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Rituals of the Russian Banya

By Vlad Chorazy in Features, November 20, 2021

Steam baths are well-known in many European countries, but maybe only in Russia is the steam-bathing “banya” tradition such a subject of national pride and an attribute of Russianness, and rightly so.

Bismarck’s health insurance

By Stefan Bauernschuster, Anastasia Driva, Erik Hornung in Features,

The model for today’s health insurance systems was Otto von Bismarck’s compulsory health insurance, introduced in the German Empire in 1884. contemporary mortality data to show that, by extending access to healthcare, Bismarck’s health insurance significantly reduced mortality rates for blue-collar workers

Restoring the Mosaics of San Vitale

By Livia Alberti in Arts and Culture,

The VI century Basilica of San Vitale in Ravenna is a unique example of Byzantine art and culture. In recent times an important conservation project has restored the basilica’s mosaic wall decorations to their full glory. Livia Alberti was one of the leaders of the restoration team.

Tree of the Wooden Clogs

By Robert Arnold in Arts and Culture,

Robert Arnold looks back at Italian director Ermanno Olmi’s masterpiece “The Tree of Wooden Clogs” (L’Albero degli Zoccoli), winner of 14 awards including the Palme d’Or for Best film at Cannes in 1978 and the César Award in the same year for Best Foreign Film.

Crypto currencies don’t make sense

By Jon Danielsson in Economics and Finance, November 19, 2021

Cryptocurrencies are supposedly a new and superior form of money and investments – the way of the future. The author of this article, however, does not see the point of cryptocurrencies, finding them no better than existing fiat money or good investments.

The World’s Best Travel Book

By Allston Mitchell in Travel Writing, November 20, 2020

“The Way of the World” is a 1950s travelogue of a trip that Nicolas Bouvier and Thierry Vernet took from Geneva to the Khyber Pass in their faithful FIAT Topolino. Bouvier’s account is now famous amongst travel literature lovers and is generally considered to be the best travel book ever written.

Gold as Monetary Arbiter

By Michael Taylor in Economics and Finance, October 14, 2018

Michael Taylor looks at the evolving role of gold and how central banks have (mostly) learned that in the absence of the discipline of gold, their principal job is to protect the financial stability which alone confers value on scrip money.

My Father, Ezra Pound

By Alessandra Quattrocchi in Arts and Culture, October 12, 2018

An interview with Mary de Rachewiltz, daughter of Ezra Pound, from her retreat in the Italian Tyrol. “My father always managed to be on the wrong side”

In the Medina

By Geoffrey Heptonstall in Travel Writing, October 9, 2018

Green is the colour of Islam, presumably because it is emblematic of paradise. Fertility in a climate of extreme heat and vast deserts cannot be taken for granted. It may seem to a believer God-given, a blessing. The surprise is how green much of Morocco seems. Even in the intense heat of Africa, there are […]

Putin’s Patriarch

By Astrit Dakli in Features, September 3, 2018

The Orthodox Church is filling a political void left by the collapse of the party system in Russia. Kirill I, the Patriarch of Moscow, is forging stronger links with the Kremlin, attacking what he ominously describes as “anti-Russian” behaviour, including homosexual propaganda, the all-female pop group “Pussy Riot” and even more bizarrely the works of Lenin.