List of intriguing things
One: There are many traditional festivals celebrated around the world—with great pomp and colour. In comparison, the MassKara Festival is a relative newcomer—dating back to 1980. Celebrated in Bacolod City in the Philippines, the annual event is a celebration of resilience in times of great hardship. The festival—which literally translates to “many faces”—was devised to lift spirits in the midst of one of the worst famines in the province’s history. Hence, the smiling masks you see in the lead image and below. It is also why Bacolod is known as the ‘City of Smiles’.
Bonus read: ICYMI, we featured a two-part series on South Asian masks from our partner MAP Academy in our weekend Advisory edition. The first part looked at Bayalata and Theyyam masks from Kerala and Assamese Bhaona masks—while the second is a guide to Chhau, Cham and Therukoothu masks.
Two: Anurita Chandola landed an unusual gig—designing clothes for humans who will live on Mars. She was part of the ‘Martian House’ project in the UK—which transformed a two-storey building in Bristol into a prototype of a real Martian house. The Lucknow-based textile designer created a spacesuit X dress—that also doubles up as a sleeping bag—and in a pretty Indian print. Cool fact: The Martian project team discovered that a charpai—made of woven ropes—is more useful on Mars than a regular air mattress.
This vid demos the suit—and offers a fascinating insight into how challenging it is to create garments that can be worn in space. BBC News has more on Chandola—and you can check out the Martian prototype here.
Three: This is a legendary image taken by NASA’s Voyager in 1990. Look closely at the ‘pale blue dot’ caught in a ray of sunlight. Voyager 1 was about 6.4 billion kilometres away when it captured this portrait of our planet—which “appears as a tiny point of light, a crescent only 0.12 pixel in size.” The space agency recently remastered the image to make our planet easier to spot:
It may not look like much compared to the lavish visuals offered up by Hubble or the James Webb Space Telescope. But few have as much emotional meaning as this photo taken just before the Voyager powered down forever—on the insistence of a young scientist named Carl Sagan. He wrote of that Pale Blue Dot:
Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there—on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.