While crossing the Simpson Desert in the center of Australia in 2015, our van got a flat tire. It looked like we were in the middle of nowhere, but we began to wander around and discovered an underground church. We walked down a red carpet into this surreal place that was devoid of people. Seven or eight candles were still burning. Everything was clean and organized. I immediately knew I wanted to stay here longer.
We walked around the streets for five days without finding a soul. We rambled for hours with our faces covered in dust and the dry heat burning our cheeks. I felt the loneliness and the immensity of the vast desert land.
Drilling machines used to mine oil create mounds of … Read the rest
Yesterday news broke that two senior BBC figures, James Landale and Robbie Gibb, had held discussions with 10 Downing Street with a view of appointing Theresa May’s new director of communications.
James Landale, an Old Etonian who joined the BBC from The Times, is currently the BBC’s diplomatic correspondent, having previously worked as deputy political editor under Nick Robinson. This morning he confirmed on Twitter that he had been approached by No.10, but said that he had ‘decided not to apply’. This apparently leaves Robbie Gibb, the BBC’s Live Political Programmes, as the frontrunner for the job.
When the Liberal Democrats last week launched their general election campaign, no doubt they had high hopes and expectations. Despite having just nine seats in the British Parliament since their poor show at the 2015 general election, it seemed that for the Lib Dems the tide might finally be turning.
As the only one of the main partiesto be demanding Britain’s impending exit from the European Union be halted, their hope is to appeal to swathes of the remain-voting 48%. It’s a fairly sizeable chunk of the population.
But it seems that for Lib Dem leader Tim Farron, gay sex just keeps getting in the way.
He’s been asked countless times now whether as a deeply religious Christian he thinks gay sex is a sin, … Read the rest
Trae Crowder uses comedy to disarm people on both sides of the Facebook News Feed. Growing up in a small town on the edge of Tennessee, he felt like a blue dot in a sea of red.
Today he plays a character called the Liberal Redneck who rallies against bigotry and hypocrisy in the South, while also challenging liberal stereotypes of the region.
Crowder had been doing standup comedy for six years before he decided to point a camera at himself, branching into porch rants about Southerners – racking up hundreds of thousands, and sometimes millions, of views in the process.
The 30-year-old has exposed double standards in everything from the way ‘rednecks’ view Black Lives Matter – “This has been framed largely as Black Lives … Read the rest
Dam Samnang’s home will soon be submerged. But he isn’t budging.
Samnang knows that his village, Kbal Romeas, which sits on the banks of the Srepok River, a tributary of the Mekong River in northwest Cambodia, is going to be inundated by water from a downstream hydroelectric dam. But the 30-year-old fisherman has spurned compensation for his family’s relocation and is staying put.
“What we want is our village, our river. The river and forest are not for sale, and especially not our identity and dignity,” he explains.
To emphasize that point, Samnang’s home has a spray-painted slogan in bold letters on its side declaring “NO LSS2 DAM.”
The Lower Sesan 2 Dam is a 400-megawatt hydroelectric complex due to become operational in … Read the rest
On April 16, voters in Turkey will say yes or no to a new constitution that could change the country’s parliamentary system to an executive presidency in a referendum that has been fiercely contested on both sides, sparking domestic turmoil and international incidents. Yes voters, or proponents of the presidential system, which is closely associated with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his increasingly authoritarian government, argue that the new system would be similar to the American and French model of government, while opponents say it will compromise the separation of powers and the independence of the judiciary. With a Yes vote, President Erdogan could rule Turkey until 2029. Polls show both sides are neck and neck.
A visit to four neighborhoods in Istanbul—liberal-secularist Beşiktaş; conservative … Read the rest
Though science is supposed to be about objective interpretations, science often finds itself at the heart of political debates. The intermingling of political and scientific beliefs leads to a pretty obvious question: does political affiliation inform consumption of science, or does consumption of science inform political leanings? A recent paper published in Nature suggests that political and scientific beliefs go hand in hand, which may contribute to the “echo chamber” phenomenon.
This study looks at consumers’ online book purchases at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Using this data, the authors tried to tease out whether people co-purchase books on political and scientific topics. They started by identifying political books, classifying them as either “conservative” or “liberal” based