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Mona Lisa Smile

On August 21, 1911 Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa was stolen when Vincenzo Peruggia slipped the small 76-by-53-centimetre painting out of the Louvre underneath his smock. The 16th-century Florentine beauty wasn’t discovered missing until the next day as the Louvre had been closed to the public.

Peruggia was caught two years later. He had been motivated by a desire to return the painting to its homeland in Florence, Italy, where it was located.

Today, millions of people visit the Mona Lisa at the Louvre in Paris each year to catch a glimpse of her enigmatic smile.

Saskatchewan girl’s lemonade stand raises $40K for cystic fibrosis research

CBC:

Cassidy Evans was only five years old when she was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis.

But she refused to let the diagnosis get her down, and instead decided to try to do something about it.

Five years after setting up a lemonade stand, the Saskatoon girl has raised $40,000 for research into the inherited genetic disorder.

It’s World Humanitarian Day

World Humanitarian Day is a day designated by the UN to recognise aid workers who risk their lives in humanitarian service, and mobilizes people to advocate for humanitarian action.

More: Wikipedia

Recycling is ineffective, inefficient, expensive, and legitimizes single-use items

The Walrus:

Of the three Rs drilled into our heads in school—reduce, reuse, recycle—recycling is the only one that most of us regularly practise. In 2011, according to a survey by Stewardship Ontario, three-quarters of Ontarians considered the weekly act of sorting and disposing as their “primary environmental effort.”

But as much as Canadians love the blue box, “its role in [our] hearts and minds…is much larger than its actual environmental impact,” wrote Dianne Saxe, Ontario’s environmental commissioner, in a report last October. In fact, recycling is one of the least environmentally friendly “environmental” things one can do.

Updated: Google changes location tracking policy

A few days after an Associated Press investigation about Google’s privacy practices was reported, Google has revised its deceptive description on its website to ‘clarify’ it still tracks user location even after they turn off location history setting.

This affects Android powered devices and iPhones loaded with Google software such as Chrome, Google Maps, etc.

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Watch: Moonlight (Clair de Lune)

From NASA via Youtube

Watch: Between Sound & Silence: How Technology is Changing Deafness

From the NY Times via YouTube

Essential Aretha Franklin

The Queen of Soul passed away this morning at the age of 76.

The following 10 songs are standout examples of her gifts, a starting point in exploring her unrivaled career.

Precious Lord (Take My Hand) [Part Two], 1956

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Best countries in the world in 2018

U.S. News & World Report has released their annual “Best Countries” index.

They evaluated 80 countries and surveyed 21,000 people from four regions (the Americas, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East and Africa). Countries were graded 65 different ways, from how well they rank in “citizenship,” “cultural influence,” “education,” “heritage,” “power,” to “quality of life,” to name a few.

Interestingly, both the UK and the USA are down one position in this year’s rankings.

  1. Switzerland
  2. Canada
  3. Germany (up 1 from 2017)
  4. United Kingdom (down 1 from 2017)
  5. Japan
  6. Sweden
  7. Australia (up 1 from 2017)
  8. United States (down 1 from 2017)
  9. France
  10. Netherlands (up 1 from 2017)

More at US News & World Report

New Zealand is Not for Sale

In an effort to prevent runaway house prices, New Zealand has limited foreigners from purchasing real estate. The country’s parliament passed a law today stipulating that, with a few exceptions, only New Zealand residents can now purchase homes and condos.

“This government believes that New Zealanders should not be outbid by wealthier foreign buyers,” Parker said. “Whether it’s a beautiful lakeside or oceanfront estate, or a modest suburban house, this law ensures that the market for our homes is set in New Zealand, not on the international market.”

Australians and citizens of Singapore will still be able to buy as much real estate as they like under existing free-trade deals.

Switzerland and Hong Kong also make it difficult for foreigners to buy homes. And the Mexican constitution forbids non-residents from owning property near its borders or coasts, although some have figured out a work-around.

More: CBC, Bloomberg (paywall)

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