400

The White Olives of Malta

In the Middle Ages, bajda olives—from the Arabic for “white”—were prized on this Mediterranean archipelago, but by the late 20th century they were nearly gone. It took a retired expert in gems and jewels to revive the olives knights once called “Maltese pearls.”
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  • Tastes
400

Why Reinvent the Wheel?

It may be an all-around symbol of human progress, but we still aren’t sure who actually invented it—Mesopotamians or Europeans? We don’t know for sure what the first ones were used for. We don’t know why so many people were so slow to adopt it. (How did such a simple invention cause so much controversy?)
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400

eL Seed's New Scripts

Fluid, colorful and often covering buildings, eL Seed’s public installations of “calligrafitti” have won eyes and hearts in 14 countries. Now he’s embracing sculpture and fashion, but when asked what’s the most important thing about his art, he replies, “Meeting people.”
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  • Creatives
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400

FirstLook: Cairo Cat

In any town or city, there are always plenty of reminders that we humans are not the only inhabitants. This is particularly true in Cairo, thanks in great part to cats, who seem to pad and paw their way everywhere. And they have been doing this in Egypt since Pharaonic times, when they were mummified and solemnly interred by the thousands, and the goddess Bastet was depicted first as a lioness and, later, as a domestic cat. Cats have appeared in Egyptian iconography, poetry and literature for millennia, up to modern times.
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  • Creatives
400

Ambassadors of Art

When the Museum of Art at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, hosted “Phantom Punch,” it marked the fourth show in a multi-year, multi-city exhibition tour of the United States by an eclectic group of some two dozen artists from Saudi Arabia, where over the past decade, a once-marginal contemporary art scene has become one of the world’s fastest-growing creative movements. Thought-provoking, socially engaged and at times whimsical and even satirical, the works vary from painting and rubber stamps to sculpture, assemblage, photography, video, calligraphy, performance and installation pieces. All share what one curator calls as “an honest need for explanation, an exploration of the world we live in and a desire to understand.”
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  • Creatives
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400

The Silent Silk Road Rendezvous of Konye Urgench

Abandoned for more than 300 years following its eclipse by competing cities, the remnants of a once-flourishing capital of a once-powerful Silk Roads realm remind us of centuries of craftsmanship and scholarship in one of Central Asia’s most intact historical sites.
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