Welcome to @Instagram, @facebook’s next @facebook. Recently, the photographer @christiehklok had a look inside #Instagram’s headquarters in Menlo Park, California, where she captured this @beyonce-themed photo op. Today, @Instagram announced that about 700 million people now use its platform every month, with about 400 million of them checking in daily. (We 👀 you.) Our reporter @fmanjoo, who writes about technology, is a member of this newest batch of 100 million users. @Instagram, he writes, has “triggered an echo — it feels like Facebook. More precisely, it feels the way Facebook did from 2009 to 2012, when it silently crossed over from one of those tech things that some people sometimes did to one of those tech things that everyone you know does every day.” Visit the link in our profile to read his full column, and to see more photos by @christiehklok.
In her 30s, Sophie Marat used to record herself reading poetry aloud. Then, she’d play it back to hear if she sounded like a woman. Sophie, who’s transgender, spent years trying to remake her voice in private by speaking in a higher pitch. “I was feeling like changing my voice to match my gender identity was almost impossible,” said Sophie, who’s now 42. Her transition from male to female has been a gradual evolution. In the past, her confidence would falter with everyday tasks like ordering takeout. “It was really painful to speak on the phone,” she said, “because they would reply, ‘OK, sir.’” That was before she started her weekly sessions with a voice therapist at NYU’s speech-language-hearing clinic, one of a growing number of programs that cater to #transgender clients. A lot of what transgender women learn in voice therapy is how to safely use their vocal anatomy to create a higher pitch and oral resonance without straining. @caitochs photographed Sophie blowing bubbles into a cup, an exercise meant to relax the vocal tract muscles and maximize efficient vibration. Visit the link in our profile to read more.
“Baking is handwork,” writes @doriegreenspan in @nytmag, “and for me, all that is joyful, comforting, gratifying and even magical about this work is packed into the simple act of making biscuits.” For @doriegreenspan, this “simple act” is also a form of meditation. “I concentrate on how each step feels — not so much because it makes a better biscuit (which it does) or because it’s more satisfying (which it is), but because I like having my senses on high alert, anticipating and responding to the dough’s changes.” Making #biscuits is a combination of technique, faith and magic. At one point, you pass through a stage where only a belief in the baking gods keeps you from ditching the mess. Then, suddenly, the dough is smooth. These #biscuits are sweeter than most — and you can see why. Visit the link in our profile to get @nytmag’s #NYTFood recipe for #strawberryshortcake biscuits, photographed here by @gentlandhyers, with styling by @maggie_ruggiero and @aelisew. #🍓
#SpeakingInDance | “I’m looking for channels to tread through,” the performer Okwui Okpokwasili (@bornokwui) said about her multidisciplinary work “Poor People’s TV Room.” Created in collaboration with Peter Born, the dreamlike piece — which is showing at @nylivearts through Saturday — takes its inspiration from women's resistance movements in #Nigeria. Here, @bornokwui performs what she refers to as “sped-up market girl,” which contains gestures that she built from images of pre-Christian West African art figurines and of market girls. At this point in the work, “my character is being overwhelmed by these spirits in the market,” @bornokwui told the @nytimes writer @giadk. The movement is an attempt to open something up. “Like is there anything in the skin that I’ll never be able to articulate, but that can come through?” she said. “I’m always interested in making spaces, especially through movement. That’s where the engine is.” @adamgolfer made this video for our weekly series that explores the world of #dance.
Earlier this month, in the lush rain forests of central Borneo, @nytimes journalists watched as 13 adolescent orangutans were transported to an unspoiled tract of Salat Island. When the animals — endangered refugees from human development — reached the sanctuary, they clambered out of their cages and climbed up to freedom. As Borneo’s #rainforests are destroyed by development, nonprofits like the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation have struggled to find new habitat to relocate the rescued animals. Acquiring Salat seemed like a pipe dream, until a major Indonesian palm oil company purchased part of the island for orangutan rehabilitation. The partnership worries some environmentalists, who are concerned that it provides a flawed company an easy cloak of respectability. But for the foundation, the chance to release as many as 200 animals from cages was difficult to pass up. The photographer @uletifan photographed orphaned #orangutans at the rehabilitation center and arriving on Salat Island. Swipe left to see more photos, and visit the link in our profile to read more. #🐒
Armand Duplantis is the only high school pole-vaulter to have cleared 19 feet, and he’s already done it twice this year. He’s considered a medal candidate at the world track and field championships, which will take place this August in London. This is pretty extraordinary: Armand — who goes by Mondo — is 17, and he’s competing in an event where athletes tend to reach their prime in their late 20s. “He’s the Tiger Woods of pole vaulting,” said Earl Bell, a prominent pole-vault coach who won bronze at the 1984 Olympics in LA and once held the world record. Mondo started early; when he was in diapers, he climbed a neighbor’s tree, only to have a panicked passer-by call 911. Then he began vaulting with a broomstick in the living room, using an ottoman as a landing pit. By 7, he was a world age-group champion. Until recently, Mondo trained on a runway that extends about 125 feet from the side of his family’s home, under a gate and into the backyard, where it ends at a foam landing pit. Now, having outgrown his home training area, he practices at his high school. By the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Mondo said, his aim is to be “the best in the world and going for the gold medal.” @edmundfountain photographed Mondo demonstrating a pole-vaulting training device. Visit the link in our profile to read more.
James Beard, one of America's leading authorities on food and drink, once asked, “Where would we be without salt?” The answer: Adrift in a sea of blandness. #Salt has a greater impact on flavor than any other ingredient. Learn to use it well, and food will taste good. Salt has a multidimensional relationship with flavor: It has its own taste, and it both balances and enhances the flavors of other ingredients. Imagine taking a bite of a rich espresso brownie sprinkled with flaky sea salt. The salt minimizes the espresso’s bitterness, intensifies the flavor of the chocolate and offers a savory contrast to the sugar’s sweetness. Does this mean you should simply use more salt? No. It means you should use it better. A smaller amount applied while cooking, for instance, will often do more to improve flavor than a larger amount added at the table. And unless you’ve been told by your doctor to limit salt consumption, you can relax about your sodium intake from home-cooked food. To learn more about the nuances of salting, and to see more photos by @jessica___marx, visit the link in our profile.
Zarmena Waziri’s dementia is so severe that recently, when she ate an orange, she forgot to swallow and nearly choked to death. Zarmena has suffered multiple strokes, has high blood pressure and wears a diaper. Now, in a case that’s captured headlines across Denmark, the Danish authorities have called the 70-year-old Afghan woman to be deported to Afghanistan. Her children say that if that happens, she's sure to die. “I live in constant fear that I am going to come home and find that the door has been knocked down and that my mother is gone,” said her daughter Marzia, who’s lived in Aarhus, Denmark, for 25 years. “She wouldn’t last a day in Afghanistan. She has no one there.” But the Danish authorities counter that the decision to deport Zamena is of her own making: She broke the law. Since November 2012, her various applications to remain in Denmark have been rejected 3 times, and she’s disregarded every order to leave. @andrew_testa photographed Zarmena and Marzia, her main caregiver, while on #nytassignment in Denmark. Visit the link in our profile to read more about Zarmena’s case and growing anti-immigrant sentiment in Europe.
Nearly 2 billion people use @facebook every month, about 1.2 billion of them daily. The company has become the largest and most influential entity in news, commanding an audience greater than that of any American or European TV news network, any newspaper or magazine in the Western world and any online news outlet. It’s also the most powerful mobilizing force in politics. As recently as a year ago, Mark Zuckerberg (@zuck) might have proudly rattled off these facts as a testament to the platform’s power. But over the course of 2016, @facebook’s gargantuan influence became its biggest liability. During the U.S. election, propagandists used the service to turn fake stories into viral sensations. And that was only part of the problem. With its huge reach, @facebook has begun to act as the great disseminator of the larger cloud of misinformation and half-truths swirling about the rest of media. @zuck now acknowledges the dangerous side of the social revolution he helped to start, @fmanjoo writes in @nytmag. But is @facebook capable of adapting to the world it created? @spencer_lowell took this photo at #Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, California. Visit the link in our profile to read more.
Welcome to the world’s coolest preschool, where #soccer chants get mixed in among the nursery rhymes. Since 2010, the Pestalozzi Foundation kindergarten has operated from inside Hamburg's Millerntor-Stadion, which is home to @fcstpauli. Pestalozzi offers families perks that are most likely unique in the world of early childhood education, borrowing the stadium’s field, tunnels and roof for group activities. Players from the team come by to read to the children. And on match days, parents clamor to reserve a spot to watch from the kindergarten’s deck, which was photographed here by @gordonwelters. Despite @fcstpauli’s mostly modest achievements on the field, it has become famous outside Hamburg. The decision to reserve space for a child care center made sense perhaps only in the famously unconventional world of the socially conscious club. Its fan base is known for its left-leaning politics and vocal campaigns against racism and homophobia. Atop the stands huge signs read, in German, “No football for fascists” and “No person is illegal.” Visit the link in our profile to read more. #⚽
On the morning of the African Cultural Festival at the University of North Texas (@unt), the festival’s founder was doing last-minute errands. There were drums to gather, programs to pick up from the printer, costumes to procure. For these annual events, Torgbui Midawo Gideon Foli Alorwoyie is his own promoter, his own publicist, his own street team. “I do everything myself,” he explained. The 71-year-old is a rarity in American academia: a master drummer from Africa who is a tenured professor of #Africandrumming and dance, disciplines that are difficult to categorize within Western musical theory. In his own country, Ghana, he’s one of the few musicians working arduously to pass on traditions in danger of disappearing. Without a written history, traditional Ghanaian drumming is part of a family of African song forms that don’t fit easily into Western pedagogical models. Even in Africa, the sacred songs and rhythms that he teaches are struggling, with the drummers and dancers of Ghana’s national ensemble earning salaries that barely sustain them. The photographer @avose took this portrait of Torgbui Midawo Gideon Foli Alorwoyie while on #nytassignment. Visit the link in our profile to read more.
Sicily’s Jews were banished from Palermo in 1492, the victims of a Spanish edict that forced thousands to leave and others to convert to Roman Catholicism. More than 500 years later, a nascent Jewish community is planting fresh roots in the Sicilian capital, reclaiming a lost, often painful, history. Palermo’s archbishop, Corrado Lorefice, has granted the emerging community the use of an unused oratory, which will be transformed into Palermo’s first stable synagogue in 5 centuries. The effort also means reacquainting Palermo citizens with a history that many didn’t even know they had. For many years “history books skipped over the city’s Jewish presence, as if trying to cancel it,” said Maria Antonietta Ancona, a retired anesthetist who goes by her Jewish name, Miriam. She was raised as a Roman Catholic, but her father was Jewish. 30 years ago, she began recovering her roots as part of a “pressing necessity” to embrace her Jewish identity. @giannicipriano took this photo inside Palermo’s municipal archives, which recently exhibited the 1492 edict that barred Jews from the island, along with mementos of more recent affronts. Visit the link in our profile to read more.