CAIRO — On bad days — and, in recent years, there seemed to be more bad days than ever — Gasser Abdel-Razek, captain, counselor and friend to nearly everyone in Egypt ’s shrinking human rights community, tended to counter the tension and stress with food. So it was, in August 2014, during the worst of Cairo’s blazing summer, that Mr. Abdel-Razek showed up to visit a friend in prison bearing a grin and an ice cream cake. An act of foolishness, maybe — or, as he often called his approach to advocacy under hostile conditions, “strategic denial.” “If we think about the threats, if we try to assess what will get us in trouble and what won’t, then it would be impossible to work,” Mr. Abdel-Razek, the executive director of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, said in a recent interview. “We stay focused on our work, and we tell ourselves, whatever happens, we’ll have to deal with it.” But in the last few weeks, denial became impossible. First, his group’s office manager, … [Read more...] about Accepting the Danger of Human Rights Work in Egypt, With Food and Humor
How to think right
In most fields of science, it would be a serious conflict of interest to prefer some study subjects over others. But practically everyone in Elaine Ostrander’s lab at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) plays favorites, in ways that even bleed into their personal lives. “Everyone in my lab has a dog,” Ostrander told The Daily Beast recently from her office in Bethesda, Maryland. “I have two people that own three dogs each—one has three hounds, one has three Shelties—and everybody else has a mixture of one or two, except for one strange person who has a cat.” Ostrander, if it isn’t clear, leads a dog lab, and she’s partial to Border Collies and Borzois, personally. During her day job, she works on several high-profile initiatives to answer questions about dog genetics, including the NHGRI Dog Genome Project and the international Dog 10K Genomes Project . All together, she’s worked on these projects and others for more than two decades; her ultimate goals … [Read more...] about Dog Genes Hold More Secrets About Humans Than You Think
As you watch the plate being cleared, you think: That was so good. What made that so good? Why isn’t there just a little more? Months later, your mind still glances back. I need to get back there. In 2022, these were some of the dishes that did that for us. In reporting our annual list of 50 favorite restaurants in the United States , our writers and editors ate hundreds of meals all over the country. They meticulously cataloged menus, and took notes on tastes and ingredients. In many cases, the restaurants mentioned here were excellent overall, but at the very least these dishes make them well worth a visit. BRIAN GALLAGHER Shaobing at Lion Dance Cafe Oakland, Calif. There might be preserved vegetables, homemade pickles, tofu nuggets or slabs of fried tofu. There might be vegan mayonnaise modeled on Kewpie , or crunchy slaws. The distinct and idiosyncratic sandwich changes every week, but you can always expect something thoughtful and hefty, held … [Read more...] about 25 Restaurant Dishes We Couldn’t Stop Thinking About This Year
Risking a public appeal while caged in Iran’s notorious Evin Prison speaks volumes about the depth of my despair. I have suffered quietly as nearly 2,500 of what should have been the best and most productive days of my life were lost behind these bars. But I am compelled to break that silence now because I believe that the Biden administration’s approach to rescuing Americans in distress in Iran has failed spectacularly so far and unless the president intervenes immediately, we are likely to languish in this abyss for the foreseeable future. I was incarcerated in October 2015 and handed a 10-year sentence after a closed-door trial. The judge ruled that activities such as speaking at university conferences, holding fellowships at Washington think tanks and even having a connection to the World Economic Forum were tantamount to attempting to overthrow the regime in collaboration with a hostile foreign government — meaning the United States. A probe by the United Nations called my … [Read more...] about I’m an American, Why Have I Been Left to Rot as a Hostage of Iran?
Produced by ‘The Ezra Klein Show’ The experience of reading Hannah Arendt’s 1951 classic “ The Origins of Totalitarianism ” in the year 2022 is a disorienting one. Although Arendt is writing primarily about Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia, her descriptions often capture aspects of our present moment more clearly than those of us living through it can ever hope to. Arendt writes of entire populations who “had reached the point where they would, at the same time, believe everything and nothing, think that everything was possible and that nothing was true.” She describes “the masses’ escape from reality” as “a verdict against the world in which they are forced to live and in which they cannot exist.” She points out that in societies riddled with elite hypocrisy, “it seemed revolutionary to admit cruelty, disregard of human values, and general amorality, because this at least destroyed the duplicity upon which the existing society seemed to rest.” [You can listen to this … [Read more...] about Anne Applebaum on What Liberals Misunderstand About Authoritarianism
(BPT) - 'Tis the season … of stressing over what to get everyone on your list. Choosing the right gift for your loved ones can be quite a daunting task, but there’s one gift that can delight friends and family alike — a great bottle of wine. Not in the mood to wander aimlessly through the wine aisle? Whether you’re shopping for a wine newbie or someone with already established preferences, here are tips for finding a great bottle for them this year. Expensive is not always better Let’s face it; the world of wine can feel intimidating, exclusive and expensive. In reality, there are plenty of good-quality, delicious wines available at entry-level price points. While your first instincts may be to choose a more expensive bottle, remember that pricing isn’t always indicative of wine quality. It's possible to find good wine at any price point. What’s most important is having an idea of your giftee’s taste. You may remember your giftee’s favorite wine from your latest night out at … [Read more...] about How to gift the perfect bottle of wine this holiday season