Category: Life

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a Glasgow-based artist dressed in a 17th-century Plague Doctor costume, sits on a bench in George Square in 2011 in Glasgow, Scotland, to promote his exhibition, "The Human Condition"

The Terrifying Costumes Worn by 17th-Century Plague Doctors

Amid the current pandemic, the debate continues about the efficacy of personal protective equipment, especially face masks. According to some, if they are not of the N95 grade quality, they may not be effective at protecting the wearer’s immune system from absorbing foreign airborne pathogens. Pandemics are not a new phenomenon, and how they are handled now is a sharp contrast to the yesteryear methods. However, one similarity involves the protective gear worn by today’s health care workers—our new plague doctors.

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George Floyd mural in Minneapolis, Minnesota

George Floyd Murals Put Systemic Racism on Display Worldwide

As many of us continue to grapple with emotions as a result of the senseless death of George Floyd, who was murdered by former police officer Derek Chauvin on May 25, 2020, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, protests across the country—and around the world—continue to clog roadways with calls to end racism and police brutality. Standing in solidarity with these marchers, local artists from every corner of the globe are also taking their grief and anger to the streets—but in a different way.

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the Temple of All Religions in Kazan, Russia

Universal Temple: A Unique Meeting Place for All Religions

Russian architecture is a sight to behold, no matter the context. However, if you happen to find yourself along the banks of the Volga River in the proud republic of Tatarstan, you’ll be sure to notice an imposing and colorful building, festooned with balustrades and steeples, unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. And that’s as it should be. Because, quite simply, there is no building in the world like the Universal Temple.

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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.