Reflections on Warner Bros’ Wonder Woman (2017)


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Some will argue that without certain heterosocial tropes——dress-buying with witnesses, slow dancing, melting with some man into a softly-lit chamber——Diana of Themiscyra could not realistically grow her long-term interest in defending human innocents. For my part, a hero driven to joy and follow-through by something like Kant’s sense of duty is feasible for Wonder Woman, and worth wishing for.

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Joseph Spece — Berfrois

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How to Stop Saying Sorry When Things Aren’t Your Fault


So I did what I thought was right: I said sorry. I’d say sorry when we had to walk too far to carry our groceries home, even though it wasn’t my fault we couldn’t yet afford a car. I’d say sorry for the bad days at work where they were forced to repeat their perfect English in Australian twangs so their colleagues could grant them some level of acceptance. I’d say sorry when they couldn’t resolve arguments they had because my mother felt they were repeating old patterns in a new country, where she was the one looking after the children as my father threw himself into his job. I’d also say sorry at school. I’d apologize to my teacher when I already knew the answers to the basic mathematical lessons he taught since I covered the same lessons in India. I’d say sorry to classmates because I couldn’t yet understand the slang they uncompromisingly spoke to me.

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Kamna Muddagouni — Catapult

Ten photos that changed how we see human rights


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Often, the power of seeing someone very different from ourselves can create a sense of proximity, and the recognition of another’s full humanity. For example, after Frederick Douglass escaped from slavery in Maryland in 1838, he became a leading campaigner in the abolitionist movement in the United States. He believed in the power of his dignified and serious photographic portrait to counter racist caricatures, and became the most-photographed man of the 19th century.

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The Conversation

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What Did Ancient Romans Do Without Toilet Paper?


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Just plain old curiosity.

In the same way that we use an American-style toilet, a Roman user would sit down, take care of business, and watch number two float blissfully away down the sewer system. But instead of reaching for a roll of toilet paper, an ancient Roman would often grab a tersorium (or, in my technical terms, a “toilet brush for your butt”). A tersorium is an ingenious little device made by attaching a natural sponge (from the Mediterranean Sea, of course) to the end of a stick. Our ancient Roman would simply wipe him- or herself, rinse the tersorium in whatever was available (running water and/or a bucket of vinegar or salt water), and leave it for the next person to use. That’s right, it was a shared butt cleaner. (And of course, there were other means of wiping as well, such as the use of abrasive ceramic discs called pessoi.)

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Stephen E. Nash — Sapiens

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WORDS ARE THE DRESS OF THOUGHTS


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This piece was written in 1748. It is about what it takes to be a gentleman.

In every language, pray attend carefully to the choice of your words, and to the turn of your expression. Indeed, it is a point of very great consequence. To be heard with success, you must be heard with pleasure: words are the dress of thoughts; which should no more be presented in rags, tatters, and dirt, than your person should. By the way, do you mind your person and your dress sufficiently? Do you take great care of your teeth? Pray have them put in order by the best operator at Rome. Are you belaced, bepowdered, and befeathered, as other young fellows are, and should be?

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Lord Chesterfield — Vestoj

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When Pranks Become Works of Art


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A real funny prank, when things get reversed.

My friends were visual artists, writers, musicians, actors, and activists. Because of our lifestyles, we made the place a cool attraction for the “bridge-and-tunnel” tourists who drove through and pointed their cameras through the smoky windows of their Greyhound buses. We were the freak show, the animals they could mock. Fed up with this, I decided to take the freak show back to suburbia to ridicule the squares we had left behind: “Oh, look! They’re mowing their lawns and washing their cars!” The natives freaked when they saw us. One lady actually shrieked: “We’re being invaded!” I had no idea about the interest this satirical gesture would ignite. Carloads of journalists trailed the bus everywhere we went. Some were even on the bus.

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Joey Skaggs — Artsy

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Iceland’s battle against digital extinction


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Iceland’s struggle to save its Icelandic language.

For centuries, the Icelandic language has held off influences from foreign lingua franca like Danish and English. But today, there is a new threat: technologies that can only be operated in foreign languages, even at home. Apple’s voice assistant,Siri, for example, does not understand Icelandic (although Google Translate does, thanks to an Icelandic engineer who worked at the California-based company, according to legend). Half of the world’s 7,000 languages are at risk of disappearing within this century.

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Caitlin Hu — Quartz

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