Training to Become the First Civilian Artist in Space
Photographer / Michael Najjar
Many people have dreamed of becoming an astronaut, but few have worked quite so hard as Michael Najjar to make it happen.
The photographer plans to become the first artist in space, something he has been training extensively for since 2012. Read more.
Buy a Tank and Sip Some Wine at Poland's Giant Weapons Fair
Photographer / Nikita Teryoshin
War is hell, but the trade show rocks.
Some 22,000 people descended on Kielce, Poland, last month for the International Defense Industry Exhibition, to check out the latest weapons of war. German photographer Nikita Teryoshin captured the bizarre scene in Nothing Personal. Read more.
Pug Owners and Redheads Unite! Online Groups Meet IRL
Photographer / Amy Lombard
Now matter how weird or obscure your interest, someone out there loves it as much as you do and is eager to indulge it, dissect it, and celebrate it. Everyone has a clan, and the internet makes it easy to find.
Photographer Amy Lombard celebrates these connections in her delightful book Connected. She attended 80 web-organized meetups across the US, capturing people bonding over parrots, yoyos and their love of J. R. R. Tolkien. Read more.
Out on the Texas Ranch Where Scientists Study Death (NSFW)
Photographer / Robert Shults
Death isn't easy to think about—much less photograph. But Robert Shults does it. In fact, the stark black and white images in his The Washing Away of Wrongs make it seem almost poetic. Read more.
The Weird and Wonderful Gas Stations of Iraq (Yes, Gas Stations)
Photographer / Eugenio Grosso
The 70-mile stretch of dusty highway connecting Kirkuk to Sulaymaniyah in Northern Iraq looks like any other road in the world—except for the 70-plus gas stations lining the shoulder. Some look more like a temple. Or have gold-plated pillars. Or brandish a snappy set of Kurdish flags. Read more.
The Fake Mountain Range That Appeared on Maps for a Century
Photographer / Jim Naughten
The Mountains of Kong form a magnificent, impassable mountain range in West Africa. It's not real. But that didn't stop 19th-century writers from waxing poetic about its formidable, snow-capped peaks. Or illustrious cartographers from including it in historical maps. Or Jim Naughten from photographing it. Read more.
Hack, Hustle, Nap, Repeat: Life as a Young Techie in San Francisco
Photographer / Laura Morton
The fact that nine out of every 10 startups fails doesn't keep people from descending on the San Francisco Bay Area with dreams of getting rich while changing the world. Everyone wants to be the Uber of something, convinced that the world needs an app to help people express their emotions or an online store selling party favors that glow in the dark.
Laura Morton dove headlong into this crazy world and emerged with Wild West Tech. Her ongoing series takes you into the networking parties, hackathons and grubby crash pads where techies tap tap tap away at their laptops. Read more.
The Strange, Totally Not True Story of a Cursed Physicist
Photographer / David Fathi
Wolfgang Pauli was among the most brilliant physicists of the 20th century. Pauli, a professor of theoretical physics at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, proposed the existence of the neutrino in 1930 and won the Nobel Prize for in 1945 for the exclusion principle.
He was also cursed. Read more.
The Subversive Women Who Self-Publish Novels Amid Jihadist War
Photographer / Glenna Gordon
The 30 million Hausa of northern Nigeria have a history going back more than a 1,000 years. Theirs is a rich and vibrant culture, but also a patriarchal one. And in recent years, the region has been terrorized by the brutality of jihadist militant group Boko Haram. It is not, in short, a place you’d expect a literary movement of Muslim women to flourish, especially one that sells pulpy novels in the very marketplaces targeted by jihadists. Read more.
Visit an Underground Mining Town in the Australian Outback
Photographer / Tamara Merino
The town of Coober Pedy doesn't look like much—a smattering of buildings and mounds of dust surrounded by a scorched desert divided by the Stuart Highway. The name comes from the indigenous phrase for "white man in hole," which is apt, because more than half of the 3,500 residents live underground. Homes, restaurants, even the church lie beneath the surface. Read more.
The Internet Lives in a Huge Hotel in Manhattan
Photographer / Peter Garritano
There is no shortage of cool stuff to see on the Internet, but the Internet itself—the networks and servers and cables tying it all together—is pretty mundane. Peter Garritano discovered as much when he went behind the scenes at some of New York's big Internet hubs to see how it all works. Read more.