Tag Perspective for Hire

The Roots of the Black Forest

“Liberty, that lovely thing, was discovered in the wild forests of Germany” —Montequiem This was the Black Forest of centuries ago, wild and untamed, known only to the ancient people who made this forest their home. Nestled in the southwestern tip of Germany, the Black Forest has been host to many migrant tribes through the centuries. The forest and its people have experienced centuries of war and devastation, from the

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What a Language Means: Catalonia’s Linguistic Pride

Whenever I discuss the trip I took to Barcelona this past summer, the topic of language always comes up. Nearly everyone asks what Catalan is, having guessed that one would speak Spanish everywhere in Spain. In the case that they have heard of Catalan, they will erroneously consider it a dialect of Spanish, or if they do consider it an independent language, they might think of it as a mix

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Frozen Hope: The Svalbard Global Seed Vault

“These are seed varieties that survived … It’s a library of life.” – Cary Fowler Nestled 400 feet into the side of a mountain in Spitsbergen, Norway, over 800 miles north of the Arctic Circle, rests the largest international agricultural collaboration in the world: the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. Nationally owned seed banks exist in almost every country, staffed by scientists who study and preserve local agriculture, including endangered and

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A Baby’s Welcome in Finland

The Finnish maternity package ‘äitiysavustus’ is a tradition that welcomes new children to the world with a gift of life-enhancing baby supplies. Finland is a socially progressive country, and the government started supplying this box to new mothers in the 1930s to combat high infant mortality rates. The box has been a welcome tradition and a successful public health program ever since. The government combated the infant mortality crisis with

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How Queer Is Your Family?

Two lesbians walked into a bar. They ordered drinks and gazed at the bartender intently, with a “let’s make babies” kind of look, a look my brother rarely got from women at a gay bar, but especially not from a lesbian couple. Something queer was going on. These women had sought my brother out. After spending far too much money on failed attempts from a sperm bank, they decided to

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Still Waiting

The universe was born in our absence. Once a baseball-sized cluster of concentrated energy, it grew into a sprawling neighborhood  inhabited by mass and the four great forces. In an endless battle, matter and antimatter collided like mortal enemies to create presence, annihilating each other on contact. Matter won for no clear reason, and stranger still, we have yet to learn why anything exists.