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Brett Forrest • Playboy
Grigori Perelman solved a mathematical problem that others had said was impossible, and then disappeared into obscurity in St. Petersburg.
"Perelman had truly suffered, acutely. He withstood a claim—since refuted—on his Poincaré proof from a rival Chinese mathematician. He turned down the Fields Medal, believing that acceptance would be, as Rukshin explained, fundamentally dishonest. Perelman once rebuffed a TV crew from Russia's Channel One when they barged through his apartment door, pushing aside his mother. He withstood the procrastination of the Clay Mathematics Institute, which took its sweet time—five years—to offer him the $1 million it had committed to the person who solved the Poincaré. 'Grisha is tortured by the imperfection of humanity,' Rukshin said."
Harry Engels/Getty Images
Nellie Bowles • Foreign Policy
A rare look inside Swaziland's mysterious annual kingship ceremony and brewing protest movement.
"'The rest of the world keeps saying we should have democracy, and we agree,' Vusie Majola, who runs a nonprofit, said. 'But what they don't understand is that the king, he can point a stick at you and you die. We are dealing with someone whose power the world can't understand.'"
WALTER DHLADHLA/AFP/Getty Images
In Search of the Living, Purring, Singing Heart of the Online Cat-Industrial Complex
Gideon Lewis-Kraus • Wired
Exploring the bizarre relationship between cats and the Internet in Japan.
"Marx and I watch a few new cat videos, some of the up-and-comers, those challenging or exceeding Maru's pageviews. 'An interesting thing, here in Japan, is that it's not just the cat partners who post cat stuff. It's everybody.' Soezimax, for example, is an action-film maker, one of the most popular partners in Japan, with millions of views. But some of his most popular videos are the ones he posts of the fights he has with his girlfriend's vicious cat, Sashimi-san, who regularly puts Soezimax to rout. He's the anti-Maru, the standard-bearer of uncute Internet cat aggression. The videos are slightly alarming, especially when we're all so used to anodyne felinity. Then Marx brings up Japan's most popular Internet comedian, who used to post regular videos of himself in a cat café. (In Japan, they have cafés where you go to pet cats.)
'It's like,' Marx says, 'no matter how successful you are here on the Internet on your own terms, it's de rigueur that you still have to do something with a cat.' In a culture of Internet anonymity, bred of island claustrophobia and immobility, the Japanese Internet cat has become a crucial proxy: People who feel inhibited to do what they want online are expressing themselves, cagily, via the animal that only ever does what it wants.
Junko Kimura/Getty Images