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Vanessa Viegas
Articles by Vanessa Viegas

Biggest challenge was state of mind, says Indian behind world’s largest drawing

Ravi Soni, a 42-year-old from Udaipur, ended 2020 in despair, without a job. A year later, he set a Guinness record with just a canvas and marker pens. Along the way, he got fitter, faced his fears. And learnt, he says, if you can control your thoughts, it all starts there.

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Updated on Jan 21, 2022 08:50 PM IST

Doyen of India’s culture, he left a mark across the world

Maharaj-ji, as he was popularly known, died in the early hours of Monday in his New Delhi home, surrounded by his family and disciples, his daughter Ragini Maharaj said.

Pandit Birju Maharaj performs at an event in Bengaluru. (Arunkumar Rao)
Updated on Jan 18, 2022 06:38 AM IST
By, New Delhi/mumbai

How did our gardens grow? Check out the Botanical Survey’s digital archives

Strange flowers, some long-extinct, still bloom in the digital archives of the Botanical Survey of India. A trove of drawings going back 200 years is now open to the public. Take a tour.

India’s largest flower, the Sapria himalayana or hermit’s spittoon, a very rare parasitic plant. (Image courtesy Botanical Survey of India)
Updated on Jan 15, 2022 05:24 PM IST
ByVanessa Viegas

Material history: Check out the dyes and textiles section of the BSI archives

About 3,000 samples of dyes are preserved here. From medicines to make-up, see what their many uses were, before the use of chemical dyes became widespread.

Textile designs created using natural vegetable dyes. (Photo courtesy Botanical Survey of India)
Updated on Jan 15, 2022 03:42 PM IST
ByVanessa Viegas

Level up: Tour the new battlegrounds of the gaming world

Players are starting to own and control more of their gaming worlds. What they own is starting to have more value. Assets and avatars in the form of NFTs are now tradeable. They can be exchanged for a cryptocurrency outside the game as well. Gamers could soon be making their own games in-game too.

 (Images via The Sandbox, Axie Infinity, Sorare, Roblox, Zed Run, Gods Unchained, Louis the Game, Epic Games, Battlegrounds Mobile India; HT imaging: Puneet Kumar)
Updated on Jan 08, 2022 06:48 PM IST
ByVanessa Viegas

Once Upon a Time in Odisha: Check out short stories from across 100 years

A new collection offers a rare look at Odia’s changing storytelling traditions. Some tales go back more than a century. Each celebrates the triumph of the human spirit.

 (HT Illustration: Malay Karmakar)
Updated on Jan 08, 2022 06:03 PM IST
ByVanessa Viegas

Profit and gloss: A new book explores the history of Vogue magazine

Glossy: the Inside Story of Vogue trawls through its 129-year history and emerges with tales of resistance to the Nazis, record-setting photoshoots, the invention of the catwalk and more.

The first Vogue cover, 1892. ‘The definite object is the establishment of a dignified authentic journal of society, fashion and the ceremonial side of life,’ founder Arthur Turnure said, in his opening letter to readers. (Image courtesy Glossy: The Inside Story of Vogue)
Updated on Jan 08, 2022 05:26 PM IST
ByVanessa Viegas

High fashion brands from Gucci to LV are launching their own games. See why

Brands are edging into the shiny new world of playable NFTs. Some are offering virtual version of their products within existing games, others are crafting entirely new game worlds of their own.

Louis the Game was launched by fashion house Louis Vuitton in 2021, to mark the 200th birth anniversary of its eponymous founder. In the game, the player must travel through six worlds to collect 200 candles and win NFT collectible as prizes.
Updated on Jan 07, 2022 07:03 PM IST
ByVanessa Viegas

Game assist: How players’ guilds are altering the landscape

It’s become so expensive to sign up as a player in some game worlds that veterans are forming guilds to help out, lending NFTs and other tools to newcomers, in exchange for a share of their future earnings. This is just one indication of how NFTs are decentralising power and changing the rules of the gaming world.

In Axie Infinity, players acquire, breed and train fluffy Pokemon-type creatures called Axies. Each Axie is an NFT or digital-only asset that can be traded on an NFT exchange platform. Thanks to guilds set up independently by players, these NFTs are also now being leased in-game to new players.
Updated on Jan 07, 2022 06:06 PM IST
ByVanessa Viegas

Rhythm and clues: Saving songs, uniting tribes in Manipur

Meet musicians fighting the clock to preserve rich and endangered oral heritage, and trace a common history, in the northeastern state.

Ch Lamtachao, chief of Heikakpokpi village, is the last musician and thereby the last keeper of the oral history of Manipur’s Tarao tribe.
Updated on Dec 25, 2021 01:18 PM IST
ByVanessa Viegas

Cybersickness: Is scrolling to infinity making you ill?

Cybersickness first began to be studied as a side-effect of virtual reality. In a truly meta clash between real and virtual, it is believed to be the result of a mismatch in information received by the parts of the body that regulate vision and those that regulate balance.

 (Shutterstock)
Updated on Dec 18, 2021 05:23 PM IST
ByVanessa Viegas

Agents of shield: Meet women ecologists working to better our world

As in most sciences, women ecologists battle questions and opposition that begin in the home and extend out into the field. Meet seven women who have persevered, and are making a difference.

Purnima Devi Barman has built up a network of over 10,000 women in rural Assam committed to protecting the endangered hargila or greater adjutant stork. This wasn’t easy. When she began her mission, this gentle giant — which typically stands about 5 ft tall — was considered ugly, filthy and a bad omen. (Gerrit Vyn)
Updated on Dec 18, 2021 05:21 PM IST
ByVanessa Viegas

We must distinguish between plan and purpose: Sadhguru at Isha Insight

Purpose, change, risk and risk-management were key themes at Isha Insight: The DNA of Success, the annual business leadership programme of the Isha Leadership Academy, set up by spiritual teacher Sadhguru.

‘Challenging times are when great leaders can be manifested... because everybody is looking for those they can emulate,’ Sadhguru, spiritual teacher and founder of the Isha Leadership Academy, said at the event.
Updated on Dec 03, 2021 07:23 PM IST
ByVanessa Viegas

The new growing pains: How teen angst turned to teen anxiety

Studying is more stressful, jobs are scarcer, Earth’s heating up and social media is triggering. Adolescents are swapping angst for anxiety. See how you can help.

 (HT Illustration: Jayachandran)
Updated on Nov 06, 2021 03:25 PM IST
ByVanessa Viegas

Meet the avid collector tracing the history of comic books in India

Arun Prasad from Bengaluru is finding all-new stories tucked into comic book pages. It’s a rich heritage he’s now tracing back hundreds of years.

Prasad has 18,000 volumes, in various Indian languages, in his collection. But he’s now researching how the concept of visual storytelling goes much further back in India, to ancient visual storytelling traditions like Kavad and Pattachitra. (Aditya Babu)
Updated on Oct 31, 2021 11:45 AM IST
ByVanessa Viegas

A queer take on disability: Exploring identity, kinship, dissent

Anusha Misra identifies as queer and disabled. These terms have helped them find community, they say. Misra is now trying to expand that community through a platform called Revival Disability.

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Updated on Oct 29, 2021 10:12 PM IST
ByVanessa Viegas

A false dualism? The trouble with mind over matter

The separation of mind and body served a vital purpose in the 17th century, as the Renaissance sought to exalt the intellect in a time of rigid state and church control. Today, it hampers discussions of health and science, say proponents of the no-mind thesis.

 (HT Illustration: Jayachandran)
Updated on Oct 23, 2021 03:10 PM IST
ByVanessa Viegas

Climate crisis: Where we stand

See what the latest IPCC findings really mean, why there is still hope — and how your actions today, tomorrow and through the rest of this decade will help determine the outcome of our world.

 (Bloomberg)
Updated on Oct 22, 2021 08:09 PM IST
ByVanessa Viegas

Global warning: This is it, and every bit counts

Wknd spoke to 7 climate scientists from around the world. Ahead of COP 26, what are their fears, what keeps them going, where do they find hope? Their message: There is still a lot to save. Do what you can. Do it now.

 (HT Illustration: Puneet Kumar)
Updated on Oct 23, 2021 01:13 PM IST
ByVanessa Viegas

Why we keep secrets... and why we so yearn to share them

Secrets evolved as part of an early social toolkit that allowed the more intelligent to predict and influence the behaviour of others. Our need to tell our secrets harks back to another vital need: acceptance.

 (HT Illustration: Jayachandran)
Updated on Oct 09, 2021 04:09 PM IST
ByVanessa Viegas

Meet coffin confessor Bill Edgar, paid to share secrets from beyond the grave

What would you want loved ones to know, after you were gone? Many hire Edgar to pass on messages of love. But most want him to share secrets involving sex, primarily affairs, orientation and secret loves.

A book on Edgar’s experiences, The Coffin Confessor, was released in July.
Updated on Oct 08, 2021 02:26 PM IST
ByVanessa Viegas

So, what did your T-shirt do today?

Check out how institutions have been turning T-shirt merchandising into a new way to boost their message and garner support for their cause.

What do you believe in? A tee released in August by the not-for-profit Centre for Law and Policy Research features the preamble to the Constitution.
Updated on Oct 02, 2021 03:56 PM IST
ByVanessa Viegas

Wings, scripts and medical tips: Meet India’s Wikimedians of the year

Three Indians have been awarded by the foundation that runs Wikipedia, for their contributions to its open-source platforms. One winner created a toolkit for Indian language scripts, another runs a virtual butterfly project, and a doctor has received honourable mention for busting myths about health.

Ananya Mondal won the rich media award for the Wiki Loves Butterfly project, 252 new pages and 2,600 images so far.
Updated on Oct 01, 2021 09:05 PM IST
ByVanessa Viegas

Stuck in a loop? See what’s causing your earworms

Researcher Michael Scullin of Baylor University, Texas, was so annoyed at waking up time and again with a song stuck in his head, that he decided to delve into the science behind earworms. Here’s what he found.

 (Shutterstock)
Updated on Sep 25, 2021 03:45 PM IST
ByVanessa Viegas

Four ways to shake off an earworm

Can’t get a song out of your head? Is it causing you to grit your teeth and wish you’d never heard it, except you can’t stop? Here are some things that could help.

Taylor Swift in Shake It Off, a known earworm-causer.
Updated on Sep 25, 2021 03:05 PM IST
ByVanessa Viegas

Hindsight 2021: 3 things I wish I’d known about turning vegan

The move will cause turbulence in your relationships, it’s no guarantee of good health, and it’s very very hard to avoid butter, says software engineer Shweta Dudi, vegan for two years.

‘What is that. Why is that!’: If you’re going vegan, prepare for the jokes and judgement to never end, Dudi says.
Updated on Sep 11, 2021 02:38 PM IST
ByVanessa Viegas

Gauhar Jaan, Gandhi, Tagore: Tune in to listen to India’s earliest recordings

Author and scholar Vikram Sampath is hunting down and digitising old records, not just of music but of freedom fighters’ speeches, tawaifs singing, everyday men and women. You can listen in for free on SoundCloud.

In the Archive of Indian Music is the first-ever recording made of an Indian singer, Gauhar Jaan, in 1902.
Updated on Sep 10, 2021 04:54 PM IST
ByVanessa Viegas

Say what? Decoding Abba’s lyrics in 2021

What even is a dancing queen? Why must money money money, be funny, in a rich man’s world? Take a look at how Scandipop is still influencing the lyrics in your world.

Anni-Frid Lyngstad, Benny Andersson, Agnetha Faltskog and Bjorn Ulvaeus of Abba, now all in their 70s, have announced their first new album in 40 years. Voyage is due out in November.
Updated on Sep 10, 2021 04:36 PM IST
ByVanessa Viegas

Profile: Dr Basant Kumar Misra, the award-winning doctor who would do more

He performed India’s first awake craniotomy and has spent years pushing the envelope in neurosurgery. He’s now the first Indian to receive a prestigious American lifetime achievement award. Meet the man with the laser aim.

 (Anshuman Poyrekar / HT Photo)
Updated on Sep 03, 2021 07:42 PM IST
ByVanessa Viegas

Wake-up call: Can ads creep into your dreams?

Advertisers are coming for your subconscious, with audio and video aimed to trigger your mind as you sleep. Scientists are already sounding the alarm

 (HT Illustration Jayachandran)
Updated on Aug 30, 2021 12:29 PM IST
ByVanessa Viegas
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