History, People, Cultures, and Social Science
Puerto Rico is experiencing a huge economic crisis. The population is declining in response as people leave the archipelago in a financial exodus. Eric Platt reported in the Financial Times that the $110 billion debt suffered by the commonwealth “has prompted one of the largest migratory movements within the U.S. in decades.” In the last 10 years, the population of Puerto Rico has dropped by 9 percent.
On Monday, Puerto Rico’s new governor was sworn into office. Governor Ricardo Rosello announced that he would hold an immediate referendum to finally push the island towards either statehood or independence. It’s not a new concern, but with the devastating economic crisis entering its second decade, the statehood movement has a new sense of urgency.
There's no rule that regulates how animals obtain the necessary genetic material to reproduce—and as a result, there is a lot of weird animal sex going on out there.
1. BANANA SLUGS MATE USING PENISES ON THEIR HEADS.
Banana slugs are huge, they eat your garden, and they leave a slimy trail as they squirm across the ground. Their method of reproduction is no more pleasant than their appearance: The scientific name for one species of banana slug is Ariolimax dolichophallus, the second part of which means “long penis,” and it’s apt. The invertebrates' penises can be 6 to 8 inches long—the entire length of the slug's body. When it's time to get down, the penises grow out of pores in the head. It isn’t unusual for the penis of one slug to get stuck inside the other during copulation; to solve this uncomfortable situation, the slug on the receiving end will eat the penis that's stuck inside it.
Raising children is confusing and stressful, which is why new parents rely on traditional wisdom and the experiences of others to help guide their decisions. But what one person considers traditional knowledge, another may interpret as bizarre or irrational. In psychology, this phenomenon is called magical thinking. Or, more commonly—superstitions.
When it comes to children, superstitions arise out of a need to exert control over the randomness of life and the difficulty of parenting. Parents act on superstitions to protect their offspring from the dangerous, unpredictable outside world. But how real or superstitious a certain custom seems depends on personal belief. Distinct cultural lenses are necessary to focus the blurry line between superstition and age-old wisdom, as is the knowledge that many of these traditions were born in times of high infant mortality and provided much-needed comfort.
(Picked up by MSN)
The thing that's easy to forget about history is that so much of it is bullshit. It's the result of modern people trying to piece together the past from fragments, all of it skewed by their own point of view. And that screwed-up understanding of the past changes how we think about the present.
For instance, we assume ancient women probably didn't fight wars or make art because we didn't allow women to do so until embarrassingly recently. But, it turns out that archaeology has proven a whole bunch of our assumptions to be wrong, which -- in addition to tricking Nazis into melting their own faces off -- is exactly what archaeologists are supposed to do. Thanks to them, we know that ...
The wind is howling outside, the lights flicker, and the floorboards creak in the next room. If you’ve ever stayed in an old house in Vermont, you know this feeling all too well. And even when the weather is calm, when you’re all alone, be prepared for the unexplained patter of unseen feet in the corner of the room. There’s just something about these old New England sites that attracts the paranormal and unknown.
Movies constantly bombard us with unrealistic expectations of love. Real life, meanwhile, tells us that most relationships are poor, nasty, brutish, and short. But there’s no need to feel depressed about romance. Read on to restore your faith in love.
It is a writer’s dream to write a best-selling novel, or maybe even a best-selling novel with a blockbuster film adaptation. Who wouldn’t want the fruit of his or her artistic labors to reach and influence the lives of millions? The right book can alter the way its readers think. It can inspire them into action. Sometimes, though, that influence reaches farther and in different directions than the author anticipated. Sometimes, authors grow to hate these publications that make them famous.
Pirates are insanely popular today. Everything from infant onesies to restaurant walls bear the Jolly Roger and images of pirates on the high seas. Pirate “facts” cover the Internet, but many of these are unsubstantiated and come from tall tales and modern movies. The actual “Golden Age” of piracy may have been a lot different from what you think.
If a Vermonter abroad is asked what state they’re from, about half of the time the people asking won’t even have heard of Vermont, while the other half will think that it’s in Canada. In the interests of avoiding such an awkward situation, here are 10 facts about Vermont that you probably never knew.
“Wait, what? Don’t move to Argentina, you can’t speak any Spanish!”
Everyone reacted the same way when I announced I was moving. My Spanish education consisted of one class I took for a few months when I was 11 years old. Outside of that I picked up some curse words from South American friends, I knew basics like how to count to 10, and most importantly I could say in Spanish, “I don’t speak Spanish.”
In moving to Argentina, I was going for full language immersion. I’d given up trying to find a regular job and accepted that I couldn’t escape my calling of cultural travel and writing.
Have you ever looked at someone and thought, “I would love to be able to do what they do?” We’ve all done it at one time or another, but how often do we take steps to achieve that goal? This list looks at 10 people who live by the philosophy that age is nothing but a number, proving that you’re never too old to start something new (or pick up something you used to do) and excel at it.
Human sacrifices are a terrifying facet of our shared history. While most archaeologists would agree that human sacrificial practices were probably not as widespread as reported, they did (and do) still occur. Many sacrificial stories were propaganda made up by opposing states, but others were documented by the very people who carried out the rituals. Focusing on archaeological findings and the resulting inferences, let’s take a look 10 unsettling discoveries of human sacrifice.
The Scotland of the imagination is a land of rolling green hills, kilt-wearing bagpipers, and crumbling castles. While you can find all of this in Scotland, there is a great deal more to this fiercely patriotic country. With a land area equal to the state of Maine in the US, this small country is chock-full of fascinating history.
We’ve covered the topic of gigantic animals before, looking at ancient and terrifying huge versions of snakes and scary carnivorous reptiles. Now we’re going to take a look at ordinary animals that don’t usually make people feel afraid. From adorable penguins to sleepy sloths, there used to be giant versions of all these animals. No matter how cute their relatives are today, the giant versions are the things of nightmares.
Everyone knows and celebrates mythic heroes and famous leaders. But then there are those everyday heroes who just make a difference when the need suddenly arises. This list is about celebrating the youngest of our everyday heroes—kids whose courage and quick thinking prevented tragedy and saved lives.
Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina, is the fourth biggest city on earth, but the rest of the world has surprisingly little knowledge of this vast and populated land. There is definitely more than meets the eye when it comes to Argentina. This list introduces you to Argentina by presenting 10 facts most outsiders don’t know.Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina, is the fourth biggest city on earth, but the rest of the world has surprisingly little knowledge of this vast and populated land. There is definitely more than meets the eye when it comes to Argentina. This list introduces you to Argentina by presenting 10 facts most outsiders don’t know.
The sunny disposition of Buenos Aires, Argentina — where there is literally constant sunshine, parties until 6 am, and every greeting includes a kiss — can blind visitors to the country’s darker chapters. There is a dramatic layered history of homelessness, poverty, missing people, and untimely deaths.
Street art exploded on the scene when Argentina’s Dirty War ended in the early 1980s; all the bottled up emotion was released and the people of Buenos Aires let the colors of their emotions paint over the city. Street art has since become commonplace in the city, where graffiti tagged walls mingle with murals that decorate nearly every public park. It has become such an integral part of the architecture and landscape that often people walking by a mural appreciate its vibrancy, but forget that the art is how the invisible is being made visible.