My grandpa is in the hospital. No, scratch that. Right now he’s freezing in the morgue.
There are so many people in the house on a Monday morning. Someone’s muttering prayers, an aunt is crying in the corner. My grandma breaks down when she sees me and then asks “Have you had breakfast? Do you want tea or coffee?”
His chair has been moved. To make place for everyone who will come to pay their last respects. His bed is now storage for everyone’s bags, baggage from faraway countries. His walking stick is nowhere to be seen - someone has probably already laid claim to it. A distant relative has brought meat puffs for us for breakfast and a neighbour has taken them away. He loved meat puffs from Vaz Bakery; the neighbour says “No meat for the mourning.”
I’m not mourning. I’m just missing him.
I sit at the kitchen counter, just like I would when he made omelettes because I refused to eat fish. My grandma asks me “Why didn’t you come here on Saturday? He was asking for you!”
I don’t have the heart to tell her that mom didn’t tell me he was asking for me. She didn’t tell me he was on his deathbed. Another aunt tries her hand at fifteen seconds of fame at a funeral: “He was waiting for me to arrive. He raised his hand and blessed me.” Mom chips in, “I was feeding him water with a spoon till his last breath.”
There’s going to be no end to this.
I wait in the living room. It’s 12 pm. The body is here, someone announces.
The body? That’s my Papa they are talking about.
“The most important moment in my mind in the history of Facebook occurred in July 2006,” he began.
At the time, Facebook was just two years old. It was a college site with roughly eight or nine million people on it. And, though it was making $30 million in revenue, it was not profitable. “And we received an acquisition offer from Yahoo for $1 billion,” Thiel said.
The three-person Facebook board at the time—Zuckerberg, Thiel, and venture capitalist Jim Breyer—met on a Monday morning.
“Both Breyer and myself on balance thought we probably should take the money,” recalled Thiel. “But Zuckerberg started the meeting like, ‘This is kind of a formality, just a quick board meeting, it shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes. We’re obviously not going to sell here’.”
At the time, Zuckerberg was 22 years old.
Thiel said he remembered saying, “We should probably talk about this. A billion dollars is a lot of money.” They hashed out the conversation. Thiel said he and Breyer pointed out: “You own 25 percent. There’s so much you could do with the money.”
Thiel recalled Zuckerberg said, in a nutshell: “I don’t know what I could do with the money. I’d just start another social networking site. I kind of like the one I already have.”
Thiel described the argument Zuckerberg finally came down on like this: “[Yahoo] had no definitive idea about the future. They did not properly value things that did not yet exist so they were therefore undervaluing the business.”
Laurie Penny’s Saudade
There are more of us than you think, kicking off our high-heeled shoes to run and being told not so fast
The best minds of my generation consumed by craving, furious half naked starving-
Who ripped tights and dripping make up smoked alone in bedsits bare mattresses waiting for transfiguration.
Who ran half dressed out of department stores yelling that we didn’t want to be good and beautiful
Who glowing high and hopeful were the last to leave the gig our skin crackling with lust and sweat and pure music
Who wrote poetry on each other’s arms and cared more about fucking than being fuckable
Who worked until our backs stiffened and our limbs sang with the memory of misbehaviour that was what it was to be a woman
Who dared to dance until dawn and were drugged and raped by men in clean T-shirts and woke up scared and sore to be told it was our fault
Who swallowed bosses’ patronizing side-eyes stole away from violent broken boys in the middle of the night and vowed never again to try to fix the world one man at a time
Who slammed down the tray of drinks and tore off our aprons and aching smiles and went scowling out into the streets looking for change
Who stripped in dark rooms for strangers’ anodyne dollars because we wanted education and were told we were traitors
Who sat faces upturned to the glow of the network searching searching for strangers who would call us pretty
Who bared our breasts to hidden cameras and fought and fought and fought to be human
Who waited in grim hallways with synth-pop crackling over the speaker system for the doctor to call us clutching fistfuls of pamphlets calling us sluts whores murderers
Who crossed continents alone with knapsacks full of books bare limbs clear-eyed vision running running from the homes that held our mothers down
Who filled notebooks with gibberish philosophy and scraps of stories and cameras to prove we were there keeping our novels and the name of out children close to our hearts
Who were told all our lives that we were too loud too tisky too fat too ugly too scruffy too selfish too much too and refused to take up less space refused to be still refused refused refused to be tame
Who would never be still.
Who would never shut up.
Who were punished for it and spat and snarled and they shook the bars of our cages until they snapped and they called us wild and crazy and we laughed with mouths open hearts open hands open and would never not ever be tame.
Sara, I’m with you in hospital, in the narroe rooms where you have put off your veil to count your ribs through your T-shirt, short hair and secrets and quiet defiance crying together that we don’t know how to be perfect-
Lara, I’m with you in mandatory art therapy, where we draw pictures of weeping cocks and are told we are not making progress-
Lila, I’m with you in a north London bathdroom, watchhing unreal maggots crawl in the cuts in your arms and listening to your girlfriend drunk and raging through the wall-
Andy, I’m with you in Bethnal Green where you love ambitious angry women with heart brain pen fingers tongue and you have a line from Nietzche tattooed over your cunt-
Adele, I’m with you in the student occupation, with your lipstick and cloche hat and teenage lisp drawling that there’s not enough fucking in this revolution and we must take action-
Kay, I’m with you on the night bus, half drunk and high dragging bright-eyed boys home to our bed, where we watch them worn out sleeping and whisper that we will never be married-
Katie, I’m with you in Zuccotti Park, where a broken heart is less important than a broken laptop is less important than a broken future and we watch the cops beating kids bloody on the pavement for daring to ask for more-
Tara, I’m with you in Islington where you have thrown all your pretty dresses out of the window and flushed your medication so you can write and write-
Alex, I’m with you and a bottle of Scotch at two in the morning when you tell me that no man will make us live for ever and we must seduce the city the country the world-
We are always hungry.
There are more of us than you think.
Laurie Penny’s Saudade, from Fifty Shades of Feminism (via mollycrabapple)
There are always more of us than you think
Bo Kaap, Cape Town
“Famously known as a Malay neighbourhood (it is sometimes referred to as “the Malay quarter”), the Bo-Kaap has always been racially and culturally diverse, first housing Europeans and some Asians in the 18th century. After slavery was abolished in 1834, many freed slaves made the area their home. Islam was brought to the Western Cape in the 17th century and the Bo-Kaap soon became a hotbed for its teachings. The religion was attractive to former slaves, who rejected the Christianity of the British and the Dutch. South Africa’s oldest mosque is in the Bo-Kaap.
Although it is predominantly Muslim, historically up to 40% of the neighbourhood was Christian. The area remained racially and culturally diverse until it was designated a Malay area under the Group Areas Act. It remained one of the only sections of the central business district (CBD) that housed nonwhites throughout apartheid.
But the Bo-Kaap is changing. Booming demand for prime real estate in the CBD has made the neighbourhood increasingly appealing to outsiders. Its famous cobbled streets, coloured houses and homey atmosphere, coupled with relatively low house prices compared with other parts of the CBD, make it especially attractive to young creative types who want to get off the beaten track but still stay close to the city hub. In some parts of the Bo-Kaap, you are now as likely to meet a young, blonde German-born filmmaker, a skinny-jeans-wearing, soya-cappucino-drinking fashion editor or a Jo’burg business executive as you are an imam or artisan at one of the neighbourhood’s many corner shops.”
Sometimes you can stare at a map and see history, culture all sitting pretty in a bowl of dumplings in China, a spoonful of escargot in Mangalore or a plate of biryani in Lucknow:
In Chinese New Year celebrations, the symbolic significance of certain foods is very important. Bright, orange-colored citrus fruits like oranges, kumquats or tangerines represent wealth and good luck. Fish is cooked whole to maintain integrity and unity. Even if there cannot be any fish on the table in landlocked regions, at least a wooden fish statuette will be placed on the table to secure wholeness in the family. Green vegetables and spring onions stand for youthfulness. Sweet snacks guarantee a sweet year. Among all the foods, one of the most symbolic are noodles. Long – really long – noodles promise longevity. Dumplings bring luck, and if you’re lucky enough to find the hidden coin among dozens of Jiaozi dumplings, then you are sure to have a prosperous year. Dumplings in northern China are transformed into mantou, a form of steamed buns.
The connection between Turkish mantı and Chinese mantou is striking. There are many intriguing parallels between the food cultures of northern and western China and Turkey. One of the most significant dishes in all countries along the Silk Road, from the Sea of Japan to Anatolia, is dumplings. Dumplings across Asia are tell-tale signs of a shared common past demonstrating drastic similarities. From the Turkish perspective, the origins of mantı have been long forgotten and the dish is regarded as quintessentially Turkish. However, almost all etymological references state that the origin of the word comes from the Chinese word man tou. Etymological dictionaries of both Sevan Nişanyan and Hasan Eren point to a Mongol connection as well.
One of the earliest mentions of a dumpling similar to Turkish mantı is in the treatise written in 1330 by Hu Szu-hui, the Uyghur imperial doctor in service of the Chinese Emperor. The treatise, known as Yin-shan Cheng-yao (Proper and Essential Things for the Emperor’s Food and Drink), is a cross between a recipe book and manual for health. Translated into English as “Soup for the Qan,” the treatise includes three recipes that are clearly related to Turkish mantı. At the time the treatise was written, the borderless Mongolian rule “Pax Mongolica” was conducive to trade and travel, creating a multi-cultural atmosphere between many cultures of Asia, particularly Central Asian Turkic tribes and the Chinese. The treatise includes a recipe for tutum ash – obviously a predecessor of tutmaç – a kind of kneaded noodle stuffed with quruk qima – definitely meaning kuru kıyma – and fried and potted minced meat, still a traditional winter provision in rural Anatolia. This recipe for tutum ash or tutmaç appearing in an early Chinese document written by a Uyghur Turk is a fantastic example of how a dish can survive for almost 700 years on the other side of the continent, thousands of miles away.
I consider Chinese and Turkish food cultures to be two sisters that have lost touch, one on the very western end of Asia, Anatolia, and the other stretching to the farthest eastern end of the continent.
One chart can speak volumes about politics, history, technology, and the human race.
- Joshua Nguyen
First there was India Shining. Then Colonialism and therefore Britain happened to India.
It’s just a nondescript shed. But if there’s a more telling descriptor of my city’s essence, of a certain schizophrenia that runs in the veins of some of us who call this place home, I have yet to find it. Tucked on a quiet lane between Elphinstone College and the National Gallery of Modern Art, the shed is smack in the middle of the buzzing downtown precinct where most tourists in Bombay—yes, I call the city Bombay—mill about. Yet it’s a good bet most of them haven’t even heard of it.
Manzoor Ansari, an Indian Muslim flute seller, plays one of his wares to attract buyers. (Arko Datta/Reuters)
If you go, put your eye to a hole that’s at about chest level. Let your vision adjust to the darkness. You’ll notice a button. A coat. A uniform. A man in that uniform. Behind him, a second man in uniform, wearing one of those colonial-era pith hats. Two larger-than-life statues are housed in this unassuming little shed, dusty and cobwebbed.
Just a few steps away is the sprawling museum complex with its great white British-made dome. Nearby are the Rajabai Clock Tower and Bombay University’s pristine convocation hall, with sun streaming through its delicate stained-glass windows. Just beyond, you’ll find the High Court, all high ceilings, lofty turrets, and musty staircases. And thronging everywhere, nearly any time of day, are crowds of officegoers, lawyers, supplicants, vendors, college students, sugar-cane-juice sellers, and tourists.
Somewhere in all this, two statues in a shed. What on earth, you think.
These are statues of the British monarchs George V and Edward VIII that were once on public display, with several others, in this precinct. In the mid-1960s, vexed political activists toppled them from their pedestals, no doubt thinking, our British rulers left two decades ago—why are these stone likenesses still around? Most of the statues were moved to—I kid you not—the zoo. But Kings George and Edward were deposited in this shed. Can’t have these tributes to colonial rule be seen, you know. What will that do to us impressionable Indians? They’ve languished there for nearly a half century, a reminder of a certain past—but only to those who know.
Richard I’Anson/Lonely Planet/Getty
There are many things to say about this. But one perhaps trumps them all. After peering into the shed, you can walk half a mile southeast to a great sandstone edifice built on the water’s edge. No nondescript unnoticed structure, this one. No, it’s the Gateway of India, standing proudly at the head of a large pedestrian plaza. And as you look up at it, consider the distance you have really traversed getting here. For you’ll easily discern, atop the Gateway, these precisely chiseled words: “Erected to commemorate the landing in India of their imperial majesties King George V and Queen Mary on the second of December MCMXI.”
It’s a monument to the same King George V.
Half a mile away, his highness is hidden in a shed because Indians must not gaze at him. But here, the Gateway is a towering, arresting monument to King George V himself, to his imperial rule over us. It says so, unequivocally. Yet no nationalistic brave heart has erected a shed to cover the Gateway. Indeed, when the French firm Baccarat wanted to hang a chandelier there some years ago, a small army of protesters formed a human chain to prevent this desecration of a “national monument”—our “Indian heritage.”
It seems to me that more than just a half mile separates King George V’s name on the Gateway from his statue in that shed.
The year 1965 saw nationalists proudly battling statues, and 1995 saw the same breed of nationalists elected to power in Maharashtra, the state of which Bombay is capital. In 1996 they had a rousing celebration to mark one year in office. “My government’s greatest achievement,” said Chief Minister Manohar Joshi at the time, “is … ” Well, what? Cleaning up the city? Addressing the serious shortage of affordable housing? No, by Joshi’s own proclamation, his finest achievement was renaming Bombay to Mumbai, its “original” name from before the British landed in India.
The kind who find pride in merely renaming a city, it seems to me, are also the kind who both venerate a memorial to George V and hide him in a shed. Of course we did well to rid ourselves of the British. But more than 65 years on, the legacy of colonialism plays itself out in the superficiality of a name change, in the Janus-faced nationalism that George V induces in us. Will this irrationality blight us for another six decades? Will we ever find the perspective to treat the British Raj as just more history?
Now I like the name Mumbai. But when I heard Joshi in 1996, I thought: as long as I can, I’ll stick with calling the city Bombay.
A mother hides her face in shame, c.1948, Chicago.
Forced with eviction and penniless, the parents have literally put their children up for sale. This was not a joke…What’s interesting is that the accompanying article does not pass judgement and there are no calls for whisking the children away to protective services. No follow up on what happened to them, either…
Such a different time.
Do you remember what happened when parcel postal services started?
This city letter carrier posed for a humorous photograph with a young boy in his mailbag. After parcel post service was introduced in 1913, at least two children were sent by the service. With stamps attached to their clothing, the children rode with railway and city carriers to their destination. The Postmaster General quickly issued a regulation forbidding the sending of children in the mail after hearing of those examples.
(via Boing Boing)
Scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics (IBP) found an explanation for the popularity of tomato juice at high altitudes. The IBP researchers discovered that the taste of tomato juice is perceived differently on an aircraft.
This is due to the different pressure conditions in the air and on the ground: smell and taste detection thresholds are higher under low pressure. People’s perceptions of food and drink are then similar to those they would have if they had a cold. “Tomato juice was rated far worse under normal pressure than under low pressure. It was described as earthy and musty. Under cabin pressure pleasant fruity smells and sweet, cooling taste impressions came to the fore,” Dr. Andrea Burdack-Freitag of the IBP sums up the results.
The scientists discovered the reasons for the success of tomato juice above the clouds in a special flight laboratory. They carried out tests on subjects in the original fuselage of an Airbus A310-200 and ascertained that people’s perception of the taste of salt, sugar and herbs is weaker than under normal pressure on the ground.