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perspectives

  • happiness is a warm gun: the biology of happiness
    Happiness is a supreme state of well-being, a myriad of positive states of mind people want to preserve at any cost. Biologically, it's difficult to tell if the alterations this state of mind produces, neurologically, are the cause or effect of the happiness experienced by the person, but Neurosciences are working hard to overcome this phase of speculation, determine the different interactions between the...
  • Tea - photographed recipe
    So that you don't say I'm not your friend, here is the recipe for the famous, one and only, Moroccan tea....
  • rare diseases
    Target of the lack of preparation of most doctors, forgotten by governments, dismissed by the farmaceutical industry and unknown by citizens, rare diseases cause suffering to those who have them and the people around them. More than an illness that will accompany them for the rest of their life, it's a way of being and living that is a constant challenge to patients and...
  • caricature - Dita Von Teese
    Fewer things were more common during World War II, besides guns and death, than photographs of women in suggestive poses, stuck on soldiers and sailor's walls. The pin-up girls were the first signs of what would later be called mass culture, but also a countless number of women who were finally allowed by society to share something other than cake recipes: ideas of female...
  • Souvenir tourism
    It all started as an accident. He was standing at the observation platform on the Lorelei rock, next to the river Rhine, when he picked up a postcard and stood at the exact angle at which the photograph was taken, creating an effect that surprised Michael. This took place in 1983. In a new trip, this time, through American lands, he noticed that a...
  • Miss Landmine contest in Angola
    As a result of several years of conflict, Angola is one of the countries with the largest number of landmines in the world, with about six million mines still undetonated. These devices kill over ten people a day and have already mutilated about 70 000 citizens, keeping Angola's people from going on with their lives in a normal way. To support these victims, Norwegian...
  • caricature - Danica Patrick
    During an IndyCar race, the driver's heart works 85 to 90% above its maximum capacity, generating an average of 150 to 200 beats per minute, sustaining, during turns, up to 5g; something like having 22.5kg over your head. While trying to keep his neck all in one piece, the driver also needs to calculate the distance and speed of other cars, know who is...
  • Sergey Korolyov, the star visionary
    On the 4th of October 2007 the world celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of Sputnik's take off, mankind's first adventure in space. After the release of this first artificial satelite, the world realised that the star trek was finally open and waiting to be explored. However, it was the dream of an aerospacial engineer Sergey Pavlovich Korolyov, not of Kremlin's Nomenklatura, that launched the Soviet...
  • Intimacy: the rise and vigilance of desires
    Privacy is, first and foremost, the separation between what is inside and what is outside, in every sense. European society and, later, the western world, started experiencing, in the 1800s, a movement that, first, reinvented the private person and, later, reinvented the reinvention of that very same person before the public. At the same time, people discovered their own body, just to find that...
  • Sakurako kitsa - a different way of looking at food
    There are different kinds of art. One kind requires a longer look, until you finally realize its subtleties and charms. Another kind is immediate. We are almost overtaken by a feeling of admiration and awe, completely powerless before its talent and creativity....
  • Trees in the island of happiness
    Socotra (Arabic سقطرة Suqutrah) is the biggest and the main island in an archipelago that also includes the 'Three Brothers', smaller islands called Abd Al Kuri, Samha and Darsa. A part of Yemen, the place has a population of a few hundreds of people and, until about ten years ago, access to it was only possible between October and May, due to strong winds...
  • The Sagada cemetery
    Several kilometers north of Manila, in the Philippines, is located one of the most bizarre cemeteries in the world. Dozens of coffins precariously held to the steep hills hold the remains of the ancestors of the Sagada people, who prefer this kind of 'burial' to being actually buried....
  • Trade your wife for camels
    Morocco is in the heart of some of my closest friends, but I must confess I still haven't been convinced by adventure reports and promises of fantastic, natural landscapes. Either way, should you ever feel tempted to embark upon such a trip, there is nothing like going prepared for the hard bargaining the people in this land drive....
  • Old drugs and home medicines
    If you think some of the today's medicines, such as Prozac or Vicodin, are too strong and you are afraid to take them, perhaps you are right. Only a specialist can prescribe them, under very specific conditions, as each pacient is a different case. However, our ancestors took other kinds of medicine that were more aggressive, without a care in the world, trustingly. The...
  • Love me, love me not
    As a general rule, I don't read e-mails with warnings - "This is SERIOUS, it happened to a friend of mine!" - or forwarding requests - "Read it! It doesn't cost a thing and it will turn you into Oliver Twist!". But sometimes, due to a random alignment of events, I open and read them, become fascinated and end up reading something in the...
  • Stunning wine-cellars
    Those who appreciate wine know that you can't just take the cork off a bottle and drink it. Everything has to have a certain magic. From the choice of the kind of grape to the harvest, from opening the bottle to the glasses used, the aromas, the waiting for a special occasion, the people gathered together, the place chosen. In short, drinking wine is,...
  • Undemocratic pins
    Truth be told, there was a lot of creativity behind this sad invention. Using pins or needles placed on the shirt collar was a pretty creative technique found to ensure that the pompous Chinese military parades were flawless. After all, who would (literally) want to risk their neck during the Olympic Games' year? All for those perfect, syncronized movements. Like the old animal trainers,...
  • Japanese Taxis
    In Japan, the most simple and ordinary things are that target of unrivalled attention and refinement, proving that the saying God is in the details might have had an Oriental origin. The perfectionist spirit of the Japanese makes them think of every little detail, improving them and personalizing them creatively, as much as prescribed standards will allow. Taxis, for instance, are all alike: they...
  • Hotel with igloos
    Among the dozens of entertainment options, the igloos, with their glass ceilings that seem to pop up in the middle of the snow, capture the most attention. And rightly so. Can you imagine sleeping in a warm environment, in a luxurious bed, under the stars, an Aurora Borealis, with snow falling on a transparent ceiling?...
  • caricature - tina turner
    This woman's life story is easily confused with most 20th century events, both in music and cultural change, during a period as furious as the singer herself. Tina was born Anna Mae Bullock in Tennessee, at the end of the 1930s (in the middle of racial segragation) to working class parents. Her parents were absent most of the time and, as the working journey...
  • Russian roulette for children
    In Japan, the country of the rising sun, people will do anything for a good rush of adrenalin, judging by their insane game shows. And, apparently, the search for these kinds of thrills starts early. Check out this interesting game: a Russian roulette for children, who knows, future kamikazes... Banzai!!!...
  • Rio de Janeiro`s carnival
    This article is a contribution from an Obvious reader. Martha Tavares is a Brazilian immigrant and, for the first time this year, she isn't attending Rio's carnival. Although carnival is celebrated in thousands of cities around the globe, Rio de Janeiro has become the eternal capital of carnival in the world. Carnival in Rio is not only the biggest, it also serves as a...
  • Stay Gold: unpleasant images against alcohol abuse
    It's unlikely that many people imagined that 2008 would be the year governments would declare a war on alcoholic beverages, just as they have declared a war on tobacco over the last five years or so (does anyone doubt that a smoker today is almost a social criminal?). In Brazil, for instance, sanctions were subtle, such as those banning the use of cartoons (or...
  • How I learned to like the Olympic Games
    What my favourite olympic competitions all have in common is the fact that they all involve an absolute mastering of body and mind, a perfect orchestration of every muscle, every sense, every part of the brain for a single movement - for it to be perfect, in time and space. Every bit of effort, hours of training, the repetitions, the let-downs, they must all...
  • The olympic torch
    When, at the opening cerimony of the next Olympic Games, the olympic flame is ignited by an athlete carrying a torch, the sacred fire will have come a long way from Greece, home to the original event. With some emotion we will all watch in this symbolic gesture, the spirit and purity of the olympic ideal. The flame will keep on burning throughout the...
  • The colours of the Nudibranch
    The nudibranch are small marine mollusks, about 2 to 6 cm long, similar to "sea slugs". They live wherever there's salt water, so their variety is huge, reaching the 3000 different species. Their main trait is the richness of their colour, that covers their body and allows an effective camouflage in coral reefs, their main habitat. The nudibranch are as graceful as they are...
  • Angel Falls
    Angel Falls, Salto Angel or Kerepakupai-meru, its native name, is located at the Canaima National Park, in Venezuela, and is a World Heritage Site declared by UNESCO in 1994. Stuck in a region close to the border between Brazil and Guiana, the water that free falls from its top comes from the river Churun....
  • Paper dolls
    Paper dolls, with their little detachable clothes, as we know them today, started being spread, in North America and Europe from the 1910s on, in propaganda supplements and magazines. They were aimed both at children and women, with more specific themes for each age group: for young girls, children's replicas and, for women, the latest fashion trends. There is even talk of a "golden...
  • Saturnalia, the origin of Christmas
    Les Saturnales - Antoine-François Callet The 25th of December hasn't always been Christmas day. The origin of the celebration of this day seems to be very ancient, but its most direct affiliation comes from, among others, the Romans, who celebrated, for a long time, the worshiping of god Saturn. Celebrations lasted for about four days, during which, noone would work, presents were exchanged, friends...
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