Human Interest Story

Americans have been gaining weight for as long as records exist

Obesity has been on the rise since the 19th century, and the recent uptick since the 1980s is just a continuation of a long-term trend. The puzzle of why Americans have been gaining weight over the past decades is not actually a mystery – it’s a result of the increasing availability of food, its tastiness, and our general affluence. The food security issues of the past have been replaced with a new focus on food insecurity, which is defined as having access to food but not being able to afford enough of it to avoid disruption to eating patterns. Read full article here

The Ants, the Bees, and the Blind Spots of the Human Mind

Charles Henry Turner, the son of a nurse and a church janitor, dedicated his life to investigating insects, focusing on proving that insects are far more intelligent than previously believed. He was the first to prove that insects can hear and distinguish pitch, and the first scientist to achieve Pavlovian conditioning in insects. He also illuminated sex differences in ant intelligence and discovered that ants, bees, and wasps learn, remember, and recognize landmarks to get home. Unfortunately, despite his groundbreaking research, he was turned away from every university post he applied to on account of his race; Turner lived through the harsh climates of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Read full article here

How I Won the World Cross-Country Championship at Age 83

At the World Cross-Country Championship in Bathurst, Australia, an 83-year-old runner beat his younger competitors to be crowned the World Masters Champion. This is a remarkable feat, considering the raw, unpredictable course and the Australian summer heat. The course was designed to be uniquely Australian, with treacherous mud, a dash through a winery, a ‘chicane’ of car tires, and a ‘Bondi Beach’ stretch of deep sand. It was a true test of the runner’s tenacity, skill and endurance, a challenge that can only be found in the sport of cross-country running. This unexpected opportunity for an 83-year-old runner to compete and win is a testament to the power of seizing the moment. Read full article here

How to get to Concordia

Join Dr. Sascha Freigang on his thrilling adventure to Antarctica’s Concordia research station, where he’ll spend 12 months studying the effects of isolation and extreme temperatures on the human body and mind. After hopping on an 80-year-old DC3 Basler, he lands in a white desert to marvel at the endless snow and ice. With cold weather gear making -45°C strolls feel cozy, he’s reminded of another planet as he adjusts to station life. Soon, he’ll form and train a rescue team, preparing for the long winter ahead! Read full article here

Did Vincent van Gogh get Gordina pregnant? Christie’s is selling her portrait

This February, Christie’s will auction a 120-year-old painting of a woman named Gordina de Groot by Vincent van Gogh. It is estimated to fetch between £1m-£2m and is a revelation, since it has been hidden away in a family collection for so long. The painting may suggest a tenderness between the artist and sitter, despite whispers of a scandal in the village at the time. The history of it is fascinating, with the painting pretty much abandoned in a crate until 1902, when it was sold for just one guilder to a junk dealer and eventually purchased by the family who now seek to sell it. Read full article here

BTS: Permission to Desire

BTS, the Korean boy band, has become a source of joy and permission for many women in their 40s and above, according to a scholar who interviewed 25 such women in the US. The band, which enjoys immense global popularity, offers a range of masculine traits and emotions, providing a new universe of desire, while also allowing women to grieve over their past understandings of what could be sexually and emotionally attractive. Many of the women expressed guilt or shame over their fandom, which offers them a sense of euphoria that they feel is denied to them in other aspects of their lives. Read full article here

Rihanna Quiet Quit the Super Bowl Halftime Show

Rihanna wowed the crowd with her Super Bowl Halftime Show performance, floating above the stage on a Super Smash Bros. platform, singing her hit songs with a mixture of regal restraint and lasciviousness, while also confirming the reports that she is indeed pregnant. Her performance, which was lip-synched, was unique in that it required very little energy, yet still managed to captivate the audience. Rihanna even managed to sneak in a quick Fenty makeup check during her performance, proving that she has nothing left to prove, and nothing left to sell. Read full article here

Ram Dass on Love

Ram Dass, in his 1971 book Be Here, explores the paradox of loving someone. He suggests that love transcends the self and creates a single unity of being, something articulated by Indian spiritual master Meher Baba who said, “Love is not a relationship of two; it is a state of oneness.” This notion of oneness, of merging, is a central concept of bhakti yoga, and proves that true love is not about expecting something in return, but rather about understanding and accepting the other person. Read full article here

The Postmodern Pope

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI was perhaps the pope most in tune with the postmodern era. Known for his theological acumen and commitment to doctrinal clarity, he was also open to engaging with postmodernism. His 1968 book, Introduction to Christianity, straddled the paradoxical line between traditionalism and anti-foundationalism, allowing him to explore the foundations of Christian belief. He also had a surprising resonance with queer culture, despite his decisive stance on the moral implications of same sex relations. Read full article here

A Sea of Yellow

The iconic bright canary yellow of Brazil’s national football jersey is known worldwide and symbolises the country’s revolution. But this was not always the case – before 1950, the team wore plain white shirts. The story of how their uniform changed goes back to the 1950 World Cup, where Brazil was expected to win, only for Uruguay to snatch victory in the final. Interestingly, the man who designed the yellow shirt, Aldyr Garcia Schlee, secretly roots for Brazil’s rivals, Uruguay, and when the teams play, Schlee crosses the border to watch the game in a sky-blue Uruguay jersey. Read full article here


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