Arts & Culture

The new generation of Filipino women rejecting skin whitening

“Growing up as a kid, I used to hate my skin as I was teased a lot because of it.” Kirsten Jelinek SBS Whitening lotion, whitening soap, whitening deodorant, and even capsules of glutathione – an antioxidant which purports to prevent skin cells from producing darkening melanin – fill the bustling shopping centres of Manila. The Philippines beauty standard of whitening goes by many names – skin lightening, skin evening, skin-fading and even skin brightening. Avon boutique owner Mary Anne ... Read More »

British Jews look to Germany for Brexit ‘insurance policy’

The German constitution allows for people whose citizenship was revoked for ‘political, racist, or religious reasons’ to have it reinstated. Hannah Roberts Politico LONDON — Sally Geppert, a legal secretary from Cologne, was 27 when she arrived in the U.K. on the last day of August 1939 — one of tens of thousands of German Jews who fled the Nazis and found refuge in Britain. The next day, September 1, Germany invaded Poland, war broke out and emigration to Britain from Nazi-controlled ... Read More »

Director of Uffizi Galleries in Florence demands that Germany hands back Nazi-looted painting

The director of the Uffizi Galleries in Florence has demanded that Germany return an artwork that was looted by the Nazis during the Second World War. Nick Squires The Telegraph Eike Schmidt, who is German himself, said Berlin had a moral duty to give back the painting, Vase of Flowers, by the 18th century Dutch artist Jan van Huysum. It was looted from Florence by German soldiers in 1944 and is now owned privately by a German family. Dr Schmidt, who has been ... Read More »

Turkey’s War on Christian Missionaries

The day after American pastor Andrew Brunson was released from Turkish prison, another Christian who had been living for nearly two decades in the country was detained by Turkish authorities, and told that he had two weeks to leave the country — without his wife and… Uzay Bulut Gatestone Institute The American-Canadian evangelist, David Byle, not only suffered several detentions and interrogations over the years, but he had been targeted for deportation on three occasions. Each time, he was saved ... Read More »

‘The world is diminished by the death of Amos Oz, it has narrowed down’

The writer David Grossman pays tribute to his friend, the Israeli novelist and outspoken peace campaigner Harriet Sherwood The Guardian The world has been “narrowed down” by the death of the Israeli literary giant Amos Oz, according to his close friend and fellow author David Grossman. “There will not be another Amos Oz, there was only one like him. You can say this about every human being, of course, but there was something unique about Amos,” Grossman told the Observer. “Those who appreciated ... Read More »

Japan withdraws from International Whaling Commission

Japan will resume commercial whaling in July 2019. Tokyo has long deflected criticism for its commercial whaling activities, arguing that eating whale meat is a part of its culture. DW Japan will withdraw from the International Whaling Commission (IWC), a government spokesman confirmed on Wednesday. The move sets the stage for Japan to resume commercial whaling activities next year. “Commercial whaling to be resumed from July next year will be limited to Japan’s territorial waters and exclusive economic zones. We ... Read More »

What Aristotle can teach us about Trump’s rhetoric

From Franklin D. Roosevelt’s fireside chats to Ronald Reagan’s reputation as the “great communicator” to Barack Obama’s soaring oratory to Donald Trump’s Twitter use, styles of presidential communication have… Anthony F. Arrigo The Conversation But what is similar across all presidents is their ability to create persuasive messages that resonate with large segments of the U.S. population. Whatever your opinion about Donald Trump, he is highly effective at doing this. The question is why, and how does he do… As ... Read More »

Listening to nature: How sound can help us understand environmental change

Our hearing tells us of a car approaching from behind, unseen, or a bird in a distant forest. Garth Paine The Conversation Everything vibrates, and sound passes through and around us all the time. Sound is a critical environmental signifier. Increasingly, we are learning that humans and animals are not the only organisms that use sound to communicate. So do plants and forests. Plants detect vibrations in a frequency-selective manner, using this “hearing” sense to find water by sending out ... Read More »

After More Than Two Decades of Work, a New Hebrew Bible to Rival the King James

The pre-eminent scholar Robert Alter has finally finished his own translation. Avi Steinberg The New York Times One morning this fall, at his home high in the Berkeley hills, the literary critic and translator Robert Alter chatted with me about the dilemmas he faced while translating the Hebrew Bible. Alter, who is 83, sat on a sofa with a long-limbed, feline watchfulness. Behind him, a picture window looked out onto a… He occasionally cast a probing eye on his brand-new, ... Read More »

How to get your teenagers to read more

In the age of TV on demand, social media and video games, it can be hard to get teenagers to switch off the screen and pick up a book instead. RN By Fiona Pepper and Sajithra Nithi for Life Matters ABC Hard — but not impossible. Holly Godfree, a teacher librarian at a public school in Canberra, says books have many drawcards — like their ability to provide an emotional experience. “There’s something about literature and a story, and the ... Read More »

Ramsay Centre degree in Western civilisation to be offered at Wollongong University after rejection from ANU

The University of Wollongong (UOW) is set to become the first institution to deliver the controversial Bachelor of Arts in Western Civilisation degree. By Danuta Kozaki and Jamie McKinnell ABC The Ramsay Centre will provide about 150 scholarships for the new course, to be funded by a bequest by the late health pioneer, Paul Ramsay. The partnership is worth more than $50 million over eight years. The centre was knocked back earlier this year by the Australian National University, which ... Read More »

What can Philosophy teach Machine Learning?

A Journey from Socrates to AI via Cognitive Science From Socrates to Cognitive Science Federico Castellano Towards Data Science Since Socrates asked Thrasymachus for a definition of the concept of justice, philosophy posed for the very first time one of the most challenging philosophical questions: what is a concept? For many hundred years, inquiries concerning the nature and structure of concepts caught the attention of the world’s finest minds; yet it wasn’t until the sixteenth and… Empiricists argued that concepts are ... Read More »

U.S. returns 3 church bells taken as war booty from Philippines in 1901

MANILA, Dec. 11 (Xinhua) — After 117 years, the United States returned the three original church bells taken by American soldiers as war booty during the Philippine-American war in 1901. Li Xia Xinhua A U.S. Air Force plane bearing the three historic bells landed in the Philippines on Tuesday morning. U.S. officials led by U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim handed the… “It is a most memorable day of our nation’s history and we celebrate it with deep gratitude ... Read More »

Blowing up the Parthenon: the power of a symbol

The Parthenon is one of the most famous and recognisable buildings in the world. Bronwen Neil The Conversation Designed as a testimony to Athenian greatness, visible miles from the Acropolis (the citadel) on which it stands, the Parthenon still stands proudly among the remains of a massive complex of buildings that celebrated Athens’s deities. It is a witness to the lasting legacy of the ancient Greeks and their architectural ingenuity. But it is also a very good reminder of the ... Read More »

Meet the first woman to contact one of the world’s most isolated tribes

Anthropologist Madhumala Chattopadhyay floated coconuts to the Sentinelese in an unusually friendly exchange with a tribe hostile to outsiders. Fehmida Zakeer National Geographic The recent death of an American missionary on North Sentinel Island has put the remote island in the Bay of Bengal, officially off-limits to most outsiders for decades, back in the news and raised questions about the… In the later 20th century, the Indian government, which administers the Andaman and Nicobar islands archipelago to which North Sentinel ... Read More »

End the Innovation Obsession

Some of our best ideas are in the rearview mirror. TORONTO — A year ago I stepped into the Samcheong Park Library in Seoul, South Korea, and saw the future. David Sax The New York Times The simple building in a forested park had a nice selection of books, a cafe at its center and a small patio. Classical music played while patrons read, reclining on extra-deep window benches that had cushions to sit on and tables that slid over ... Read More »