Posts tagged with "The Guardian"

Twintastic! Gucci dresses 68 identical twins in matching finery at Milan Fashion Week

September 27, 2022

Sixty-eight pairs of identical twins dressed in matching catwalk finery–two dazzling Lurex gowns with shark-bite cut outs, two tailored silk ensembles embroidered with cherry blossoms, two pinstripe suits with ladylike handbags —created a mic-drop moment of visual drama that brought the house down at the Gucci show at Milan Fashion Week on September 23, reports The Guardian.

To cast the show, Gucci had sent a secret scouting party to Twins Day, a twins convention in Twinsburg, Ohio. The audience, divided between two separate rooms, did not know they were watching twins until the final moments, when a screen dividing the rooms was lifted and each model joined hands with a sibling who had been walking in tandem with them throughout the show.

To look at identical twins can feel like viewing a natural wonder of the world. Twinning is “so familiar—but so powerful,” said the show’s creative director, Alessandro Michele, after the show. Twins, he said, remind us of “the connective tissue” in families and in society.

“I use the runway as a theatrical stage, and fashion speaks strongly to ideas of otherness. I know that I have another side of me—I meet him when I go to my therapist. We all have another side of us, and sometimes we meet that person, and hold hands,” said Michele. Before the show, guests were sent a Rorschach test to complete, rather than invitations, because “this show is about what you find when you dig inside yourself, so I wanted to prepare you all for that,” the designer added.

On the catwalk, toy Gremlins peeked out from sleek leather handbags—because “Gremlins are small animals, but they can be naughty. They are like your own fear of your evil self.” Michele’s unboundaried eccentricity might seem an unexpected fit for Italy’s biggest luxury brand, but it reaps dividends, as sales of more than $10 billion last year attest.

Michele dedicated the show to the women he calls his “twin mums.” He grew up with his mother, Eralda, and her twin, his aunt Giuliana, two women so close that they seemed “magically multiplied,” he said.

Research contact: @guardian

Liz Cheney considers run for president after Republican primary defeat

August 18, 2022

Republican congresswoman Liz Cheney has announced she is considering her own run for the White House in an all-out effort to prevent Donald Trump from winning another term as U.S. president, reports The Guardian.

Cheney decisively lost her Republican primary race on Tuesday night, August 16, and will lose her seat in the U.S. Congress.

The Trump-backed challenger Harriet Hageman beat Cheney by almost 40 points as Wyoming voters took revenge for her voting to impeach Trump and for focusing on her role on the January 6 House select committee.

The panel—on which Cheney serves as vice-chair and is one of only two Republicans—is investigating Trump’s role in fomenting the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by his supporters on 6 January 2021, in a vain attempt to stay in office following his defeat by Joe Biden.

Cheney was asked on NBC’s Today show on Wednesday morning whether she was thinking of running for president. She did not respond to the question directly but, when pressed a second time, admitted she was.

“It’s something I’m thinking about, and I’ll make a decision in the coming months,” she said.

On Tuesday night she said she would “do whatever it takes to keep Donald Trump out of the Oval Office”. After her loss to Hageman by almost 60,000 votes was confirmed, aides revealed the former House number three planned to set up her own political action committee.

“In coming weeks, Liz will be launching an organization to educate the American people about the ongoing threat to our republic, and to mobilize a unified effort to oppose any Donald Trump campaign for president,” Cheney spokesperson Jeremy Adler told Politico Playbook.

NBC confirmed on Wednesday that it will be named The Great Task, which was the title of Cheney’s final pitch to Wyoming voters, and features in the closing sentence of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.

On Wednesday, Cheney laid out her priorities for the next few months before leaving the House in January.

Beyond “representing the people of Wyoming”, she said: “We have a tremendous amount of work left to do on the January 6 committee. And also, though, I’m going to be making sure that people all around this country understand the stakes of what we’re facing, understand the extent to which we’ve now got one major political party, my party, which has really become a cult of personality.

“We’ve got to get this party back to a place where we’re embracing the values and the principles on which it was founded. And talking about fundamental issues of civics, fundamental issues of what does it mean to be a constitutional republic.”

Cheney, daughter of former Republican vice-president Dick Cheney, attacked both Trump and the House Republican leader, Kevin McCarthy, the architect of her ousting from the party’s House leadership in May 2021 after she denounced the former president’s false claims of a stolen election. She expressed her belief that “the Republican party today is in very bad shape”.

“Donald Trump has betrayed Republican voters. He’s lied to them. Those who support him have lied to them and they’re using people’s patriotism against them,” she said.

“They’re preying on people’s patriotism. Kevin McCarthy made his decision a few weeks after January 6, knowing what he knew about Donald Trump’s role in the assault on the Capitol, when he went to Mar-a-Lago and said we’re going to welcome him back into the party. To me, that’s indefensible.

“I believe that Donald Trump continues to pose a very grave threat, a risk to our republic, and I think defeating him is going to require a broad and united front of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents. That’s what I intend to be a part of.”

To some in the crowd of supporters on Tuesday night—gathered in an open field beside a red vintage Chevrolet truck, four U.S. national flags, a dozen hay bales, and a hospitality tent—it already sounded like the launch of a presidential campaign.

Research contact: @guardian

‘All bodies are beach bodies’: Spain’s Equality Ministry launches summer campaign

July 29, 2022

Spain’s Equality Ministry (Ministerio de Igualdad) has launched a creative summer campaign, encouraging women of all shapes and sizes to hit the beach, with the slogan: “Summer is ours too,” reports The Guardian

The colorful campaign’s promotional image features five women of different body types, ages and ethnicities enjoying a day in the sun. “Summer is ours too,” it says. “Enjoy it how, where and with whomever you want.” The campaign also features a woman who has had a mastectomy topless.

“All bodies are beach bodies,” said Ione Belarra, the leader of the United Podemos party, who serves as Social Rights Minister in Spain’s Socialist-led coalition government. “All bodies are valid and we have the right to enjoy life as we are, without guilt or shame. Summer is for everyone!”

Antonia Morillas, head of the Spanish Women’s Institute and the organization behind the initiative, said physical expectations affected women’s self-esteem and denied them their rights.

“Diverse bodies, free of gender stereotypes, occupying all spaces. Summer also belongs to us. Free, equal, and diverse,” she tweeted on Wednesday, July 27, alongside an image from the campaign.

The Women’s Institute said: “Today we toast a summer for all, without stereotypes and aesthetic violence against our bodies.”

When left-wing leader Cayo Lara said the campaign was absurd and trying to “create a problem where it doesn’t exist”, Podemos hit back in a tweet with: “If bodies bother you, you can stay home tweeting.”

Research contact: @guardian

From the toxic culture that gave us mansplaining, here comes …‘hepeating’

May 18, 2022

Have you ever noticed how some men make a habit of repeating what women say—and taking all the credit for it? There’s a word for that: “hepeating,” reports The Guardian.

The hepeat is just the latest in the expanding list of terms for sexist male behavior, a glossary that began with mansplaining. It’s the term used when a woman suggests an idea—often in a meeting—and it’s ignored, but then a guy says the same exact thing and everyone loves it.

How is the new term used in a typical conversation? “Ugh! I got hepeated in that meeting again,” or “He totally hepeated me!”

And it’s caught on.  The concept was immediately recognized. U.S. physics professor and astronomer Nicole Gugliucciv’s original tweet proposing the term, posted back in September 2017, got 185k likes and 58.8k retweets. And they weren’t all “shetweets.” Men liked it, too.

The Oxford English Dictionary hasn’t included it. Yet. But the term has just been introduced into an internal handbook for the staff of the U.K.-based exam regulator Ofqual, where hepeating is described as “a situation where a man repeats a woman’s comments or ideas and then is praised for them as if they were his own”.

It has been rejected in some quarters, though: The (male) historian Jeremy Black is not a massive fan of the term. It’s an “ugly new made-up word that’s foolish and devoid of meaning”, he told the Mail on Sunday. He went on to say that it “should play no role in educational advice”.

So who does think it’s an actual term, then?  Any woman who has been in a meeting, or at work—or indeed anywhere with men.

Research contact: @guardian

Why Zoomer green is the new Millennial pink

January 12, 2022

It doesn’t take a genius to see why green feels aspirational at the precise moment in history when we humans finally seem to be twigging that a green future is the only future that is going to exist. Green is good. Green is the zeitgeist. So, what to wear? Green—but make it fashion, reports The Guardian.

The expression “but make it fashion” means to add a splash of showbiz, but also a hit of sharpness. A dash of syrup, plus a squeeze of lime. If the taste is too vanilla, that’s not fashion. Which is how we have ended up with a color-of-the-moment that symbolizes nature, but actually looks a bit synthetic. The green that is everywhere right now is a flat, saturated, straightforward green. It is not the color of moss, or of olives, or of sea foam.

It is not a color that sparkles from a cocktail ring or from a slice in a highball glass. It speaks of crayons and grass lawns and lunchbox apples. It is green at its most blunt.

And in fashion, this green already has a name:. This is Bottega greensome call it Zoomer green to reference the generation who wear it. It’s the green that is everywhere, that lurid shade somewhere between a shamrock and a matcha latte, has for the past year been effectively owned by the Italian fashion label Bottega Veneta. When Bottega staged a show at Sadler’s Wells Theatre in London, the stage was bathed in this green. Bottega has made the color a signature, just as Hermès has with orange, and Tiffany with duck-egg blue.

How did this green replace blush pink, which was the chic color a year or two ago? Green snuck in as an accessory first. Because you know what works great with blush pink? Green.

According to The Guardian, at a moment when sustainability is front and center of every fashion conversation, it is only logical that the hottest dresses would be green.

And there is another way of reading this color—one that decodes it not via a Pantone chart, but from the highway code. This is traffic light green, you see. A universal symbol, understood across ages and languages. It means that it is safe to proceed. After living life on pause for so long, the allure of a color that gives us permission to pick up where we left off is strong.

We want to wear green not because it makes us feel pretty or chic or elegant, but because it makes us feel safe.

A green light for a safe future? A handbag doesn’t get much more aspirational than that.

Research contact: @guardian

‘Ruff’ sketches: Animal portraits in the style of old masters

December 29, 2021

Transforming pet photos into old masters is big business for Dutch artist Tein Lucasson. In 2016, when the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam released many of its works into the public domain, Lucasson digitally inserted a photo of his beloved labradoodle Ventje into one of the paintings.

Since then, the Dutch graphic designer and visual artist has turned hundreds of cats, dogs and guinea pigs into works of art for his website L’animorphe, reports The Guardian.

He collects the portraits, along with his paintings of wild animals—such as zebras, flamingos, and raccoons—in a series of books published by the German, family owned company teNeues .

“It started as something I did for fun and it turned into a company,” he says. “The portraits are not meant to be anything other than a remembrance of the love of a dog or a cat. But it’s turned into something bigger.”

Research contact: @guardian

Italian man tries to dodge COVID vaccine by wearing fake arm

December 6, 2021

An Italian man is facing charges of fraud after turning up for his COVID-19 vaccination wearing a fake arm, reports The Guardian.

The anti-vaxxer was so determined to dodge the jab—but still obtain a health pass—that he may have paid hundreds of euros for the silicone prosthetic.

The bizarre episode at a vaccine hub in Biella, a town close to Turin in the northern Piedmont region, came a week after Italy announced measures barring unvaccinated people from a host of social, cultural, and sporting activities.

After completing the bureaucratic formalities—including signing a consent form in front of a doctor—the man, aged 50, sat down and lifted up the sleeve of his shirt as he prepared for a health worker to administer the jab.

Initially, the health worker did not notice anything odd, as the silicone looked similar to skin. But after taking a closer look and touching the arm, the medic asked the man to take off his shirt. His plan foiled, the man, who has not been named, then tried to persuade the health worker to turn a blind eye.

“I felt offended as a professional,” Filippa Bua told Italian daily newspaper La Republica. “The color of the arm made me suspicious and so I asked the man to uncover the rest of his left arm. It was well made but it wasn’t the same color.”

The man said to her: “Would you have imagined that I’d have such a physique?”

She told another Italian daily, La Stampa, that she could not see the man’s veins: “At first I thought I made a mistake, that it was a patient with an artificial arm.”

It is not clear whether he was wearing a whole fake arm or some kind of silicone layer over his skin.

“The promptness and skill of the health worker ruined the plans of this person, who will now have to respond to the judiciary,” Alberto Cirio, the president of Piedmont, said in a joint statement with Luigi Icardi, the regional health councilor.

La Repubblica suggested that the incident might not have been a one-off—citing a recent message on social media that might have been written by the man in Biella.

The Twitter post featured a silicone male chest half-body suit, complete with fake arms and neck, that was on sale on Amazon for €488 (US$552). Alongside the image was the message: “If I go with this, will they notice? Maybe beneath the silicone I’ll even put on some extra clothes to avoid the needle reaching my real arm.”

Cirio and Icardi said the case would “border on the ridiculous” were it not “for the fact that we are talking about a gesture of enormous gravity”.

“It is unacceptable in the face of the sacrifice that the pandemic is making the whole community pay for,” they added.

Research contact: @guardian

Bombshell: Trump tested positive for COVID and lied about it before first presidential debate in 2020

December 6, 2021

In a bolt from the blue, a former member of the Trump Administration has revealed in a new book that former President Donald Trump tested positive for COVID-19 three days before his first general election debate with former Vice President Joe Biden and arrived late for the event so he wouldn’t have to be tested for the virus, reports CNN.

The revelation came in “A Chief’s Chief,” by former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and was first reported by The Guardian. Meadows writes that after Trump tested positive, he then got a negative test—adding that “nothing was going to stop [Trump] from going out there.”

The debate was September 29. Two days later—on October 2 —Trump announced that he had contracted COVID-19.

You’ll remember that, according to debate moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News, Trump and his entourage arrived too late on the day of the debate—the afternoon of the 29th—to be tested by an independent party.

As Wallace recounted: “For them to get tested, there wouldn’t have been enough time to have the test and have the debate at 9:00 that night,” he said. “They didn’t show up until 3:00, 4:00, 5:00 in the afternoon. There was an honor system when it came to the people that came into the hall from the two campaigns.”

The honor system isn’t really something that Donald Trump buys into. This is a man who made more than 30,000 — yes, that number is correct—false or misleading claims over the course of his four years, according to The Washington Post.

Trump released a statement on Wednesday morning, December 1, disputing Meadows’ account.

“The story of me having COVID prior to, or during, the first debate is Fake News,” Trump said. “In fact, a test revealed I did not have Covid prior to the debate.”

However, according to CNN, the context around when Trump got sick is not helpful to the former president. The news network says, “He himself openly speculated that he contracted COVID during an event for military families at the White House. In an interview on October 8 on Fox Business, Trump speculated that it was that event where he got the virus.

In that same debate, when the conversation turned to the importance of masking as a way to mitigate the spread of the virus, Trump offered this comparison to Biden: “I don’t wear a mask like him. Every time you see him, he’s got a mask. He could be speaking 200 feet away from him, and he shows up with the biggest mask I’ve ever seen.”

Research contact: @CNN

Study: Climate crisis pushes albatross ‘divorce’ rates higher

November 25, 2021

Albatrosses, some of the world’s most loyally monogamous creatures, are “divorcing” more often—and researchers say global warming may be to blame, The Guardian reports.

In a new Royal Society study of the large oceanic birds found mainly in the North Pacific, researchers say climate change and warming waters are pushing black-browed albatross break-up rates higher. Typically, after choosing a partner, only between 1% and 3% would separate in search of greener romantic pastures.

But in the years with unusually warm water temperatures, that average consistently rose, with up to 8% of couples splitting up. The study looked at a wild population of 15,500 breeding pairs in the Falkland Islands over 15 years.

For seabirds, warmer waters mean fewer fish, less food, and a harsher environment. Fewer chicks survive. The birds’ stress hormones increase. They are forced farther afield to hunt.

As some of the most loyal partners of the animal kingdom, the love lives of albatrosses have long been a subject of scientific study. “There are all these things we think of as being super-duper human,” says Dr. Graeme Elliot, principal science adviser at New Zealand’s Department of Conservation, who has been studying albatrosses in the country’s waters for three decades.

The birds lend themselves to anthropomorphism: Living for 50-60 years, they have a long, awkward teen phase, as they learn how to seduce a mate through dance; and take years-long trips away from home as they mature. They usually to mate for life, and loudly celebrate when greeting a partner after a long absence.

But now, they increasingly share another rite of passage that may sound familiar to young humans: Under stress from the climate crisis, working longer hours to eat, and faced with the logistical difficulties of a traveling partner, some are struggling to maintain relationships.

Francesco Ventura, researcher at University of Lisbon and co-author of the Royal Society study, said the researchers were surprised to learn that warmer waters were associated with unusually high rates of albatross couples splitting up, even when the lack of fish were accounted for.

Albatross divorce was usually predicted by a reproductive failure, Ventura said. If a pair failed to produce a chick, they had a higher chance of splitting up. Less food for birds could lead to more failures. But the researchers were surprised to find that even when they accounted for that, higher water temperatures were having an extra effect—pushing up divorce rates even when reproduction was successful.

Ventura floated two possible reasons—one that warming waters were forcing the birds to hunt for longer and fly further. If birds then failed return for a breeding season, their partners may move on with someone new. Added to that, when waters are warmer and in harsher environments, albatross stress hormones go up. Ventura said the birds may feel that and blame their partners.

​ “We propose this partner-blaming hypothesis—under which a stressed female might feel this physiological stress and attribute these higher stress levels to a poor performance of the male,” he says.

What’s more, dropping population numbers have changed the birds’ mating patterns in other ways, Elliot said, with more homosexual couplings appearing. “We’re getting male-male pairs amongst the birds on Antipodes Island, which we haven’t had before,” he said. “A few percent of the boys are pairing up with another boy because they can’t find a female partner.”

Now, Elliot hopes that some of the sympathies people have for albatrosses could motivate changes in behavior, to address the environmental threats the birds are facing—particularly climate change, and tuna fishing. “We kind of need an international campaign to save these birds,” Elliot says. “If we don’t turn it around, they’ll go extinct.”

Research contact: @guardian

Grandmothers may be more connected to grandchildren than to own offspring

November 22, 2021

They say that grandchildren are life’s greatest joy, and now the first study to examine grandmothers’ brain function has suggested that grannies may be more emotionally connected to their grandkids than to their own sons and daughters, reports The Guardian.

Since the 1960s, researchers have posited that one reason women tend to live decades past their reproductive years is that it increases the chances of their grandchildren surviving, through the physical support they often provide—the grandmother hypothesis. More recent evidence has suggested that children’s wellbeing and educational performance is also boosted by the presence of engaged grandparents.

To better understand the biological underpinnings of this connection, Professor James Rilling, an anthropologist at Emory University in Atlanta, and colleagues recruited 50 women with at least one biological grandchild aged between three and 12, and used functional magnetic resonance imaging to scan their brains as they looked at photos of that child, the child’s parents, and images of an unrelated child and adult.

“What really jumps out is the activation in areas of the brain associated with emotional empathy,” Rilling said. “That suggests that grandmothers are geared toward feeling what their grandchildren are feeling when they interact with them. If their grandchild is smiling, they’re feeling the child’s joy. And if their grandchild is crying, they’re feeling the child’s pain and distress.”

Rilling previously performed a similar exercise with fathers as they looked at pictures of their children. The activation seen in the grandmothers’ emotion processing areas, and in those associated with reward and motivation, was stronger, on average, than the fathers’—although there were some dads who had just as much activation in these areas.

By contrast, when the grandmothers looked at images of their adult child, slightly different brain areas tended to be activated: those associated with cognitive empathy. This could indicate that they were trying to cognitively understand their adult child, rather than experiencing this more direct emotional connection.

“Emotional empathy is when you’re able to feel what someone else is feeling, but cognitive empathy is when you understand at a cognitive level what someone else is feeling and why,” Rilling said.

This could possibly help to explain the experience many grown-up children have of their parents often seeming more excited to see their grandchildren than them. “I think that’s plausible,” said Rilling, whose findings were published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

“Young children have likely evolved traits to be able to manipulate not just the maternal brain, but the grand-maternal brain. An adult child doesn’t have the same cute factor, so they may not the same emotional response.”

The results support the idea that there may be a global caregiving system in the brain that is activated in mothers (who have been examined in separate studies), fathers, and grandmothers. Rilling now hopes to study grandfathers and other childcare providers to see how they compare.

Research contact: @guardian