Each day Document has an agenda: news from the underread corners of the world, and the web, that might not end up crossing your path. Discoveries, curiosities, essential cultural dispatches—with this information, go forth.
The Myanmar Massacre—told by those who did it.
Last year, a fresh outbreak of violence after decades of ethnic tension saw thousands of Muslims flee Myanmar and head towards Bangladesh. With tensions rising as the Bangladeshi government entertains the idea of sending refugees back to Myanmar, they’ve been slaughtered en masse. This special report from Reuters gives us a unique insight into the atrocities they’re facing. Featuring interviews with the Buddhist villagers who confess to torching Rohingya homes, burying bodies and killing Muslims. During the process of reporting this piece, two journalists were arrested by Bangladeshi police. Through personal and fleshed out with rare interviews. This is investigative journalism at it’s best.
This account also marks the first time soldiers and paramilitary police have been implicated by testimony from security personnel themselves. Members of the paramilitary police gave Reuters insider descriptions of the operation to drive out the Rohingya from Inn Din, confirming that the military played the lead role in the campaign.”
“Buddhist villagers feared being ‘swallowed up’ by their Muslim neighbors. A Buddhist elder said all Rohingya, ‘including children,’ were part of the insurgency and therefore ‘terrorists.'”
Neuroscientists reveal how we’ve been in the dark about light and mental health.
On his deathbed, the novelist and scientist Johann Wolfgang von Goethe peered over at the window and muttered “we need more light,” before slowly slipping away into the gentle night. The phrase has become a philosophical conundrum – was his request metaphysical? Was it just a dark room? Well, now neuroscientists are one step closer to an answer.
In a new piece of research from Michigan State University, spending too much time in dimly lit rooms and offices may actually change the brain’s structure and damage your ability to remember and learn things. For four weeks, scientists exposed rats to dim and bright lights. Those exposed to dim lights had a 30 percent reduction in their hipocampus– a region of the brain responsible for learning and memory. The same rats also performed badly on a spatial task they had previously been successful at.
“The study is the first to show that changes in environmental light, in a range normally experienced by humans, leads to structural changes in the brain. Americans, on average, spend about 90 percent of their time indoors, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
“‘When we exposed the rats to dim light, mimicking the cloudy days of Midwestern winters or typical indoor lighting, the animals showed impairments in spatial learning,’ said Antonio Nunez, psychology professor and co-investigator on the study. ‘This is similar to when people can’t find their way back to their cars in a busy parking lot after spending a few hours in a shopping mall or movie theater.’”
Chinese police use futuristic glasses to scan people’s faces.
As hundreds of millions of Chinese begin traveling for the Lunar New Year holiday, the country’s police force has begun trialing a new piece of facial recognition technology that allows them to scan crowds and survey them for potential criminals. In this video, The Wall Street Journal details how the technology sends back information to an AI that crunches through an offline database to surface criminals. But this may not be the first time the glasses have been used. According to The MIT Review, the Chinese newspaper People’s Daily newspaper says they’ve already been tested in Zhengzhou railway station, catching seven wanted criminals and 26 people traveling on a fake ID.
“Surveillance is everywhere, there is no limit as to what the police can do.”
An oral history of personal nameplate jewelry.
Carry Bradshaw’s necklace in Sex and The City, a simple gold chain with italic letters spelling out her name, defined jewelry for an entire generation. Last year, Opening Ceremony launched their own range of nameplate necklaces, that’s not where it began. In a new academic paper, two anthropologists try to uncover how the streetwear became legitimized by asking wearers about their memories of buying their first piece of namesake design. The Fader interviewed the paper’s authors to try and uncover its origins in race and class.
“I grew up in Brooklyn, and nameplates were part of the cultural ecosystem of the ’90s, early 2000s. It was something that I always coveted, but it was a big expense to give a child a $200 necklace, so I really had to show and prove that I could handle it. My first nameplate just had my name in simple script with an underline and a heart [as] flourish — a very traditional style. It was definitely a coming-of-age item for me that I still have, actually.”
Spanish church deem disciple’s knee-length tunic “too sexy.”
A church in the Spanish town of Membrilla has covered up a painting of one of Jesus disciples for being “too sexy and chic”. The painting of Apostle Santiago, nicknamed Son of Thunder’ for his impulsive temperament, is now safely retired from the public eye. The painting was donated to the church by Membrillan artist Antonio Ximenez Muñoz, who, according to Spanish media, discovered that his work had been removed when he visited his local holy site and was unable to find his gift. Apparently, the artwork was removed by the church’s current pastor who decided it was “too erotic”.
“Ximenez, aged 87 and currently living in Miami, has reportedly given the current pastor of the church a deadline to either re-display the painting or return it.”
Where are all the women in grime?
On the face of it grime is very much a man’s game, but behind the scenes, black women, from photographers, producers and DJs, to journalists, managers and tastemakers have long been guiding the genre through the underground and into the mainstream. The Guardian’s Yomi Adegoke looks at why women are still battling to break the same ground their male counterparts.
“One black male journalist, who asked to remain anonymous, claimed that male MCs have exacerbated the issue by giving preferential access to white female journalists and presenters. “Grime is built more like an aristocracy than a nation. That’s why they cut out black women.”