What is Jerusalem syndrome?

A British tourist who went missing in the Negev desert may have a rare psychiatric disorder that affects religiously inspired visitors to the holy city The disappearance of Oliver McAfee, a 29-year-old British tourist who was last seen in November, has raised the possibility that he may be suffering from a disorder known as Jerusalem syndrome. McAfee had been cycling through the Negev desert in southern Israel, and a search was started after hikers found his wallet and laptop. The Telegraph reports that a trail of pages torn from the Bible were found, along with notes McAfee had made, which led investigators to believe he had deliberately gone into the desert – there were references to the story of Jesus going into the desert for 40 days and 40 nights. McAfee, reportedly a devout Christian, may have developed Jerusalem syndrome, where people experience religious delusions. Related: British tourist missing in Israel may have Jerusalem syndrome Continue reading… [hmp_player]

Finding your museum doppelganger is fun – but the science behind it is scary | Arwa Mahdawi

Facial recognition technology allows Google to find the artwork you most resemble – but it also supports the rise of the surveillance state Worried you’re no oil painting? Well, there’s an app for that! The internet is obsessed with a new feature in the Google Arts & Culture app that finds your museum doppelganger. You take a selfie, then Google trawls a database of art to find the museum portrait you most resemble. It is an irresistible proposition for everyone’s inner narcissist; I downloaded the app immediately. Unfortunately, my inner narcissist was in for a nasty shock. Apparently, my face closely resembles an engraving of Leopold I, a man with a massive moustache, and a portrait of Pieter Corneliszoon Hooft, a man with a rather genteel goatee. OK, Google, I take the hint. I’ve made an appointment to get threaded! Now, if you’re rushing to download the app to see which hirsute Habsburg you look like, please note that this feature is currently only available in the US. But perhaps its limited reach is no bad thing. The app may be good fun, but it is also fundamentally frightening: Google’s latest experiment, you see, says less about art than it does the burgeoning science of facial recognition technology. Continue reading… [hmp_player]

Is it weird to give standing ovations at the cinema?

Film-goers have been taking to their feet to applaud Churchill’s speech at the climax of Darkest Hour. What are the rights and wrongs of this – and other acts of cinematic audience participation? There are three basic rules when it comes to clapping: don’t clap along to television theme tunes; don’t clap when aeroplanes land; and absolutely do not clap in the cinema. This last rule, however, has seemingly not reached audiences of Darkest Hour, because they have been giving it spontaneous standing ovations at the end. This has happened in the past with films such as The King’s Speech, but it’s a weird and pointless exercise – Gary Oldman can’t hear you, you know – so perhaps it is a good idea to take this opportunity to parse the etiquette of other strange quirks of audience participation in cinemas. Continue reading… [hmp_player]

‘Is whistleblowing worth prison or a life in exile?’: Edward Snowden talks to Daniel Ellsberg

The two most famous whistleblowers in modern history discuss Steven Spielberg’s new film, The Post, about Ellsberg’s leaking of the Pentagon Papers, the personal cost of what they did – and if they’d advise anybody to follow in their footsteps. Introduced by Ewen MacAskill Daniel Ellsberg, the US whistleblower celebrated in Steven Spielberg’s new film, The Post, was called “the most dangerous man in America” by the Nixon administration in the 70s. More than 40 years later, the man he helped inspire, Edward Snowden, was called “the terrible traitor” by Donald Trump, as he called for Snowden’s execution. The Guardian has brought the two together – the most famous whistleblower of the 20th century and the most famous of the 21st so far – to discuss leaks, press freedom and other issues raised in Spielberg’s film. Related: The Post review – Streep and Hanks scoop the honours in Spielberg’s big-hearted story Continue reading… [hmp_player]

Ian Schrager: how we made Studio 54

‘We wanted a mix of rich, poor, gay, straight, old and young … somebody topless could dance with a woman in ballgown and tiara’ New York was on the verge of bankruptcy in the mid-1970s. Danger was in the air, people were getting mugged, but it was also a creative, bohemian time. You could really feel the energy in the gay clubs: there were frantic, intense, sweating bodies everywhere. Straight people hadn’t yet learned to let it all hang out. Continue reading… [hmp_player]

Mail-order magic: the rise of subscription witchcraft

From jewellery and herbs to candles, crystals and incense, wannabe witches are signing up to monthly subscription boxes for all their spell-casting needs Here is something to gladden the heavy, mid-January heart: magic – or magick, if you will – is back. You may argue that it never went away, but a new generation is using social media to spellbind followers. Witches and wiccans have YouTube channels, share spells on Instagram and offer crystal cleansing tips on Twitter. And, thanks to the magic of Royal Mail, mere mortals can partake, too, in the form of monthly subscription boxes. Forget meal kits or beauty products – mail-order magic is booming. If I were a witch, I would use my powers to do housework. Perhaps you would like to vanquish enemies or reverse Brexit. To be honest, I’m not sure these boxes – which lean towards the crystals and incense school of witchcraft – can help with any of the above. But still, one can dream. Here are some boxes to help you channel your inner Willow Rosenberg. Continue reading… [hmp_player]

Tuesday’s best TV: Britain’s Favourite Dogs: Top 100; Inside No 9

Sara Cox and Ben Fogle reveal the country’s supreme canine, while Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith serve up a Swiss watch of comedy horror Hopefully this is intended to create a sense of unity, rather than carve the nation into angry, militant factions based on our dog breed preferences. Sara Cox and Ben Fogle will preside over the revelation of the Top 100, leading to the crowning of a supreme canine, while celebrities including Louis Smith, Geri Horner, James Martin, Gabby Logan, Phillip Schofield and Gok Wan will quite literally trot out their hounds to show them off. Ben Arnold Continue reading… [hmp_player]