Dec. 12 is a special day for millions of Catholics around the world, especially those of Mexican descent. Known as el Dia de la Virgen Guadalupe, it is a popular feast day that celebrates the Virgin of Guadalupe: a brown-skinned, Indigenous vision of Mary that Catholics believe appeared to a peasant in 1531.
The story of Guadalupe’s appearances is recounted in a text called the Nican Mopohua, which means “Here It Is Told” in Nahuatl, an Aztec language. The Nican Mopohua describes Jesus’ mother appearing multiple times to Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin, an Indigenous convert to Catholicism, about a decade after the Spanish had conquered Aztec Mexico. After her fourth and final apparition to Diego, Catholics believe that her image imprinted onto his cactus-fiber robe, known as a “tilma.”
As a scholar of Catholicism, I have long been fascinated by the adoration of the Virgin Mary. Often seen as a symbol of inclusive love, the Virgin of Guadalupe has become especially beloved by migrants and Latinos in the U.S., who view her as a protector.
Over the past 20 years, research on Guadalupe has brought me to deeply moving shrines in her honor in the United States: candle-filled, flower-laden places, from South Phoenix, Arizona, to Columbus Junction, Iowa, from Catholic parishes to family homes and yards.
As an American living in Britain in the 1990s, my first exposure to Christmas pudding was something of a shock. I had expected figs or plums, as in the “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” carol, but there were none. Neither did it resemble the cold custard-style dessert that Americans typically call pudding.
Instead, I was greeted with a boiled mass of suet – a raw, hard animal fat this is often replaced with a vegetarian alternative – as well as flour and dried fruits that is often soaked in alcohol and set alight.
It’s in no danger of breaking into my top ten favorite Christmas foods. But as a historian of Great Britain and its empire, I can appreciate the Christmas pudding for its rich global history. After all, it is a legacy of the British Empire with ingredients from around the globe it once dominated and continues to be enjoyed in places it once ruled.
Cramped bakery with barred windows believed to be where enslaved people were forced to work
From crushed oyster shells to agricultural waste, Celine Sandberg has experimented with some wacky ingredients to make parts for furniture.
A wild African bird that will famously lead people to trees filled with honeycomb seems to somehow learn the distinct whistles and calls of the human foragers who live near them.
Scientists have long puzzled over this unusual cooperative relationship between humans and a wild animal. This bird species, the Greater Honeyguide, is not domesticated at all, and no one trains them.
Yet in Tanzania, Hadza foragers can use a special whistle to attract this bird, which will then flutter down and start chattering away to lead them to honey.
In Mozambique, meanwhile, honey hunters with the Yao community will attract these birds with a trilling sound followed by a low grunt, which sounds like brrr-humph.
The Albrights were a normal East Palestine family before the Feb. 3 Norfolk Southern train derailment upended their lives. Suffering dire health effects after the derailment, abandoned by Norfolk Southern and the government, what are they supposed to do?
Scientists put mice through a classic test of self-awareness.
When you look in the mirror, what do you see? In all likelihood, you see a complex shape that you immediately recognize as yourself. Now, a team of researchers has found that mice appear capable of doing the same thing.
That’s right: Mice may now join the small cadre of mammals that pass the so-called mirror test, suggesting they can tell the difference between a reflection of themselves and a view of another mouse. Other mammals that have demonstrated ‘mirror-induced self-directed behavior,’ as it’s known, are humans, great apes, some monkeys, dolphins, and elephants. Researchers published details of their experiments with mice and mirrors today in the journal Neuron.
archive link: https://archive.ph/zjWrn
YEREVAN, Armenia, Dec 5 2023 (IPS) - Every evening, the smell of Indian food takes over Yerevan’s northwestern district of Halabian. Indian workers who left early in the morning are back home. “We work in construction,’’ Sahil, 23, tells IPS from the yard of a humble one-storey house. He left his family in Punjab – a state in northern India- two and a half months before, bound for Yerevan with two other friends.
“We heard there was a high demand for labour and that the pay is good. We get 5000 AMD a day (US$12,5). In India, you can live comfortably with that money,” says Sahil.
However, considering the minimal consumer basket is around US$200 one can barely get by with such a salary.
“We all share rooms and cut costs to a minimum. That way I can send at least $150 to my family in India every month,” explains Sahil, before stressing that he has a work permit from the Migration Service of Armenia.
Armenia has become a popular destination for Indian people seeking work opportunities. According to the Migration Service of Armenia, more than 37.000 Indians entered Armenia only in the first nine months of 2023.
20-year-old Koma Mera works as a cleaner in one of Yerevan’s most popular gyms for $12,5 a day. “I have three sisters and one brother. I miss them a lot, but we had financial problems, so I’m here now,” Koma tells IPS sitting on her bunk bed, just after she had spoken to her mother on a video call.
After paying the rent for the accommodation and covering the household expenses, she sends the remaining money to India so that her younger siblings “do not miss anything back home.” “Living in other countries would be too expensive, so I came to Armenia. It’s a great country for making money, that’s why you find so many Indians here. When I see them in the streets I feel I’m not alone,” adds the young migrant.
Nonetheless, Koma believes things would be easier if the locals changed their attitude towards them.
“There are good people here, but also those who are rude to us,” she explains. “When I sit down at work, they make such a face to tell me that I must keep working. Moreover, Armenians do not sit at the table with us during the lunch break,” says the Indian woman.
archive link: https://archive.ph/Ic9Jr
Until the Plague decimated Europe and reconfigured society, brewing beer and selling it was chiefly the domain of the fairer sex.
As the old sexist saw goes, “Beer is a man’s drink.” Yet, until the fourteenth century, women dominated the field of beer brewing. And the alewife, as she was known, was responsible for a high proportion of ale sales in Europe.
“Ale was virtually the sole liquid consumed by medieval peasants,” writes Judith M. Bennett in a chapter in the edited volume, Women and Work in Preindustrial Europe. “Water was considered to be unhealthy, [so] each household required a large and steady supply of this perishable item.”
Sometimes referred to as a “brewster” (female brewer), the alewife made the drink as part of a typical peasant diet, which also included bread, soups, meat, legumes, and seasonal produce. While most villages depended on local bakers to prepare bread “the skills and equipment required for brewing,” explains Bennett “were readily available in many households.” This included “large pots, vats, ladles, and straining cloths,” implements found even in the poorest households. In other words: anyone who had the time could potentially make and sell ale.
Ale production was time-consuming, and the drink soured within days. The grain needed to make it, usually barley, “had to be soaked for several days, then drained of excess water and carefully germinated to create malt,” writes Bennett. The malt was dried and ground, and then added to hot water for fermentation, following which the wort—the liquid—was drained off and “herbs or yeast could be added as a final touch.”
Most households alternated between making their own ale and buying from and selling to neighbors. Women—wives, mothers, the unmarried, and the widowed—largely oversaw these transactions, writes Christopher Dyer.
“Ale selling was an extension of a common domestic activity: many women brewed for their own household’s consumption, so producing extra for sale was relatively easy,” Dyer explains.
Ale-making was a revolutionary trade for women. “We have heard much in the recent past about the weak work-identity of women, … [how] women were/are dabblers; they fail to attain high skill levels [and] they abandon work when it conflicts with marital or familial obligations,” writes Bennett. But for women of the Middle Ages, making ale was “both practical and rational.” It allowed married women to contribute to household incomes and offered both single women and widows a means to support themselves. This was true, for example, in the English villages of Redgrave and Rickinghall, about 100 miles northeast of London, where records suggested that ale sellers were both poor and single or widowed.
Further west, records from the manorial court of Brigstock show the domestic industry of ale-making to be entirely female dominated.
“The high proportion of women known to have sold ale suggests that all adult women were skilled at brewing ale, even if only some brewed ale for profit,” writes Bennett.
The records that allow us such a close look at ale-making exist in part due to the Assize of Bread and Ale, English regulations from the thirteenth century that created standards of measurement, quality, and pricing for these goods. Since a large number of people sold ale “unpredictably and intermittently,” writes Bennett, “triweekly presentments by ale-tasters” to regulate quality were necessary. “Dominating” the ale trade in the village of Brigstock, according to Bennett, however, was an “elite group” of thirty-eight brewers—alewives—who were “frequently [supplementing] their household economies.”
What’s more, these alewives, particularly in Brigstock, “faced almost no significant male competition,” notes Bennett. “Only a few dozen ale fines were assessed against Brigstock males, and all such men were married to women already active in the ale market.” In the Midlands manor of Houghton-cum-Wyton, on the other hand, some eleven percent of fines were levied against men, while in the manor of Iver in Buckinghamshire, a whopping 71 percent of fines were charged to male brewers.
Broadly, in England around 1300, “a high proportion of women,” writes Dyer, around “a dozen or two in most villages and 100 in larger towns” brewed ale for sale each year. It’s unclear how much the women of Brigstock women earned, on average, through ale-making, but Bennett notes that “the high proportion of women known to have sold ale suggests that all adult women were skilled at brewing ale, even if only some brewed ale for profit.” These alewives weren’t affluent, writes Bennett; they largely came from households “headed by men [of]… modest influence.” In fact, in Brigstock, 74 percent of women were identified as ale “wives” throughout their brewing careers (meaning they were married and unwidowed). In other words, working in the ale trade here wasn’t linked to social status; wives from all backgrounds contributed significantly to household income.
Alewives remained a key part of the production line until roughly 1350, when the Plague decimated communities throughout Europe. After that, male brewers grew in number to meet demand. That doesn’t mean women altogether abandoned the business; those who were linked to a man—as wives or as widows—endured until constraints curtailed their roles, notes historian Patricia T. Rooke. By the 1370s, beer brewing in England was predominantly male.
“That of ‘huswyffe’ (housewife) became valorized at the expense of applewife, alewife, fishwife, or for that matter, glassblower, miller, auctioneer, bricklayer, nun, and prioress,” Rooke writes.
archive link: https://archive.ph/yPcDc
Important scientific advances are changing what we know about the technological, social, and cognitive traits of our ancient human ancestors.
The invention of the first stone tools was a hugely significant milestone along the human evolutionary highway, one that would change our lifeways and, ultimately, distinguish our genus Homo from all other living beings on the planet.
Many very significant discoveries have been brought to light only over the last 25 years or so, deepening our knowledge about where, why, and how the first primitive technologies occurred.
Meanwhile, a state of angst resulting from our growing alienation from Nature is sharpening our need to understand how the evolution of technology has brought us to this point.
In order to understand this phenomenon, it is vital that we turn our gaze toward the distant past.
archive link: https://archive.ph/4cFbk
Why can you buy lasagne flavour snacks in Thailand but not in Italy? Which country can cope with the hottest chilli? And why do Germans like paprika so much?
Reuben and Peggy’s jobs are not top secret in the way top secret jobs usually are. They don’t have guns, for example – and the grey conference table they sit at is much the same as you’d find in any office in the UK. They even have LinkedIn profiles that tell you their job titles. But this is where things get odd: search the name of the company they work for – a name I have agreed not to print – and you’ll find little information about the work Reuben and Peggy do. You could click through every page on their company’s website and leave with no idea that it creates the most beloved crisp flavours in the world.
Reuben and Peggy are not their real names. Reuben is a snacks development manager and Peggy is a marketer, and they work for a “seasoning house”, a company that manufactures flavourings for crisps.
I meet the pair on Zoom, hoping they can answer a question that has consumed me for years. In January 2019, I was visiting Thailand when I came across a pink packet of Walkers with layered pasta, tomato sauce and cheese pictured on the front. Lasagne flavour, the pack said. You can’t get lasagne Walkers – or Lay’s, as they are known in most of the world – in Italy. Relatively speaking, Italians have a small selection of Lay’s – paprika, bacon, barbecue, salted and Ricetta Campagnola, a “country recipe” flavour featuring tomato, paprika, parsley and onion. I’ve sampled Hawaii-style Poké Bowl crisps in Hungary and chocolate-coated potato snacks in Finland; I have turned away from Sweet Mayo Cheese Pringles in South Korea. So why can you get lasagne flavour Lay’s in Thailand but not in Italy, home of the dish? Who figures out which country gets which crisps? Walkers began manufacturing in Britain in 1948; it was acquired by the US crisp company Frito-Lay in 1989, and today Lay’s are available in more than 200 countries, from Argentina to Vietnam. Some varieties require little explanation – Poutine Lay’s are available only in Canada because the gravy-soaked chips are not Brazil’s national dish. Yet the crisp aisles of the world are stacked with mysteries. Why are Salt & Pepper Pringles favoured by Norwegians, and Oven-Roasted Chicken Doritos only available in Korea? Why does Europe love paprika so much? Pringles, like Lay’s, is not even a century old, yet its tubes are available in 80 countries. Both brands have conquered the world. With billions behind them, surely they know untold secrets about our national tastes and temperaments? Peggy says that to understand why, for example, paprika crisps proliferate on German shelves, you have to understand immigration history. But I don’t hear her secrets until the end of my journey. First, I go to Leicester.
archive link: https://archive.ph/LS2Uc#selection-1224.0-1224.1
The "No Thanks" app calls on people not to buy products from companies that "support" Israel. Is it a legitimate form of protest — or even antisemitism?
Macaulay Culkin, who played the eight-year-old Kevin McCallister in Home Alone, has unveiled his Walk of Fame star on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles.
It seems animal rescue is all part of the job for firefighters in Russia too but in Smolensk it was a bit more serious than a cat up a tree.
Jayda has lost desire in the past, but is loving the “vanilla-plus” sex she has with Syd – who has motor neurone disease
Book claims it is ‘hard to find another currently existing society’ better than that in Skerries, near Dublin
The ‘anthrobots’ were able to repair a scratch in a layer of neurons in the lab.
An essay with interactive animated diagrams
This is a guest post written by Anton Howes and animated by Matt Brown of Extraordinary Facility. This project was sponsored by The Roots of Progress, with funding generously provided by The Institute.
Cause of mass stranding of 34 pilot whales on Freycinet Peninsula unclear as authorities say they are unable to remove carcasses
Defensive weapon called a sasumata gains popular appeal after jewellery store owner uses one to fend off attackers
They were promised the world. But cruise company Life at Sea recently told customers who bought passage on a three-year voyage that rather than visiting 140 countries, their trip was called off.
Those customers are now scrambling to make new plans for where they will live for the next three years — and to extract refunds from the cruise line. The intense fallout is drawing comparisons to infamous debacles such as the Fyre Festival — the "luxury" music festival that was more like a "disaster relief area."
Here's what to know about the cruise around the world that was called off
What was promised? The world.
The original itinerary mapped 1,095 days of travel, heading from Istanbul to Europe and then to South America and the Caribbean. Passengers would then pass through the Panama Canal before seeing the U.S. West Coast, Hawaii and Alaska and then head west across the Pacific.
"We are going to be following summer the entire time that we go around the world," then-Life at Sea CEO Kendra Holmes told prospective passengers in a Zoom webinar in September.
Voyagers were to see seven continents, visiting 140 countries. They would spend roughly 300 days at sea, 795 days at port and have 413 overnight port stays, Chief Operating Officer Ethem Bayramoglu of Miray Cruises, the Turkish parent company of Life at Sea, said in that online session.
Along the way, they would explore wonders of the world, visit UNESCO World Heritage sites and have plentiful chances to go diving and snorkeling, the company said.
The three-year voyage was to begin on Nov. 1, departing from Istanbul. Some passengers reportedly only learned of the cancellation after arriving in Turkey.
archive link: https://archive.ph/g75qt
Without engaging with natural environments, our brains cease to work well. As the new field of environmental neuroscience proves, exposure to nature isn’t a luxury – it’s a necessity
London venue’s online collection of performances dating back to 1956 will be free to use for writers, directors and the public