Inquiring Minds

Blame game.

Whoever thought up the “war is good for business” thing might want to check out the action on the Moscow Exchange this year. As the crisis in Ukraine came to a boil at the end of February, investor appetite for Russian equities went into a deep freeze, and the country’s benchmark Russian Trading System (RTS) stock-market index lost 19 per cent in a matter of weeks.

Rodez retreat.

Journey deep into southwest France and you’ll reach the town of Rodez, two hours north of Toulouse, the final stretch of the road winding across storybook farmland to the base of a hill climbed by looping curves and crowned by a cathedral.

Death on display.

The smallest mummy in the world is an almost perfectly preserved, six-month-old fetus. It’s on display at the Museo de las Momias de Guanajuato, a UNESCO-listed Mexican colonial town.

How to deal with the inevitable.

FROM THE ARCHIVE: Depending on your route and destination, you can find yourself mired in a twilight-zone feeling of bewilderment as you arrive in a new time zone a full day behind or ahead of when you left, or like Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, driving a rental car through a looking-glass world of traffic on the “wrong” side of the road.

Great expectorations.

FROM THE ARCHIVE: It was at a wine festival, with over 700 wines being poured at various booths, and it was my job to taste through as many as possible in a planned, methodical manner. And survive to tell about it.

No one cares.

Call it an epidemic. With the rise in airport muddles, and travel travails, it’s become the customary thing, I’ve noticed, to kvetch—at length, and often to mere acquaintances—about one’s aisle-or-window woes.

The dream of limitless energy.

Take everything you know about energy—burning oil, falling water, spinning windmills, splitting atoms—and forget it. All of it. Now, what does the world look like? Given what scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California have just managed to do, you may want to mull it over.

Radio nowhere.

Gone are the glory days of the mainstream radio serials, but the concept has been revived in the form of Welcome to Night Vale. The popular podcast takes the form of a community radio show that describes the unnatural goings-on in the fictional, absurdly humorous desert town of Night Vale.

Kiln envy.

The original mid-century modern pottery house, Heath Ceramics, hasn’t strayed far from its roots over the past 66 years.