When a plan to eradicate cobras in 19th-century Delhi backfired spectacularly, the incident became known as the “Cobra Effect.” It has since become a cautionary tale about the unintended consequences of well-meaning policies, and a reminder of the importance of understanding the systems within which we operate.
In 1941, Jorge Luis Borges invented the Library of Babel, an infinite repository of knowledge, and a dizzying plunge into the depths of uncertainty and ignorance. Several decades later, we invented the internet. The two are linked—and have a lot to do with several ancient philosophers and Émile Borel’s million monkeys.
On July 28, 1945, in response to the Potsdam Declaration demanding Japan’s unconditional surrender, Japanese prime minister Kantarō Suzuki uttered a now-famous phrase: mokusatsu-suru. The phrase can be translated to mean either “ignore” or “no comment.” The Allies heard the former. The atomic bombs were dropped several days later.
In the eastern woodlands of the Canadian North, there lives—in the chill of the air and in the fearful whispers of the local people—the wendigo, a horrendous creature of evil with an insatiable hunger for human flesh. There is only one thing the locals fear more than being eaten by the wendigo—becoming one.
In the words of celebrated neuroscientist Antonio Damasio, the Euthanasia Coaster—essentially, a 2010 quasi-kinetic sculpture—is “not fun at all as art, and is preposterous as a technical device. But it does work as provocation, regardless of intent.” And the intent? A death-themed amusement park.
Originally, handfasting was a humble engagement ritual. A few centuries—and scholarly misunderstandings—later, it became an elaborate Wiccan alternative to white Christian marriages.
Every great romantic comedy—from The Graduate to Shrek—features a melodramatic “I object” wedding scene. There’s a reason why real life rarely does. It’s got nothing to do with love—and everything to do with law.
A pagan wedding is commonly known as handfasting, but the handfasting is only a part of it. They also include circle closings and Claddagh rings, elemental invocations and off-the-wall vows. Oh, yes, broom-jumpings too!