Category: Life

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Ota Benga at the Bronx Zoo

Ota Benga: The Congolese Pygmy Who Became a Zoo Exhibit

Around the beginning of the last century—in 1906, to be exact—the 4’11” Ota Benga was featured in an infamous human exhibit at the Bronx Zoo’s Monkey House. Ota Benga, a Mbuti (Congolese pygmy) man from what was then known as the Congo Free State, stayed at the zoo for just a few months until the public outcry over his treatment at the zoo resulted in another home for him. However, Benga’s short life was marked with tragedy.

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life-sized scarecrows in Nagoro, Japan

Nagoro: Inside Japan’s Creepy Doll Village

What began as a practical scarecrow creation for the family plot has transformed into a whimsical display of memories in the remote village of Nagoro, Japan. When someone passes on or moves away, Ayano Tsukimi, an elderly crafts hobbyist, makes life-sized scarecrows to remember their presence. These ubiquitous cotton-stuffed dolls are ten times more than the human residents in the village and have become a major attraction for visitors from around the globe.

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Santa Maria Novella Pharmacy products in their original composition

600-Year Old Pharmacy Sells Catherine de’ Medici’s Perfume

Just a stone’s throw away from Florence’s busy Santa Maria Novella train station stands a 600-year-old pharmacy that started as an infirmary. This establishment is renowned for creating sweet-smelling elixirs and skincare products that draw customers from around the world. Beyond selling modern-day perfumes and cosmetics, Officina Profumo – Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella is a preserve of ancient monastic history and tradition. Read along to find out more about this unique, centuries-old pharmacy that may be the oldest in the world today.

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billy barr growing his garden inside his Gothic cabin

billy barr: The Snow Guardian of the Colorado Rocky Mountains

By 1973 billy barr was the only permanent resident of Gothic. A year into his stay in Gothic, barr started to document the weather, mainly as a way to pass the time. For more than 40 winters, he has kept meticulous notes on the behavior of the snow in the area. Twice a day, barr collects information on snowfalls, temperatures, and the animals which come in and out of his area of the Rockies.

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astronaut on a toilet seat

Mayday: An Astronaut’s Guide to Learning to Cope With Isolation

There are a select few who know the pains (both physical and mental) associated with prolonged periods of isolation. Astronauts like Scott Kelly, who spent time on the International Space Station, and D. Marshall Porterfield, NASA’s former Space Life and Physical Sciences Division Director, are all too familiar with the concept of coping with a life spent, periodically, at arm’s length (or longer). Here are some tips on how to live with those overwhelming feelings of loneliness—straight from the experts.

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woman sitting on white bed

Being Alone: The Pros and Cons of Keeping to Yourself

Many of us are currently sequestered indoors, away from our invigorating and purpose-driven routines. It can be argued that those who are confined with others, like roommates, family, or friends, are lucky in that they are at least allowed to engage in conversation with others and aren’t made to struggle with complete loneliness. Wherever you are, you should know that there are benefits to being alone. And, of course, some drawbacks.

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Mosuo women in Yunnan, China

Lugu Lake: China’s Progressive ‘Kingdom of Women’

Nestled deep in the hidden valleys of Yunnan, China, east of the Himalayas and abutting the blue waters of Lugu Lake, sits a community of inhabitants known as the Mosuo people. And like most members of this community, they collectively share several similarities—traits, ideals, morals, beliefs. What sets this group apart from the rest of their mainland counterparts is their surprisingly modern approach to Chinese tradition. In this mysterious and unspoiled region, known as the “Kingdom of Women,” men take a backseat.