisses, Hollywood air kisses, kisses of death and, at least in fairytales, pecks that revive princesses." But, why do we kiss?
The Anonymity Experiment. Is it possible to hide in plain sight? Privacy-minded people have long warned of a world in which an individual’s every action leaves a trace, in which corporations and governments can peer at will into your life with a few keystrokes on a computer. Now one of the people in charge of information-gathering for the U.S. government says, essentially, that such a world has arrived.
Sacred Destinations. Nearly every culture in human history has sought to encounter and honor the divine, the mysterious, the supernatural or the extraordinary in some way. This most often occurs at sacred sites - special places where the physical world seems to meet the spiritual world. From ancient wonders, to Greek temples, to Biblical sites, and everything in between, the website has a vast collection of photo galleries and maps. The website's founder also maintains a travel blog and posts recent pictures on Flickr. [more inside]
In Praise Of Melancholy. We are eradicating a major cultural force, the muse behind much art and poetry and music. We are annihilating melancholia. Does an overemphasis on the pursuit of happiness cause us to miss an essential part of a full life? Via.
"This will be a woman’s world, and men will have to learn to fit in." The Wilson Quarterly examines the historical, cultural, and sexual implications of matriarchy. Via.
Lazy-Ass Nation. "Somewhere along the way, we fell in love with the dream of the effort-free existence."