Missing Aleppo Peppers

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The catastrophic war in Syria and the devastation of Aleppo has resulted in a shortage of – Aleppo peppers. Western chefs and gastronomists bewail the absence of the unique spice in their pantries. Yet before rightly considering that millions of displaced and starving people in Syria endure unimaginable horrors every day, consider the loss of […]

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Dubai designer invites us to #FollowMeToSyria

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Dubai-based designer Siba Mohtadi is using social media to open minds and hearts to her war-weary homeland, the  Syrian Arab Republic. Mohtadi posts images on her Instagram account #FollowMeToSyria that illustrate still-beautiful Syria, where hotels and cafes are open for business, people go about their daily lives, and nature thrives, in spite of war and […]

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Spice up your summer the ancient Yemeni way!

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Pardon me, but you you pass the green s’chüg? I’m fresh from brunch with friends newly returned from Jaffa,  a feast formed from foods not easily found in my Brooklyn neighborhood. Hidden among the Challah bread french toast, steaming shakshuka (egg and pepper delection that’s my go-to Jerusalem breakfast), imported tahini, and home-cured olives, was […]

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Purposely destroyed artwork keeps dozens of refugees warm

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A major Jordanian artwork showcased at the 2016 Amman Design Week was recently repurposed to provide basic human shelter for people in need. This afterlife was intentionally designed into the piece, an artistic application of “cradle-to-cradle” practices. The project raises awareness about conscious design and the positive impact of handcrafts within local communities.

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Refugee architecture earns an exhibit in a NYC museum

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New York City’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is hosting an exhibition on refugee shelters to kickstart dialogue on the design challenges caused by humanitarian crises. Entitled “Insecurities: Tracing Displacement and Shelter”, the show looks at emergency housing in contemporary crisis zones. It is the first time a major museum has explored the plight of the […]

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Skittles, Risk and Statistics

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I’m going to thank Donald Trump Jr. for providing a simple way to visualize our decisions regarding human refugees. He said that we should pretend that “those people” are skittles, not someone we could ever imagine being a loved-one– capable of thought, compassion, joy and loss as we believe of ourselves. In junior Trump’s analogy, […]

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Syrian refugees list their tent on Airbnb

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Take empathy to a new level by living just like a displaced person. A group of Syrian refugees advertised their camp tent as a rentable destination on Airbnb, offering intrepid travelers “scorpions, dehydration and broken promises”. They describe the Ritsona, Greece refugee camp, about 80 kilometers north of Athens, as “the most unique neighborhood in […]

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Google gets hot for Wilbur Scoville!

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Google did a doodle marking the 151st birthday of the pharmacist who helped us navigate the chili peppers, the tiny veggie with the power to drop diners to their knees. Wilbur Scoville was the first person to measure the heat of peppers. His heat scale is still in use today, scoring the piquancy of peppers. (What […]

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Water, Wars and an Uncertain Future

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As the world awaits the release of the final draft agreement emerging from the COP21 climate talks – expected this morning –  longtime expert in water policy, Dr. Sundeep Waslekar explores one specific aspect of climate change in the following article, providing clear insight into the future of water, not only as a critical resource for all […]

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Real life virtual reality download of how Syrian refugees live

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Each day, something terrible happens somewhere in this world. Families and communities are torn apart and thrown together in unfamiliar ways. Strangers who had found one another just barely tolerable become fellow humans, grieving needing and helping one another to survive. “My name is Sidra. I am 12 years old… I have lived here in […]

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