It was the strongest language I can remember a pope using about the rights of the poor and about social justice. In a stunning, nearly revolutionary, speech on Thursday in Bolivia, Pope Francis said that working for justice is not simply a moral obligation. For Christians, it is a commandment.


Finding magic in reality and our shared stardustness. (by Maria Popova)

After my annual omnibus of the year’s finest children’s books, a number of friends have requested recommendations for intelligent and imaginative children’s books celebrating science. So I’ve put together this evolving reading list of favorites from the past century — please enjoy:

Nicaragua holds 36.5% of the diversity of ecosystems in Central America, according to the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (Marena), one of the countries richest in natural resources, but according to environmentalists, about 50% of the country's protected areas are without any care and accelerated destruction.

With the outbreak of chikungunya in the city, general physicians are having a busy time. According to a rough estimate, physicians in the city receive around 15-20 patients every day suffering from chikungunya. Initially, many thought that chikungunya has no cure. However, now, the city doctors have found a simple and novel way of curing the disease.

What are tattoo’s to you? Beautiful works of art or a permanent mistake?

Ancient-TattoosTattooing has been practiced across the world since the Neolithic times. This is evidenced by the discoveries of mummified preserved skin and ancient art pieces.

The oldest tattooed human skin was found on the upper lip of a mummy from South America, around 6000 BC.

Architect Carolina González Vives combats the urban heat island effect with a series rooftop cloud-like structures that show off the cooling power of evaporation. Created for Madrid’s 2015 Casa Decor design exhibition, the Clouds Observatory project is a low-energy alternative to air conditioning. The white structures are raised and made partly transparent to minimize their visual impact. 

It takes ingenuity and good purpose to achieve this. (Sonia Cruz de Baltodano).

This is just what the Duke of Buccleuch and architect Charles Jencks did with an open cast coal mine located within Scotland’s Lowther Hills. The 22-hectare site was an industrial eyesore and since it was no longer in use, local villagers lobbied the duke to do something with it. But the villagers didn’t just want it to look better -- they also wanted something that would replace the jobs lost when the coal mine closed down. The result is the the Crawick Multiverse, a universe made up entirely out of plants, dirt and rocks.

The more you think you've married your ideal the more carefully should you tread. Behind the mask of the ideal is imperfection and the potential for disappointment is great. It is not your partner's fault that he / she does not conform to the ideal that you've created. (Sonia Cruz de Baltodano)

"Perfection is inhuman… What evokes our love … is the imperfection of the human being.” “Where the myth fails, human love begins,” Anaïs Nin wrote in her diary in 1941. “Then we love a human being, not our dream, but a human being with flaws.” Indeed, just like perfectionism kills creativity, it also kills love — the more we mythologize and idealize the person we love, the more disillusioned and disheartened we grow as we come to know their imperfect humanity which, if untainted by these blinding ideals, is the very wellspring of true love. That is what playwright Tom Stoppard captured in what is perhaps the greatest definition of love, in his notion of “the mask slipped from the face,” the stripping of the idealized projection, the surrender to the beautiful imperfection of a human being.

QUITO, Ecuador — Pope Francis on Tuesday called for increased protection of the Amazon rain forest and the indigenous people who live there, declaring that Ecuador must resist exploiting natural riches for “short-term benefits,” an implicit rebuke of the policies of President Rafael Correa.

We were told saturated fats were bad for us, that they clogged the arteries. Well, new studies have shown that was a myth; coconut oil is good for your health. Common sense should have told us this a long time ago. After all, societies that eat a lot of coconut are populated with some of the healthiest people on the planet.

Technology research is often about finding ways to combine two different functions into one tool or, as you might have heard it said before, kill two birds with one stone. In the Netherlands, a consortium of research facilities and energy companies is a little closer to doing just that. By combining solar energy generation with much-needed noise-reduction barriers along a busy Dutch highway, the team hopes to prove that they’ve developed an environmentally-friendly solution to two of modern life’s biggest challenges.

I’ll admit it. I can really geek out over anything that makes both my body and soul feel nourished. My husband just rolls his eyes at me and say “yes, dear” when I really get going. But the more I think about the different ways you can use coconut oil, the more nerdy excited I get. And if you are in the middle of an eye roll directed at me too, wait until I go over exactly what I find so exciting.