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Hear the 10 essential sounds of America

WE HIT THE road to celebrate America’s best music destinations, taking in the sweet sound of jazz in New Orleans, the tenacious, gritty rap of New York, good ol’ Memphis rock, and Chicago’s inimitable blues. So put on your dancing shoes and head to these 10 sweet-sounding cities.

A world of fire and ice: life with the Nenets – in pictures

For thousands of years the Nenets people have migrated with their reindeer herds across the Yamal Peninsula in the Russian Arctic. In October 2016, Alegra Ally travelled to north-west Siberia to join a family and document their way of life as autumn turned to winter.

Why the baroque politeness of diplomatic notes is what the world needs now

According to historian Gordon A. Craig, many people dismiss diplomatic notes as “a form of literature scarcely more exciting than seed catalogues.” Yet the exchanges, Craig argues, can in fact be riveting. Part of the pleasure comes from reading between the lines, or even counting the number of lines. “The shorter the note, the deeper… Read More >> 0 comments

The fightback against male domination of serious literature is on – and women are winning battle after battle

Time was when we knew where we were with books. Big, important men wrote big, important masterworks about science, politics and history that, if enough people bought them, would swiftly be absorbed into the canon. Women writers, meanwhile, were viewed as niche and thus awarded their own specialist categories, among them “romance”, “chick-lit” and “women’s… Read More >> 0 comments

Why are fewer Frenchwomen sunbathing topless?

There’s another sinister development in France in recent years that explains why women are not only reluctant to go topless but frightened at the thought. It’s what Jacqueline Costa-Lascoux, a director for a governmental research organization, described in 2015 as ‘a police of mores who are principally targeting young women on the issue of modesty’.

Naked Came the Strangers

Genitals are an altogether different story. Modesty, of course, is legislated differently in every place and time. (In one era, for instance, French police arrested women on beaches for wearing body-baring bikinis and in a later one exploited modest body-concealing burkinis as a means of pitting constitutional secularism against freedom of religion.)

School uniforms are on the rise — even for toddlers — and it’s changing back-to-school shopping

“I think it’s awesome,” said Duplessis, 38, an insurance agent. “She walks into day care and has an immediate sense of community. She belongs.” … Public schools, charters and child-care centers across the country are increasingly requiring uniforms, remaking back-to-school shopping traditions that have long emphasized individuality and self expression. More than 40 percent of… Read More >> 0 comments

The Upside series: ‘Our reporting generates change for the better’

The media must recognise it shapes the world we live in, as well as reflecting it. Hyperbolic coverage of terrorists and school shooters and people who take their own lives will encourage copycats. Hysterical coverage of populism, recession and mental illness risk turning into self-fulfilling prophecy. … When we report progress, more progress ensues. What… Read More >> 0 comments

Let us now stop praising famous men (and women)

The smog of praise that permeates the upper echelons of society is a product of perverse incentives. As individuals, we tend to praise others and to court praise, because we want to win good will from others and receive confirmation of others’ good will. What’s more, we have an even stronger incentive to praise people… Read More >> 0 comments

In defense of reading the same book over and over again

Still, there is evidence that rereading — and rewatching and relistening and reconsuming all types of culture — might actually be somewhat beneficial, or at the very least comforting. … Finally, they posited that there is an existential purpose in reconsumption: By re-engaging with the same object at different times, we can more easily understand… Read More >> 0 comments

Tiny ancient amulets of deities, skulls, scarabs, phalluses unearthed in Pompeii

These amulets were probably collected and used by a woman, either as a type of jewelry or to protect her from bad luck. Archaeologists are now studying their likely symbolism to “understand their meaning and function,” Massimo Osanna, the general director at the Archaeological Park of Pompeii, said in a statement.  

‘Internet language’ creates community — and creates division

If I started a sentence with “Ermahgerd,” misspelled “the” as “teh” or dropped a “1” in a string of exclamation points, and that sentence made sense to you — or even made you smile a bit — congratulations: You’re an Internet Person. And if you grimaced or winced, thinking those references dated or tragically unhip,… Read More >> 0 comments