Building a castle is a monumental undertaking any way you look at it. But constructing an entire castle pebble by pebble, stone by stone, using only materials found while making your mail route? That’s absolutely inconceivable. Yet that is exactly what Ferdinand Cheval did, and more than 100 years later his pebble castle still stands, drawing tourists from around the world to Hauterives, France.
While some of today’s Tour de France cyclists engage in vices to enhance their performance, premier cyclists of yesteryear took part in activities that would probably hinder their athleticism, including champagne and…
Humans are enormously variable. Just about every institution we have is subject to endless modification across cultures and throughout time. Even the underlying assumptions behind things we take for granted, such as democracy, money, or the use of money to undermine democracy, are subject to change from one country to the next. Of course, some institutions are more variable than others.
Sex, for example, is something humans can’t seem to get right. We keep changing the rules, coming up with new customs to regulate the act, changing those regulations on a cultural whim, and then declaring that there is only one right way to do it and punishing people who would dare to think the rules could be changed for any reason.
With affordable housing out of reach for many low wage workers in Japan, internet cafes have assumed a new role: living quarters. These internet cafe “refugees”, many of whom consider themselves temporary workers–started appearing around the 1990s. As Japan’s recession depresses the already low wages of temporary workers (around 38 percent of the working population), the problem doesn’t show signs of abating any time soon. You can watch MediaStorm’s full series on the phenomenon here.
The First World War was not “the war to end all wars.” It was, instead, the beginning of the kind of modern mass violence that would scar the century. For the first time, the armies of Europe used such tools of slaughter as the flamethrower, poison gas, the tank, and war planes.
The war’s catalyst came in the summer of 1914, when Gavrilo Princip, a radicalized Yugoslav nationalist, fired two shots into a car in a Sarajevo side street, killing the Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife. In the following weeks, all knots of European diplomacy tightened, and a net of alliances dragged the continent into a war that would last for the next four years. 19 million people died, more than half of them civilians.
The gallery below offers a window into the fighting in Europe during the first truly modern war – a conflict that, whether we realize it or not, shaped the dimensions and norms of the world we live in today.