izzyb

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How Isis came to be

Three years ago, the Islamic State (Isis) did not exist; now it controls vast swaths of Syria and Iraq. Showing off its handiwork daily via Twitter and YouTube, Isis has repeatedly demonstrated that it is much more than a transnational terrorist organisation – rather, it is an entity with …

Sayed Kashua: why I have to leave Israel

Quite soon I am going away from here. In a few days we'll be leaving Jerusalem, leaving the country. Yesterday we bought little suitcases for the kids. No need to take a lot of clothes, we'll leave our winter clothes; in any event they won't be warm enough given the cold of southern Illinois, USA. …

Writing to Win

One of the great mysteries of the writer’s life is the transformation that occurs when he or she passes from being an unpublished to a published …

Brain scans reveal the power of art

Works of art can give as much joy as being head over heels in love, according to a new scientific study.<p>Human guinea pigs underwent brain scans while being shown a series of 30 paintings by some of the world's greatest artists.<p>The artworks they considered most beautiful increased blood flow in a …

Art

Why China can’t take over the world

China is preparing to surpass the United States as the world’s largest economy, in purchasing power parity terms. Already its economy is 80% the size of ours, and if current growth rate differentials persist, it will take China only about four more years to surpass us. At market exchange rates, …

How the Science of Swarms Can Help Us Fight Cancer and Predict the Future

Author: Ed Yong. Ed Yong Science<p>Date of Publication: 03.19.13.<p>Time of Publication: 6:30 am. 6:30 am<p>The first thing to hit Iain Couzin when he walked …

The death of photography: are camera phones destroying an artform?

"It's really weird," says Antonio Olmos. "Photography has never been so popular, but it's getting destroyed. There have never been so many photographs taken, but photography is dying."<p>I'd asked the 50-year-old, award-winning, London-based Mexican photographer what he thinks is going to happen to …

The Retro Reaffirmations of New Environmentalism

New greens or just old greens in steampunk clothing?<p>There is much to be frustrated by in modern environmental thought, so the promise of a ‘new’ …

Environmentalism

Samsa in Love

He woke to discover that he had undergone a metamorphosis and become Gregor Samsa.<p>He lay flat on his back on the bed, looking at the ceiling. It took time for his eyes to adjust to the lack of light. The ceiling seemed to be a common, everyday ceiling of the sort one might find anywhere. Once, it …

Pet Words

The word “sweet” appears eight hundred and forty times in your complete Shakespeare. Or nearly a thousand times, if you accept close variants (“out-sweeten’d,” “true-sweet,” “sweetheart”). This level of use comes as no surprise to anyone who loves the sonnets and plays: whether in moments of …

Materialism is destroying China’s interest in reading books

BEIJING—In a chapter from his essay collection <i>China in Ten Words</i>, Yu Hua, an acclaimed Chinese writer, recounts the following anecdote from his childhood: In the wake of the Cultural Revolution, Western classic novels, previously denounced as “poisonous weed,” started to reappear in the remote …

Why are we attracted to beautiful things?

“We wear clothing and jewelry. We buy the biggest, most beautiful houses we can afford. We decorate our homes with furniture, rugs, prints, and …

Swiss Army Knives

Is the sound of silence the end of the self? – Tim Parks | Aeon Essays

Years ago, in my novel <i>Cleaver</i> (2006), I imagined a media man who is used to frantic bustle and talk going in search of silence. He flees to the Alps, …

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Doris Lessing and the Perils of the Pseudonymous Novel

In the early nineteen-eighties, a literary agent in London sent the manuscript of a first novel titled “The Diary of a Good Neighbour,” by a certain Jane Somers, to the publishing company Jonathan Cape. Cape still maintained the old-fashioned practice of employing in-house readers, and the …

Social Darwinism is back but this time it’s a good thing – David Sloan Wilson | Aeon Essays

In 2008, as it was becoming clear that a once-in-a-generation financial crisis was upon us, a friend of mine who is a senior corporate executive …

High-end art is one of the most manipulated markets in the world

A gallerist and an economist walked into an art gallery opening. The paintings on display featured the rape of dismembered corpses. The economist was horrified, but the gallerist said the work was good and the artist had a promising career. The gallerist was right. The artist is now a hot, emerging …

February 2013

June 2013

Human evolution: the next stages

There have been a number of speculations lately concerning the eventual form humankind will take, particularly with regards to the role technology …

CSI: Italian Renaissance

High on the facade of Santa Maria Antica, among soaring Gothic spires and forbidding statues of knights in armor, pathologist Gino Fornaciari …

A Billion Stories

In my neighborhood, near the Lama Temple, the men and women in fluorescent orange jumpsuits work for the district sanitation department. Many are migrant workers from the countryside; they sweep the alleys, clean the public restrooms, and collect the trash. Some wear straw farmers’ hats that cast a …

Five Hundred and Twenty Days of Solitude

On June 3, 2010, six men filed through the weedy, Soviet-era campus of the Institute of Biomedical Problems, in Moscow. They made their way past friends, family, scientists, well-wishers and a bronze-toned, gigantic statue of the astronaut Yuri Gagarin before entering a vaulted hall that contained …

What’s a stegosaur for? Why life is design-like – Michael Ruse | Aeon Essays

One of my favourite dinosaurs is the <i>Stegosaurus,</i> a monster from the late Jurassic (150 million years ago), noteworthy because of the diamond-like …

Common Sense

RIP Bert Stern: The Original 'Mad Man'

Driest of the Dry, 1955<br>© Bert Stern<p>1 of 20<p><b>Updated June 27, 2013</b><p><i>Bert Stern, known for his groundbreaking photographs from advertising's Golden Age and</i> …

The Fallacy of Human Freedom

The challenge ahead for governments, especially the United States, is that while economic growth remains strong, they need to go on a debt diet.<p>Trump …

The Faraway Nearby

Many stories are told about the T’ang dynasty artist Wu Daozi, sometimes named as one of the three great sages of China: that he ignored color and …