Chuck Close on Race

Chuck Close: There are two events in my lifetime that are markers in that respect.

I was in my loft on the southern end of Green Street when Martin Luther Kind was assassinated. This was ’68, and the SoHo was not SoHo yet. Which is rags and rats and there were no streetlights and there were only like 20 people who lived between Canal Street and Houston Street. So my wife was in a loft at the other end of the Green and Houston.

So, I left my loft at Canal Street and I started walking towards Houston. As I was walking the street, it was very dark, there were almost no lights, I saw a man approach me, a big man, and he was sort of lumbering along and walking quite fast. All of a sudden he came into a street light and I saw the man look at me – a black man – and I saw him look at me and it was the first time that I ever felt that a black man hated me just because I was white. I didn’t think that with Martin Luther King dying, but I was being held responsible, and I absolutely understand that.

And that was a seachange in America. I just find it so moving that from ’68 until now, in my lifetime, I was able to see this change, and to see America embrace the black man. It’s very moving.

Chuck Close: I was at Yale, in graduate school, and Malcolm X was standing in a corner handing a leaflets and he was easy to recognize because he had red hair. The only black man with red hair you’ve ever seen. And it was not dyed; it was actually red. I went up to him and I – white liberal boy, I said what can I do? And he said, “Get out of the way.” So, I thought, well.

Recorded on: February 5, 2009

The contemporary artist talks about where he was when Martin Luther King, Jr. died and meeting Malcolm X.

Is this why time speeds up as we age?

We take fewer mental pictures per second.

Photo by Djim Loic on Unsplash
Mind & Brain
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This is the best (and simplest) world map of religions

Both panoramic and detailed, this infographic manages to show both the size and distribution of world religions.

(c) CLO / Carrie Osgood
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Climate change melts Mount Everest's ice, exposing dead bodies of past climbers

Melting ice is turning up bodies on Mt. Everest. This isn't as shocking as you'd think.

Image source: Wikimedia commons
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  • Recent glacial melting, caused by global warming, has made many of the bodies previously hidden by ice and snow visible again.
  • While many bodies are quite visible and well known, others are renowned for being lost for decades.

The bodies that remain in view are often used as waypoints for the living. Some of them are well-known markers that have earned nicknames.

For instance, the image above is of "Green Boots," the unidentified corpse named for its neon footwear. Widely believed to be the body of Tsewang Paljor, the remains are well known as a guide point for passing mountaineers. Perhaps it is too well known, as the climber David Sharp died next to Green Boots while dozens of people walked past him- many presuming he was the famous corpse.

A large area below the summit has earned the discordant nickname "rainbow valley" for being filled with the bright and colorfully dressed corpses of maintainers who never made it back down. The sight of a frozen hand or foot sticking out of the snow is so common that Tshering Pandey Bhote, vice president of Nepal National Mountain Guides Association claimed: "most climbers are mentally prepared to come across such a sight."

Other bodies are famous for not having been found yet. Sandy Irvine, the partner of George Mallory, may have been one of the first two people to reach the summit of Everest a full thirty years before Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay did it. Since they never made it back down, nobody knows just how close to the top they made it.

Mallory's frozen body was found by chance in the nineties without the Kodak cameras he brought up to record the climb with. It has been speculated that Irvine might have them and Kodak says they could still develop the film if the cameras turn up. Circumstantial evidence suggests that they died on the way back down from the summit, Mallory had his goggles off and a photo of his wife he said he'd put at the peak wasn't in his coat. If Irving is found with that camera, history books might need rewriting.

As Everest's glaciers melt its morbid history comes into clearer view. Will the melting cause old bodies to become new landmarks? Will Sandy Irvine be found? Only time will tell.

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