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Editorial

Contents

Hello everyone,

The 19th wife

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Welcome to his year’s first issue of WaspReporter Magazine, volume 13. We hope you enjoyed your summer holidays. To make the transition to the new school year a bit easier for you we have prepared a magazine that is filled to the brim with interesting, fun, and thoughtprovoking articles. Our cover article features Mario Balotelli (pp. 14–15). The 23-year-old star forward of AC Milan is probably one of the best young strikers in football at the moment. And he has the personality to match. His wacky behaviour generates a lot of publicity, causing his talent sometimes to be overlooked. An altogether different take on sports is offered in the article ‘The mess on Everest’ (pp. 10–11). High-altitude mountaineering is as dangerous as it is spectacular. But there are also unforeseen consequences to this increasingly popular sport. As Mount Everest – the world’s highest peak – is practically overrun by inexperienced climbers, its slopes become polluted by waste. Even corpses of perished climbers are often not removed from the mountain, making the journey to the top a macabre endeavour. Also, be sure to read our two articles with historical topics. We are so used to sending emails and WhatsApp messages around the globe instantaneously, that we may forget that not too long ago sending a letter involved a series of sometimes almost insurmountable challenges, as is explained in ‘How to send a letter’ (pp. 16–17). In ‘The genius of the Celts’ (pp. 24–25) our stereotypical image of Celts as primitive roughnecks is challenged in favour of the more nuanced and sophisticated reality. Enjoy!

Kidnapped by terrorists

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War vs wedding

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The mess on Everest

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A marine’s final fight

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Balotelli

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How to send a letter

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Engines of innovation

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The walking dead

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Good night, sleep clean

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The genius of the Celts

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The mindfulness racket

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= text on CD, www.waspreporter.nl and Digibordbij = text only on Digibordbij

CD

For this issue of WaspReporter, Sheila Thorn has interviewed Jill, who has just been to Vietnam for two weeks.

Johan Graus Editor

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Glamour



The 19th wife At 19, Rebecca Musser was forced to marry an 85-year-old cult leader. After her escape, and as a witness to the violation of child brides, she vowed to fight for justice AS TOLD TO MARISSA CHARLES 1

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As my older sister combed my hair, I sat there trying to be excited. It was my wedding day, and I was upstairs in my future husband’s home. ‘Is she ready yet?’ someone called out. I walked down the stairs, wishing a lightning bolt would come. Beneath me, people were smiling, thrilled, while all I felt was a sense of dread. My father performed the ceremony in the living room as I held my groom’s shaky hand. When it was time for us to kiss, it was disgusting, all slobbery and wet. I turned my mouth away from him and brushed my lips on the puffy sleeve of my dress.

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I was 19 years old and my husband, Rulon Jeffs, was 85. He was the prophet and head of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS), a conservative form of Mormonism. And I was his 19th wife.

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Our father’s secret

Growing up in Salt Lake City, Utah, I always knew my family and the community that we belonged to were different. As an FLDS girl, keeping sweet and preparing yourself to be obedient to your future husband was indoctrinated into us. Our dresses had to be modest, covering our

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undergarments, which came up to our collarbone and went down to our wrists and ankles. A woman’s hair was considered her crowning glory and couldn’t be cut; yards long, I wore mine piled onto the top of my head. Our schooling was funnelled through the lens of religion, and as for dating, even having a boy say ‘Hi’ to you was like a criminal offence. But it wasn’t just that we dressed, spoke, and conducted our lives differently; we were told we were the only ones who had the true connection to God. According to FLDS beliefs, the rest of the world – including the mainstream Number 1

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Mormon Church, which had given up polygamy in the 1890s – would one day be wiped off the face of the earth by mighty destructions. The outside world had no idea that my father, a civil engineer, had two wives – his first wife, Irene, with whom he had nine children, and my mum, Sharon, who eventually had 14. We lived in the basement with our mother, crammed into two bedrooms, with one bathroom, a teeny kitchenette, and a lounge. My brothers, sisters, and I slept in bunk beds that eventually spilled out into the living area.

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Rulon’s home was huge; we all had cooking and cleaning duties. Rulon would only sleep with his young wives. I was expected to stay with him one night every other week. I got along well with my sister wives because I wasn’t a threat to those of them who wanted Rulon’s affection.

When it was time for us to kiss, it was disgusting

Fear and despair

From the age of 15, Rulon – ‘Father’ or ‘Uncle Rulon’ as he was called – was already watching me. His young wives, including my older sister, Christine, would tell me I’d make a great addition to their family. It made me incredibly uncomfortable. He was old enough to be my grandfather. But three years later Rulon told my father that I belonged to him. I burst into tears when I heard the news, pleading with my dad that I wasn’t ready. But for my parents it was an honour. Their status in society skyrocketed to have not just one, but two daughters marry the prophet. Saying no wasn’t an option – it would

bring shame on my family, which equalled damnation. My heart sank with fear and despair as I resigned myself to doing my duty.

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In fact, I’d look for any opportunity to give up my time with him, even if it meant hours of washing dishes. At home, there were times when Rulon would grab one of us and grope our breasts in front of his sons and other men. It was like a circus show. The safest thing to do was to keep a careful distance, staying out of sight.

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By the time Rulon died, seven years later, aged 92, he’d taken on 46 more wives. It was September 8, 2002, and his death shattered my understanding of the world. We were always told that a finger from heaven would literally come down, touch him, and he would be made immortal. When that didn’t happen I felt confused and struggled with my sense of relief. Rulon’s son, Warren, took over the position of prophet and president of the community. Every morning for the next month, two or more of my sister wives got remarried overnight. We were being handed out like candy to Warren or the highest bidder. I was terrified. There was only one person, apart from my mother, who I could confide in about how I felt – Ben, 19, one of Rulon’s grandsons. One afternoon Ben overheard me venting to Mum. I braced myself, waiting to be hauled up in front of Warren. When nothing happened, I knew I could trust him. The next time I saw Ben he gave me a hug and said, ‘Don’t let anyone force you into anything you don’t want to do.’ As he held me tightly I felt his lips on mine. I raced home hoping nobody had seen us, but in a matter of hours I was summoned to Warren’s office. He fired questions at me and then said, ‘I will break you and I will train you to be a good wife. I will always

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have jurisdiction over you. You will be remarried one week from today.’ I knew I had to leave. I was going to burn in hell for doing it, but I couldn’t stay in that place any longer.

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Choosing freedom

My brother, Cole, had been kicked out of the church after a family dispute. Now he was living in Coos Bay, Oregon, which was about a 14-hour drive away. Ben agreed to help me get there. I began to sneak some of my belongings into Ben’s truck. In the pre-dawn hours, a week after my conversation with Warren, I slipped out of the house and climbed over the padlocked iron gate. My heart was pounding. Ben was waiting in his truck around the corner. As we drove away, a major pendulum swung in my mind, between ‘What have I done?’ and this excited new bud of ‘Wow’. I was in shock for the first few days. With my long hair and dresses, I must have looked like a girl from the 1800s. It felt like being thrown into a different culture cold turkey and not speaking the language. When Cole took me to a hairdresser, I gasped as I watched my rich brown hair hit the ground. It had been chopped to my shoulders. I liked it but struggled with shame after years of conditioning. Over the next few years, Ben and I created a life together outside the

FLDS – getting an apartment and jobs serving in local restaurants. I was happy and in love, yet as time passed, stories would filter through to us about girls, some as young as 12, being forced into marriage.

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Facing my oppressor

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That same year my younger sister, Elissa, came to visit. She had finally left the church and her abusive husband, who Warren had forced her to marry when she was just 14. Together with Cole, we decided that Elissa should file charges of accomplice to rape against Warren. We knew we had to stop him.

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In November 2006 I flew down to St George, Utah, to face Warren at his pre-trial hearing. I spoke on the stand for four hours, doing my best to set the record straight. His defence attorneys would say things that were wildly misleading. As I left, I was still full of nervous energy

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but I felt good about my testimony, which led to a full trial. In September 2007, Warren was found guilty of two charges of accomplice to rape and given five years to life in prison – a sentence that, unfortunately, was later overturned on a technicality. I didn’t know that there was still more work to be done. In April 2008, there was a police raid on the Yearning For Zion Ranch – a new FLDS where they were building a temple. Boxes of documents and records were found, detailing the marriages of child brides and the births of babies to underage teenagers. The local sheriffs asked me to help them sift through the piles of evidence so that they could build a case against the church elders. In 2008 I was called as a state’s witness and testified before a grand jury, which resulted in 12 indictments for charges, including sexual assault and bigamy, being handed down to Warren and 11 other FLDS members. Walking towards the stand I felt like the little, scared girl waiting outside his office at school. But once I looked at Warren, my body ceased trembling. Fire filled me again as I thought of all those young girls. In 2011 Warren was found guilty and on August 9 the jury took only 30 minutes to return with a sentence: life plus 20 years – he will never get out to terrorise his people again. Number 1

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RD

What should have been a tranquil family vacation in the southern Philippines

Kidnapped turned into an unending nightmare

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by terrorists

The nightmares still come sometimes, yanking Kevin Lunsmann back. He forgets he is safe in his own bedroom, guitar leaning against the wall, cats curled up asleep. He forgets his classes at Brookville High School, football games with his friends, all the normal routines of a typical American kid in Lynchburg, Virginia. In his nightmares, he’s back in the Philippines, hungry and afraid, a prisoner of Islamic terrorists.

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It was 2011, and Kevin was 14. He and his mother, Gerfa, were visiting family in the southern Philippines, where Gerfa had grown up. She had moved to the United States as a teenager, but she loved to visit her family. Kevin had spent two weeks snorkelling and swimming, eating food cooked with fresh coconut, teaching his cousins a few words of English, and trying to learn a little Samal, his cousins’ language. On July 11, he went to bed looking forward to the flight back to the States the next day. It was still dark when Kevin

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heard his mother shouting at him to run. She had awoken and had spotted a dozen silhouettes running toward their hut. Kevin and Gerfa bolted toward the beach but were stopped by men in camouflage fatigues, holding assault rifles. The men ordered Gerfa, Kevin, and Kevin’s 21-yearold cousin into a speedboat. The boat pushed through the mangroves and sped off.

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After several hours, a mountainous, densely forested island loomed on the horizon. More uniformed men met them on the beach. Gerfa tried to ask questions, but they didn’t speak the same language. When night came, they marched toward the mountains. Kevin was wearing just the shorts he had slept in, and his mom was in her pyjamas. The three hostages walked barefoot, stumbling and falling in the mud, following the men in fatigues, who used machetes to slice a path through the jungle. They hiked through the night, exhausted, sore. At

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midday, they stopped in the midst of a jungle so thick they couldn’t see the sun. There was a camp there, sticks holding up tarps, and more men in uniform. A commander who spoke the language Gerfa understands told her his group was fighting for an Islamic state and that she and Kevin would be killed unless her husband paid the ransom: $100 million. ‘Even the Philippine government doesn’t have that much money,’ Gerfa replied. ‘Ten million,’ he countered.

Terrifying calls

In Lynchburg, Kevin’s dad, Heiko Lunsmann, was at his job as a maintenance man in a nursing home when he got a call from the kidnappers. Heiko could hardly understand the man, and the man could hardly understand Heiko’s heavily German-accented English. But Heiko understood this: it was a ransom demand. From then on, Heiko lived in dread of the calls, terrified he would say the wrong thing and further endanger his wife and son. Some days he would get two or three calls; sometimes days would go by in silence. Sometimes Gerfa would be put on the phone. Sometimes he could hear Kevin and Gerfa crying out in pain. Weeks went by, and American officials became convinced that Gerfa and Kevin had been seized by the Abu Sayyaf, a Filipino terrorist organisation. The group is known for kidnappings, bombings – including an explosion on a Filipino ferry in 2004 that killed 116 people – and executions.

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Deep in the jungle, Kevin was living with his mother and cousin in a makeshift cage made of sticks. Kevin was too tall to stand up inside. At midday, the prisoners were given meagre portions of pancakes or rice soup, and in the evening, one plate of rice for the three of them. Sometimes they didn’t know what they were eating, but they were so hungry, they didn’t care. They got sick after eating what looked like goat brains or intestines, and something shiny and hard, most likely goat hooves. Days after a new hostage was dragged into camp, Kevin, Gerfa, and Kevin’s cousin were forced to march again. They finally collapsed in a windowless wooden room, the same size as their cage and buzzing with mosquitoes. A week later, they heard heavy gunfire off in the distance. Gerfa, piecing together her captors’ words, realised that the firefight had been government soldiers storming the other camp and that the other hostage had been rescued. They had come so close to freedom.

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Two and a half months went by, then one day the terrorists told Gerfa she would be freed. She was forced down the mountain to a river and onto a boat. As they pushed off, she thought they would dump her body in the ocean. But after an hour or two, the boat docked. ‘You’re free,’ the militants said. A ransom had been paid.

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Gerfa refused to return home without her son. She stayed in Manila to negotiate with the terrorists. Heiko tried to raise more ransom money. He liquidated the family’s assets and withdrew all the money from their retirement accounts. The terrorists said if they didn’t receive more money within days, they would cut off Kevin’s head.

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After Gerfa left, time slowed for Kevin. The days just seemed longer and longer. And then about a month after his mom had left, the militants took his cousin away. Was he freed? Killed? Kevin had no idea. One day, when Kevin had been a hostage almost five months, he noticed that there was only one guard nearby. When the guard went upstairs, Kevin crept through the door into the next room. When he heard the guard’s footsteps returning, he bolted. Kevin ran quickly and silently away from the huts, straight to the river, where trees would help hide him. He was shaking with fear, and his legs were rubbery, weak from being confined for so long. In the river, he struggled in the deep, fast current that moved against him. He kept falling, but he never stopped moving. Night fell and Kevin found an empty hut, in which he hid for a brief rest and then took off again. A few times, he saw people farming, but he stayed away, scared that they might be supporters of the militants. Toward nightfall the next day, he was spotted by a farmer. Kevin started to run, but the man had a gun. ‘What are you doing here?’ he demanded. Exhausted and terrified, Kevin told him the truth. He warily followed the man back to his house, where the farmer told him he’d called the police. Could he be trusted? He could just as easily have informed the militants. Then Kevin heard a helicopter – close this time. Within hours he was on a military base, where he was told his cousin had escaped too. It was wonderful to see Americans after so many months. Number 1

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Glamour

War vs wedding Barefoot, exhausted, terrified. When Avine fled the civil war in Syria with her family, all she had were the clothes on her back and hope. But with fierce determination, she rebuilt her business and her life, and discovered that love will always triumph

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The moment I realised it was time to leave Syria was when my five-yearold daughter found an empty shell from a bullet in our front window. The conflict, which has been going on for three years now, broke out in the area of Damascus where I lived with my husband and four young girls. There was shooting right outside our block of flats. We lived on the ground floor, so it was terrifying. We weren’t targets, but were caught in fierce fighting. Soon, I could no longer leave our place even just to go to the shops to buy food. We ended up trapped in our apartment. For three days we had nothing – no water, no food, and no electricity. The children were screaming and they were hungry. I tried my best to calm them, saying there was nothing to worry about, but they knew something terrible was going on. They could hear the Number 1

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shooting. I realised that if we stayed there any longer, we would soon die of starvation. Fleeing the city On the fourth day, I noticed that the fighting had calmed down a bit. We took our chance, gathered our daughters and left, leaving with just our ID cards, some cash, and my beauty therapist training certificate – I hoped it might help me to find work later on. We left on foot and for the first couple of miles walked quickly through the deserted streets in fearful silence. Eventually, we found a taxi, which took us to the bus station. After hours of waiting, the bus journey to Qamishli (in northern Syria, where we are both originally from) took around ten hours, with people crammed in. We were all desperate to get out.

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We stayed in Qamishli with my in-laws for around three months, but it was tough. In Damascus I ran a bridal salon, where women came from far and wide to get their hair and make-up done and hire a wedding dress. But here, food was running low and neither of us could

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work. With no way of making a living, we had to move on.

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Businesswoman to refugee We decided to leave Syria and go to the Kurdish region of northern Iraq. We’d heard there were men smuggling people from place to place, and my husband managed to track one of them down. We had to pay him nearly £2,000 – all our cash and savings – to take us illegally across the border. In a group of two families and about six men, we walked and ran through the desert for four hours. The men helped me carry my children. My youngest, Sharin, was only 17 months old at the time. I had no idea where we were, we just did exactly what the men said. It was April, so it was still very cold and wet. My shoes got stuck in the thick mud, so I had to carry on barefoot. We finally made it across the border and from there we were taken in a car to a town called Zakho. I was exhausted because of the cold. We wanted to rent a flat, but couldn’t because we’d spent all our money fleeing Syria. So we ended up in the Domiz refugee camp, living in a tent. We were among the first to arrive. It was awful – noisy and chaotic. We had no electricity, no bathroom, and the toilet was ten minutes away. People were erecting UN tents as fast as they could and more people arrived daily. Now there are 45,000 people living here.

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Rebuilding a life I am not the kind of woman to sit and do nothing. My business in Damascus was my passion as well as my livelihood. There was no work for my husband in the camp and we had our children to look after, so I decided to try to set up another bridal salon and start earning again. I had to sell the only thing of value I had left, the gold necklace I was wearing when we left Damascus. It was a gift from my mother. A jeweller in Zakho bought it for nearly £400, and immediately I set about buying the things I needed for a new salon. At first, I didn’t have enough money for wedding dresses, so I began with just a bit of make-up and a hairdryer and offered beauty services. I rented a small space in nearby Dohuk, and every day I went off to work on the bus. It was difficult: even though Dohuk was nearby, it could take more than an hour to get there because of all the checkpoints I’d have to pass, plus there was a good walk at either end. Slowly, things started improving. After two months I’d saved enough money to pay a labourer to build us a house. It’s small – with just two rooms, a bathroom, and a kitchen – and we may still be living in a refugee camp, but at least we are under brick rather than in a tent. Then, a year later, when I had managed to save more money, bit by bit we built a salon next to the house. At first, people didn’t really know

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I was here. But there are many people falling in love, even in a refugee camp, and slowly but surely they started coming to me. So many people in the camp want to get married. And why shouldn’t they? People can’t wait until we can all safely return to Syria to start a family. Life goes on. Love will triumph My children keep asking, ‘Why are we living here? When can we go back to Syria?’ I tell them we must be patient, but I know that troops are living in our home and that my salon was broken into. Everything has been taken or is damaged. There is nothing left. I think there is little hope for the future of Syria. It’s been virtually three years now and even if Bashar al-Assad is kicked out, there will still be no security. It would be a violation of international refugee law to be sent back before there is peace, and I will not return to Syria if it’s unstable. I doubt if even in ten years’ time the situation will be completely settled. But I am one of the lucky ones. I have my family and my job. When we left, the most important thing to me was my four children and my husband. We just had to forget everything else because it wasn’t a priority. Here I have found a way to do what I love. The brides are always happy when they come to me to get ready for their big day. My job is my talent as well as my hobby. It is what has kept me going.

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The mess on 

Everest

Overcrowded with inexperienced climbers and polluted with waste, Mount Everest – one of the earth’s natural wonders – is in danger. How to fix the world’s highest peak BY MARK JENNINGS 1

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An hour above Camp IV on the Southeast Ridge of Mount Everest, Panuru Sherpa and I passed the first body. The dead climber was on his side as if napping in the snow, goose down blowing from holes in his insulated pants. Ten minutes later, we stepped around another body, her torso shrouded in a Canadian flag, an abandoned oxygen bottle holding down the flapping fabric.

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Trudging nose to butt up the ropes that had been fixed to the steep slope, Panuru and I were wedged between strangers above us and below us. The day before, at Camp III, our team had been part of a small group. But when we woke up this morning, we were stunned to see an endless line of climbers passing near our tents. Now, bumper-to-bumper at 26,000 feet, we were forced to move at exactly the same speed as everyone else, regardless of individual strength or climbing ability. In the swirling darkness before midnight, I gazed up at the string of lights from climbers’ headlamps rising into the black sky. Above me were more than a hundred slow-moving climbers. In one rocky section, at least 20 people were attached to a tattered rope anchored by a single badly bent picket pounded into the ice. If the picket popped out, the rope would instantly snap from the weight of two dozen falling climbers, and they would all cartwheel down the face of the mountain to their deaths. Number 1

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Panuru, the lead Sherpa of our team, and I unclipped from the lines, swerved out onto open ice, and began soloing – a safer option for experienced mountaineers. After twenty minutes, we encountered another corpse, sitting in the snow, frozen solid as stone. Several hours later, before we reached the Hillary Step – a 40-foot wall of rock and the last obstacle before the summit – we passed yet another corpse. His stubbly face was grey, his mouth open as if moaning. Later I would learn the nationalities and names of these four climbers. All four had died just days before, as had two people on the other side of Everest. Because it’s dangerous and difficult to transport bodies down the mountain, most people who perish there remain where they fall, although some are eventually moved by ice and wind, covered with snow, or pulled to the side of the trail. Some have even been pushed into crevasses by other climbers in a kind of makeshift mountain burial. April and May 2012 became the third-deadliest season on Everest. As I cramponed past the icy corpses, I thought of the shattering sorrow their families and friends must have felt when they heard the news.

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own stamina and don’t know when to turn around and call it quits. Everest has always been a trophy, but now that almost 4,000 people have reached its summit, some more than once, the feat means less than it did a half century ago. Today, roughly 90 per cent of the climbers on Everest are there as part of guided climbs, in which a leader takes a group of clients – many without basic climbing skills – up the mountain. Having paid $30,000 to $120,000 to be on the mountain, too many of these guided climbers naively expect to reach the summit. A significant number do, but under appalling conditions. The two standard routes, the Northeast Ridge and the Southeast Ridge, are not only dangerously crowded but also disgustingly polluted, with garbage leaking out of the glaciers and pyramids of human excrement befouling the high camps. And then there are the corpses.

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Russell Brice, 60, runs Himalayan Experience, the largest and most sophisticated guiding operation on Everest. Brice has led 17 expeditions to Everest, and he is famous for running a tight ship. Despite the relatively large size of Brice’s teams – as many as 30 clients matched with 30 Sherpas – they leave a small footprint on the mountain, removing all of their excrement and rubbish, a practice not followed by most teams. ‘We can manage the numbers if all the operators talk to each other,’ Brice insists. ‘It’s all about good communication.’ If only it were that simple. There are other factors at work. One is advances in weather forecasting. Lack of precise meteorological information once led expeditions to attempt the summit whenever their team members were ready, meaning groups were staggered. Today, with hyperaccurate satellite forecasts, all teams know exactly when a weather window will open up, and they often go for the top on the same days. Another factor: low-budget outfitters don’t always have the staff, knowledge, or proper equipment to keep their clients safe if something goes wrong. The cheaper operators often employ fewer Sherpas, and those they do hire sometimes lack experience. ‘All of the clients who died on Everest this past year went with low-budget,

less-experienced operators,’ says Willie Benegas, 44, an Argentine-American high-altitude guide. He says that Nepalese outfitters need to be held to international standards, and that Nepal’s Ministry of Culture, Tourism, and Civil Aviation, which regulates climbing on Everest, should promote better education for Sherpas.

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To prevent crowding on the mountain, some have proposed limiting the total number of permits per season and the size of each team to no more than ten clients per team. Others are sceptical. ‘That will not happen,’ says New Zealander Guy Cotter, 50, owner of Adventure Consultants, which has led 19 expeditions to Everest. ‘Everest is big business for Nepal, and they will never turn down the money.’ Another way to make the mountain safer is with technology, says Conrad Anker, 50, who led our expedition in 2012. The mountain is already high-tech – everyone at Base Camp has access to a cell phone or the Internet – but last summer in a meeting with the Nepalese ministry, Anker proposed something new: identification cards issued with every climbing permit. ‘The Everest ID would contain data that could save the life of a climber or Sherpa,’ Anker explains. ‘It would have the climber’s photo, of course, but more importantly, it would also have a QR code – a type of bar code.’ Scanned with a smartphone, the QR code would reveal information such as age, experience, health history, allergies, emergency phone numbers, everything.’ Anker says that bureaucrats just looked at him with blank faces when he tried to explain the benefits of the ID. Despite all the problems on the mountain, Everest still stands alone. I’ll never forget the breath-taking view from our perch at Camp III, clouds rolling up the Western valley like a slow-motion reverse avalanche. Or the visceral relief of a cup of soup at Camp IV. I’ll always treasure the memory of climbing with friends. Such moments are the reasons climbers keep coming back to Everest. It’s not simply about reaching the summit but about showing respect for the mountain and enjoying the journey. Now it’s up to us to restore a sense of sanity to the top of the world.

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Time

When his nation called, Marine Sergeant David Linley answered. But when he came home hurting, his country let him down. Mark Thomson reports on a fatal shoot-out

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David Linley’s last night as a free man began, like so many others before it, in his dark basement, watching a movie. Deep into a bottle of gin at the time, Linley can’t recall what was on the screen when his wife Kristin came downstairs to do the laundry. She was surprised to see him wearing, for the first time at home, the Marine fatigues he had worn in Iraq. Her interruption was minor and routine, a light switched on, a noise from the washer, but it triggered in Linley something he couldn’t ignore. Feeling an irrational rage welling up inside, Linley ordered Kristin to leave the house with their 3-year-old son Hunter and 3-week-old daughter Hannah. Then Linley, aged 41, kept drinking. Over the next 24 hours, he tried to kill himself four times. Final firefight As a Marine sergeant, Linley saw action and witnessed horrors in Grenada, Lebanon, and Iraq a Number 1

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generation ago. Ten years ago in January, he headed back to Iraq on his final combat deployment. He had earned an expert rifleman’s badge, the corps’s highest. But his final firefight was on his suburban street 30 miles (48 km) south-west of Chicago, and the enemy was local police. When it ended, he’d traded 17 years in uniform for 16 years behind bars. This is a story about what untreated post-traumatic stress can do to a man, his family, his life, and his neighbourhood. There are about 200,000 imprisoned veterans in the US, about 14% of the nation’s prisoners. All told, perhaps as many as 10,000 Afghanistan and Iraq War vets are in the nation’s prisons. Linley is one of them, a sad and costly example of a nation too busy to care. ‘These cases are much too common,’ says psychiatrist Stephen Xenakis, a retired army brigadier general. ‘We are throwing these guys away.’

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Gas Linley was wearing his full camouflage uniform that he wore in Iraq, including survival gear and his fighting knife on his belt. He didn’t know when, or why, he put it on. It just felt appropriate to die as a Marine in combat gear he said later. Shortly after 2 p.m. the next day, on September 22, 2006, a pair of police officers showed up at Linley’s twostory house. They’d been dispatched because Linley’s new employer was concerned by his absence from work. One knocked at the front door, arousing Linley from a drunken stupor. The officer ordered Linley outside once he smelled gas. But Linley locked the door and barricaded it with a wooden bench. Then he made the biggest mistake of his life. He grabbed a bolt-action .22 from an upstairs closet. He had bought it as a gift to give his son someday. It was the only gun in the house. He retrieved bullets from the basement.

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The police, given the gas, the knife, and Linley’s retreat inside, summoned reinforcements, who began to encircle the house as they arrived on the scene. A short time later, Linley began squeezing off rounds from a secondstory window above his garage. The initial volley shattered windows in an unoccupied police car parked in front of his house. He moved to the back of the house and began firing at a neighbour’s storage shed that was shielding two police officers. ‘We had several officers basically pinned down behind sheds and trees,’ police lieutenant Michael Rompa says. ‘I don’t know the exact amount of rounds that he fired, but it was listed in the hundreds … it was probably closer to a thousand rounds.’ Linley now maintains that he never intended to hit anyone; none of the 125 shots Linley fired during the nine-hour shoot-out found a human target. The one-time Marine marksman says what he did was ‘stupid’, triggered by PTSD and fuelled by alcohol. Linley says he was aiming at trees and over the heads of responding police officers. What was it like? The product of a broken New York City family, Linley joined the Marines as a radio operator in 1982 at age 17. During his first 10 years on active duty, he spent six years overseas. After a decade as a civilian, he reentered at age 36, angered by the 9/11 attacks. He spent seven months as a sergeant in Iraq’s violent Anbar province in 2004.

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Once he returned from Iraq, Linley and Kristin moved to suburban Chicago, near her parents. They bought a house and had their second child as his life slowly unwound. He was no longer outgoing but became socially and emotionally withdrawn, recalls Kristin. Once a beer drinker, Linley began ‘self-medicating’ with liquor. He hit the bottle hard when he came home says Kristin. ‘He started locking himself in the basement to get drunk.’

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Nine months before the shootout, Linley acknowledged the disconnect between those who fight and those back home. ‘They either ignore you or become scared of you,’ he wrote in a letter to the independent Marine Corps Times newspaper. ‘When they ask, “What was it like?” they zone out with dazed looks on their faces when you start to describe what you have seen.’ Not a criminal What began as a sad ritual in Linley’s basement on a Thursday night became a matter of life and death for his neighbourhood as

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Friday afternoon darkened into evening. ‘Today’s a good day to die!’ he shouted to the cops. He almost got his wish. Three hours after the officer had knocked on his door, a police marksman fired a bullet that wounded Linley but didn’t bring him down. He surrendered seven hours later, after what he says was a failed effort to hang himself with parachute cord. Linley spent nearly three years in the county prison awaiting trial in the Illinois courts. During his trial, Linley’s legal team argued that he was legally insane during the shoot-out. ‘This guy’s not a criminal, and he’s never been a criminal,’ says psychologist Don Catherall. In September 2009, state judge Daniel Rozak found Linley ‘guilty but mentally ill’ on the seven counts of firearms violations and damaging government property. The judge said the length of the shoot-out and the number of shots fired required imprisonment ‘to deter others from committing the same offence’. Divorce Kristin divorced Linley in 2011. Struggling to make ends meet, she and the children rarely make the fourhour drive to visit him. She says the divorce has nothing to do with the fact that he’s in jail. It has to do with what the military did to him. ‘The man who came back from Iraq wasn’t the man I married.’ With time off for good behaviour, Linley is scheduled to leave prison on April 28, 2020. Maybe then he will get the help he needs.

‘At some point I remember looking out the window and seeing a man hiding behind a tree. I knew I could kill him, but some part of me kept saying, “No, don’t hurt anyone”. I fired at the tree and laughed because I knew I could have hit him. When I smelled the smoke from the rounds fired, I had a rush. Suddenly I was back in the fight.’

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Sports Illustrated

Balotelli

Mario Balotelli, the 23-year-old, mohawked star forward of Italy and AC Milan, is the best young striker in football 1

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It’s 10:30 a.m. on a Tuesday at the St. Regis Hotel in Miami Beach, and – what else is new? – Mario Balotelli is drawing a crowd. Posing for an SI photo shoot, the 23-yearold star forward of Italy and AC Milan is towering – 6ft 2in, shirtless, mohawked, arms extended wide – on a Plexiglas platform that makes it look as though he’s walking on the liquid surface of a swimming pool. The Tyson Zone In the fun-house world of Mario Balotelli, you never know what’s coming next. In the seven days after his walk-on-water photo shoot, ‘Molto Mario’ appears in a YouTube video playing the national anthem of Italy on a grand piano and he posts Twitter photos of his new twomonth-old pig, Super. He also appears in another YouTube clip throwing down dunks on a basketball court, and he celebrates his 23rd birthday at his Milan house, which features a giant gold-tile mosaic fountain and a life-sized statue of himself. Number 1

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At this point there’s no doubt: Balotelli has joined Maradona as global soccer’s leading entries in the Tyson Zone, where athletes can be reported doing things that might be absolutely crazy for everyone else but still ring as potentially true because, well, it’s Mario Balotelli. So much attention is paid to Balotelli’s wacky behaviour that in many ways he’s underrated as a player. With his many goals for Italy since 2010 and his excellent performances in high-stakes games, there’s no ceiling on his ambitions. Balotelli calls raising the World Cup trophy ‘more an objective than a dream’, and he says his aspirations include becoming the best player in the world. ‘I’m working on it,’ he says with a grin. Boy from Brescia Balotelli’s Ghanaian birth parents placed him in foster care shortly after his first birthday – he had a series of intestinal surgeries as an infant – and he says he ‘sometimes’ connects with

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them, adding that it’s ‘something I never talk about’. He was raised by Francesco and Silvia Balotelli, who lived in the Italian countryside. ‘Brescia is my home,’ Balotelli says. ‘It’s where I will live one day when I stop playing football. When I’m in Brescia, I’m relaxed.’ Balotelli says he knew only two or three other black children while growing up. In his neighbourhood he faced no incidents of racism as a child, he recalls, ‘but when you’d go outside, some stupid people said stupid things. Maybe they thought taking the piss out of someone in front of other people makes them stronger or something. Now I think more of it is ignorance, but it’s still a bad thing.’ His outlet was a small artificialturf football field near his house, where kids went seven-on-seven and Mario began playing at age three. ‘On the pitch I’d feel free, like I could do what I want,’ he says. ‘Even when I was younger and we were losing, I felt inside that I could change the

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game. And it was a good feeling. They are the same emotions I have now.’ When Balotelli was 12, his mother bought him a DVD with highlights of Maradona’s career at the Italian club Napoli. Mario studied the way Maradona took free kicks and penalties, and then he practised them over and over on the field. ‘And from there I started to shoot penalties like that,’ says Balotelli. Mama Silvia The sweetest moment of Euro 2012 was a photograph of Balotelli celebrating his two semi-final goals against Germany in the stands with his mother, Silvia. At a tournament where the Croatian and Spanish federations were fined for their fans’ racist chants at Balotelli, the image of a tiny white woman from Brescia proudly embracing her black son was a stirring rejoinder, the embodiment of a New Italy. Balotelli is shown the photo, which went viral globally, and asked what he thinks about it. He pauses for a moment, studying the image. ‘With all the sacrifice my parents made in the past for me, maybe I gave them a good emotion. They deserve it,’ he says. ‘I tell them everything. Without them I don’t know if I’d ever be a football player. Even if I do something special in football and I make a mistake as a person, they’re not happy. Because they want their son to be a man first, and then the best football player.’ Mama Silvia clearly has no problem saying no to Mario. When asked about arranging an interview with his mother, Balotelli smiles. ‘My mom? You want to call her? She speaks English!’ he says, pulling out his mobile and dialling home to Brescia. ‘Mama, listen… I’m good, I’m good… I’m doing an interview with Sports Illustrated, an American magazine. It’s important. Could you speak to him in English?’ A voice like Charlie Brown’s teacher’s squawks from his phone. Mario nods. ‘Okay, ciao, Mama! Say hello to Papa! Ciao, Mama!’

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Racism Balotelli feels more comfortable in Italy than he did in England, but he says his three years away from his family and from his Italian friends were good for him. ‘I went there as a boy, and I came back to Italy as a man,’ he says. AC Milan purchased Balotelli from Manchester City for $29 million. Super Mario is beloved by the Milan faithful, who wear his jerseys and scarves bearing his name, but the spectre of something darker is always hanging over Italian football stadiums.

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In a game against Roma in May, the referee briefly suspended the match when Roman fans directed racist chants at Balotelli. And by a quirk of the schedule, Milan opens its Serie A season this Saturday at Hellas Verona, which has some of the most notoriously racist fans in Italy. ‘I hope they won’t say anything,’ says Balotelli. And if they do? ‘I’ll try to score with all my power, and when

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I score, then I’ll say something.’ What Balotelli won’t do, he says, is walk off the field should the racist chants rain down on him. He wishes he could. But he has been told that teams will face punishment if any player walks off the field. ‘For this stupid rule,’ says Balotelli, shaking his head, ‘I will stay on the pitch.’ Responsibility By his own estimation, Mario Balotelli has cried twice in the past 10 years: once over a break-up with a girlfriend and once after Italy lost to Spain in the Euro 2012 final. ‘Those are two different reasons to cry,’ he says. Perhaps. Perhaps not. In the end it comes down to love. Love of a woman. Love of a country. Balotelli would like nothing more than to be the symbol of triumphant 21stcentury Italy, not just to all Italians but to the world. In life, sometimes, it’s as though he’s standing at the spot for a penalty kick, reading the goalkeeper, deciding which way he should go. Tough guy or sensitive soul? Bad boy or role model? ‘I don’t like to talk much, even when people speak bad about me,’ he says. ‘Inside me, I say, why do they have to think of me that way? But I know how I am. My objective is not that people follow me, but I’m happy that they do. It surprises me how much children like me, you know? If they look at me as an example, I have a big responsibility.’

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BBC History Magazine

In medieval England there was no official postal service, says Deborah Thorpe, so getting a letter from A to B involved a series of challenges

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Late medieval letter-writers were concerned with many of the same topics that move us today. Men and women nurtured long-distance love affairs, lawyers debated legal disputes, and buyers of property discussed houses. Letterwriters ranged from high-ranking servants to royalty. Women were prominent senders and recipients of mail. For example, there are over 60 surviving letters sent by Margaret Paston of Norfolk to her lawyer husband, John, whose work took him away to London. Correspondence could range from the mundane to the out-of-the-ordinary. A letter that Margaret sent to John in 1448 urged him to dispatch crossbows to fight off attacks by hostile neighbours. Margaret reported that servants had made bars across the doors and were shooting from every corner of the house. Margaret then goes on to ask for almonds, sugar, and cloth to make the children new gowns. Getting the written message to its intended reader was not an easy feat – irrespective of its contents. So what were the hurdles early letterwriters had to take? Number 1

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1. Send for your scribe

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Correspondents often penned the letters themselves – especially if they were merchants and lower-ranking gentlemen. Yet the preferred option was for servants to do the writing – especially for gentlewomen, who rarely put pen to paper. Medieval people did not see handwriting as proof of a letter’s authenticity in the way that we do today. So when the handwriting of affluent men or women does appear, it often looks inelegant – because they had no need to practise. As the 15th century drew to a close, more correspondents began to write their own letters. However, before then, the best way to put words onto paper was through the hand of a trusted scribe. Once they’d finished writing, scribes could dry the ink quickly by dusting it with ashes from the chimney. Then they’d fold the letter, tie it up with strips of paper, and give it a wax seal.

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Once the name and address was written on the outside, the missive was ready to commence its journey. Though letters traversed England with great frequency in the 15th century, there was no sign yet of a postal system that we would recognise today. That only developed after the appointment of the first master of the posts, Brian Tuke, in 1512. In the century before any signs of a regulated post, there were three main ways to send a letter: with your own servant, with a paid messenger, or with a carter, who hauled heavy goods around the country. Using your own servant was the safest and cheapest

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option, but it was not always feasible to spare a member of the household for what might turn out to be a long journey. Paying a messenger or carter to deliver your message was often more convenient, especially if the letter was following a well-travelled route. However, it could be difficult to find a messenger able to travel at the right time – so letters often sat unposted for days.

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‘I would rather a letter be burnt than lost,’ wrote a servant of the knight Sir John Fastolf. Why was he moved to reach this conclusion? Because 15th-century England could be a hazardous place for a letter to travel around – especially if the letter contained sensitive information. Medieval writers lived in fear that an enemy might intercept a confidential correspondence and turn it against them as evidence in a legal dispute. The same servant mentioned above added a classical Latin metaphor to demonstrate the strength of his concern: ‘Ne forte videant Romani,’ which translates as, ‘Lest perchance the Romans should see it.’ Knowledge was power, especially in the possession of your enemies.

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4. Try to track down the letter’s recipient

If the letter’s safe passage to its intended recipient was a source of stress to the correspondent, then spare a thought for the man or woman charged with delivering it.

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The medieval equivalent of today’s postman sometimes had to travel from one end of the country to the other to convey letters to the person to whom they were addressed. And, as medieval property-owners often moved regularly between several houses, there was no guarantee that the recipient would be at home when they got there. One letter written in 1450 to the chaplain of Caister Castle in Norfolk gave no less than three alternative points of delivery for the bearer to try if the chaplain was not to be found at the castle. And if the messenger arrived at the wrong time, he was often in for a long wait. A man who carried a letter for William Stonor of Oxfordshire reported back that he had tried to deliver it, but that the recipient was ‘out hunting with his hawk’. He reassured Stonor that he would try again later: ‘As soon as he comes home I will deliver your letter.’

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In 1449, the Paston family had to use a female servant to convey a letter to a man who had forcibly taken possession of their manor, because no male servant was willing to take the risk. At a time of heightened tension, using a woman letter-bearer paid dividends. She was, we’re told, received ‘with great cheer’ and her spoken message was listened to graciously. Previous male messengers hadn’t enjoyed such a warm reception.

6. Burn after reading

Some 15th-century writers gave instructions that their letters should be burnt after reading. Others put the most delicate information at the foot of the page, intending it to be torn away and disposed of. Each of these methods was designed to restrict access to confidential information. However, the very survival of these letters shows that such commands were not always heeded. It seems that medieval correspondents’ desire to avoid written records was equalled by an obsession with keeping evidence. Sir John Fastolf had a specially designed archive in the tower of Caister Castle, where his servants collected his letters and other documents. Just like today, designing a method for sorting and storing this material could be difficult. Fastolf’s servants regularly had trouble finding written material once it had been put away. Even his own stepson complained that he could not find any of the records he needed, nor could ‘any man that he knew of’. However, despite the flaws in the organisational system, it protected the letters from loss or damage. It is this obsession with preserving written evidence that we have to thank for the survival of medieval letters today – letters that tell us so much about how people organised their lives during that fascinating period.

5. Bad news? Don’t shoot the messenger

So the messenger has finally delivered your precious letter. Yet that didn’t necessarily mean their work was done. Sometimes they were also tasked with delivering a verbal message. In other instances – especially if the recipient was offended by the contents of the letter – they might have to act as a diplomat. Number 1

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Scientific American

Most of humanity now lives in a metropolis. That simple fact helps to fuel our continued success as a species

Engines of innovation BY EDWARD GLAESER 1

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Crime, congestion, and pollution mar all cities, from Los Angeles to Mumbai, but cities also bring opportunities for wealth and for the creative inspiration that can result only from face-to-face contact with others. In fact, living in close quarters fosters the kind of collaborative creativity that has produced some of humanity’s best ideas, including the industrial revolution and the digital age. In the years ahead such collaborations can be expected to help solve the world’s most pressing problems – poverty, energy shortages, climate change – and to promote the type of fundamental political transitions seen in Cairo in 2011. Why do cities bring out the best in us? Technology lets us hold virtual meetings, and the Internet keeps us in touch 24/7, but neither can be a substitute for the types of social cues (a facial expression that signals comprehension or confusion) when people meet in an office, bar, or gym. Cities deliver the random exchanges of insight that generate new ideas for solving the toughest problems. Young workers, whether they are on Number 1

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Wall Street or in Google’s New York City offices, succeed by picking up unexpected bits of knowledge from the successes and failures of those around them. It has always been so. Think of the chain of brilliance that spread throughout the towns of 18th-century England and brought us the industrial revolution. The crucial technology for spinning with rollers started with Lewis Paul and John Wyatt in Birmingham, passed to John Kay and Thomas Highs, and then ended in the hands of Richard Arkwright, thanks to a discussion over a few drinks outside of Manchester. By supercharging the flow of ideas, cities foster economic prosperity, innovation, better health – and even new ways to govern ourselves. A superhighway of ideas The constant interchange of ideas has helped cities throughout the developing world find a pathway out of poverty and into prosperity. Average incomes reach a level more than five times higher in countries that are mostly urbanised compared

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with those in which most of the population stays in the countryside. Across districts in India, mean individual earnings increase by about 20 per cent as density doubles, even when individual age and education are constant. As hubs of global commerce, cities also facilitate integration with the world economy. People in developing nations can become prosperous if they can sell their time – transformed into goods and services – to wealthy markets. In essence, cities connect poor countries with rich markets. One example is telling. N. R. Narayana Murthy, one of the billionaire founders of Indian software giant Infosys, graduated in the 1960s from the University of Mysore and the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, but in those years an Indian engineering degree could not guarantee a high income. Murthy started working at Patni Computer Systems, whose founders had lived in the US and understood how to work with the American appetite for software. The founders took their knowledge back to India and,

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joined by Murthy, set up a back-office operation to serve US companies, thereby linking Indian talent and American markets. In 1981 they started their own software company, and they netted their first US client in 1982. A year later they moved to Bangalore to work with a German spark-plug producer that wanted Infosys nearby. Almost 30 years on, Infosys is a phenomenon that has made billions of dollars for its founders and has trained thousands of Indians in Bangalore, helping them to become more prosperous by selling their engineering talents worldwide. That success has also rippled through the food chain in Bangalore to the service providers in local restaurants and taxis, which translates into jobs for thousands of other Indians. Healthy ideas Cities can breed health as well as economic productivity. Today life expectancy in New York is more than a year higher than the national average. It isn’t entirely clear why older New Yorkers are healthier. Some people credit walking; others talk about social connections made possible by density. But among younger people, the reasons are no mystery. Motor vehicle accidents and suicides are two primary killers of people younger than 35 years, and both are far less common in cities. In New York City the death rate from motor vehicle accidents is more than 70 per cent lower than in the country as a whole. Taking the subway after a few drinks is just a

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lot safer than driving drunk. The cities of the developing world are not yet healthy, in part because their governments have been unable to provide the basic infrastructure that cities need. Still, cities themselves may supply their own solutions. Often they are where the seeds of revolution against bad government sprout, and living contiguously enables citizens to create reform movements that rise up and oust dictators. Urban uprisings do not always end in stable democracies, but most stable democracies benefited at some time from an urban uprising. Europe’s first modern republic – the Netherlands – had its roots in centuries of popular rebellions in the wool-making towns of Flanders, such as Bruges. These rebellions and victories over the ruling French aristocracy did not produce a republican government for centuries, until the fire of the Reformation added an extra religious reason to rebel. In 1556 the Low Countries had passed into the hands of the Spanish Habsburgs, who attempted to tax and regulate these urbanites. Cities once again managed to coordinate action: first, an orgy of iconoclasm and then full-fledged revolt. The uprising took decades, and Flanders itself remained part of Spain, but the end result was an urban republic – the Netherlands – that became the centre of a global empire of trade and conquest and a model for many republics to come. The US’s own uprising had its start in the dense corridors of 18th-

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century Boston, which connected revolutionaries-to-be such as Samuel Adams and John Hancock. Hancock had a commercial interest in getting crowds to agitate against British mercantilist policies; Adams knew how to conjure a crowd. Together they and their Bostonian allies – John Adams, Paul Revere, and many others – became the nucleus of a fight for popular sovereignty: the American Revolution. The Facebook revolution The ability of cities to spread ideas of freedom and to coordinate mass action has led to countless revolts since then, from Paris in 1789 to St. Petersburg, Russia, in 1917 to Cairo in 2011. The recent toppling of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak has been called a Facebook revolution, but he would not have left if people had just blocked him from their Facebook pages. They needed to take to Tahrir Square. Humankind continues to confront enormous challenges, but I have enormous confidence in the ability of Homo sapiens to work miracles when people cooperate. Our greatest gift is our ability to learn from one another, to work together, to solve problems by leveraging our collective intelligence. The new electronic media can facilitate that collaborative process, but so does the face-to-face contact that is made possible by cities. Cities have been solving our species’ principal challenges for millennia, and they are likely to keep on doing so for centuries to come.

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Rolling Stone

The walking dead Rick Grimes and his fellow actors are going at it another day on the set of The Walking Dead, the massively popular TV series starring zombies, zombies, and more zombies 1

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A few hours ago, Andrew Lincoln was walking out of his home in the trendy Atlanta neighbourhood of Inman Park. At that moment, he was an unfailingly gracious 40-year-old British actor who until 2010 was best known in his native country for his roles in light-hearted romantic comedies and virtually unknown in this one. After an hour long drive to Raleigh Studios near the small town of Senoia, where he trades his precise British accent for a rolling Georgia drawl, another hour in make-up, and plenty of time in the sticky morning heat, alternately rehearsing and listening intently to his iPod, he’s ready to be Rick Grimes, ex-Georgia sheriff’s deputy and the last great hope for humanity against the Number 1

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Born from Robert Kirkman’s popular comic-book series of the same name – which in 10 years has risen from an upstart independent title to outselling offerings from industry giants DC and Marvel, turning Kirkman himself into something of a comics-world deity – The Walking Dead spent years going nowhere as a TV project, rejected by pretty much every major network, before AMC ordered the six-episode first season that aired in 2010. In doing so, the network plunged a show about the last survivors in a world taken over by zombies – known only as ‘walkers’

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– into a television universe that had shown little interest in anything undead that wasn’t a vampire. Since then, The Walking Dead has racked up a body count behind the camera that almost matches the one in front of it, enduring, among other things, the not-at-all-amicable dismissal of its first show-runner, Frank Darabont, acclaimed director of The Shawshank Redemption, and the less contentious departure of his replacement, Glen Mazzara. Online brouhahas have flared over the show’s wavering fidelity to both Kirkman’s comic and Darabont’s original vision, characters’ demises have been mourned and celebrated by fans in a way unseen since the first season of Survivor, and the show

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itself has occasionally struggled to balance Shakespearean plotlines, high-minded political philosophy, and the indescribable pleasure of watching a shuffling zombie get shot in the face. Through it all, ratings have con­tinued to soar – the series is the most-watched drama in basiccable history, with a record-shattering season three finale, and AMC recently announced a spin-off coming in 2015 that will follow different characters through the same end-of-days hellscape. The Walking Dead has come to resemble the fictional zombie plague it documents: relentless, bloody, and always getting bigger. Kirkman loved existing zombie films, but had one problem with most: their endings. After 90 minutes or so of struggle and bloodshed, a couple of characters survive and walk off into the sunset. To him, that didn’t feel like the end of the story, it felt like the beginning. ‘I started to think, “What if one of those stories continued indefinitely?”’ he says. That question spawned The Walking Dead, the first issue of which appeared in 2003. The comic became an underground hit, and soon Kirkman was meeting with people interested in adapting it for film. None looked promising until Darabont called in 2005. ‘He understood the comics,’ says Kirkman. ‘They weren’t about gore or zom­bie scares. It was a realistic survival story about human beings.’ Darabont – who declined to be inter­viewed for this story – wrote a pilot and spent several years trying to drum up interest. NBC signed on for a spell but never put the pilot into production. Other broadcast networks felt it was too violent. Premium cable passed. Darabont had basically given up on the project by the time executive producer Gale Anne Hurd – who’d gotten her start working for B-movie titan Roger Corman and later co-produced The Terminator and Aliens – called about it. Together they brought the show to AMC, which green-lighted it in 2009.

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‘Action! Andy! Action!’ Lincoln is on all fours now, hands and knees in the dirt, and though he sounds like he’s moaning in pain, he’s actually singing along to his iPod, momentarily oblivious to the TV show waiting to be made all around him. A production assistant jars him from his trance. Lincoln hands over his music and runs through the scene once, then again. It’s a short scene, mostly just Lincoln walking toward the camera and uttering a single line, but the actor isn’t happy with how it’s going. ‘Again. Again. Again,’ he says, shaking his head and staring fixedly at the ground as he paces back toward the spot on the hill where he started. One more time through, but still something is off. Lincoln emits a guttural wail of dissatisfaction. ‘Let’s do it again!’ Now he’s shouting. His ear buds go back in and he’s on all fours again. A final take goes well. Or well enough to move on. ‘There’s something in me that’s definitely masochistic,’ Lincoln tells me later. ‘If I don’t feel it’s true, the crew understands and goes, “Keep rolling.” ’ This masochism sets an indelible tone on The Walking Dead, which shoots largely dur­ing the hot Georgia summers, frequently outside. The cast and crew brave the heat, dodge the rain, navigate woods and grasslands teeming with hungry ticks, chiggers, and mosquitoes, and endure the punish­ing schedule required to make a high-concept, action-packed, effects-heavy 43-minute film in eight days, and do this 16 times between May and November. Lincoln’s role here is beyond lead actor: he’s a de facto producer, drama teacher, big brother, and cheerleader. He frequently watches and comments on scenes he’s not in. Others follow his lead. ‘Andy is what drives the show,’ says Steven Yeun, who plays Glenn, a resourceful ex-pizza-delivery guy. ‘Think about the conditions we’re shooting in: you’re asking people to be there for

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12-hour days for seven months. You’d be like, “I’m not doing that!” But there’s a grace Andy comes in with where it’s like, “I’m number one on the call sheet, but I’m in early, staying late, watching other people’s takes, taking this seriously.” That bleeds into the crew and cast.’ The result is the hottest show on television and probably the industry’s most surprising success story of the past decade.

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Two weeks after our initial meeting, Lincoln invites me to play golf with him one morning. Just before he lines up a putt on the fourth hole, he tells me, ‘The most daunting part of leading this thing is that we lose so many key members that established the culture of the show. It’s terrible when you lose people.’ He’s talking about his co-stars Callies, Bernthal, DeMunn, and others who have fallen victim to The Walking Dead’s apocalyptic universe – but clearly, the thought extends to Darabont and Glen Mazarra, both of whom left. ‘It feels sombre while we’re shooting now,’ he says. ‘Which is right! This is what it’s about. Everybody hunkers together, somebody else joins the family, and we get through it.’ He sinks his putt.

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The New York Times

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Sleep seems like a perfectly fine waste of time. Why would our bodies evolve to spend close to one-third of our lives completely out of it, when we could instead be doing something useful or exciting?

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In a series of new studies, published in the journal Science, Maiken Nedergaard, a Danish biologist who has been leading research into sleep function at the University of Rochester’s medical school, may at last be shedding light on the importance of sleep. Sleep, it turns out, may play a crucial role in our brain’s physiological maintenance. As your body sleeps, your brain is quite actively playing the part of mental janitor: it’s clearing out all of the junk that has accumulated as a result of your daily thinking. But how does its waste – like beta-amyloid, a protein associated with Alzheimer’s disease – get cleared? What happens to all the wrappers and leftovers that litter the room after any mental workout?

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Until a few years ago, the prevailing model was based on recycling: the brain got rid of its own waste, not only betaamyloid but other metabolites, by breaking it down and recycling it at an individual cell level. When that process Number 1

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eventually failed, the build-up would result in age-related cognitive decline and diseases like Alzheimer’s. That ‘didn’t make sense’ to Dr. Nedergaard, who says that ‘the brain is too busy to recycle’ all of its energy. Instead, she proposed a brain equivalent of the lymphatic system, a network of channels that cleared out toxins with watery cerebrospinal fluid. She called it the glymphatic system, a nod to its dependence on glial cells (the supportive cells in the brain) and its function as a sort of parallel lymphatic system. She was hardly the first to think in those terms. ‘It had been proposed about one hundred years ago, but they didn’t have the tools to study it properly,’ she says. Now, however, with advanced microscopes and dyeing techniques, her team discovered that the brain’s interstitial space – the fluid-filled area between tissue cells that takes up about 20 per cent of the brain’s total volume – was mainly dedicated to physically removing the cells’ daily waste.

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Modern society is increasingly ill-equipped to provide our brains with the requisite cleaning time. The figures are stark. Some 80 per cent of working adults suffer to some extent from sleep deprivation. According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults should sleep seven to nine hours. On average, we’re getting one to two hours less sleep a night than we did 50 to 100 years ago and 38 minutes less on weeknights than we did as little as 10 years ago. When our sleep is disturbed, whatever the cause, our cleaning system breaks down. At the University of Pennsylvania’s Centre for Sleep and Circadian Neurobiology, Sigrid Veasey has been focusing on precisely how restless nights disturb the brain’s normal metabolism. What happens to our cognitive function when the trash piles up? ‘To me,’ says Dr. Veasey, ‘that’s the most compelling part of the Nedergaard research. If we don’t sleep well, we may be allowing the very things that cause neural degeneration to pile up unchecked.’ Even at the relatively more benign end – the allnighter or the extra-stressful week when you caught only a few hours a night – sleep deprivation, as everyone who has experienced it knows, impedes our ability to concentrate, to pay attention to our environment, and to analyse information creatively. ‘When we’re sleep-deprived, we can’t integrate or put together facts,’ as Dr. Veasey puts it. But there is a difference between the kind of fleeting sleep loss we sometimes experience and the chronic deprivation that comes from shift work, insomnia, and the like. In one set of studies, soon to be published in The Journal of Neuroscience, the Veasey lab found that while our brains can recover quite readily from short-term sleep loss, chronic prolonged wakefulness and sleep disruption stresses the brain’s metabolism. The result is the degeneration of key neurons involved in alertness and a build-up of proteins associated with ageing and neural degeneration. ‘Recovery from sleep loss is slower than we’d thought,’ Dr. Veasey notes. ‘We used to think that after a bit of recovery sleep, you should be fine. But this work shows you’re not.’

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If you put her own research together with the findings from the Nedergaard lab, Dr. Veasey says, it ‘very clearly shows that there’s impaired clearance in the awake brain. We’re really starting to realise that when we skip sleep, we may be doing irreparable damage to the brain, prematurely ageing it or setting it up for heightened vulnerability to other insults.’ In a society that is not only chronically sleep-deprived

It’s a pernicious cycle. We work longer hours, become more stressed, sleep less, impair our brain’s ability to clean up after all that hard work, and become even less able to sleep soundly. And if we reach for a sleeping pill to help us along? While work on the effects of sleeping aids on the glymphatic system remains to be done, the sleep researchers I spoke with agree that there’s no evidence that aided sleep is as effective as natural sleep.

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but also rapidly ageing, that’s bad news. ‘It’s unlikely that poor sleep as a child would actually cause Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s,’ says Dr. Veasey, ‘but it’s more likely that you may shift one of those diseases by a decade or so. That has profound health and economic implications.’

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There is, however, reason to hope. If the main function of sleep is to take out our neural trash, that insight could eventually enable a new understanding of both neurodegenerative diseases and regular, age-related cognitive decline. By developing a diagnostic test to measure how well the glymphatic system functions, we could move one step closer to predicting someone’s risk of developing conditions like Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia: the faster the fluids clear the decks, the more effectively the brain’s metabolism is functioning. Now that we have a better understanding of why sleep is so important, a new generation of drug makers can work to create the best possible environment for the trash pickup to occur in the first place – to make certain that our brain’s sleeping metabolism is as efficient as it can possibly be. A second approach would take the opposite tack, by seeking to mimic the clean-up promoting actions of sleep in the awake brain, which could make a full night of sound sleep less necessary. To date, the brain’s metabolic process hasn’t been targeted as such by the pharmaceutical industry. There simply wasn’t enough evidence of its importance. In response to the evolving data, however, future drug interventions could focus directly on the glymphatic system, to promote the enhanced cleaning power of the sleeping brain in a brain that is fully awake. One day, scientists might be able to successfully mimic the expansion of the interstitial space that does the mental janitorial work so that we can achieve maximally efficient round-the-clock brain trash pickup. If that day comes, they would be on their way to discovering that all-time miracle drug: one that, in Dr. Veasey’s joking words, ‘could mean we never have to sleep at all’. Number 1

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BBC History Magazine Graham Robb, author of a new book on the Celtic peoples, argues that it’s high time we challenged the Roman characterisation of the Celts as primitive hooligans with terrible

The genius table manners

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Every film-maker and book illustrator knows how to depict an ancient Celt. A typical Celt is supposed to have been a hairy, mud-smeared hooligan dressed in ragged tartan. In a land of trackless forests beyond the edges of the Roman Empire, those ignoble barbarians, inspired by bloodthirsty priests known as druids, conducted a futile campaign of resistance against the superior civilisation from the south. Violently nostalgic and rarely sober, they were easily outclassed by the super-efficient Romans. The popular view of our Celtic ancestors would have been instantly recognisable to a Roman, based as it is on Roman prejudice. Even in the relatively civilised land of Gaul (which covered roughly the same area as France), Homo celticus was barely human. He blundered into battle with his brawny, blue-eyed wife wearing either animal skins or nothing. At home, he drank undiluted wine and wore trousers instead of a toga. His table manners were atrocious. The Celts had been known to fight to the death over the pork roast, and since Celtic aristocrats never shaved their upper lips, according to Diodorus Siculus, ‘their moustaches become entangled in the food, and when they are drinking, the beverage passes through a kind of a strainer’. Number 1

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More than 2,000 years after the legions of Julius Caesar slaughtered and enslaved two-thirds of the population of Gaul, we still imagine the barbarian Celts lurking in the primeval squalor of their thatched huts, waiting for the Roman landlords to come and install the plumbing and the central heating. Yet, as archaeologists have known for some time, Celtic civilisation was one of the most advanced of the ancient world. At its height, it stretched from the Highlands of Scotland to the shores of the Aegean Sea, and produced a dazzling array of artistic and scientific masterpieces. In the sixth century BC, when Rome was still an obscure settlement on the lower Tiber, a Celtic princess lived in a wooden palace above the Seine in Burgundy. Behind the yellow painted walls of her palace, she was surrounded by hi-tech luxuries and expensive foreign imports: her jewellery and tableware came from all over the known world. She had glass and amber beads from the Baltic, and a solid gold torc from the Black Sea. Her state-of-the-art chariot had wide-angle steering, and her wine-mixing urn from southern Italy could hold 1,100 litres of the red nectar. By the time Caesar landed in Britain in 55 BC, even the northern Celts were living in warm, well-insulated houses. Some of their timber mansions were greater feats of engineering than any Greek or Roman temple. Wealthy Britons drank wine from glasses and snacked on Mediterranean olives. No doubt those luxuries were reserved for an elite, but the general standard of living was high.

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One of the commonest fallacies about the Celts is that they were illiterate. The only evidence for this is Caesar’s statement that the druids thought it sacrilegious to commit their teachings to writing. But he went on to say that ‘in almost all other matters, public as well as private, they use the Greek alphabet’. Writing implements have been found all over the Celtic world, and a custom reported by Diodorus Siculus suggests that literacy rates were unusually high: ‘The Celts cast letters to their relatives onto funeral pyres in the belief that the dead will be able to read them.’ The druids themselves may have practised human sacrifice, but a religious ritual that now seems abhorrent is not necessarily a sign of savagery, especially in an age when Romans enjoyed the spectacle of bloody combat, and when their armies massacred or mutilated entire tribes. The druids were the intelligentsia of Celtic society. In fact, Caesar’s closest friend in Gaul was a druid called Diviciacus – a scientist, scholar, and diplomat who addressed the Roman senate. He was a product of the most advanced education system in Western Europe. A boy or a girl who went to druid school could expect to remain there for up to 20 years, which is as long as it takes today to go from nursery school to a doctoral degree. The curriculum included mathematics, natural and political science, history, law, and religion. This meritocratic system was not reserved for the aristocracy: children of humble origins were able to attend druid school if their parents and relatives clubbed together to provide them with a scholarship. Only fragments of the druids’ teachings have survived in Welsh and Irish legends, and yet much of their wisdom can be recovered. The druids had not only organised their temples and towns using astronomical measurements, they had devised a continent-wide system of ‘solstice lines’ based on simple geometrical ratios. These solar paths had determined the orientation of roads, the location of settlements and battles, and the itineraries of tribal migrations. By applying the Greek system of latitude and

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The Roman prejudices, which have had such a corrosive effect on perceptions of our Celtic ancestors, were based on ignorance. Like most ridiculous ideas about foreigners, they were also born of fear. Long before Rome had an empire, Celtic tribes had colonised northern Italy. Milan, Turin, and Bologna are all Celtic names. Rome itself was captured by an army of Celtic warriors in 387 BC. That humiliation was never forgotten. Centuries later, when the barbarians had been driven back over the Alps, the old fears still glowed like embers, and when Caesar brought civilisation to Gaul in the form of slavery and genocide, few voices in Rome were raised in protest. It says a great deal about the vigour of Celtic culture that it survived the Roman invasion. Historians now talk about ‘the Roman interlude’, to stress the continuity of Celtic civilisation. Only a few generations after the Gallic War, tribal identities were stronger than ever, which is why so many French towns bear the original tribal name instead of the name imposed by the Romans: the Remi live in Reims, the Turones in Tours, and the Parisii still have a capital on the river Seine. In Britain, the Dark Age kingdoms retained the old Celtic boundaries, and some of the druids’ wisdom was preserved in early Christian rites and doctrine. Perhaps the most pernicious Roman prejudice is the notion that the Celts were a race. Many people still believe that their Celtic heritage is inscribed in their DNA, in the colour of their hair, or even in certain forms of behaviour. But it was precisely because the Celts were a culture, not an ethnic group, that their influence spread so rapidly to much of Western Europe, even to parts of Ireland and Spain that were never invaded or settled by Celtic tribes. Everyone living in Europe today owes a great deal to the Celts, whether or not they have long hair, dress in tartan, and drink undiluted wine.

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New Statesman

The evangelists of unplugging might just have another agenda

The mindfulness BY EVGENY MOROZOW 1

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In yet another sign that the new age lingo of the 1960s is still very much with us, ‘mindfulness’ has become the new ‘sustainability’: no one quite knows what it is, but everyone seems to be for it. It recently made the cover of Time magazine, while celebrities – Arianna Huffington, Deepak Chopra, Paolo Coelho – are all tirelessly preaching the virtues of curbing technology-induced stress and regulating the oppressiveness of constant connectivity, often at conferences with titles like Wisdom 2.0. Unplugging is hot The embrace of the mindfulness agenda by the technology crowd is especially peculiar. Consider Huffington, whose eponymous publication has even launched a stress-tracking app with the poetic Number 1

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name of GPS for the Soul – a new app to fight the distraction caused by the old apps – and turned the business of mindfulness into a dedicated beat. Or take Google’s chairman, Eric Schmidt, who has warned that we need to define times when we are ‘on’ and ‘off’ and announced his commitment to make his meals gadget-free. There are also apps and firms that, at a fee, will help you enforce your own ‘digital sabbath’, undertake a ‘digital detox’, or join like-minded refuseniks in a dedicated camp that bars all devices. Never before has connectivity offered us so many ways to disconnect. In essence, we are being urged to unplug – for an hour, a day, a week – so that we can resume our usual activities with even more vigour upon returning to the land of distraction. Here the quest for mindfulness plays the same role as Buddhism.

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In our maddeningly complex world, where everything is in flux and defies comprehension, the only reasonable attitude is to renounce any efforts at control and adopt a Zen-like attitude of non-domination. Accept the world as it is – and simply try to find a few moments of peace in it. The reactionary tendency of such an outlook is easy to grasp. CEOs embrace mindfulness for the same reason that they embrace all the other forms of the ‘new spirit of capitalism’, be it yoga in the workplace or flipflops in the boardroom: down with alienation, long live transgression and emancipation! No wonder Huffington hopes that the pursuit of mindfulness can finally reconcile spirituality and capitalism. ‘There is a growing body of scientific evidence that shows that these two worlds

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are, in fact, very much aligned – or at least that they can, and should, be,’ she wrote in a recent column. ‘So yes, I do want to talk about maximising profits and beating expectations – by emphasising the notion that what’s good for us as individuals is also good for corporate America’s bottom line.’ Why disconnect But couldn’t the ‘disconnectionists’ – as one critic has recently dubbed this emerging social movement – pursue an agenda a tad more radical than ‘digital detoxification’? For one, the language of ‘detox’ implies our incessant craving for permanent connectivity is a medical condition – as if the fault entirely resided with consumers. And that reflects a broader flaw in their thinking: the disconnectionists don’t seem to have a robust political plan for addressing their concerns; it’s all about smallscale individual action. ‘Individuals unplugging is not actually an answer to the biggest technological problems of our time just as any individual’s local, organic dietary habits don’t solve global agriculture’s issues,’ complained the technology critic Alexis Madrigal in The Atlantic. Note that it’s the act of disconnection – the unplugging – that becomes the target of criticism, as if there are no good reasons to be suspicious of the always-on mode championed by Silicon Valley, what is called ‘real-time’. Madrigal, for example, draws an intriguing parallel between our attitudes to processed foods (once celebrated for their contribution to social mobility but now widely condemned, at least by the upper classes) and processed communications (by which he means all digital interactions). Like processed foods, social media and text messages are increasingly perceived as inferior, giving rise to an odd form of technophobic – but extremely artisanal – living. As Madrigal sardonically observes, ‘The solution is to make local friends, hang out organically, and only communicate through means your Grandma would

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recognise. It’s so conservative it’s radical!’ There’s some truth to this, but in their efforts to reveal the upper-class biases of the ‘digital detox’ crowd – by arguing, for example, that the act of unplugging falls somewhere between wearing vintage clothes and consuming artisanal cheese – critics like Madrigal risk absolving the very exploitative strategies of Twitter and Facebook. Punters beware So far, our debate about distraction has hinged on the assumption that the feelings of anxiety and personal insecurity that we experience when interacting with social media are the natural price we pay for living in what some technology pundits call ‘the attention economy’. What if this economy is not as autonomous and self-regulating as we are lead to believe? Twitter, for instance, nudges us to check how many people have interacted with our tweets. That nagging temptation to trace the destiny of our every tweet, in perpetuity and with the most comprehensive analytics, is anything but self-evident. The business agenda is obvious: the more data we can surrender – by endlessly clicking around – the more appealing Twitter looks to advertisers. But what is in Twitter’s business interest is not necessarily in our communicative interest. We must subject social media to the kind of scrutiny that has been

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applied to the design of gambling machines in Las Vegas casinos. As Natasha Dow Schüll shows in her excellent book Addiction by Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas, while casino operators want us to think that addiction is the result of our moral failings or some biological imbalance, they themselves are to blame for designing gambling machines in a way that feeds addiction. With social media – much like with gambling machines or fast food – our addiction is manufactured, not natural. In other words, why we disconnect matters: we can continue in today’s mode of treating disconnection as a way to recharge and regain productivity, or we can view it as a way to sabotage the addiction tactics of the accelerationdistraction complex that is Silicon Valley. The former approach is reactionary but the latter can lead to emancipation, especially if such acts of refusal give rise to genuine social movements that will make problems of time and attention part of their political agendas – and not just the subject of hand-wringing by the Davos-based spirituality brigades. Hopefully, these movements will then articulate alternative practices, institutions, and designs. If it takes an act of unplugging to figure out how to do it, let’s disconnect indeed. But let us not do it for the sake of reconnecting on the very same terms as before. We must be mindful of all this mindfulness.

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vibe

While we have made every effort to trace the copyright holders of

articles and illustrations contained in this issue, we would be grateful for

any information that might assist us in identifying sources we have as yet been unable to find.

26 Mostly Small But Expressive Interjections They often seem disreputable, like sullen idlers loitering in a public thoroughfare, but they actually do a lot of hard work and are usually pernickety about the tasks to which they are put. They are interjections – one class of them, anyway: those lacking etymological origins but packed with meaning. But how do you know how to distinguish similar ones – or spell them, for that matter? Here’s an incomplete inventory of interjections (not including variations of actual words such as yeah for yes or onomatopoeic echoes of externally produced sounds like boom).

Ahem is employed to gain attention. Argh, often drawn out with additional h’s, is

all about frustration. Aye denotes agreement. Blah communicates boredom or disappointment. Boo-hoo is imitative of crying and is derisive. Boo-ya (with several spelling variants) is a cry of triumph. Bwah-hah-hah (variously spelled, including mwah-hah-hah) facetiously mimics the stereotypical arch villain’s triumphant laugh. D’oh is the spelling for the muttering accompanying Homer Simpson’s trademark head-slapping self-abuse. Duh derides someone who seems dense. Er (sometimes erm) plays for time. Hamana-hamana, variously spelled, and duplicated as needed, implies speechless embarrassment. Hubba-hubba is the vocal equivalent of a leer. Neener-neener, often uttered in a series of three repetitions, is a taunt.

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Editor

Johan Graus Editorial assistant Aafke Moons Compiled by

Marleen Cannegieter Christien van Gool Johan Graus

Caspar van Haalen

Rob van Koldenhoven Aafke Moons Ine Sanders

Ooh-la-la is a response to an attempt to

impress or gently mocks pretension or finery. Tsk-tsk and its even snootier variant tut-tut are condemnations or scoldings. Va-va-voom is an old-fashioned exclamation denoting admiration of physical attractiveness. Whee is an exclamation of excitement or delight. Whoa is a call to halt or an exclamation of surprise or relief. Whoop-de-doo and its many variants convey mocking reaction to something meant to impress. Wow expresses surprise. Yay is a congratulatory exclamation. (Not to be confused with yeah, a variant of yes.) Yikes is an expression of fear or concern, often used facetiously. Yo-ho-ho is the traditional pirates’ refrain. Yoo-hoo attracts attention. Yuck (also spelled yech or yecch) signals disgust. (Not to be confused with yuk, a laugh.) Zoinks is an expression of surprise or amazement popularised by the cartoon character Shaggy, of Scooby Doo fame.

Frederike Westera Interview on CD Sheila Thorn

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