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David Goggins
Former Navy Seal
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Bryan Cranston
Actor
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Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
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Amaryllis Fox
Former CIA Clandestine Operative
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Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
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Models and Stars: You Can Never Look Like Them Because They Don’t Look Like Them, Either

“I’ll never look like the women with beautiful bodies in the glossy magazines.”


Right. You won’t. Because they don’t.

This wonderful photo compilation by a model generously and compassionately reveals the insider secrets—published photos of male and female stars or models, before and after they’d been edited and photo-shopped.

We all know that images are manipulated, but it’s something else, and consoling, to see precisely how and how much.

Photographic and visual editing is in one sense as old as the Medicis, who insisted that artists improve and “correct” their portraits for the record. This sort of editing is more dispiriting, however, in a photographic genre that seems accurate, and real.

And we’re not talking about minuscule, mercy changes, here, such as the airbrushing of a scratch, or pimple. In some of these photos, entire bellies have been cleaved off, breasts massively augmented, and serious wrinkles magically erased.  Some of the models have lost what looks like at least 10 or 15 pounds, all through the instantaneous diet of the virtual X-acto knife.

Magazines will continue to give you these doctored images, just as long as real humans keep falling short of their needs, and real readers keep buying the magazines.

So young women and men, especially, need to develop a high Visual IQ.  They have to understand what they’re looking at—really understand it, and internalize it--because the photos are otherwise dangerously and depressingly deceptive. Generically, they “code” as if they’re accurate.

We need to flex our visual IQ by practicing reading the photos as things closer to art, or cartooning, or even human caricature, where the aim is to capture the gist of the body, or a gesture, or to exaggerate its iconic, signature features, but not to represent it truthfully and with ruthless precision, a la Depression documentarian Walker Evans.

There’s nothing wrong with taking pleasure in the images, so long as they’re read visually as representations of reality rather than reality itself.

It’s like those Betty Boop cartoons from the 1930s. No one really expected a woman to look like Betty, with her non-existent waist, bovine eyes, and huge boobs. Instead, she represented a convention of femininity, rendered through artistic liberty and exaggeration.

In a similar way, the Fashion Week runway shows present extreme clothing that few of us would ever actually wear, in order to dramatize and highlight trends in silhouette, color, hem length, fabric, attitude, and so on. The images of the models’ bodies in magazines are as suggestive (not literal) as the dramatic, “editorial” fashions that the models wear on the runway:  neither is to be taken entirely literally.

We can take pleasure in the images for what they are: pictures with things that magazine editors and others feel are aesthetically pleasing, ideal physical traits and characteristics, for both the male and female body, that exist somewhere between documentary and expressive art. 

Neom, Saudi Arabia's $500 billion megacity, reaches its next phase

Construction of the $500 billion dollar tech city-state of the future is moving ahead.

Credit: Neom
Technology & Innovation
  • The futuristic megacity Neom is being built in Saudi Arabia.
  • The city will be fully automated, leading in health, education and quality of life.
  • It will feature an artificial moon, cloud seeding, robotic gladiators and flying taxis.
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Why do people believe in conspiracy theories?

Are we genetically inclined for superstition or just fearful of the truth?

Videos
  • From secret societies to faked moon landings, one thing that humanity seems to have an endless supply of is conspiracy theories. In this compilation, physicist Michio Kaku, science communicator Bill Nye, psychologist Sarah Rose Cavanagh, skeptic Michael Shermer, and actor and playwright John Cameron Mitchell consider the nature of truth and why some groups believe the things they do.
  • "I think there's a gene for superstition, a gene for hearsay, a gene for magic, a gene for magical thinking," argues Kaku. The theoretical physicist says that science goes against "natural thinking," and that the superstition gene persists because, one out of ten times, it actually worked and saved us.
  • Other theories shared include the idea of cognitive dissonance, the dangerous power of fear to inhibit critical thinking, and Hollywood's romanticization of conspiracies. Because conspiracy theories are so diverse and multifaceted, combating them has not been an easy task for science.

COVID-19 brain study to explore long-term effects of the virus

A growing body of research suggests COVID-19 can cause serious neurological problems.

Brain images of a patient with acute demyelinating encephalomyelitis.

Coronavirus
  • The new study seeks to track the health of 50,000 people who have tested positive for COVID-19.
  • The study aims to explore whether the disease causes cognitive impairment and other conditions.
  • Recent research suggests that COVID-19 can, directly or indirectly, cause brain dysfunction, strokes, nerve damage and other neurological problems.
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Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation

Better reskilling can future-proof jobs in the age of automation. Enter SkillUp's new coalition.

Coronavirus layoffs are a glimpse into our automated future. We need to build better education opportunities now so Americans can find work in the economy of tomorrow.

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