The Eclipse, a Yacht Belonging to Russian Oligarch Roman Abramovich, New York City
The 553 foot long vessel is equipped with a missile defense system; Abramovich’s cabin is armor plated. The New York Post speculated that Abramovich brought his yacht to New York as a secure place to reside while his pregnant girlfriend, Dasha Zhukova, gave birth to a child. It was reported that the couple wished to ensure American Citizenship for their daughter Leah Lou. Shortly after her birth in New York Presbyterian Hospital, the yacht sailed away.
In 2015 the Center for Immigration Studies estimated that as many as 36,000 “birth tourists” come to the United States every year.
The Amazon region was given its present name by a Spanish conquistador who fought men and women of the Tapuyas and other indigenous tribes. The women he fought brought to Francisco de Orellana’s mind the Amazons of Greek mythology and he named the river accordingly.
When it came to naming his internet-based retail corporation, Jeff Bezos chose “Amazon” because he considered the river and its surroundings to be “exotic and different” as he wished his company to be. In 2012 Amazon Corporation sought permission from the internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers to use the suffix .amazon as its internet address.
A group of Amazon River bordering nations succeeded in their effort to deny Amazon Corporation’s request, thus allowing the first association of the name to remain the mighty river and its ecologically critical region.
Galaxy Soho Mall, No. 7A Small Arch Hutong Beijing, China
Designed by architect Zaha Hadid to attract prestigious commercial tenants with it’s cutting edge architecture, the mall remains virtually empty four years after it’s opening in 2012.
The Beijing Cultural Heritage Protection Centre has contended that the project “caused great damage to the preservation of the old Beijing streetscape, the original urban plan, the traditional Hutong and courtyard houses, the landscape formation, and the style and color scheme of Beijing’s unique vernacular architecture.
The use of bricks as a building material goes back at least 9,500 years as confirmed at a site in Tell Aswad in the upper Tigris region of what is now modern Syria.
In the Old Testament in Exodus 1:14; 5:4-19 we are told that the Egyptians “came to dread the Israelites and worked them ruthlessly. They made their lives bitter with harsh labor in bricks and mortar.”
The organization Union Solidarity International has been campaigning against “blood bricks” in India since 2012. In the words of Andrew Brody, “its modern day slavery. Entire families of men, women, and children are working for a pittance, up to 16 hours a day in terrible conditions. There are horrific abuses of minimum wage rates and health and safety regulations, and it’s often bonded labor, so they can’t escape.”
The Paris / Dakar Auto Rally, near Iquieque, Chile
This auto race which was run on a course from Paris, France, to Dakar, Senegal, each year now takes place in Chile, Bolivia, and Argentina. Its African route was abandoned after threats of terrorism in Mauritania.
The Vatican City newspaper L'Osservatore Romano has called the race a "vulgar display of power and wealth in places where men continue to die from hunger and thirst."
Many have also criticized the environmental impact of the race as in the song "500 connards sur la ligne de départ" ("500 Arseholes at the Starting Line") by French singer Renaud.
Dinosaur Bones, United Nations Plaza Hotel, Manhattan
At this ceremony the dinosaur bones, which had been illegally poached and marketed, were returned return to Mongolia by the US Department of Homeland Security.
The 80 million year old bones had been delivered to the home of a commercial paleontologist, Eric Prokopi, by the United States Postal Service. He cleaned and assembled the remains and sold the skeleton at auction to a Manhattan real-estate investor wishing to make a show piece for an office building.
The smuggled dinosaur, a Tarbosaurus bataar, was a top of the food chain predator probably preying on other dinosaurs. It now joins Genghis Khan, the brutal conqueror of a vast swathe of Asia and Eurasia as a national hero. The country, which was a Soviet satellite for much of the 20th Century is in the process of converting a museum dedicated to the Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin, the founder of a totalitarian dictatorship responsible for numerous deaths and repressions, into a dinosaur museum.
Casa Diablo: Infamous Vegan House of Sin, 2839 NW St. Helens Rd, Portland, Oregon
Founded in 2008 by Johnny Zukle (AKA Johnny Diablo), this club only serves vegan food and requires it’s exotic dancers to wear vegan garb. (Fur, feathers, and wool are not permitted.) Reflecting its owner’s beliefs, the club considers itself a point of advocacy for veganism.
Vegetarianism has historically been associated with feminism. Writing in 1990 in “The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist-vegetarian Critical Theory” Carol J Adams recalls that the suffragette Susan B. Anthony attended a banquet in 1853 at which the guests toasted “Total Abstinence, Women’s Rights, and Vegetarianism.”
At this café young women dress in uniforms inspired by the garb worn by a traditional French maid. As patrons walk through the door they are greeted with a cry of “Welcome home, Master!” A variety of foods and services- including massages, ear cleanings, rock paper scissors competitions, and board games are offered by smiling “maids.”
Japan’s population is expected to drop from 127 million in 2014 to 87 million in 2060.
Kim Kardashian at Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, New York City
Kardashian first came into the public eye after a video containing footage of her engaging in intimate relations was released without her knowledge. In the aftermath of that release she, and her family, gained international superstardom through social media and reality television. In the words of Forbes Magazine she has “monetized fame better than any other.”
In 1777 Marie Tussaud, who had learned wax modeling from a doctor who employed her mother as a maid, made a bust of Voltaire. She then began to sculpt death masks of notable victims of the French revolution. These masks were then held up as revolutionary flags and paraded through the streets of Paris.
Kardashian and husband Kanye West, an American rapper and fashion designer, held their wedding rehearsal dinner at the Palace of Versailles in France on May 23, 2014. In an interview with Harper’s Bazaar West referred to Kardashian as “our modern day Marie Antoinette.”
Mummy “Sarita”, Museo Santuarios Andinos, Arequipa, Perú
As the glaciers of the high Andes melt at an accelerated rate because of climate change, many human sacrificial sites at 20,000 feet or more have been revealed. Numerous mummies, previously preserved by cold, dry conditions have been recovered. Children were sacrificed by the Incas 500 years ago in difficult times such as after earthquakes struck or volcanoes erupted.
Child beauty pageants in the United States today represent a multi billion dollar industry. Parents who may have spent thousands of dollars for preparations and costumes for their child may be exhibiting the first stages of what psychologists such as Dr. Martina M. Cartwright refer to as “Risky Sacrifice”. In this type of behavior “parents may make risky financial decisions to support their child’s perceived abilities.”
Car mechanic Jorge Odón demonstrating a technique of removing a cork from a wine bottle which was was the inspiration for his lifesaving birthing device, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Youtube was invented in 2005 as a video-sharing website by a group of employees of the online payment company PayPal. The website has now grown to have more than 800 million users and 4 billion video views per day. In 2010, journalist Chris Anderson postulated that Youtube could accelerate human scientific advancement and create "the biggest learning cycle in human history.”
After watching a Youtube video demonstrating a method of extracting a cork from a wine bottle without breaking the bottle, Odón dreamt that a similar methodology could be used in instances of difficult childbirth. When he woke the next morning, Odón immediately began to use his daughter’s doll (pictured above) to experiment.
The device has now been licensed by Becton Dickinson Corporation and is currently in product development. It is expected to save millions of lives in the developing world and reduce countless caesareans in the developed world each year.
A young man preparing to serve a hot dog on a croissant, Hotel Rialto, Tacna, Peru
Situated at the edge of the driest desert on earth, Tacna is a small mining center. The city is noted for its patriotism as a result of its central role in the Peruvian war for independence from the Spanish.
At the Hotel Rialto the only item on the menu is a hot dog served on a croissant.
Sausage (a precedent to the modern day hotdog) has been referenced as early as the 9th century BC in Homer’s The Odyssey. The origin of the modern hotdog is much contested by cities throughout Europe. In 1987, the city of Frankfurt, Germany, celebrated the 500-year anniversary of the creation of the frankfurter.
This small café, on a leafy residential street in Bonn, Germany, was created with nursing mothers in mind. Apple Corporation sued the café over its use of an apple in it’s logo. Christin Römer, the café owner, refused a settlement which stipulated that she sign a non-disclosure agreement. After a two-year legal battle, Apfelkind prevailed.
In human history the apple has come to represent love, beauty, fertility, evil, knowledge, life, health, the world’s largest corporate entity, as well as a simple object of delectation.
Starbucks, Tunisia Court, IBN Battuta Mall, Dubai, UAE
Tunisia was the first stop on 14th century poet/scholar IBN Battuta’s journey throughout the Islamic world. This modern mall honoring his epic journey is divided into six courts, each containing a sort of simulacra of a region visited by Battuta (China, India, Persia, Egypt, Tunisia, Andalusia).
Coffee was first discovered in Ethiopia in the 9th century when a shepherd noticed heightened energy in his sheep after they ate wild coffee berries. Coffee consumption as we know it was born in the 14th century when roasting began in the Red Sea port of Al- Mokha in what is now modern day Yemen.
In expanding their franchise to Dubai the Seattle based corporation Starbucks is bringing its brand of coffee back to the Arabian Peninsula, where it all began.
An anchorwoman interviewing a mourner who has just viewed the body of Nelson Mandela lying in state, Pretoria, South Africa
At the Rivonia Trial, in which he and his comrades were sentenced to life in prison on Robben Island for committing high treason, Nelson Mandela defiantly claimed, “I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal, which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”
Born into a royal family of the Thembu tribe, Mandela spent his boyhood herding sheep and goats. He lived to become the first black president of South Africa, a Nobel Prize winner, and a deeply revered figure throughout the world.
When Mandela visited the United States in 2008 he was required to obtain special State Department clearance because his name remained on the U.S. Terrorism watchlist.