Where Are Europe’s Last Fairytale Forests?

NewImageThe best way to explore  “last-of-their-kind patches” might be in the pages of storybooks, or in the chapters of our imagination:

‘in Kay Nielsen’s illustrations for the Brothers Grimm story of Hansel and Gretel, the deep woods are full of secrets. The trees are towering, gnarled, and knotted. Their canopies, crunchy and brown, blot out the sky. On the ground, clusters of ferns unfurl around tree roots; there are patches of grass, and verdant trees studded with blooms. In a glen, of course, sits that devilishly tasty house built from bread and cakes.

The woods are a character in the story. They are thick, tall, and deep—so much so that the young duo could wander them for days. Their allure, and a dash of horror, comes from the fact that they are unknown, and maybe unknowable.

In 2018, they aren’t many truly unknown corners of the globe—few places are pristine and untraveled the way they might be described in a fairytale. Still, dense clusters of primary forests—where trees have grown, for ages, largely undisturbed—exist in patches of the Amazon basin, Southeast Asia, and Canadian and Siberian Taiga. Slivers of Europe are still luxuriant with trees, too, and very old ones at that. But they’re dwindling.

A team of researchers, led by Francesco Maria Sabatini of Berlin’s Humboldt‐Universität, recently set out to map exactly where those oldest, least-disturbed forests are, and how many of them are left….’

Via Atlas Obscura

Why does it seem like serial killers all wear the same glasses?

NewImage‘The list of serial killers who wore glasses is long and bloody, from Dahmer to BTK to Harold Shipman and his professorial frames; even the Zodiac Killer, never caught, wears a thick-rimmed pair in a police sketch. The aesthetic of “serial killer glasses” is so pervasive that it pops up everywhere from Urban Dictionary (“Eyeglasses with heavy or severe frames that live somewhere between fashionable and creepy”) to TV Tropes (where “a guy who is cold, emotionless … or even a soulless monster” is given glasses “to quickly tip off the audience to his personality”), and countless Tumblr posts in between.

Search for “serial killer glasses” on Amazon and you’ll be directed to the “So In Luxe Aviator Retro Fashion Glasses” – perfect for the manic pixie dream serial killer. Naturally, Spirit Halloween sells a pair, too. It’s a look that signifies “creep” and “outsider” so well that it’s become the punchline to a joke: Amy Schumer and Conan O’Brien have both done skits about how men who favor a certain style of glasses tend to be serial killers, molesters, cult leaders or all of the above.

Of course, the fact that many serial killers wear glasses is simple math: over 60% of Americans use some sort of vision correction, and serial killers are just like the rest of us, at least when it comes to their eyesight. But because these killers are often exhaustively scrutinized and even fetishized in the media, their glasses have become part of the serial killer iconography. A pair of shiny lenses, perched on the bridge of a serial killer’s nose, becomes a subtle metaphor for his walled-off nature, for her sociopath’s aloofness. Glasses become a mask that’s acceptable for the killer to wear in public. They become a threat, too: after all, the serial killer who wears glasses is apparently someone who can see us better than we can see them. Someone who’s always watching….’

Via The Guardian