Bent

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This stand of bent pine trees known as the Crooked Forest is easily one of the strangest places in Central Europe. Located outside of Nowe Czarnowo, West Pomerania, Poland, the nearly 400 trees are widely agreed to have been shaped by human hands sometime in the 1930s, but for what purposes is still up for debate. Each tree is bent near the base at 90 degrees, a form that could possibly be helpful in boat or furniture making. Strangely enough, every tree is bent in exactly the same direction: due North. A quick search online reveals a host of conspiracy theories ranging from witchcraft to energy fields.

She totally did

“‘I can hold my own in the bedroom and the boardroom,’ she said to no one, and to everyone. ‘You should never underestimate me.’ She took off her blonde ponytail and shook her hair loose; there was another blonde ponytail underneath it.” There’s no better time than now to revisit Mallory Ortberg’s classic, unbelievably funny piece “A Day in the Life of an Empowered Female Heroine” from The Toast.

Mannerism

She was surprised to see the stubborn power of politeness over time. Over time. That’s the thing. Mostly we talk about politeness in the moment. Please, thank you, no go ahead, I like your hat, cool shoes, you look nice today, please take my seat, sir, ma’am, etc. All good, but fleeting.

You’re not dead till you’re warm and dead

There are worse ways to die than by freezing. To be sure, it’s extremely unpleasant, but only for a while. At first, the cold gnaws at your skin, which soon goes slightly numb, the blood shunted away from the surface to protect your inner organs. Your body shakes as it tries to gin up heat, your heartbeat quickens, your breath comes faster, but the farther your body temperature drops from its usual 98-plus degrees, the less you feel or understand. At about five degrees below normal, you develop amnesia. As more warmth seeps out, you grow apathetic, then fall into a stupor. Just before you lose consciousness, you may engage in a mysterious activity called “paradoxical undressing”—ripping your clothes off—probably because at this point the blood floods back to your skin and you are suddenly very hot. Your kidneys start to fail. Urine may flow out of you, though you probably won’t notice; nor will you be aware that your breathing has now slowed while carbon monoxide builds up inside you. Your metabolism sputters like an engine out of gas. Your heartbeat becomes erratic. When your temperature sinks to about 75 degrees, your heart stops. Very shortly after that, your brain flatlines.

But sometimes, mistakes are made.

Miauw

Dogs confirm us, cats confound us. Our relationship with cats is an “eruption of the wild into the domestic”. Cats blend in; their lethal instincts align with our interests; but they do not assimilate; they belong to the night.

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Your future

WHAT IS YOUR DREAM? demanded a booming voice. The ballroom went dark and the audience settled in for a fifteen minute video catalogue of the stuff dreams are made of: a blur of luxury cars, sprawling mansions, frolicking children, pristine beaches, hot-dogging jet-skiers, private helipads, and zooming jets—all set to caffeinated, John-Teshy instrumental music. The voice returned: “It’s about family!” (A shot of kids collapsing on an oceanic lawn, love-tackled by Dad.) “It’s about security!” (A shot of a palatial house.) “It’s about you!” (A close-up of toes, gently lapped by the incoming tide, wriggling in white sand.)

Placebo

One of the classic papers in the history of psychology is Hans Eysenck’s “The Effects of Psychotherapy: An Evaluation,” published in 1952. The London-based psychologist examined 19 studies of treatment effectiveness, dealing with both psychoanalytic and eclectic types of therapy in more than 7,000 cases.