Thrissur, India Arun Sankar/Getty
An Indian 'Theyyam' artist waits to perform at the annual Onam Festival
Each year, Theyyam performers in the Indian state of Kerala dance in ornate ceremonial garb, a tradition dating back thousands of years. Everything about this performer's appearance is striking: the elaborate headdress he wears, emblazoned with vivid paint, embroidery and golden beading; his painted lips and cheeks; the dots tracing the designs his face. But to me the most compelling is the one aspect devoid of color: his eyes — soulful and as black as the makeup surrounding them, which take you right to the person beneath the finery and behind the mask.
–Alex Bhattacharji, executive editor
London, England Dylan Martinez/Reuters
Commuters take selfies beside billboards showing photographs of cats
Tube riders in London are having a good time this month taking selfies with these cat pictures that have been put up in the Clapham Common station by a group called the Citizens Advertising Takeover Service. The group isn't anti-advertising so much as offering a reminder that "friends and experiences were more valuable than stuff you can buy".
Many of the people who moralize about how young people today are too shallow and materialistic are not going to be any happier when they see young people taking selfies in the tube stop, because fuddy-duddies love to argue that selfies are narcissistic behavior. But I think this is great. Sharing cat pictures with friends is a cheap and easy way to stay in touch, and good on CATS for doing a positive campaign instead of a finger-wagging one.
–Amanda Marcotte, politics writer
San Diego, California Mike Blake/Reuters
Joshua Alves shoots out of the ocean on a water jetboard
I’m surprised no one has manipulated these water jet-packs to create the ultimate game of real-life Quidditch by now. Get on this, International Quidditch Association.
–Jillian Kestenbaum, office manager
Paris, France Thomas Samson/Getty
French riot police officers at a demonstration against labour reforms
Tensions are flaring in France. The so-called Socialist Party is imposing decidedly capitalist labor reforms. Its Loi travail, which became law in August, will make it easier for corporations to lay off employees, reduce overtime pay and cut other forms of government support. The neoliberal reforms are tremendously unpopular. Thousands have gone on strike in protest, and demonstrations have been, well, heated — as is evident in this photo. The rightward lurch of French politics and the neoliberal policies of President François Hollande, a supposed socialist, have inspired a new grassroots movement: Nuit Debout, which some have described as the French equivalent of the Indignados movement in Spain, or the Occupy movement in the U.S.
–Ben Norton, politics writer