Frank Lloyd Wright, known for creating “organic architecture” that prioritizes harmony between buildings and the natural environment, liked minimalist desert living so much that he encouraged his protégés to continue building rudimentary desert shelters after construction was completed. In addition to providing hands-on practice, the shelters forced aspiring architects to become intimately familiar with nature’s impact on living spaces.

 

Skis, the snowboard, the toboggan, the bobsled, the luge, the inflated tube: Humans have designed plenty devices to get from the top of a snowy hill to the bottom. But some Vermonters aren’t satisfied by sleek, mainstream, mass-produced equipment. They favor "jack jumping" on a bizarre homemade device that looks like a seat perched atop a single ski.

 

Across the world, a network of hobbyists is exchanging clues and secretly hunting down caches they use to communicate with each other, all while closely guarding their search from the “muggles” around them.

Participating in the ritual known as årsgång, or “year walk,” promised information about the future—if a walker followed the rules and reached the local church or graveyard. This form of divination is recorded in documents dating back to the 1600s, but many such records refer to it as “ancient,” making it unclear exactly when Swedish people began performing the ritual.

 

To understand how the Shakespearean actor-turned-assassin from Maryland supposedly came to haunt a theater in Texas, you have to turn to local folklore, modern conspiracy theories and the book that likely started it all: Finis L. Bates’ “The Escape and Suicide of John Wilkes Booth,” published in 1907.

 

 

 

In school they loaded me with tons of notions which I diligently digested, but which did not warm the blood in my veins. I would watch the buds swell in spring, the mica glint in the granite, my own hands, and I would say to myself:

“I will understand this, too, I will understand everything, but not the way they want me to.

I will find a shortcut,

I will make a lock-pick,

I will push open the doors.”

- Primo Levi