The version of Iran that Americans see in the media can certainly seem like a
frightening, hostile place: stern mullahs, clandestine nuclear
programs, angry (if often staged) anti-American protests. Yet Iran
seen first-hand is very different, and much friendlier. Approximately
half of Iranians are willing to tell pollsters they hold a favorable
view of Americans, but when visiting the country it seems like many
more share that view. The many Iranians I've met have been eager to
tell me how much they like Americans and the U.S., the many
commonalities they see between the two countries, and of course their
desire to visit--and remain permanently if at all possible. I hope
this other side of Iran comes through in these photos I've taken on my
visits to the country. These are not nearly as disturbing or
frightening as the Iran-related images you're likely accustomed to, but they show the "real" Iran that outsiders rarely see.
Iranian-Americans, left, chat with some Iranian women outside the Imam Mosque in Imam Square, Esfahan.
A book seller displays his wares in Hamedan, on the street outside the tomb of Avicenna, not far from the synagogue and grave of Esther and Mordecai, a Jewish pilgrimage site. Iran is home to as many as 25,000 Jews.
Bazaar shoppers buy fabrics in the main bazaar in Shiraz, a city in southern Iran.
Men laugh over the poultry at a bird market in Esfahan.
A boy walks with two mullahs in the courtyard of the Madraseh-ye Chahar Barg (religious school), built in the 18th century, of Esfahan.
Children play in a fountain in Esfahan's Imam Squareon a summer evening.
A vendor grills corn at the Ganjnameh historic site, known for its cuneiform rock carvings, and near a nature area. It's a popular destination for residents of nearby Hamedan on summer evenings.
Tourists stroll past the vendors at Ganjnameh.
Women walk past the waterfall at Ganjnameh historic site.
A couple walks through a public garden in Bagh-e Eram, Shiraz
People relax at the courtyard of the Tomb of Hafez, the grounds of the tomb of the Persian poet. This Shiraz spot is also known a clandestine rendezvous/pick-up point for young Iranians.
Iranians mill outside the Tomb of Hafez, Shiraz.
On a hot summer day just outside of Kashan, a girl walks through gardens meant to represent the classic Persian view of paradise, designed for Shah Abbas I.
A man relaxes at the Fin gardens on a hot summer day.
A woman kneels to better see the flowers at Fin gardens.
A smiling boy plays in Fin gardens.
A woman and group of schoolgirls smile for the camera at Esfahan's Imam Square.
A young woman speaks on her phone at Bisotun, near Kermanshah, the site of ancient rock carvings from the sixth century B.C., and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Shoppers at a market in Esfahan.
An old man stands at Bisotun.
A woman dressed in pink looks over Imam Square on a summer evening.
A man works on his pottery in Bijar, a town of many such workshops, near Hamedan.
A rally poster for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad hangs above a building.
Two young girls try out rollerblades in Esfahan's Imam Square.
Young women walk through the pool at Imam Square.
The sun begins to set over Imam Square.
Relaxing men gaze over Imam Square as children play in the pool.
Two mullahs talk on a bench.
Women study at Imam Mosque in Esfahan.
Two older women smile for the camera outside of Imam Mosque.
Shoppers peruse the spices at Esfahan's bazaar.
A carriage-driver takes a group of girls on a tour through Esfahan.
A woman laughs at the chocolate tower at a snack stand near the White Palace (former summer palace of the shah) in Saad Abad, a large museum complex and park in north Tehran.
The city center near Imam Khomeini Square and the tomb of Esther and Mordecai.
Children play at Jamshidiyeh park in Tehran.
Young Iranians stroll on the popular mountain trail on the northern edge of Tehran, at the foot of the Alborz Mountains.
Men chat at a park at Sang-e Shir, the site of a famous lion statue left (some believe) by Alexander the Great.
Picnickers at popular park and walking area on the northern edge of Tehran.
A sweet maker works at a roadside gas station/convenience store/highway stop between Esfahan and Shiraz.
A scientist and a monk compare notes on meditation, therapy, and their effects on the brain
Can training the mind make us more attentive, altruistic, and serene? Can we learn to manage our disturbing emotions in an optimal way? What are the transformations that occur in the brain when we practice meditation? In a new book titled Beyond the Self, two friends—Matthieu Ricard, who left a career as a molecular biologist to become a Buddhist monk in Nepal, and Wolf Singer, a distinguished neuroscientist—engage in an unusually well-matched conversation about meditation and the brain. Below is a condensed and edited excerpt.
Matthieu Ricard: Although one ﬁnds in the Buddhist literature many treatises on “traditional sciences”—medicine, cosmology, botanic, logic, and so on—Tibetan Buddhism has not endeavored to the same extent as Western civilizations to expand its knowledge of the world through the natural sciences. Rather it has pursued an exhaustive investigation of the mind for 2,500 years and has accumulated, in an empirical way, a wealth of experiential ﬁndings over the centuries. A great number of people have dedicated their whole lives to this contemplative science.
A new strategy prevents parasites from adapting to drugs by intensifying the competition between them.
The history of antibiotics is a history of running in place. Two years after the first of these life-saving drugs—penicillin—was mass-produced, bacteria that resisted the drug became widespread, too. With grim inevitability, the same events have unfolded for every other drug. Every time scientists identify a new substance that can hold back the tide of infectious disease, resistant superbugs surge over that barrier in a matter of years.
The evolution of drug-resistant microbes is unavoidable, but it’s not instantaneous. And one might reasonably wonder why. Microbes have been around for billions of years. They have had, quite literally, all the time in the world to invent every possible biochemical trick, including ways of defusing antibiotics that they themselves use to kill and suppress each other. So why aren’t all microbes already resistant to all drugs?
Content moderators review the the dark side of the internet. They don’t escape unscathed.
Lurking inside every website or app that relies on “user-generated content”—so, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, among others—there is a hidden kind of labor, without which these sites would not be viable businesses. Content moderation was once generally a volunteer activity, something people took on because they were embedded in communities that they wanted to maintain.
But as social media grew up, so did moderation. It became what the University of California, Los Angeles, scholar Sarah T. Roberts calls, “commercial content moderation,” a form of paid labor that requires people to review posts—pictures, videos, text—very quickly and at scale.
Roberts has been studying the labor of content moderation for most of a decade, ever since she saw a newspaper clipping about a small company in the Midwest that took on outsourced moderation work.
Russia's strongman president has many Americans convinced of his manipulative genius. He's really just a gambler who won big.
I. The Hack
The large, sunny room at Volgograd State University smelled like its contents: 45 college students, all but one of them male, hunched over keyboards, whispering and quietly clacking away among empty cans of Juicy energy drink. “It looks like they’re just picking at their screens, but the battle is intense,” Victor Minin said as we sat watching them.
Clustered in seven teams from universities across Russia, they were almost halfway into an eight-hour hacking competition, trying to solve forensic problems that ranged from identifying a computer virus’s origins to finding secret messages embedded in images. Minin was there to oversee the competition, called Capture the Flag, which had been put on by his organization, the Association of Chief Information Security Officers, or ARSIB in Russian. ARSIB runs Capture the Flag competitions at schools all over Russia, as well as massive, multiday hackathons in which one team defends its server as another team attacks it. In April, hundreds of young hackers participated in one of them.
Now that he's raised awareness of his lifestyle, David Jay, founder of AVEN, is working to change mainstream beliefs about sex drives.
Now that he's raised awareness of his lifestyle, David Jay, founder of AVEN, is working to change mainstream beliefs about sex drives.
David Jay was in middle school when everyone around him grew suddenly obsessed with the same all-consuming impulse. It wasn't sex per se, but it was its nascent beginnings. While his classmates talked non-stop about which movie stars they thought were hot, eyed each other in the hallway, and made their first, awkward attempts at dating, Jay was left feeling distinctly out of the loop.
"I just didn't get it," he recalls. "I didn't have a reference point to understand what they were going through. And that's really terrifying, because everyone assumes that's what should be happening for you. Sexuality is a really big deal for almost everyone, from middle school on. It's a really central part of a lot of people's lives."
More comfortable online than out partying, post-Millennials are safer, physically, than adolescents have ever been. But they’re on the brink of a mental-health crisis.
One day last summer, around noon, I called Athena, a 13-year-old who lives in Houston, Texas. She answered her phone—she’s had an iPhone since she was 11—sounding as if she’d just woken up. We chatted about her favorite songs and TV shows, and I asked her what she likes to do with her friends. “We go to the mall,” she said. “Do your parents drop you off?,” I asked, recalling my own middle-school days, in the 1980s, when I’d enjoy a few parent-free hours shopping with my friends. “No—I go with my family,” she replied. “We’ll go with my mom and brothers and walk a little behind them. I just have to tell my mom where we’re going. I have to check in every hour or every 30 minutes.”
Those mall trips are infrequent—about once a month. More often, Athena and her friends spend time together on their phones, unchaperoned. Unlike the teens of my generation, who might have spent an evening tying up the family landline with gossip, they talk on Snapchat, the smartphone app that allows users to send pictures and videos that quickly disappear. They make sure to keep up their Snapstreaks, which show how many days in a row they have Snapchatted with each other. Sometimes they save screenshots of particularly ridiculous pictures of friends. “It’s good blackmail,” Athena said. (Because she’s a minor, I’m not using her real name.) She told me she’d spent most of the summer hanging out alone in her room with her phone. That’s just the way her generation is, she said. “We didn’t have a choice to know any life without iPads or iPhones. I think we like our phones more than we like actual people.”
With Hindu nationalism ascendant, what does the future hold for India’s first family and its pluralist legacy?
In 1994, Sonia Gandhi published a book of photographs from her private life with her late husband, Rajiv Gandhi. It included a dozen pictures from their trips to Italy, where she had grown up in the suburbs of Turin. Here she was in a speedboat in 1980, wearing crimson-framed sunglasses and a matched paisley shawl. Here was their son Rahul, just seven or eight years old, on a beach pushing goggles off his face into his hair.
What made the book, titled Rajiv’s World, so unusual then was the photographer: Rajiv Gandhi, the former prime minister of India killed in a suicide bombing. What makes the book unusual today is how much it shares of the interior life of Sonia herself—before she transcended her origins to become India’s most powerful politician.
The GOP succeeded in delivering on many of its promises. But the new code, which Congress will vote on this week, will not be as lasting, or as simplified, as they’d hoped.
The legislation congressional Republicans finalized on Friday and are likely to enact next week delivers on many of the party’s—and President Trump’s— promises for a landmark overhaul of the tax code. But the rush to pass the bill through a narrow Senate majority and without Democratic support forced the GOP to sacrifice some of their long-held aspirations for tax reform.
The final bill permanently reduces the corporate tax rate all the way from 35 percent to 21 percent, nearly matching the 20 percent goal House Republicans set in their 2016 campaign plan (though not as low as the 15 percent Trump ran on). It cuts taxes sharply for business owners, and companies will be able to write off costly purchases of new equipment and buildings.
Winning images and honorable mentions from the four categories: Wildlife, Landscapes, Aerials, and Underwater.
National Geographic has announced the winners of its annual photo competition, with the Grand Prize Winner Jayaprakash Joghee Bojan receiving a prize of $7,500 for his image of an orangutan in Borneo. National Geographic was once again kind enough to let us display the winning images and honorable mentions here from the four categories: Wildlife, Landscapes, Aerials, and Underwater.