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A daily calendar made of tea

And other recent highlights from the Ideas blog

The Tea Calendar, as it's called, was created by the German tea company Halssen & Lyon as a promotional tool for its tea industry clients.Halssen & Lyon/Hälssen & Lyon

The tea world is rife with accoutrements, but maybe none are cooler than this: a page-a-day calendar where each page is made from pressed tea leaves that dissolve in hot water. The Tea Calendar, as it’s called, was created by the German tea company Hälssen & Lyon as a promotional tool for its tea industry clients, but as soon as the calendar hit YouTube, people wanted to know: Where can I buy one? The answer is
nowhere, for now, but a Hälssen & Lyon representative explained via e-mail that the company plans to make the Tea Calendar available to consumers after a long testing period. An ecstatic representation of the enthusiasm many people hold for tea, the calendar is also something of a contradiction: It celebrates the ritualistic pleasure of tea drinking, while disrupting the ritual by turning into a different kind of tea each day.

Old faces of Cuba


Old age tends to take people out of public view, but street artist JR tries to bring them back. JR, a Frenchman whose real name is unknown, has become an international art celebrity thanks to his work flyposting oversized black-and-white photographs, often portraits of ordinary people’s faces, to the sides of buildings in cities around the world. His work initially had the aspect of a guerilla art campaign, but now his renown puts him more in the league of noted urban installationists Christo and Jeanne-Claude.

JR’s series “The Wrinkles of the City,” which he began in Cartagena, Spain, has also appeared in Los Angeles and Shanghai. More recently he and collaborator José Parlá took to Havana, where they bedecked the old communist capital with the faces of dozens of Cuban Revolution survivors wearing expressions of deep-creased sanguinity. “The Wrinkles of the City, Havana,
has been adapted for display at the Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery in New York City, where it’s on display until July 12.

If Roe were overturned

It’s one of the key questions underlying the abortion debate: How would abortion rates change if the Supreme Court were to overturn Roe v. Wade? Activists on both sides sling accusations and predictions, and there’s no way to know the answer for sure. But a trio of researchers recently developed a good estimate using newly discovered abortion data from New York State in the years immediately before and after the 1973 Roe decision.

New York legalized abortion in 1970, and soon became by far the top destination for out-of-state women who wanted abortions but couldn’t get them locally. The researchers, who presented their work at the recent annual meeting of the Population Association of America, found that pre-Roe, abortion rates fell 11.9 percent for every 100 miles a woman lived from New York. This corresponds with the intuitive idea that the farther women have to travel for abortion care, the less likely they are to have an abortion performed.

The researchers then used that data to run through a hypothetical scenario in which the Supreme Court overturned Roe. It’s estimated that as many as 31 states would vote to make abortion illegal if that were to happen, and if they did, the average distance a woman would have to travel to have an abortion would increase from 30 miles to 187 miles. Merging that with the historical data from New York, the researchers calculated that the national abortion rate would fall 14.9 percent and the number of live births in the United States would increase 4.2 percent.


The researchers note that these would be significant changes, but conclude, “despite the profound impact of overturning Roe, we anticipate that the vast majority of women in states without legal abortion would access services in states where abortion remained accessible.”


Kevin Hartnett is a writer who lives in Ann Arbor, Mich. He can be reached at