Year: 2015

Apple hedging on good enough

I’m a big fan of Apple products. Their hardware is always well designed and well made. I like using them, I like they way they work, how they feel in my hand.

I am not a fan of most Apple software.

The operating systems are good enough, but not groundbreaking. I don’t want all the baffling options and lack of consistency I see with Android – I had an Android phone for a year or so, it never felt “nice” to use – and whilst it sounds like Windows is getting back to being usable, I like the Apple hardware too much to move (maybe the new Microsoft lap/tablet/top thing will sway me?), and most Linux variants I’ve seen and used are not user-friendly.

Apple keeps moving iOS and OSX forward but ultimately they do what they need to do and don’t get in the way too much, which is all I need.

Apple applications on the other hand are, almost across the board, not great and everywhere I look there are better alternatives.

I may give the Photos app a stay of absence here, as it suits my needs but I know most people look to other solutions here.

I use Safari as my browser, but beyond that I hardly use any of the Apple applications on either operating system.

On iOS I use Cloudmagic and not Mail, Todoist rather than reminders, Fantastical over Calendar, Spotify over Music, Overcast for podcasts, Dropbox for files, Evernote for notes, and Dark Sky for weather.

In fact just about anywhere I can, I’ve swapped out Apple apps for 3rd party ones, and I’m not alone. Apple proudly talks of the over 1 billion app downloads made through the App Store on iOS alone, but how many of you have a folder on your iPhone that holds unused, and undeleteable, Apple apps?

But hey, it’s all about choice I guess, right?

Except it isn’t, or at least it won’t be. Look at how Android is starting to tie together the information your phone knows about you to produce ‘Now’ cards, and because it can get access to your email, your calendar, the websites you browse, it has more data with which to be helpful.

Apple is heading the same way, and it all makes sense. For a tiny computer in my pocket, the more useful it can be, the more likely I am to invest in it and, at some point in the future, our smartphones need to be smarter, they need to push the information I need to me when I need it, not wait for me to open an app.

So, the fact that I’m NOT using the apps that Apple offer becomes more than just a preference, it’s a limitation.

I’m not sure how I get past that. Part of me hopes, and possibly presumes, that the weight of consumer need will push Apple to open things a little more, allow better integration at the system level to the various apps I use. When I ask Siri to play my “Radio G” playlist, it should know I mean in Spotify, not Apple Music.

Alas, I fear that day won’t ever arrive. Apple has been very protective of its ecosystem, and whilst it is slowly adding more and more capability to the apps that it does offer, at some point I have to decide to make do with ‘good enough’ or leave the ecosystem to get what I want from my technology.

The next couple of years are gonna be interesting.

Weekend Reading

I’m behind on my Goodreads challenge so I’ll admit I haven’t read all of these this week but they all looked interesting…

  • ‘If the Camera Moves it’s Got To Be for a Reason’: An Interview with Roger Deakins
    Nobody shoots movies as well as Roger Deakins. He is without question our greatest cinematographer: an exemplar without comparison.
    Read: http://ift.tt/1L8Zb0g
  • Blank Space: What Kind of Genius Is Max Martin?
    Among the stranger aspects of recent pop music history is how so many of the biggest hits of the past twenty years—by the Backstreet Boys, ’NSync, and Britney Spears to Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, and the Weeknd—have been co-written by a forty-four-year-old Swede.
    Read: http://ift.tt/1FLqgWR
  • Study: White people react to evidence of white privilege by claiming greater personal hardships
    Researchers at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business have found that white people respond to evidence that they are privileged by their race by insisting that they face greater hardships in life. In a study published in the November issue of Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, L.
    Read: http://ift.tt/1JN1Ffp
  • The Untold Story of Susan Hawk
    She had always dreamed about being Dallas County district attorney. But as her career took off, her personal life was falling apart—divorce, pain pills, thoughts of suicide. After two months of treatment, she says she’s ready once again to serve.
    Read: http://ift.tt/1Q0mqJQ
  • Online Dating Made This Woman a Pawn in a Global Crime Plot
    Audrey Elaine Elrod was in rough financial shape as the 2012 holiday season drew near. She’d been out of work for a year, ever since quitting her longtime clerical job at the county public health department in Charlotte, North Carolina.
    Read: http://ift.tt/1Z2Pdn4
  • 43 Books You Won’t Be Able To Stop Talking About
    I read this over the summer and have probably recommended it to everybody I know at least three times since then. It is an amazingly written novel that explores traumatic childhood abuse but also the universal human capacity for kindness, forgiveness, and unconditional love.
    Read: http://ift.tt/1Q2o8up
  • Take a look around the extraordinary derelict island featured in the James Bond movie ‘Skyfall’
    One photographer, Kevin Dooley, has documented the entire island — and it’s pretty spectacular. People first settled Hashima because of nearby coal resources. The Mitsubishi Group bought the island in 1890 to use it as a base for coal extraction from the sea. 
    Read: http://ift.tt/1MbxhgE
  • The Taken King’s titular character is transgender (although you’re forgiven if that’s a surprise)
    Destiny’s most recent expansion, The Taken King, is centered around a transgender character. That’s big enough news, but the more interesting question is the following: Why wasn’t this discussed in the gaming press?
    Read: http://ift.tt/1j0mkap
  • Up Periscope: Why Twitter’s Live Streaming App is a Personal Branding Game-Changer
    Today’s episode of Youpreneur.FM is all about the latest social media favorite, Periscope, and how it’s taking the online marketing world by storm. Chris gives tips on how to start your own scopes and how he’s been able to monetize the app himself.
    Read: http://ift.tt/1Z4opD8
  • Google’s Cute Cars And The Ugly End Of Driving
    The thing about covering tech, especially for a long time, is that you have these moments where you get to really reach out and touch the future. They’re rare. But you get to the point where you can recognize them and see the truly significant shifts. The very early web felt that way.
    Read: http://ift.tt/1RrRH9L
  • Times Square: The City’s Id, Now and Always
    Times Square in the de Blasio era.
    Read: http://ift.tt/1KX7Xx4
  • Apple Watch Users Are Working Out (And Standing) More, Survey Says
    Apple CEO Tim Cook announces fitness apps for the new iPhone 6 and Apple Watch in 2014 in Cupertino, California. The Apple Watch automatically nags users to stand up every hour and alerts them when they haven’t met their daily exercise goals.
    Read: http://ift.tt/1QWhIwQ
  • Inside the creation of the Microsoft Surface Book
    No one saw it coming: The Surface Book, history’s first Microsoft laptop (or notebook, if you prefer). And has there ever been a more apt setting for a special delivery than the giant and largely defunct Post Office building in Midtown Manhattan in New York City?
    Read: http://ift.tt/1FTmif6
  • Digital dependence ‘eroding human memory’
    An over-reliance on using computers and search engines is weakening people’s memories, according to a study. It showed many people use computers instead of memorising information.
    Read: http://ift.tt/1Liqp0d
  • Inside the world of audio branding with Skype’s new pings, bounces, and pops
    The year that Skype launched its calling service, the world was in the midst of a sonic crisis: the ringtone. Mobile phones — to which Skype was an indirect competitor — were becoming ubiquitous, and so were the personalized sounds that went with them.
    Read: http://ift.tt/1j7TkgT
  • This caffeinated peanut butter could replace your morning coffee
    You can now eat a caffeinated peanut butter and jelly sandwich instead of drinking a cup of coffee. The food product company STEEM now offers caffeinated peanut butter with as much caffeine as two cups of coffee in one serving, according to the company’s website.
    Read: http://ift.tt/1LhKAQ4
  • The Transfiguration of Aloneness: David Whyte on Longing and Silence
    Longing is one of those acutely reality-warping emotions that magnify their object — be it a person or an outcome — to astonishing proportions until it eclipses just about everything else in your landscape of priorities.
    Read: http://ift.tt/1Q9DjSo
  • The Passion of Nicki Minaj
    Pop music is dominated almost exclusively by the female star — Beyoncé, Rihanna, Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga and, as always, Madonna.
    Read: http://ift.tt/1MZ89wD
  • The Scrappy Female Paleontologist Whose Life Inspired a Tongue Twister
    Mary Anning, pictured pointing at a fossil on the ground next to her dog, Tray. (Image: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons) Say “she sells seashells by the seashore” quickly, three times in a row.
    Read: http://ift.tt/1VHbyYa
  • DNA At the Fringes: Twins, Chimerism, and Synthetic DNA
    Plenty of things can go wrong in DNA testing in a run-of-the-mill case. Problems with interpreting the sample, determining the right match probabilities, and ensuring the integrity of the sample and the evidence collection and testing process are everyday, ordinary kinds of issues that may arise.
    Read: http://ift.tt/1Ll69ei
  • When a Father’s Son Becomes His Daughter
    I called Papa in June 2001, the night before my sister Juno’s sweet sixteen party.“I’m coming in on the bus around five,” I said. “I’ll be wearing makeup and women’s clothes. I just want to let you know so you’re not surprised. We can talk about it later.
    Read: http://ift.tt/1Gyx0T0
  • News & Views
    I, like approximately 13 million people in the country, spent Wednesday evening bawling my face off watching Nadiya Hussain become crowned the winner of The Great British Bake Off. It was all too much – the amazing cakes, Nadiya’s tears, the camaraderie of the lovely participants.
    Read: http://ift.tt/1NsEqiH
  • Rampage Killings Linger in Memory, but Toll of Gun Violence Is Constant
    Columbine, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, and now, a community college in Roseburg, Ore. One after another, mass shootings have horrified the nation, stoking debate about the availability of legal guns and anguish over the inability of society to keep weapons out of the hands of seething killers.
    Read: http://ift.tt/1MjssWT
  • Facebook is supplementing the “like” button with six emoji reactions
    You know what’s cooler than a single emoji to express emotion? Seven emoji to express emotion. That’s right: Facebook is reportedly testing out adding six emoji options (
    Read: http://ift.tt/1L3hkew
  • You can learn to be creative, if you’re willing to embarrass yourself
    In 1666, one of the most influential scientists in history was strolling through a garden when he was struck with a flash of creative brilliance that would change the world. While standing under the shade of an apple tree, Sir Isaac Newton saw an apple fall to the ground.
    Read: http://ift.tt/1L1GPx2
  • To overcome procrastination, be more selfish
    We’ve all had the experience of wanting to get a project done but putting it off for later. Sometimes we wait because we just don’t care enough about the project, but other times we care a lot—and still end up doing something else.
    Read: http://ift.tt/1L1DC0f

Once more unto the breach

Once more unto the breach
Dear friends, once more;

I had plans and goals, but then I always have plans and goals, and I achieved one of them in August yet, whilst September slipped by in a Singapore haze, October has loomed large and plans were made once more.

The plan for October had been to start Couch-to–5k on the 1st of the month, alas man-flu felled me, reducing me to a lump on the sofa.

But I WILL start and I WILL be at 5K distance for the end of the year (hear me, ohhhh god of positive thinking!). At that point ParkRun will beckon, the habit will be established, I will be a runner once more.

I’m keen to get started, raring to go, and that usually bodes well as I know my fitness/weight loss challenges are very much determined by my mood (as are my eating habits, I am the epitome of an emotional eater).

And so, it begins again.

I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game’s afoot:
Follow your spirit, and upon this charge…

(yes, I’m leaving out the last line… mostly because I can’t be bothered rewriting it to a more Scottish view)

I am a feminist

Poly Means Many: There are many aspects of polyamory. Each month, the PMM bloggers will write about their views on one of them. Links to all posts can be found at http://www.polymeansmany.com.

I am a feminist. Perhaps not a very good one, but I’m still learning.

Hang on, how can you be a bad feminist? I’m either a feminist or not. Let me start over.

I am a feminist.

I thank my Mum for even though, I wasn’t consciously registering it, her constant, quiet, protestations about the patriarchy (not a word she has ever used) stuck in my brain.

I know the very last thing anyone needs is another white cis male voice in this conversation, but as that would bring a fairly premature end to this piece then please forgive me as I batter on.

Feminism is not a topic I write about very often for the reason stated above, but I do listen and try and amplify others when and where I can, I also try not be mindful of my communications and my actions. I don’t always get it right, but when I get it wrong I own my mistake and try and make things right as best I can.

So, what does that have to do with polyamory?

Honesty, trust, communication, being open and listening to my partners and understanding that they have an equal place in the relationship is a reasonable summary of my approach to polyamory and matches my attitude and approach to feminism.

There is also a parallel, no doubt better explored and written about by others, between feminism and polyamory. Both are a deliberate choice, a break away from the more ‘traditional’ (i.e. culturally accepted) norms of monogamy where the man is the ‘primary’ and the women is ‘secondary’.

I am a feminist. A non-monogamist feminist.

I should probably get a t-shirt made or something…

Weekend Reading

More random stuff from various sources, enjoy!

  • Inside the Group of Straight Men Who Are Swearing Off Women
    All over the world, straight men are making the conscious decision not to be involved with women. This isn’t a decision in any sort of metaphorical sense. These men are literally cutting women out of their lives, completely.
    Read: http://ift.tt/1KTweVZ
  • Coming out of the bisexual closet
    For decades, I’ve called myself a lesbian. Is it finally safe to admit I like men, too? The candles were lit for dinner, and my date had arrived. I really liked this person, and I looked around a bit nervously, wondering what everyone was thinking.
    Read: http://ift.tt/QYLSXY
  • What Happens Next Will Amaze You
    This is the text version of a talk I gave on September 14, 2015, at the FREMTIDENS INTERNET conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. Good morning!
    Read: http://ift.tt/1V8KKQu
  • ‘We Value Experience’: Can a Secret Society Become a Business?
    The bespectacled man with short-cropped hair stood up. “Can I ask a question!” the man shouted, vocal cords straining. The audience turned. They were all members of The Latitude, a secret society based in the San Francisco Bay Area.
    Read: http://ift.tt/1NWrwJw
  • Michael Faraday on Mental Discipline and How to Cure Our Propensity for Self-Deception
    “That point of self-education which consists in teaching the mind to resist its desires and inclinations, until they are proved to be right, is the most important of all.
    Read: http://ift.tt/1FZDREG
  • Sneaker Wars: Inside the Battle Between Nike and Adidas
    Everybody wants the Yeezys. It’s a frigid February night during New York Fashion Week, and Kanye West has just spent the afternoon at a runway event in SoHo unveiling his first fashion collection for Adidas—a collection anchored by the futuristic Yeezy Boost 750s, a.k.a. the Yeezys
    Read: http://ift.tt/1h2fXSB
  • News & Views
    You see, even though we have the second-worst life expectancy in 15 European countries, because we eat, drink and smoke to excess, and don’t do enough exercise (I KNOW! I’M SHOCKED, TOO!) there are many, many great things – like having the good manners to take bad news on the chin
    Read: http://ift.tt/1LhF7ux
  • Stop Googling. Let’s Talk.
    COLLEGE students tell me they know how to look someone in the eye and type on their phones at the same time, their split attention undetected. They say it’s a skill they mastered in middle school when they wanted to text in class without getting caught.
    Read: http://ift.tt/1KYAWBL
  • Apple Watch Photo Face Gallery Offers Cool Customization
    Twitter user and Apple Watch aficionado Stefan Poulos of Poulos Collective has posted a series of wearable wallpapers he’s designed for use with Apple Watch’s new Photo Face.
    Read: http://ift.tt/1Ww2bYl
  • How Spotify’s Discover Weekly cracked human curation at internet scale
    In the ‘90s, Aby Ngana Diop was the queen of taasu, a practice of ritual poetry performed by female griots in Senegal.
    Read: http://ift.tt/1KL2Yzj
  • Vegas on the Black Sea
    There is no chacha in the chacha fountain. There was supposed to be, of course.
    Read: http://ift.tt/1MAN8b7
  • Ina Garten Does It Herself
    For a long time, Ina Garten was a Hamptons shopkeeper who waited upon the wealthy. She has been, for a shorter time, a celeb­rity chef of some wealth. “Am I a billion­aire? Of course not!” she told me recently over tea on the Upper East Side, and then she laughed.
    Read: http://ift.tt/1KMhjeS
  • 13 Mistakes People Make in Their 20s
    Most people use their 20s to figure out what it means to be an adult, and the process is certainly not easy for everyone.
    Read: http://ift.tt/1iFNzH1
  • Meet The Most Powerful Force In The Star Wars Universe: The Man Who Makes The Toys
    We spoke to Hasbro’s Star Wars design director to discover how the most anticipated toy line of all time is created. When I was a kid growing up, Christmas day meant one thing: more Star Wars toys. I couldn’t get enough of those beloved 3 and 3/4-inch Kenner action figures.
    Read: http://ift.tt/1LJCikG
  • Threats. Vitriol. Hate. Ugly truth about women in sports and social media
    Editor’s Note: The following contains offensive, vulgar language used to address an important but sensitive subject matter. Reader discretion is advised. The first time I was ever called a “cunt,” at least to my “face,” was on a sports blog in 2006.
    Read: http://ift.tt/1MVaU4B
  • Donald Trump Is Not Going Anywhere
    ‘I don’t worry about anything,’’ Donald J. Trump told me aboard his 757 as we were flying to the recent Republican debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif.
    Read: http://ift.tt/1ODKK6K
  • How Radiohead’s ‘Kid A’ Kicked Off the Streaming Revolution
    Capitol Records had a problem. The year was 2000, and one of the biggest bands on its roster was about to release the highly anticipated follow-up to its breakthrough album without a radio single or music video.
    Read: http://ift.tt/1KOxcOS
  • Behold: The Ultimate Crowdsourced Map of Punny Businesses in America
    Every day, we pass business signs. Big billboards, tiny gold leaf etching on glass doors, honking neon lights—all of this signage is part of the visual white noise of one’s daily travels, whether it be by foot, car, bus, or train.
    Read: http://ift.tt/1N0n7oH
  • Google’s Cute Cars And The Ugly End Of Driving
    The thing about covering tech, especially for a long time, is that you have these moments where you get to really reach out and touch the future. They’re rare. But you get to the point where you can recognize them and see the truly significant shifts. The very early web felt that way.
    Read: http://ift.tt/1j1qiQF
  • Why Hurricane Joaquin Is So Hard To Forecast
    UPDATE (Oct. 1, 1:21 p.m.): Hurricane Joaquin has been upgraded to a Category 3 storm (and is expected to hit Category 4). Here’s the latest forecast: The odds are that Hurricane Joaquin, now lingering 175 miles east-northeast of the Bahamas, will hit somewhere along the U.S.
    Read: http://ift.tt/1JJdCD1
  • Future reading
    From 2009 to 2013, every book I read, I read on a screen. And then I stopped. You could call my four years of devout screen‑reading an experiment. I felt a duty – not to anyone or anything specifically, but more vaguely to the idea of ‘books’.
    Read: http://ift.tt/1KTkf7x
  • Rage Against the Machine bassist: I apologise for Limp Bizkit
    Rage Against the Machine’s bassist Tim Commerford has taken it upon himself to issue an apology. A deeply personal one, that can only have been delivered after hours of soul-searching and personal torment.
    Read: http://ift.tt/1GggtTv
  • 9 Nodding Strategies for Your Next Meeting
    You‘ve got a bunch of meetings coming up, but do you have your nodding strategy ready? More seasoned professionals may think they can just nod the same way they did in their last meeting, but that’s not an option — people will notice.
    Read: http://ift.tt/1FFEGIe

Weekend Reading

Back from my holiday, so a bumper edition for you! Ohhh and if anyone has any good sources for interesting articles (newsletters, RSS feeds, etc) then leave a comment. I’m always thirsty for more!

  • What It Means To Be Me
    Navigating boundaries as a biracial agender person.A Roundtable Discussion – In my sophomore year of college, while navigating my gender identity and coming to terms with the fact that I might be a trans guy, I took a course called The Sociology of Gender.
    Read: http://ift.tt/1EWoFgq
  • Why we crave what’s cool
    You probably heard quite a bit during the last 24 hours about the latest cool new products from Apple, iPads and iPhones, that in some circles quickly become the latest must-have gadget. But what exactly makes a product cool?
    Read: http://ift.tt/1ETlkiu
  • Lower Blood Pressure Guidelines Could Be ‘Lifesaving,’ Federal Study Says
    Declaring they had “potentially lifesaving information,” federal health officials said on Friday that they were ending a major study more than a year early because it has already conclusively answered a question cardiologists have puzzled over for decades: How low should blood pressure go?
    Read: http://ift.tt/1iCPFYo
  • Cool cartography: the art of mapmaking
    One of the most prolific ski-trail mapmakers at work, Niehues is known for extreme attention to detail, giving unique form, structure and shadows to trees, or adding cars to resort parking lots. He usually begins by gathering images of his subject from various angles, including archival photos and flying around the area at various elevations. A medium-size ski resort takes two to four days to sketch and seven to 10 days to paint. Larger regions have taken weeks.
    Read: http://ift.tt/1QpJZfz
  • The Dunce Cap Wasn’t Always So Stupid
    Sure, a dunce cap looks dumb now, but that wasn’t always the case. The dunce cap has long been a visual symbol of idiocy and punishment, but was once seen as something closer to a wizard’s hat.
    Read: http://ift.tt/1OlKND8
  • This Is The Current World Record For Stone Skipping
    Kurt Steiner crushed the previous record of 65 skips with a whopping 88, the physics of which is simply mind-boggling.
    Read: http://ift.tt/1NNohE5
  • Jonny Wilkinson interview: ‘winning the World Cup was a danger for me’
    As the last moments of the 2003 Rugby World Cup final were being battled out in Sydney, Jonny Wilkinson’s mother, Philippa, was shopping in a Tesco near her son’s Northumberland home, too nervous to watch her then 24-year-old’s pivotal role in the England v Australia match.
    Read: http://ift.tt/1MdtH89
  • Why London’s music scene is still one of the best
    When it comes to underground and leftfield dance music, London’s been leading the charge for decades.
    Read: http://ift.tt/1L5r0IE
  • What the World Got Wrong About Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
    In the sleek, cold lobby of the Langham Place hotel in Midtown Manhattan, one of those thoroughly designed spaces in which one cannot find a right angle, much less a comfortable chair, the 68-year-old, 7-foot-2 former basketball star sits.
    Read: http://ift.tt/1FP5vEm
  • Viola Davis gives stirring speech after historic win at 2015 Emmys – video
    Viola Davis gives a stirring speech after becoming the first woman of color to win the best actress in a drama series award at the 2015 Emmys on Sunday.
    Read: http://ift.tt/1Joa5tw
  • 10 Tips from One Week as a Professional Baker
    Be prepared to get your hands dirty and apply sprinkles liberally. Have you ever fantasized about quitting your 9-to-5 to bake cookies all day? Well, folks, I’m here to tell you the dream is alive and well.
    Read: http://ift.tt/1Ljxgeo
  • The psychology behind why couples always fight when assembling Ikea furniture
    If you have assembled a piece of Ikea furniture with a partner, then you have probably argued with a partner about assembling a piece of Ikea furniture.
    Read: http://ift.tt/1KV5TZz
  • Take a Grand Tour of the World’s Great Tattoos
    A Grand Tour of Tattooing, hitting all the highlights, might start in New York and end in Montreal. But in between, it would circle the world. You’d travel to San Francisco, Japan, Beijing, St. Petersburg, and Berlin, before doubling back through Johannesburg, Jerusalem, India, and Bangkok.
    Read: http://ift.tt/1FiOpUv
  • Scenes From a Human Flood
    For the past several weeks, the world’s attention has been riveted by the spectacle of migrants and refugees from Africa and the Middle East making their way across Europe. A principal entry point has been the Greek island of Lesbos, close to the Turkish mainland.
    Read: http://ift.tt/1icSWgx
  • 100 Wonders: The Everlasting Lightning Storm
    The sky above this river never sleeps. Producing 3,600 flashes per hour, for 10 hours at a time, for most nights out of the year, the “Relampago del Catatumbo,” has been raging, on and off, for as long as people can remember.
    Read: http://ift.tt/1KsLR5s
  • The Self-Made Castaway Who Spent 16 Years on an Atoll With His Cats
    The phrase “sole survivor” evokes scenes of violent disaster—a plane crash; an explosion in a mine; the eruption of a volcano whose lava destroys a city and all its inhabitants but one.
    Read: http://ift.tt/1OpB0wX
  • The Avenger
    When Ken Dornstein learned that Pan Am Flight 103 had exploded, he did not realize that his older brother, David, was on the plane. It was December 22, 1988, and Ken, a sophomore at Brown University, was at home, in Philadelphia, on winter break.
    Read: http://ift.tt/1ircT3n
  • Hit Charade
    The biggest pop star in America today is a man named Karl Martin Sandberg. The lead singer of an obscure ’80s glam-metal band, Sandberg grew up in a remote suburb of Stockholm and is now 44. Sandberg is the George Lucas, the LeBron James, the Serena Williams of American pop.
    Read: http://ift.tt/1KPjlOu
  • 7 Insanely Inventive Movies You Have To See To Believe
    Noodles like white worms in gray-green sludge, supposedly human flesh studded with suckers like an octopus, and a very unsettling ultrasound — even the seemingly innocuous opening shot of Evolution, of a boy swimming in the ocean, seen from below, is troubling.
    Read: http://ift.tt/1QUuHzK
  • How Cocktail Culture Survived Prohibition and World War II
    ​When Esquire made its debut in late 1933, repeal was imminent and Americans didn’t know a damn thing about polite drinking.
    Read: http://ift.tt/1MmOXbC
  • Here’s Why Some People Are More Religious Than Others
    When it comes to predicting the kind of people most likely to be religious, brainiac scientists used to be everyone’s last guess. The more educated a person was, the thinking went, the more likely they were to question the supernatural.
    Read: http://ift.tt/1V7hzxb
  • Psychologist reveals the 9 most common dreams and what they mean
    Many psychologists have given up trying to interpret dreams, but we talked to one who hasn’t. Psychologist Ian Wallace has interpreted over 150,000 dreams during more than 30 years of practice.
    Read: http://ift.tt/1QZ0Czd
  • Health
    Sitting is basically the new smoking. An ever-growing body of research is showing that being sedentary and sitting for long periods of time are linked to poor health consequences, including a laundry list of risks for conditions ranging from obesity to heart disease.
    Read: http://ift.tt/1V9vwp6
  • Why Everything Is Bad for You
    When I was growing up in the same New Jersey suburbs so expertly described in Todd Solondz movies and Tom Perrotta novels, the usual lunch for me was a sandwich consisting of Wonder Bread spread thick with Land O’ Lakes butter, a wad of Oscar Mayer bologna and a slice of American cheese.
    Read: http://ift.tt/1V87SP3
  • Netflix Data Reveals Exactly When TV Shows Hook Viewers — And It’s Not the Pilot
    Netflix crunched cold, hard viewing data for more than two dozen TV shows and says it has determined which specific episode grabbed most subscribers to the point where they watched the entire first season.
    Read: http://ift.tt/1iMlCOh

Weekend Reading

Enjoy this weeks random selection of random articles. No Weekend Reading next week as I’m on holiday, but will be back with a vengeance (and a bumper edition) in a fortnight.

  • The Cold War : Epic Magazine
    “Sure,” Efrain said. He was guarded and didn’t know where this was headed. Dennis took the lead, plunging into a list of complaints: Efrain boxed his drivers in, dropped prices, even catcalled people. Efrain sighed or shook his head in denial at each allegation.
    Read: http://ift.tt/1VzUos0
  • On How to Disagree
    We live in a world saturated with disagreement.
    Read: http://ift.tt/1sq2etL
  • Scientists say they’ve found a way to slow ice cream’s melting
    Ice cream is already a scientific miracle. It has all three phases of matter—solid, liquid, and gas—in one delicious scoop. But unless you gobble it up, it can melt into a sad puddle too quickly in the summer heat. What if there were a way to slow down the melting?
    Read: http://ift.tt/1LcN3Hv
  • The benefits of being selfish
    None of us wants to feel like we’re being selfish. We all know we should have empathy for others and be helpful. But when it comes to doing your best work, sometimes being selfish is exactly what you need to do.
    Read: http://ift.tt/1IPUJxw
  • Four future space technologies that will change the world in your lifetime
    Imagine a world where severe storms, tornadoes, and flash flooding are no longer a threat to human life. Or a time when flying from London to Australia takes less than an hour.
    Read: http://ift.tt/1KxGtRx
  • Want to drink whisky in space? You’ll need this glass
    Getting the whisky into the glass and drinking it has been engineered according to a four-step process, according to James Parr from the Open Space Agency.
    Read: http://ift.tt/1iry71i
  • Soothe Yourself By Watching Tiny Meals Being Cooked in Tiny Kitchens
    Japanese miniature cooking videos, in which hands appear in a dollhouse-esque kitchen to prepare minuscule meals, are slowly becoming an internet sensation.
    Read: http://ift.tt/1UurxD7
  • The Players’ Tribune
    I am hours away from playing in the biggest tennis match of my life: the fourth round of the U.S. Open … on Labor Day … on my dad’s birthday … on Arthur Ashe … on CBS … against Roger Federer.
    Read: http://ift.tt/1Lj4iHk
  • One lawyer’s crusade to defend extreme pornography
    One evening in the late autumn of 2008, Andrew Holland returned from holiday to discover that the front door to his home in Wrexham had been smashed in. Thinking he had been burgled, he phoned the police. They came straight round – and arrested him.
    Read: http://ift.tt/1L0rWMO
  • Real Talk With Trans People — Matter — Medium
    Real Talk With Trans People – How to be an ally – Words can cut, like knives slicing open wounds. For transgender folk, loaded lingo has long made us feel unseen and unwelcome.
    Read: http://ift.tt/1JS02hP
  • The refugee crisis: 9 questions you were too embarrassed to ask
    There have always been refugees: people who are forced from their home countries by conflict or repression or something else, and who must find new homes and new lives abroad. But there is something different about what’s happening now.
    Read: http://ift.tt/1LkfFi7
  • How Much Harm Can Sugar Do?
    If you want to wage a war, you have to have an enemy. By almost any measure—scientific reports, documentaries, government announcements, and nearly thirty million Google results—we have been waging a War on Obesity for many years. It is not going well.
    Read: http://ift.tt/1IWSYyQ
  • High Score
    Awful days, like childhood summers, flow together in a vague, compounding blur.
    Read: http://ift.tt/1O7GefH
  • Researchers have discovered a better way to wait in line, and you’re going to hate it
    Think of all the time that you’ve ever spent waiting in line. How many hours have you spent waiting to board an airplane, get a table at a restaurant, use an ATM or a bathroom, or talk to a customer service representative?
    Read: http://ift.tt/1K7GdCe
  • How mindfulness plays havoc with memory
    Mindfulness, the form of meditation embraced by business leaders, celebrities and the NHS, might not be so beneficial for the mind after all, according to research. The practice, which emphasises paying deliberate attention to the present moment, can implant false memories, a study found.
    Read: http://ift.tt/1QqoHP1
  • Smashing melons and juggling chainsaws: Guinness World Record breakers tell their stories
    I am always fascinated by this type of challenge – I am a master instructor for self-defence and have tried different ones before, including breaking bricks with my head. I’ve been practising and teaching martial arts for many years, it was a passion of mine growing up.
    Read: http://ift.tt/1QpODud
  • On Cheating

    Poly Means Many: There are many aspects of polyamory. Each month, the PMM bloggers will write about their views on one of them. Links to all posts can be found at www.polymeansmany.com.

    There are many ways in which polyamorous and monogamous relationships are not only similar, but identical and, at a basic level, cheating is one of them.

    If you are seeing someone without telling your partner(s), you are cheating.

    Within a poly relationship this is no different and relies on honesty and trust, and no small amount of talking.

    Which is no different to any other aspect of polyamory, communication and honesty are key.

    So how could someone end up cheating? Well it depends on what the expectations are within a given relationship, what is agreed and allowable by all, and that everyone is being clear on what they want, and what they don’t want.

    First things first; safety. If you and your partners have been tested for STIs, and are happy to not use condoms (technical term: fluid bonded), then obviously the risks rise when another sexual partner is added to the mix.

    Beyond that, how you and your partners define cheating is up to you. You can require notice and a level of approval of any new partner, or allow for casual relationships as long as they are carried out safely and everyone is kept in the know. The latter allows for one-night stands, the former protects your current relationships.

    And if you have cheated, owning up is the hardest part. Admitting you have done something wrong and accepting whatever the consequences may be.

    It may surprise some people that being poly doesn’t remove the chance of being cheated on, or the circumstances that can lead to cheating. After all the act of cheating is a personal, singular one, it is a decision that you take knowingly, even if you don’t want to admit that to yourself.

    Weekend Reading

    I’m a little behind in my reading so a shorter set of links than usual.

    • The incredible life and haunting death of world traveler Harry Devert
      Photos of Harry Devert almost inevitably show him standing somewhere breathtaking — a frozen cave in Iceland, a mountaintop in the Himalayas, a waterfall in Brazil — with his arms out wide and his face tilted up towards the sky.
      Read: http://ift.tt/1NN6dZz
    • The contagious madness of the new PC
      It’s becoming pretty clear, as the year rolls on, that some of our brightest youngsters have gone round the bend. It’s as if they’ve caught a virus, a mental one, a set of thoughts and ideas that might loosely be called political correctness, but seem to me weirder and more damaging than that.
      Read: http://ift.tt/1PUXNi6
    • How to Be Happier Without Really Trying
      You are already a happiness expert. Seriously. You’re just a bit inconsistent. You already do a lot of things that researchers recommend for increased happiness. You just don’t realize it. And that’s the problem.
      Read: http://ift.tt/1hPQNbe
    • 12 photos of gravy wrestling guaranteed to put you off gravy for life
      They’re so passionate about their gravy in Lancashire that they don’t just have it with their chips and their roast dinners; once a year they get together and wrestle in a big, greasy pool of the stuff.
      Read: http://ift.tt/1L4Q2lc
    • How Kurobe, Japan Became the Zipper Capital of the World
      It has done so through the auspices of YKK, the world’s largest manufacturer of zippers, producing roughly half the world’s supply—some 7 billion a year.
      Read: http://ift.tt/1X56PxP
    • How Netflix’s ‘Beasts of No Nation’ Could Change the Movie Business
      Idris Elba nearly plunged to his death filming Cary Fukunaga’s “Beasts of No Nation.” The indie drama, about an African tyrant known as “the commandant” who recruits an innocent boy into his army of youth soldiers, took Elba into the depths of Ghana’s jungles for a guerrilla-like shoot.
      Read: http://ift.tt/1hyikNs
    • Why Won’t Anyone Learn My Name?
      My colleagues often misspell and mispronounce my name, so much so that every iteration is a new invention. But since my name is not, say, “Scaachi,” and they think that a convenient mispronunciation of my name harkens a certain ‘90s songstress (RIP), they think it’s correct, or a compliment.
      Read: http://ift.tt/1JCgswR
    • The Latest Craze In Winemaking: Marijuana-Infused Wine
      There’s been a lot of buzz about pot and wine recently. It’s hard to separate the toga party contingent’s thirst for a potion into which two psychoactive substances have been crammed, from the more sober, scholarly consideration of the 3,700+ year history of fortifying wine with cannabis.
      Read: http://ift.tt/1JuFJqx
    • Lucille Clifton Reads “Won’t You Celebrate With Me”
      “One should wish to celebrate more than one wishes to be celebrated,” poet Lucille Clifton (June 27, 1936–February 13, 2010) told Poets & Writers Magazine in 1992.
      Read: http://ift.tt/1N6nJsQ
    • The Story Behind Australia’s Pink Lake
      The big idea behind these “Maphead” posts—the raison d’etre, if you will—is to sniff out geographical oddities. These are places that are somehow unique or weird on the map, often more interesting than they are in real life.
      Read: http://ift.tt/1GR0oD5

    An august month

    I can’t quite believe it’s September but it is, so it’s time to take stock of how my two ‘challenges’ went in August.

    I’ll start with the least successful.

    21 days into Minimalism

    Suffice to say if I’d read ahead I probably wouldn’t have chosen this particular challenge. Day 4 asks you to pack up your entire home as if you are moving… yeah, safe to say I wasn’t THAT invested in the challenge.

    However I stuck to the principle and managed to declutter a few different locations so I’m happy enough with that.

    I’m also more than happy to admit that I failed at this challenge which, in itself, is also a small achievement. Go me! pats self on back

    Apple Watch Activity Ring Challenge

    Simple enough concept, complete all three rings, every day in the month of August.

    August Rings

    SUCCESS!

    This was a nice reminder in how much it means to me to be outside, if only for a short walk. Some days I’d complete all three rings easily, others I had to push myself to get out for a walk. Oddly the ‘Stand’ ring was the toughest, purely because if I had a lazy morning I had to be more disciplined during the rest of the day. However given that I’m not working I’m confident that’ll change when I get a new job.

    Walking every day has also helped my mental health, there have been a few flat days in the last month and on those days I did need some cajoling to get out the door but I always felt better for it after the fact.

    So lessons learned, one challenge complete and no surprise that it was the one that included a level of gamification.

    What’s Next?

    FECK ALL!

    September will be a challenge free month, but there is no doubt that having something to focus on has helped me get through my first full month without a job. Hopefully this time next month I’ll at least have had a couple of interviews. So, aside from continuing the job hunt and a wee jaunt to Singapore, I’ll need to make sure I keep myself occupied.

    That reminds me, I’ve fallen behind in my Goodreads reading challenge, should really catch up…