Ultrarunning, prison, surviving Aids … the best tales of endurance

From Shackleton in the Antarctic to Edmund White on the Aids crisis, Emily Chappell rounds up stories of survival I cant go on, Ill go on, is the weary conclusion of The UnnamThe Rise of the Ultra Runners, Sarah Outen, in Nawal El Saadawis Memoirs from the Womens Prison began its life written with eyeliner on hoarded pieces of toilet paper, and follows the Egyptian author through a three-month incarceration for crimes against the state. In prison, a persons essence comes to light, she writes, suggesting that endurance consists of the parts of a person that remain when trauma or exhaustion have scraped away all pretence. Some people endure unintentionally, sometimes even without wanting to go on. The protagonist of …

Strike a contrapposto pose to look more attractive, science says

Study finds pose makes waist-to-hip ratio seem lower on one side and looks more appealing Dancers do it, Instagrammers do it, even the Venus de Milo does it. When it comes to striking a pose, it seems the only way is contrapposto. Now research has shed light on why the attitude is so appealing. Experts say the pose, which involves standing with weight predominantly on one foot with a slight twist in the upper body, makes the waist-to-hip ratio appear strikingly low on one side of the body. A low waist-to-hip ratio reflecting studies have suggested the most popular imaginary women have even lower ratios in particular a very small waist a finding that might help to explain the appeal …

Naomie Harris: ‘After Moonlight, I just wanted to open a nail salon’

Despite hating guns, Harris stars as a tough cop up for a fight in her new action thriller. She talks about how she almost quit acting after Moonlight, the pain of her familys past and Bond getting woke Later this month, Naomie Harris appears in her first starring role in a film. She is 43. What has taken her so long? Not laziness. Harris has always been a grafter, acting on TV from the age of nine, saving every penny to pay for university (social and political science at Cambridge, one of only two black students in her year). The work ethic, she says, comes from her mother, who discovered she was pregnant when doing her A-levels and raised her …

Kim Gordon: ‘There’s a wall of faceless men I have to climb over’

Shes the art-rock legend who made Sonic Youth punk and now, at 66, she has made her first solo record. She drives our writer through LA to talk Donald Trump, existential angst and her anthem called Air BnB Before she came to typify deadpan Downtown New York cool, Kim Gordon was a teenager in 1970s Los Angeles, smoking pot and listening to Joni Mitchell. It was the pot that landed her in Disney jail. Gordon and her friend were in a cave on pirate-themed Tom Sawyers Island, lighting up a joint, when the Disney cops swooped in. They took us underground, Gordon recalls to a netherworld where she saw Mickey Mouse with a walkie-talkie and endured creepy comments from the …

Malcolm Gladwell: Im just trying to get people to take psychology seriously

The Canadian writer made his name bringing intellectual sparkle to everyday subjects, and his new book – about how strangers interact with each other – is no exception In the flesh, Malcolm Gladwell is exactly as I imagined him to be: engaging, polite, dauntingly cerebral and supremely self-assured in that way that the exceptionally gifted often are. At 55, there is still something of the sporty, if slightly gawky, teenager about him; his jeans and a lightweight hoody accentuate his height and wiry thinness. The signature afro has been tamed somewhat and, if anything, makes him look even younger. He is not big on small talk, and one senses that every hour in his working day is geared towards maximum …

What Sci-Fi Can Teach Computer Science About Ethics

This story is part of a series on how we learn—from augmented reality to music-training devices. The protagonist of Rebecca Roanhorse’s short story “Welcome to Your Authentic Indian ExperienceTM” is a bit of a sad sack. A guide for a VR tourism company in Sedona, Arizona, he leads “vision quests” in a digital guise taken straight from Little Big Man. He’s Native American in our corporal realm as well, just not the sort tourists wish to commune with, he argues—until one does, stealing his job and his life story. Heartbreaking yet ambiguous, the story won a bunch of top sci-fi honors, including a Nebula and a Hugo. For the students in Emanuelle Burton’s ethics class, the story is tricky to …

From Baba Yaga to Hermione Granger: why we’re spellbound by ‘witcherature’

Vengeful, seductive, feminist, misogynist … witches have appeared in many forms in literature. Now a new generation of novelists are falling under their spell A witch is a woman who has too much power. Or, to quote the novelist #MeToo world, where Donald Trump a fan of the term witch-hunt is US president, it is really no surprise that female writers are examining the role of the witch in new ways. Since Trumps election, which inspired mass spell-casting by thousands of resistance witches (the selection of judge Circe, Millers reimagining of the story of the witch from the Odyssey. Shortlisted for the Womens prize and soon to become an HBO series, the novel sees Circe, a victim of rape, turn …

How White Nationalists Have Co-Opted Fan Fiction

During a recent summer stroll near an Ivy League campus, I happened on an SUV with a decal on its rear window that read “The University of Rhodesia.” The University of Rhodesia no longer exists, but it was located in Rhodesia, a self-declared state in southern Africa from 1965 to 1979 (the area now known as Zimbabwe). An independent state successor to the British colony of Southern Rhodesia, it was named after the British imperialist Cecil Rhodes. In recent years, Rhodesian iconography has gained popularity among young men with white nationalist leanings. Infatuation with Rhodesia first received media attention after it was discovered that Dylann Roof—the white supremacist who killed 9 black churchgoers in 2015—had a personal website called “Last …

Thor! Blade! Picard! The 10 biggest surprises from Comic-Con 2019

San Diegos annual pop culture gathering saw a big reveal of trailers, stars and release dates, including some major Marvel news 1. Thor Four is forward-thinking The inscription on Mjolnir, Marvels spin on the weapon of Norse legend, reads: Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor. Its time to update that pronoun. One can quibble about what was the biggest surprise at this years marketing bonanza held at the San Diego Convention Center, but Oscar-winner Natalie Portmans return as the Asgardian hero Thors former love interest, Dr Jane Foster, is a top contender. (The character got an exit, pursued by a lapsed contract off-screen dismissal earlier in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.) Portman isnt …

What Seinfeld can teach us about science

From micro pigs to the doping dangers of a poppy seed bagel, life may be imitating the US sitcom When Jerry Seinfeld UK 1981 HBO debut, he said of weather forecasts: And then my favourite part, the satellite photo. This is really helpful. A photograph of the Earth from 10,000 miles away. Can you tell if you should take a sweater or not from that shot? His eponymous 90s sitcom is also packed with nuanced references to science, with the storylines of some of the most famous episodes centred on it: George Costanza pretends to be a scientist in The Marine Biologist, while in The Abstinence he becomes a boffin after swearing off sex. In The Non-Fat Yogurt, Kramer has …

Ancient city of Babylon heads list of new Unesco world heritage sites

UN also names national park in Iceland among sites protected for their value to humanity The ancient city of Babylon and an Icelandic national park replete with glaciers, ice caves and volcanoes are among the sites that have been added to Unescos world heritage list. More than 1,000 sites around the world some cultural, some natural, some both are protected by listing. Landmarks or areas are chosen for their value to humanity. On Friday, the World Heritage Committee announced the addition of the first of this years batch. More sites will be named over the weekend. Perhaps the most famous site to be added to the list is the city of Babylon in Iraq. The city was first mentioned in …

Unbuilt Tokyo: ‘depthscrapers’ and a million-person pyramid

Had the creators of the underground skyscraper had their way, the Japanese capital might have looked very different indeed Protected by cylindrical walls of reinforced concrete, the steel and glass depthscrapers extend hundreds of metres underground. Only a single floor of each inverted 35-storey skyscraper is visible at ground level. Giant mirrors mounted directly above the central wells reflect sunlight to the apartments below. Prismatic glass ensures even light throughout the day, while fresh, conditioned air is pumped down from the surface. The whole structure, in case of an earthquake, will vibrate together, resisting any crushing strain, declared a 1931 edition of Everyday Science and Mechanics that called the design the product of the best engineering brains of Japan. The …

Dani Shapiro: Science will bring an end to these family secrets

As a young Jewish girl, Dani Shapiro always felt different. Years later she found out why She reveals what she learned about family, identity and the hard truths of DNA tests Take a look at your reflection. What do you see? Who do you think you are? When the writer Dani Shapiro was a little girl, she would sneak down the hall late at night once her parents were asleep, the better to stare at herself uninterrupted in the bathroom mirror. She felt, though she would not have been able to articulate this at the time, different a creature apart. Perhaps if she gazed at herself for long enough, a new face would emerge from behind her own: a truer …

‘It’s ghost slavery’: the troubling world of pop holograms

Dead stars from Whitney Houston to Maria Callas are going on tour again. As Miley Cyrus explores the issue in a new Black Mirror, we uncover the greatest identity crisis in music today In the star-making Disney Channel switcheroo Hannah Montana,Miley Cyrus played a teenage girl who is able to metamorphose from regular eighth grader to pop icon, simply by donning a streaked blonde wig. Most of the show seems quaintly dated now, but one moment taps into a very 2019 pop anxiety. On foam-finger humper to The episodes trailer ends with Ashley Too acquiring potty-mouthed sentience, screaming for her owner to get this [USB] cable out of my ass! Holy Shit! Specifics are under wraps, but the episode seems …

How much water do you really need?

Time to put that phone in a cool, dry place.Image: Tobias Schwartz / AFP / Getty Images Let’s be real. You’re going to take your phone to the beach. How could you not? So let’s make sure it doesn’t meet its untimely end there. There are three main issues to consider when beach-proofing your device: sun, sand, and moisture. You don’t want your phone to overheat, you don’t want it to get sand in its ports and crevices, and you definitely don’t want it to get wet.  Take these precautions and you’ll be able to enjoy your beach day in peace. Unless you get sand under your swimsuit, in which case … may god be with you. Keep it cool …

Italy’s new ruins: heritage sites being lost to neglect and looting

Overgrown and weathered, many historical monuments are disappearing as public funds for culture fail to match modern Italys inheritance Legend has it that the grotto hidden among the craggy cliffs on San Marco hill in Sutera in the heart of Sicily holds a treasure chest full of gold coins. In order to find it, three men must dream simultaneously about the precise place to dig. Treasure or no treasure, the grotto itself is an archaeological gem, its walls adorned with a multi-coloured Byzantine-esque 16th-century fresco depicting Jesus, the Virgin Mary and Saints Paulinus, Luke, Mark and Matthew. One of the first mountain oratories in the world, it was built by Basilian monks in the 9th century. But time has weathered …