Subvert Valentine’s Day: remake the celebration of love in your own image | Alicia Eler

Subvert Valentine’s Day: remake the celebration of love in your own image | Alicia Eler

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If Valentines Day feels too forced, overly consumerist or an exercise in self-loathing, just change it to your liking. Everyone else already hasValentines Day is an awkward, sensitive holiday whether or not you have a significant other and, perhaps especially, if you are single. To be without love on a day designed to celebrate it as loudly and publicly as possible can make even the most secure single person question their life. But theres more love to be had and to give than the kind that requires a romantic partner, and there can be more to Valentines Day than roses, chocolate, cheeseball cards and forced romantic gestures. Rather than reflecting on your singlehood or grumbling about the consumerism of the holiday, all of us can use a day dedicated to the celebration of love as a time fo...
Martin O’Malley’s Saturday Night In Iowa Was Kind Of Depressing

Martin O’Malley’s Saturday Night In Iowa Was Kind Of Depressing

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- It's crunch time in Iowa, and presidential candidates are hitting as many high-profile events as they can ahead of Monday night's caucuses. Bernie Sanders spent Saturday night on stage with the popular rock band Vampire Weekend in front of thousands of cheering hipsters. Hillary Clinton brought out her husband, former President Bill Clinton, on another stage in front of hundreds of supporters. Martin O'Malley? He stood on a chair in his cramped campaign office. About 100 or so people came to hear him talk. A table in the back offered a spread of hamburgers, store-bought cookies and something simmering in a crockpot. A printed "Wish List" taped to the wall asked supporters for donated items. A couch. Inflatable mattresses (?). Pens. A vacuum cleaner. The last request on ...

Ancient shellfish used for purple dye vanishes from eastern Med

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Red-mouthed rock shell was one of main sources of Tyrian purple and study blames its collapse on rising sea temperaturesThe shellfish that was one of the main sources of Tyrian purple one of the most storied and valuable trading products in the ancient world has disappeared from the eastern Mediterranean coast, amid warnings of an ongoing multi-species collapse blamed on global rises in sea temperatures. Described by Aristotle and Pliny among other ancient writers, Tyrian purple or imperial purple was a dye extracted from shellfish along the Levant coast and favoured by emperors and kings in a trade of huge value. Associated with royalty, clothes with purple in them were believed to convey high status. A new Israeli survey of shallow water Mediterranean habitats has noted the almost total ...
Sour note: In Ancient Rome, lemons were only for the rich

Sour note: In Ancient Rome, lemons were only for the rich

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Lemons were the acai bowls of the ancient Romans prized by the privileged because they were rare, and treasured for their healing powers. In fact, this coveted fruit, as well as the citron, were the only citrus fruits known in the ancient Mediterranean it took centuries for other fruits, such as oranges, limes and pomelos to spread westward from their native Southeast Asia, a new study finds. However, the citrus fruits that followed in later years weren't as exclusive as lemons and citrons, said the study's lead researcher, Dafna Langgut, an archaeobotanist at Tel Aviv University in Israel. "All other citrus fruits most probably spread more than a millennium later, and for economic reasons," Langgut, told Live Science in an email. [10 Biggest Historical Mysteries That Will Probably Never B...
Father Surprises Daughter With A Wedding Song In Sign Language

Father Surprises Daughter With A Wedding Song In Sign Language

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Weddings and the following receptions are always full of personal touches, like a special location or choreographed dance. In the case of Nicole Cortez Figg's reception, her dad's alternative toast made sure there wasn't a dry eye in the house. While neither Nicole nor her father are deaf, she is a sign language interpreter, which explains the meaning behind his song. It's a tender moment between father and daughter that shows the lengths to which so many dads will go to express their love for their daughters. This particular gesture is so interesting because of the unique way in which it was communicated. The use of sign language was first recorded in the fifth century BCE in ancient Greece. Since then, many sign languages have developed, with each country generally having its o...
American Tourists Quit Trying to Understand the World

American Tourists Quit Trying to Understand the World

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The United States initiated a new golden age of travel. Now terrorism and fear-mongering by demagogues is grounding the project.In 1974, as these routes were being established, only 3 percent of Americans had passports. That has subsequently grown to about 38 percent.Abroad is a nasty place.That sentiment was attributed to an American traveler on his return from Europe in the 1890s.But it could equally well serve as the leitmotif of much of the American mood of the moment; a dark mood fueled by a toxic mix of fear and xenophobia; an indiscriminate hostility to all things alien, whipped up by demagogues. As America turns inward on itself,  abroad is something to be rejected rather than something to be experienced. And, alas, the immediate casualty is the surest foe of xenophobia: trave...
Atheism has ancient roots and is not ‘modern invention’, claims new text

Atheism has ancient roots and is not ‘modern invention’, claims new text

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Cambridge academics new book disputes that atheism is a modern invention and sets out evidence that disbelief in the supernatural is as old as the hillsAtheism is not a modern invention from the western Enlightenment, but actually dates back to the ancient world, according to a new book by a Cambridge academic which challenges the assumption that humanity is naturally predisposed to believe in gods. In Battling the Gods, Tim Whitmarsh, professor of Greek culture at Cambridge University, lays out a series of examples showing that atheism existed in polytheistic ancient Greece. It is, according to its author, partly an attempt to excavate ancient atheism from underneath the rubble heaped on it by millennia of Christian opprobrium. Whitmarsh, a fellow of St Johns College, believes that the gr...
From Washing Machines To Computers: How The Ancients Invented The Modern World

From Washing Machines To Computers: How The Ancients Invented The Modern World

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True innovation is hard to find, as few things come out of nothing. Take the now ubiquitous selfie, for example. The format may have changed but the concept of making self-portraits is hundreds, if not thousands of years old. The same is true of many inventions that we typically think of as modern, some of which actually have precedents dating back over 1000 years. A Roman Washing Machine Did the Romans have machines like this? Wikimedia Commons Fulling was a major occupation in the Roman world that involved cleaning cloth by trampling it in tubs containing an alkaline solution, such as water and urine or the mineral known as fullers earth. But in ancient Antioch, in what is now Turkey, evidence suggests the process may have been mechanised, meaning the Romans may have effectively creat...
Is This Ancient Greek Statue Proof That Time Travelers Exist?

Is This Ancient Greek Statue Proof That Time Travelers Exist?

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1 Via: J. Paul Getty MuseumThere’s no way the Ancient Greeks had modern technology,right?Right!?I mean, we’re fairly sure, but this sculpture from the J. Paul Getty Museum is tripping the Internetout. 2 Via: Daily MailLook closely at the item being examined by the giant to the right.At first glance it looks like a laptop complete with USB ports, but historians say it’s something else entirely. 3 The sculpture, dubbed “Grave Naiskos of an Enthroned Woman with an Attendant,”depicts a woman simply touching the lid of a chest, historians say.Well, that’s kind of a downer.Luckily YouTube conspiracy theorist StillSpeakingOut is keeping things lively with this video.(Of course, even if the laptop theory really weretrue, you wouldn’t be able to do much wi...
The New Ben-Hur Is an Ancient and Modern Mess

The New Ben-Hur Is an Ancient and Modern Mess

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A world power mired in the Middle East: The Rome/U.S. parallels are inescapable and tantalizing—and cluelessly handled in this chariot ride to nowhere.">They are all Romans now, proclaims Pontius Pilate, prefect of Judea, as he watches throngs of Jews exult over the chariot victory of their champion, Judah Ben-Hur. The line speaks to one element (among many) that the new Ben-Hur so utterly lacks: any insight into the meaning of Roman identity and power in a culturally diverse world. For a country with long-term military commitments in the Middle East, in landscapes very much like the sets of this hollow remake, that lack is deeply troubling.Ancient Rome has often served Hollywood studios as a stand-in for America in its role as world hegemon, as well as for the militaristic regimes that