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In Kabul, the bustle of the city – shopping, work, conversation and play – takes place beneath a mysterious US military balloon that has hovered in the sky since 2009. Ominous yet somehow part of the landscape given its omnipresence, the balloon’s precise purpose and capabilities are not disclosed. Part of The Intercept’s Field of Vision documentary series, The Above is both an apt metaphor for the state of global surveillance, and an unsettling glimpse into the increasingly common experience of living with unfamiliar, unwelcome objects overhead.
Director: Kirsten Johnson
Producers: Kirsten Johnson, Marilyn Ness
Editor: Nels Bangerter
Jocelyn Bell discovered pulsars. The Nobel Prize went to her supervisor
Animals and humans
A bluesy ballad tells the story of Old Bet, the first circus elephant in the US
In this 1975 lecture, the maglev train’s inventor deconstructs his ingenious design
Information and communication
There are many ways to make a flat map of the world – each of them a unique distortion
What is it like to clean the world for tomorrow while the rest of a city sleeps?
The nearly forgotten origin myth of Hawaii’s third-gender healers, as told by one
A whirlwind tour of Hong Kong’s high-rises is an awesome meditation on urbanity
Sports and games
After a day’s toil in California’s fields, labourers let loose in street races
History of technology
Remarkable historical footage is locked behind paywalls. It’s time to set it free