Deep in a remote canyon in Utah, a strange monolith has appeared

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All photos: Utah Department of Public Safety

The sudden appearance of a 12-foot-tall silver monolith in a remote canyon this week has been the source of some consternation amongst the Wildlife Resource officers of Utah’s Department of Public Safety (UDPS), as well as people everywhere who don’t expect monoliths. Most monoliths, from the pyramidion-topped tekhenu the ancient Egyptians built to celebrate the sun god Ra to the 555-foot obelisk erected in Washington, DC, to celebrate America’s first president, have been—to some degree at least—expected, but this one has come as a surprise.

The surprise monolith first made itself known to Utah authorities when UDPS officers were (rather adorably) counting bighorn sheep from a big brown helicopter. Pilot Bret Hutchings spotted the shining triangular prism as he flew over it and, according to local press, told his crew, “There’s this thing back there ― we’ve got to go look at it!” When it comes to sheep-counting in the Utah wilderness, there is no clear protocol for unforeseen obelisks, but our brave Wildlife Resource officers counted this one anyway. …


You will still become infinitely long and infinitely thin, but the information that is you will (probably) be retained

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Photo: Ute Kraus via Wikimedia

Like most sensible people who’ve got their priorities straight, I worry about black holes a lot! I worry about the fact that if I were to jump into one, I would be moving slower through time the faster I moved through space. This is not only crass, antisocial behavior, but it’s one of those things that will probably turn out to be bad for your health as well. I worry about the fact that someone watching me would never see me pass the event horizon. They would just see me slow all the way down to a complete stop and then disappear in a red glow, which would be immensely disconcerting for them. I worry, particularly, about “spaghettification,” which is exactly what it sounds like except not at all because what it sounds like is a nice bowl of noodles and what it is, it turns out, is the stretching of your body into infinitely thin strands. …


Purrfect harmo-neigh (sorry!)

Champy, wearing a blanket, nuzzling Morris, wearing a tan sweater and perched on a fence post outdoors.
Champy, wearing a blanket, nuzzling Morris, wearing a tan sweater and perched on a fence post outdoors.
Photos: Champy and Morris

When Jennifer Boyle brought Morris the cat home from a shelter 7 years ago, her horse Champy took it upon himself to be the official welcoming committee. After some initial reluctance to make such a large friend, Morris decided not to look a gift horse in the mouth (sorry again!) and jumped aboard. They’re now such fast friends that Morris wakes Jennifer up as soon it gets light every morning so he can go horse-riding.

The pair have developed a sensible system—if Champy sees Morris waiting at a specific fence post that is their designated “bus stop,” he’ll walk over to let his feline friend jump aboard. Then, the inseparable buddies spend the day hanging out together. The whole situation is just exceedingly nice and good, as well as being quite lovely and also delightful. …


The 2020 Wedding Photography Awards document celebrations of love in a strange and difficult year

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Photo: Lori-Anne Crewe

This Is Reportage is committed to showcasing the very best documentary wedding photographs, rewarding shots that capture candid, unposed moments, and this year’s awards (their 17th) make for a striking document. Taken by wedding photographers around the world during a year when weddings had to be canceled, held virtually, or dramatically curtailed, many of the award-winning photographs capture bittersweet moments of families separated from one another as well as the joy of families being joined.

While the collection contains a variety of photos taken under different circumstances throughout the year and around the world, this selection of 18 photographs captures the unique circumstances surrounding a social occasion in a socially distant world.

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Photo: Patrick Lombaert
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Photo: Phil Voon
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Photo: Jill Streefland
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Photo: Chelsea Cannar
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Photo: Carlos Porfirio
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Photo: Chelsea Cannar
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Photo: Darren Kirwan
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Photo: Kevin Kheffache
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Photo: Julien Laurent-Georges
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Photo: Flavius Partan
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Photo: Carlos Porfirio
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Photo: Kristof Claeys
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Photo: Lori-Anne Crewe
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Photo: Kristof Claeys
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Photo: Mateusz Dobrowolski
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Photo: Lyndsey Goddard
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Photo: Valter Antunes
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Photo: Valter Antunes

You can find more photos from this collection at This Is Reportage.


In real life, even when you win, the bad guys never truly get “owned”

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Photo: NBC

The enduring appeal of The West Wing, especially as comfort food in a dark time, comes partly from the wish-fulfillment you get watching competence and kindness as operating principles in the White House. But the real secret sauce of Sorkinism comes from a darker place. What actually makes The West Wing tick is the very specific emotional high you get from watching the ritual humiliation of bigots and bullies and other bad actors take place in front of a duly impressed group of onlookers, usually through the righteous dispensation of Truth and Science. There are far too many scenes like this to count throughout the Sorkinverse, but an illustrative example is the time when President Bartlet singles out the religious fundamentalist talk show host Dr. Jenna Jacobs at a White House event. …


From an amazing new book, “Loving: A Photographic History of Men in Love 1850s-1950s”

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All photos courtesy of the Nini-Treadwell Collection © “Loving” by 5 Continents Editions

A gorgeous new book from a private collection of hundreds of photographs taken between 1850 and 1950 documents romantic love between men from all walks of life. The intimate photos are an expression not just of love but of bravery, as many were taken at a time when such relationships were illegal, which makes these striking documents of our recent past all the more moving.

The photographs range from public to private, snapshots to portraits, and their subjects are as varied: working class men, businessmen, students, and soldiers, with the common thread of men who chose to document their love for one another despite the risks. The collection itself was amassed over the course of 20 years by a married couple, Hugh Nini and Neal Treadwell, who brought together over 2,800 photos of men in love during this era by poring through estate sales, family archives, and flea markets around the world. …


This absolutely did not go as expected, but I learned something important and useful

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Photo: Jack Shepherd/Pexels

For as long as I can remember, I have been an Alarm Clock Warrior™. One of the chosen ones, called by destiny to take up arms—day in and day out— against the ruthless demons of daybreak, the intransigent trolls who come out before the sun comes up and hang around like sullen teens until around 10:30 a.m., trying to persuade you to hit snooze one more time, or, if you’re up, to go back to sleep on the couch.

I always lose.

No matter what time I go to bed—no matter how virtuous my intentions when I set my alarm the night before—I just can’t beat mornings. If I’m up before 8, I’m tired and cranky and unproductive, and if I’m not, I’m having guilt-ridden dreams about how I’ve failed to get a good start on the day again. …


Make sure you have plenty of ice

Pink neon lights in the shape of “and breathe” in cursive, mounted on a wall of greenery.
Pink neon lights in the shape of “and breathe” in cursive, mounted on a wall of greenery.
Photo: Max van den Oetelaar via Unsplash

November 3 is going to be one of those stressful days where a big part of the stress is in knowing that it’s only going to get more stressful as the day progresses, which means that it may be time to think about deploying what I like to call “radical self care.” This means preparing yourself by sleeping right, getting your mind right, and making sure that everything you put in your body during the day itself is geared towards creating that salutary equilibrium that is precisely at the midpoint between seeing only one of everything and hugging the toilet.

Here are some time-tested and proven home remedies for getting you right where you need to be even when the whole world feels like it’s in the middle of a turbulent landing. …


Some tongues are just too beautiful to keep hidden away

A Siamese cat with a flat face and blue eyes, sticking its tongue out.
A Siamese cat with a flat face and blue eyes, sticking its tongue out.
Photos: Neko Ikiru San via Instagram

A custom that is shared by humans and cats alike is the one where we keep our dang tongues in our mouths unless we’re using them for something. But like many such customs, this is simply something we’ve all kind of collectively landed on as a way of behaving and not, as it turns out, the law. And such is the fragility of our norms that it only takes one obstreperous malcontent to plunge us all into a topsy-turvy mayhem-world where some of us don’t keep our dang tongues in our mouths, ever.

The transgressor, in this case, is a cat named Ikiru who lives to make trouble. When it comes to our dang tongues, and whether they should or shouldn’t be in our mouths when we’re not using them, his rules are not our rules. His ways are not our ways. His mouth is a mouth that will ever be preceded by a tongue, and his tongue is a tongue that will ever be out, society be damned. He is, in short, a trailblazer and a visionary and a hero to us all. …


A photo of a typical bank office showing a grey carpet and office furniture, plus two raccoons looking slightly caught
A photo of a typical bank office showing a grey carpet and office furniture, plus two raccoons looking slightly caught
Photos: Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA

The one thing we really wanted to avoid in 2020

Nobody’s going to argue that this has been a perfect year, but I think we were all hoping to be able to add 2020 to a long string of international successes in avoiding the calamity of raccoon bank robbers. But with just over two months to go, the unthinkable has happened: An ATM user in Redwood City, California, spotted two masked bandits marauding inside a bank after hours and alerted the local authorities, including the Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA.

The two raccoons are hustling through a doorway conspiratorially, a reflection of a man taking the photo can be seen in glass
The two raccoons are hustling through a doorway conspiratorially, a reflection of a man taking the photo can be seen in glass

It goes without saying, of course, that because of their naturally occurring “bank-robber” masks, raccoons are the absolute worst possible animal to discover the subversive thrill of plundering a local finance house or knocking over the town’s savings and loan association. The patch of black fur around the eyes of the common raccoon (procyon lotor) is thought to provide protection from the sun’s glare, but it has long been known to science that it is also a dangerously effective disguise for desperados and footpads, and it has only been a matter of luck that, until now, North American raccoons have shown only a passing interest in despoiling our money-houses. …

About

Jack Shepherd

Formerly editorial director @BuzzFeed. Currently editor @Tenderly and writer at large. Email: JackAShepherd at gmail

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