Horny Demand

Horny Demand

Every evening, Le Van Tuan would drink a tall glass of rice wine. To combat the ensuing hangover, he ground rhino horn into a glass of water. This, he said, would also prevent disease. Many Vietnamese believe rhino horns can cure everything from hangovers to cancer and impotency. Wealthy men […]

Getting By: Roadside Myanmar

Getting By: Roadside Myanmar

Creative and hardworking entrepreneurs wake up every morning and fill the sidewalks of Yangon, Myanmar’s capital. Their personalized stands provide all the daily goods and services that the people of city might need: a trishaw ride to the market, a game and an ice cream in front of the school […]

Organ Trail

Organ Trail

In China, it is said that there are two types of slaves: those who make Apple products, and those who buy Apple products. Shangkun, a teenage boy from Anhui province, represents the latter. In April 2011, he let a surgeon remove one of his kidneys so it could be transplanted […]

India’s Big Bath

India’s Big Bath

It is the largest gathering on earth. Most Westerners understand the Maha Kumbh Mela, if they understand it at all, to be about spectacle and tradition— the naked priests and sacred baths, the ash and fire and splashing. Most of the 80 million pilgrims—yes, 80 million—experience the Kumbh Mela as […]

Glow Games

Glow Games

Christmas is always around the corner for the residents of San Fernando. Recognized as the yule capital of the Philippines, the city harbors a cadre of craftsmen whose lineage dates back over a century, to 1908, when Francisco Estanislao first made a giant lantern 10 feet in diameter. Today, visitors […]

Getting By: Protecting Burma’s Identities

Getting By: Protecting Burma’s Identities

This is an installment of our Getting By column, profiles of street vendors and other informal economy occupations around the world.  Daily Income: Estimated between 4000 and 6000 Myanmar Kyat (USD 4.60-USD 7) Hours Worked: 12. Starting on the 8 AM southbound Mandalay-Yangon line, then returning on the next northbound […]

Enter the Void

Enter the Void

A giant hydrogen balloon catches the wind and floats swiftly upwards. The balloon travels 26 kilometers in total. It passes minefields, barbed wire, and steep mountains before releasing its payload on the lesser-known side of the world’s most militarized border: information from the outside world.

Pleasure Hacking

Pleasure Hacking

200 computer screens, stationed one foot apart, flicker through smoky air and fluorescent lighting. Some have as many as four males huddled around with their arms hanging on each other, mostly shirtless. It’s 11pm on Thursday, and even though discounted night hours haven’t started, the Internet cafe is near capacity.

Cobbled Together

Cobbled Together

In India, jugaad is an electrical cord, split and stripped at the end, each wire pushed directly into one hole of an electrical outlet with half of a toothpick wedging it in place. It’s a short log used as a cutting board for the evening’s vegetables, the middle hollowed from […]

Makeshift@TED: Grassroots Healthcare

Makeshift@TED: Grassroots Healthcare

Makeshift is reporting live from TEDGlobal 2012 with five questions for Professor Vikram Patel. Born in India and trained in the UK in the underfunded field of mental health, Dr. Vikram Patel is no stranger to resource constraints. But when he began a two-year post in Zimbabwe, he found himself utterly unequipped. […]