Hidden mountains make up Antarctica’s true terrain

Chelsea White (Image: British Antarctic Survey/BEDMAP consortium) Antarctica is hiding something. It may look like a fairly flat, snow-covered wasteland, but the BEDMAP project has pulled back the ice sheet to reveal the mountainous bed topography of the continent underneath. Only one per cent of this concealed rock makes its way to the surface of … Continue reading

Stalin’s daughter

Svetlana Stalin spent her life trying to escape from the shadow of her father, defecting to the US and becoming known as Lana Peters. So why will history mark her as a cold war plaything? Ed Pilkington To his many detractors, Joseph Stalin was a monster on an epic scale who sent millions of "class … Continue reading

U.S. continues Nobel dominance

Joshua Keating There are few signs of the Amerislump in Stockholm. U.S. economists Thomas Sargent and Christopher Sims were awarded this year’s Nobel Prize for Economics. This is the 11th straight year that at least one of the recipients of the economics prize has been American. All three of the physics winners this year and … Continue reading

Europe’s Kinky Sex Craze

An Italian man is on trial for the death of his girlfriend during a Japanese bondage scene. Barbie Latza Nadeau on what happens during ‘Shibari’—and why extreme sex is on the rise. Barbie Latza Nadeau Apparently monogamous sex gets tedious even when you’re tied up with rope. Italian engineer Soter Mule, 42, and his girlfriend … Continue reading

The Resignation of Wadah Khanfar and the Future of Al Jazeera

Why the Arab Spring Was the Best — And Worst — Thing to Happen to the Network Speculation is swirling as to why Wadah Khanfar, the director general of the Arab world’s most powerful satellite news broadcaster, resigned his post last week. But the real question is whether the network can survive the challenges it … Continue reading

Eating Your Placenta

“After I gave birth, I threw a chunk of placenta in the Vitamix with coconut water and a banana,”  “It gave me the wildest rush. You know the feeling of drinking green juice on an empty stomach? It’s like that, but much more intense. It was definitely physical.” April Rueb There’s a new pregnancy trend … Continue reading

Check in, Conk Out

A London hotel that offers an insomniac’s package. Lucy Kellaway Sleeper If I had to make a list of all the things that stop me from getting to sleep it would be a long one. On it would be: work, rows, BlackBerrys, exams, public speaking, catching planes, anger, grief, love, sadness, alcohol, snoring, food, happiness, … Continue reading

Report of ancient meat-fest by human ancestors disputed

Courtesy of PNAS and World Science staff Some re­search­ers are chal­leng­ing a re­port pub­lished last sum­mer claim­ing that an­ces­tral hu­mans seem to have butchered an­i­mal bones 3.4 mil­lion years ago. The dis­put­ed re­port sug­gested that hu­man an­ces­tors were us­ing stone tools and eat­ing meat nearly a mil­lion years ear­li­er than pre­vi­ously doc­u­mented. The pa­per ap­peared … Continue reading

Your faeces, my furry friend, are blowin’ into my face

GO FOR a bracing winter stroll in a major US city and you will be inhaling more than vehicle fumes. A new study has demonstrated for the first time that during winter most of the airborne bacteria in three large Midwestern cities come from dog faeces. Noah Fierer at the University of Colorado, Boulder, found … Continue reading

The Kids Aren’t Alright

What’s really behind Britain’s wave of youth violence? PORTIA WALKER LONDON — Buildings are charred and shops barricaded closed. Helicopters circle low overhead. London’s prison cells are all full. Police are flooding the streets of the capital. For four days now, mobs have run amok in multiple areas across this city, looting, brawling, and terrorizing … Continue reading

Bloggers arn’t Parasites

An academic finds local public-affairs bloggers who pull their weight, thank you very much. Jack Shafer The next time you catch a full-of-himself newspaper journalist bitching about bloggers ripping him off or a publisher bellyaching about his intellectual-property rights being violated by pajama-ed parasites, wave a print-out of this column in his face and knee … Continue reading

Hot Baths May Cure Loneliness

Recent research finds that taking a hot bath can cure lonelinees. Christie Nicholson reports Take a hot bath, you’ll fee better. Not only does warm water soothe us, it can combat loneliness. According to research published in the journal Emotion. Scientists analyzed the bathing habits of 51 people. And had them record how they felt … Continue reading

Poor Little Rich Country

How do you categorize India, a nation that is at once fantastically wealthy and desperately poor? BY PATRICK FRENCH In May, the Indian government announced that it was giving $5 billion in aid to African countries in the interest of helping them meet their development goals. "We do not have all the answers," Prime Minister … Continue reading

Ancient Greek oral traditions got geology right

Scott Johnson In the first century AD, a Greek geographer and historian named Strabo noted that a peninsula just south of Athens called Piraeus had, at one time in the past, been an island. It’s unusual for landforms to change so quickly that humans can take notice, even over generations, so that’s a pretty interesting … Continue reading

Pakistan’s Black Pearl

The hype about a Chinese-built port on the Arabian Sea says more about Islamabad’s desperation than it does about Beijing’s imperial ambitions. BY URMILA VENUGOPALAN State visits between friendly countries seldom produce surprises or unscripted moments, but the recent trip to China by top Pakistani officials managed to do just that. Upon returning to Islamabad, … Continue reading

The Longform.org Guide to Bank Heists

Five epic tales of elaborate schemes, desperate ploys, and lots and lots of cash. By Max Linsky First off, a quick primer on Longform.org. Every day we post new and classic nonfiction articles, curated from across the Web and designed to be read using services like Instapaper and Read It Later. You can find our … Continue reading

‘Superputin’ Battles Terrorists, Protesters in Online Comic

Adam Rawnsley Dictators are used to having their manliest poses carved into stone statues, or their most avuncular portrait printed on posters. But one Russian artist is bringing authoritarian iconography into the 21st century by drawing Russia’s boss-for-life Vladimir Putin as an ass-kicking character in an online comic book. Radio Free Europe reports that Russian … Continue reading

Do Prisoners Lift Weights?

No, but they can watch all the yoga videos they want. By Brian Palmer Inmates at Chino State Prison exercise in the yard The Supreme Court ruled on Monday that crowding at California prisons constitutes cruel and unusual punishment, and ordered the state to reduce the number of inmates by more than 30,000. An outraged … Continue reading

Little City-State with a big S

In Singapore’s 46 years of independence, Lee Kuan Yew has proven that it’s not the size of your territory that counts. It’s how you use it. After more than 50 years of public service, Lee Kuan Yew — former "minister mentor" and prime minister of Singapore — announced his retirement from politics two weeks ago. … Continue reading

More People, Please

Don’t worry about the booming global population — celebrate it. BY CHARLES KENNY Acolytes of Thomas Malthus — the prudish 18th-century parson whose influence has considerably outlasted the accuracy of his predictions — are generally predisposed toward gloom-and-doom, but their hand-wringing has been especially intense the past several weeks. With its latest population forecasts predicting … Continue reading

Satellites Spot Illegal Logging of Uncontacted Tribes

Brandon Keim Some of the world’s most sophisticated technology is being used to protect indigenous people who’ve entirely avoided the industrial world. By studying satellite photographs of Paraguayan forests inhabited by still-uncontacted aboriginal tribes, activists have spotted evidence of illegal deforestation carried out between October and December of last year. The deforestation violated a logging … Continue reading

The Penetration Shovel

  Charlie Sorrel The Penetration Shovel penetrates, shovels The Super Penetration Shovel is the perfect gift for the serial killer who has everything. Not only will its pointed tip and sharpened blade edges let the murderer in your life tear into even the hardest ground to bury any remains, the all-stainless-steel tool will probably help … Continue reading

North Korea has abducted more than 180,000 people

By Joshua Keating North Korea’s abduction of high-profiles individuals like the U.S. Army deserter Charles Jenkins or the South Korean filmmaker Shin Sang Ok have received plenty of media attention, but they were just the most prominent examples of a decades-long kidnapping campaign by the regimes of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong il. The … Continue reading

So You Won a Pulitzer

Who cares? By Jack Shafer Newsrooms across America will break out the bubbly—or quietly tuck it away for next year—as the Pulitzers are announced. But are the awards worthy of such anticipation? Not according to Jack Shafer. In a 2004 article, reprinted below, Shafer explained why the Pulitzer Prize, at least for journalists, is not … Continue reading

Flash fish

This is the age of aquariums: young men are paying a fortune to “aqua-scape” their indoor fish tanks—and parting with up to £250,000 for a single fish. Why? Edward Docx Top tank: this 6,000 litre saltwater aquarium is 13ft long, stands 8ft high and contains a live coral reef with hundreds of kinds of fish … Continue reading

UK astrophysicist Rees wins 2011 Templeton prize

By Tom Heneghan, Religion Editor PARIS, Apr. 6, 2011 (Reuters) — British astrophysicist Martin Rees, whose research delves deep into the mysteries of the cosmos, has won the 2011 Templeton Prize for career achievements affirming life’s spiritual dimension. The one million sterling ($1.6 million) award, the world’s largest to an individual, was announced on Wednesday … Continue reading

How a Blind Gamer Plays Zelda by Ear

By Jason Schreier Terry Garrett can play games like Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee and Legend of Zelda using sound alone. Photo courtesy Oddworld Inhabitants When Terry Garrett plays Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee, he pays close attention to the videogame’s sounds. The beep of a blinking bomb, the desperate cry of a friend in need, the pounding of … Continue reading

Now You’re Talking!

Google has developed speech-recognition technology that actually works. By Farhad Manjoo If you’ve got an Android phone, try this: Hit the microphone icon on the home screen, then ask, "How many angstroms in a mile?" Use your normal speaking voice—don’t speak slowly or strain to over-pronounce "angstrom." So long as you have a good Internet … Continue reading

A Kennedy in Queen Elizabeth’s Court

Though she’s just a month away from becoming British royalty, athletic and easygoing Kate Middleton has always seemed like an all-American girl. In a shocking exclusive, Vanity Fair reveals a newly uncovered family photograph and groundbreaking genealogical research that confirm the princess-to-be’s hidden Kennedy bloodline. By Juli Weiner A young Kate Middleton (fourth from right) … Continue reading

Funeral Divas

How women are returning to the death care industry in droves. By Vinnie Rotondaro Screengrab from FuneralDivas.comIn October 2010, Muneerah Warner founded Funeral Divas Inc., a social group for women in the death care industry. At the Divas’ website black and pink coffin mugs, hoodies, and umbrellas can be bought, and members can enroll in … Continue reading

Are paywalls the future?

The New York Times is putting its website behind a paywall. But is this the future of online journalism? Emily Bell, the mastermind behind Guardian online, isn’t so sure Frieda Klotz A beacon for the future of journalism, or is The Gray Lady making a big mistake? Earlier today, the New York Times made the … Continue reading

The Camera Obscura

By Melor Sturua Translated By Natalia Dresner Edited by Gheanna Emelia Russia – Izvestiya – Original Article (Russian) Jaron Lanier — the author of the book “Digital Maoism” — in referring to Fox News, the main diamond in the crown of a media ruler Rupert Murdoch, once noticed: “We have created an amazing technology that … Continue reading

Godzilla Redux

By Jed Babbin Friday’s tremendous earthquake off Japan’s coast has triggered the normal responses. The American media is busily hyperventilating over what it claims to be the greatest nuclear disaster since Chernobyl, the Japanese have mounted a highly-organized disaster relief program, and the U.S. military is on the scene providing the rapid, massive relief that … Continue reading

Gmail Offers E-Mail Autosorting

By Ryan Singel Gmail offered users yet another way to automatically sort their mail into manageable piles Wednesday with the launch of an experimental feature that moves ho-hum e-mails from daily-deal sites out of your inbox and puts labels on other less important e-mails. The Smart Labels feature, which has to be turned on in … Continue reading

Child Pornography @14?

Sexting lawsuits By Nate Anderson If a middle-aged man meets a 14-year-old girl, coerces her to film a 10-second clip of herself masturbating, then intentionally releases that clip on the Internet, the man could clearly be charged under US federal law against the “sexual exploitation of children.” But what happens when the “man” is a … Continue reading

Missing Before Action

Following a call for peaceful protests in China, Beijing is arresting and disappearing activists in perhaps the most exhaustive crackdown in recent memory. Here are their stories. BY RENEE XIA Shortly after Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak was forced to step down, an anonymous call began to circulate through Chinese microblogs for citizens to participate in … Continue reading

Taming the Wild

Only a handful of wild animal species have been successfully bred to get along with humans. The reason, scientists say, is found in their genes. By Evan Ratliff "Hello! How are you doing?" Lyudmila Trut says, reaching down to unlatch the door of a wire cage labeled "Mavrik." We’re standing between two long rows of … Continue reading

Stallion Semen Served Up in New Zealand as New Energy Drink

Matthew Hall The latest crazy candidate for a food fad may prove to be quite a mouthful. Raise your glass if you fancy a shot of horse semen, a purported "delicacy" that will debut at the Wildfoods Festival in Hokitika, New Zealand, in March. "It is sort of quirky, I suppose," festival organizer Mike Keenan … Continue reading

Peacekeeping, ASEAN-style

By David Bosco Indonesia, the current chair of ASEAN, confirms that it’s sending observers to the disputed area between Thailand and Cambodia. But Indonesia’s foreign minister wants to be clear: this is not a peacekeeping force. Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said Jakarta was sending unarmed observers to monitor the situation, the BBC reports. He … Continue reading

Al Jazeera in Talks With Comcast Over U.S. Distribution

By Sam Gustin Al Jazeera is in discussions with Comcast about bringing the network’s English-language channel to millions of U.S. homes via the nation’s largest cable operator. It would be a major breakthrough, capitalizing on the network’s growing reputation here as a honest and steadfast provider of news from an increasingly tumultuous Middle East. “We’re … Continue reading

Female Foreign Correspondents’ Code of Silence, Finally Broken

Reporter Kim Barker reporting in Afghanistan. (Kuni Takahashi) by Kim Barker  Thousands of men blocked the road, surrounding the S.U.V. of the chief justice of Pakistan, a national hero for standing up to military rule. As a correspondent for The Chicago Tribune, I knew I couldn’t just watch from behind a car window. I had … Continue reading

Is US Losing Innovation Race Against China and India?

William Ide  Photo: AP A magnetic levitation or ‘Maglev,’ train running on a test rail in Shanghai, China (file photo)) U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to travel to the Western states of California and Oregon this week to meet with the heads of leading high-tech companies.  His trip comes just weeks after the president … Continue reading

NoteSlate, an E-Ink Tablet Made for Writing

By Charlie Sorrel File under “awesome wish-ware.” The NoteSlate is a tablet that takes the name “slate” rather too literally. It’s an E Ink tablet which comes with a pop-out stylus to write on the screen, and while it also comes in white, the black version looks just like a real slate –- those stone … Continue reading

Egypt in Hosni’s Hell…

Egyptian soldiers try to protect a civilian from angry protesters who thought he was a plainclothes policeman in Cairo’s Tahrir square, the epicenter of seven consecutive days of anti-government protests. Khaled Desouki / AFP/Getty Images … More>>

Shaolin monk throws needle through glass

A Shaolin monk has been captured on high-speed video throwing a sewing needle through a sheet of glass. The video was shot using a Phantom HD camera at 1000 frames per second. Shaolin monks are Buddhist monks based at the Shaolin Temple in Dengfeng, China who are famous practicing martial arts, including kung fu and … Continue reading

9,000 Years Ago, North Americans Tamed–and Ate–Dogs

To a human living in North America about 9,400 years ago, dogs may have been both trusted friends and loyal protectors. But they were something else too: dinner. A DNA analysis of an ancient dog’s recovered bone fragment reveal that dogs were already domesticated at this stage in North American history, and the fact that … Continue reading

Israel’s Shadowy War on Iran

Mossad Zeros in on Tehran’s Nuclear Program By Dieter Bednarz and Ronen Bergman An unexplained fire, disappearing scientists and attacks on prominent Iranian nuclear experts: The Israeli secret service Mossad seems to be waging a shadowy war on Tehran’s nuclear program. Will it be enough to stop Iran’s alleged drive to develop atomic weapons? The … Continue reading

Elevate yourself to become more virtuous

by Nic Fleming  PREPARE to be placed on a pedestal by those seeking to persuade you to care more for others. Positioning people at elevated heights can make them more compassionate, helpful, cooperative and charitable. That’s according to Lawrence Sanna of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His team devised four experiments to … Continue reading

Feds Charge Two for Allegedly Exploiting Bug in Video Poker Machines

By Kevin Poulsen Federal prosecutors this week leveled conspiracy charges against two men who allegedly used an exploit against a line of video poker machines to win hundreds of thousands of dollars in unearned jackpots. John Kane, 52, of Las Vegas, and Andre Nestor, 39, of western Pennsylvania, allegedly pulled the caper in Las Vegas … Continue reading

Sega Installs ‘Toylet’ Games in Japan’s Urinals

By Duncan Geere, Wired UK Sega has announced that it’s testing consoles called “Toylets” in urinals around Tokyo. The novel hardware asks the user to strategically vary the strength and location of his urine stream to play a series of games. For now, Sega has installed Toylets in four Tokyo metro locations, including Akihabara, Soga … Continue reading