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May Day

Traditions
It’s finally spring, a time for rebirth, renewal, and new beginnings. May 1st marks May Day, a traditional springtime festival celebrated by various cultures around the globe. This holiday is still widely celebrated today, but its origins lie in ancient pagan celebrations that involved fertility rites. 

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Women Artists

Making an Impression
Throughout history, various groups of women have banded together to battle for a more egalitarian world. More recently, women and men have joined Women’s Marches and the Me Too movement and championed for narrowing the pay gap.

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Fashion Silhouettes

The Shape of Things to Come
Most people don’t associate fashion with the military, but several clothing silhouettes have roots in military history. The raglan sleeve is named after Lord Raglan, the first Baron Raglan, who lost his arm in battle. The sleeve extends in one piece to the collar, leaving a diagonal seam from underarm to collarbone. Lord Raglan’s tailor created it to facilitate easier dressing and allow ample room for the baron to use his sword. In recent years, modern fashion houses Chanel and Miu Miu have shown variations of this sleeve. For more on Lord Raglan’s legacy, read The War: From the Death of Lord Raglan to the Evacuation of Crimea and The Invasion of the Crimea: Its Origin, And an Account of Its Progress Down to the Death of Lord Raglan

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Cultures Column

Color Theories
We use color to express personality. We carefully select the colors we wear, the hues that adorn our homes, and the colors of the cars we drive. Color trends continually change, fueling demand in fashion, home décor, cosmetics, and the auto industry. In fact, every year color authority Pantone introduces its Color of the Year. Ultra Violet was selected for 2018. 

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Was Lao Tzu an Anti-Intellectual?

Looking into the Tao Te Ching
The Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu said, "Abandon learning, and you will be free from trouble and distress." (The Saying of Lao Tzu, p. 45) Another version has the same lines translated as "When we renounce learning we have no troubles...The ancients who showed their skill in practicing the Tao did so not to enlighten people, but to make them simple and ignorant." (The Story of Civilization, p. 653)

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A Journalist Tries on Madness

Nellie Bly
By the time writer and reporter Nellie Bly—born on May 5, 1864—was age 23, she was bored with the regular theater and arts she reported on up until that point. She wanted to push into new territory. So in 1887, only two years into journalism, Bly dove into immersion journalism—a precursor to gonzo journalism—pretending to be insane in order to get admitted to the Women's Lunatic Asylum on Blackwell's Island (today known as New York City’s Roosevelt Island).

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Humanism, Poetry and Modernism

Archibald Macleish
Poetry stands apart from the concrete. Like the poeticisms of the Tao Te Ching, it speaks in paradoxes in order to circle an idea that cannot be expressed outright. In “Theory of Poetry” (New and Collected Poems, p. 418), American poet Archibald Macleish writes, "Know the world by heart / Or never know it! / Let the pedant stand apart— / Nothing he can name will show it: / Also him of intellectual art. / None know it / Till they know the world by heart.”

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World Press Day

Price of Freedom
As the saying goes, “Freedom isn’t free.” It should be every free person’s daily mantra. Those born with it take it for granted. But the cost for freedom is steep, as both historical accounts and contemporary freedom fighters tell us. 

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Negative Capablity

John Keats
Poet John Keats coined the enduring theory “negative capability” in a short shrug of a letter to his brothers: 

… it struck me what quality went to form a Man of Achievement, especially in Literature, and which Shakespeare possessed so enormously I mean Negative Capability, that is, when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason. Coleridge, for instance, would let go by a fine isolated verisimilitude caught from the Penetralium of mystery, from being incapable of remaining content with half-knowledge. This pursued through volumes would perhaps take us no further than this, that with a great poet the sense of Beauty overcomes every other consideration, or rather obliterates all consideration. (The Complete Poetical Works and Letters of John Keats, p. 277)
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Awake All Night in the Rocking Chair

Sleep and Insomnia
The average human who sleeps for eight hours a day, sleeps 25 years in a 75-year life span. While we still don’t have hard biological reasoning for why we spend so much of our short lives sleeping, theories of physical and mental exhaustion are good enough for the lay. Speculation as to why some won’t or can’t sleep is more compelling. 

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A Buddhist Without a History

To an outsider, Buddhism might appear too old and convoluted to tap into. Under its three main schools of thought, Theravada, Mahayana, and Vajrayana there are many subsets according to the different cultures and times that adopted it throughout its 2500-plus years of existence. Some argue for comprehensive studies, building an entire framework for Buddhism by tracing its history. Lama Anagarika Govinda writes in his essay “From Theravada to Zen,” "In order to understand the sacred scriptures of Buddhism, we must ... be familiar with the living stream of tradition, as it has come down to us from the days of the Buddha, in an unbroken continuity."

Even so, there remain accessible keys to unlocking the door of Buddhism. 

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Portrait of a Death March

Bataan
Picture this: You and your comrades are forced on a 65-mile march over the course of six days. You are under the blistering hot sun with no coverage, subjected to what is called sun treatment. The first few days you are not fed a crumb. Your canteens of water are confiscated and either thrown to the ground or given to the horses. If you fall behind the main group you are stabbed, shot, or run over by trucks. Then you are stuffed into train cars so tightly everyone has to stand. If you make it to the end of the march, you face further deterioration by dysentery, disease, malnutrition, and other physical mistreatment.

The question is, how long do you think you could survive?

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Never a Straight Line

Curling
If you’ve ever stumbled across a curling match and realized that you understood virtually nothing about the rules of play or the game’s terminology, you may have convinced yourself, “Yeah, I can do that.” Don’t let the curling brooms and sliding shoes fool you, this ancient Scottish game evolved over the past four millenia in regions across the globe. Its participants include world-class athletes whose exquisite precision, unfaltering focus, and strategic prowess won them world championships and the esteem of fellow players.

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Jazz

Music of Inclusion
Across the world jazz music is characterized by a sense of liberty catalyzed by musical expression. Seldom do artists appear cooler, more dignified, or freer than when onstage, improvised sounds that connect performers’ feelings, ideas, and passions to the audience’s own introspection.
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History by Design

Here to Stay
Many iconic buildings and monuments, such as the London Eye and the Parthenon in Nashville were originally planned for temporary use, but have endured. These structures still stand years after their planned demolition dates.

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Skin Deep

Male Beauty Ri0tuals
When we think about beauty rituals, primping, and preening, we generally don’t think of men. The last few decades have witnessed a rise in awareness and social acceptance for male grooming and pampering. Many men have routines that include spa visits, waxing, manicures and pedicures, and even male cosmetics.

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Pandemics-Wiping Out Populations Worldwide

With the introduction of vaccines, antibiotics, and public health measures, many diseases have been eradicated. For reasons unknown, others have vanished.

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Billionaires Club

Countless book, movie, and song titles include the word “billionaire,” which ushers in a sense of prestige, power, and glamour. From the literary world, there’s The Billionaire by Maxim Corky and innumerable romance novel titles. In film, there’s Billionaire Ransom and The Billionaire & the Movie Star, and from the music industry, there’s Travie McCoy’s catchy “Billionaire” song.

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Fixing Language

An Early History of Dictionaries
Language evolves. No one disputes that. However, words carry meaning and common understanding requires that meaning be commonly agreed upon.

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Speed and Thunder

Famous Horses
Humankind thrills in speed and loves nothing better than to harness that speed for a brief immersion in adrenaline-pumping excitement characterized by pounding hearts and the rush of wind. Hence we still found ourselves screaming with delight on rollercoasters, cheering for our favorite drivers in motorized races, and gaping in awe when fighter jets whiz overhead at blinding speed.

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