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The Leibers Are Gone. But Their Bling Is Back.

One summer day in the mid 1990s, as she recounts it, Beth Gorenfeld was at her booth at the Sag Harbor Whaling & Historical Museum’s antique show when two women made a beeline to her handbags. “They both stood looking at the bags for a while,” Ms. Gorenfeld, a reseller of vintage fashion items, …

Living Rooms

18 New Shows to Watch This Summer

Plus 10 returning series worth catching up on<p>It’s typical at this point for each new season of television to feature a slate of movie stars making the transition onto the small screen, and this summer is no exception, serving up Kevin Costner, Hugh Grant, Amy Adams, Guy Pearce, and John Krasinski, …

TV

8 Best Audiobooks Narrated by a Full Cast

Neil Gaiman<p><b>Read by Fred Berman, Anne Bobby, Dennis Boutsikaris, Tim Cain, Richard Ferrone, Adam Grupper, and more</b><p>This is one of the full-cast audiobooks against which all others are invariably measured. It’s just that good. From Ron McLarty’s pitch-perfect Odin to Daniel Oreske’s beleaguered Shadow …

Books

Aerial Photography’s Surprising Role in History

Drones are often celebrated for their ability to capture a new vantage point on the world, revealing the beauty of our planet from high above. But …

Drones

Air pollution inequality widens between rich and poor nations

Pollution inequality between the world’s rich and poor is widening, according to the latest global data from the World Health Organisation (WHO) which shows that 7 million people – mostly in developing nations – die every year from airborne contaminants.<p>Overall, nine in 10 people on the planet live …

Pollution

Story of cities #16: how the US-run Canal Zone divided Panama for a century

When Vasco Nuñez de Balboa crossed the Panama isthmus on foot in 1513, he had little intention of becoming the first European explorer to reach the Pacific Ocean. But his trek revealed Panama’s strategic location to be a treasure as great as any of the plunder brought home by other <i>conquistadors</i> for …

Panama City

Story of cities #17: Canberra's vision of the ideal city gets mired in 'mediocrity'

In May 1912, Chicago landscape architect Walter Griffin won an international competition to design an unnamed capital of Australia. Overseas entrants had been given only maps, a cyclorama landscape print and – if they could access it – a plaster model of the site to work with.<p>Perhaps …

Urbanism

The story of cities #15: the rise and ruin of Rio de Janeiro's first favela

Among Brazilian film buffs and cultural historians, the film Favela dos Meus Amores has gained cult-like status. Released in 1935, it chronicles the musical and amorous adventures of two young men who put on a cabaret for tourists in the Morro da Providência, the hill near the port area of Rio de …

Brazil

Story of cities #19: Johannesburg's apartheid purge of vibrant Sophiatown

The bulldozers arrived in Sophiatown at five o’clock on the morning of 9 February, 1955. Behind them in the darkness, police commanders lined up with piles of paper – lists of names and addresses, eviction notices, and assignments to new plots in the Meadowlands suburb, 15 kilometres away on the …

South Africa

Story of cities #18: Vienna's 'wild settlers' kickstart a social housing revolution

The first world war only intensified housing problems in Vienna, a city that had been impoverished since the turn of the century – when it was normal that “six to eight persons lived in one room and a kitchen”, according to historian Renate Banik-Schweitzer. “Children had no bed of their own, but …

Urbanism

Story of cities #14: London's Great Stink heralds a wonder of the industrial world

In the steaming hot summer of 1858, the hideous stench of human excrement rising from the River Thames and seeping through the hallowed halls of the Houses of Parliament finally got too much for Britain’s politicians – those who had not already fled in fear of their lives to the …

England

Story of cities #11: the reclamation of Mumbai – from the sea, and its people?

Of all the ways in which Mumbai has been called a city of dreams, at least one is literal. It is sometime in the late 18th century, and the engineers of the East India Company in Bombay are losing a battle against the sea. They’re dumping boatloads of stone into Worli creek to build an embankment, …

India

Story of cities #10: how the dirty Old Town became enlightened Edinburgh

One night in September 1751, a six-storey tenement in Edinburgh’s city centre collapsed without warning. Such events were by no means unusual in the Scottish capital, but in this case the building was no slum – it had stood on one of the city’s grandest streets, and the fatalities were from some of …

Scotland

Story of cities #12: Haussmann rips up Paris – and divides France to this day

He was the Parisian who ripped up his home city; one of the most famous and controversial urban planners in history. Even now, 125 years after the death of Baron Georges-Eugène Haussmann, France remains divided over whether the man who transformed Paris into the City of Light was truly a master …

France

Story of cities #13: Barcelona's unloved planner invents science of 'urbanisation'

In the mid-1850s, Barcelona was on the brink of collapse. An industrial city with a busy port, it had grown increasingly dense throughout the industrial revolution, mostly spearheaded by the huge development of the textile sector.<p>The city was living at a faster pace than the rest of Spain, and was …

Urbanization

Convenient Stores

Decentralized delivery services show the power of connected networks.<p>From hunting and gathering to farming to picking up the phone to order a pizza, how humans obtain sustenance and other essentials is constantly evolving. Now, as people increasingly expect to get goods whenever they want them and …

Story of cities #7: Philadelphia grid marks birth of America's urban dream

The surveyor Thomas Holme’s “Portraiture of the City of Philadelphia”, printed in London in the politically turbulent and deathly cold winter of 1683, is a picture of urban grandeur, civility and order. Designed to encourage shareholders and lure settlers with the prospect of a new and improved …

Urbanism

Story of cities #6: how silver turned Potosí into 'the first city of capitalism'

“<i>For the powerful emperor, for the wise king, this lofty mountain of silver could conquer the world.</i>” So read the engraving on an ornate shield sent by Spain’s King Felipe II in 1561 as a gift to the city of Potosí, in what is now southern Bolivia.<p>Felipe was all too aware of the vast riches hidden …

History

Story of cities #9: Kingston, Jamaica – a city born of 'wickedness' and disaster

Downtown Kingston, the conflicted heart of Jamaica’s modern capital, was born of disaster. A battered pocket watch, its hands frozen at exactly 11:43, memorialises the moment on 7 June 1692 when an earthquake ripped through this English Caribbean colony. Mountains split, buildings shattered and a …

Caribbean

Story of cities #8: St Petersburg – is the 'city built on bones' starting to crumble?

On 16 May 1703, while looking over sparse marshlands near the mouth of the Baltic Sea that he had taken from the Swedes, Tsar Peter the Great cut two strips of turf from Hare’s Island on the Neva river, laid them in a cross and declared: “Let there be a city here.” As he spoke, an eagle appeared …

Urban Design

Story of cities #5: Benin City, the mighty medieval capital now lost without trace

This is the story of a lost medieval city you’ve probably never heard about. Benin City, originally known as Edo, was once the capital of a pre-colonial African empire located in what is now southern Nigeria. The Benin empire was one of the oldest and most highly developed states in west Africa, …

Africa

Story of cities #4: Beijing and the earliest planning document in history

In the depths of Beijing’s Planning Exhibition Hall, a big grey hangar that squats in the corner of Tiananmen Square, stands a scale model of the city. It is an endless field of tiny wooden and perspex blocks, low-rise courtyards huddled cheek by jowl with a motley jumble of towers, expanding ever …

Ancient History

Story of cities #3: the birth of Baghdad was a landmark for world civilisation

If Baghdad today is a byword for inner-city decay and violence on an unspeakable scale, its foundation 1,250 years ago was a glorious milestone in the history of urban design. More than that, it was a landmark for civilisation, the birth of a city that would quickly become the cultural lodestar of …

History

Story of cities #2: Rome wasn't planned in a day … in fact it wasn't planned at all

According to Tacitus, perhaps the greatest of all Roman historians, it was the great temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus on the Capitoline Hill that held the key to the future of ancient Rome.<p>Writing about a fire at the temple in AD69, Tacitus assumed the conflagration would embolden the enemy Gauls …

Ancient History

The story of cities, part 1: how Alexandria laid foundations for the modern world

The secret to Alexandria, if classical historians are to be believed, lies in a golden casket. Studded with jewels and small enough to hold in one’s hands, the casket was a war trophy found in the lodgings of vanquished Persian king Darius III more than 2,300 years ago. The man who defeated Darius, …

Ancient History

More startup lawyers are accepting cryptocurrencies as payment

A growing number of law firms working with startups are beginning to accept their payment in cryptocurrencies, according to a new report by the trade-focused outlet Law.com.<p>The lawyers suggest that they increasingly have no choice. In order to land the growing number of businesses launched by …

High schooler makes 3D-printed, machine learning-powered eye disease diagnosis system

If, like me, you’re one of those people who worries that you haven’t accomplished much in your life, you probably shouldn’t read this profile of Kavya Kopparapu, a teenager who has probably done more in her time <i>at</i> high school than I’ve done since I graduated. Most recently, she created a cheap, …

'Aid the growth of self-employment'

We asked business leaders what they want from the next government. Simon Belsham of online marketplace Notonthehighstreet wants incentives to boost self-employment in the UK.

Germany Is About to Choose a Leader. Here’s the Situation.

<i>This will be updated throughout the election.</i><p>Germans will head to the polls on Sept. 24, following a year of dramatic elections in Europe. The Netherlands, France, and Britain all held big, noisy votes that underscored the political volatility now infusing politics across the European Union. The …