Month: August 2016

Weekend Reading

  • Is Donald Trump Actually Trying to Win?
    So it’s not surprising that Trump has undertaken a major shakeup of his campaign, hiring Bannon and promoting the pollster Kellyanne Conway. Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort has effectively been demoted.
    Not suggesting he should be taken lightly, but he makes so much noise so randomly, is his gameplan something else entirely?
  • This Is How To Get Healthy: 6 Research-Backed Secrets
    You want to know how to get healthy? Eat better, exercise and get more sleep… But you don’t need me to tell you that. You know that. So is health just a matter of biology? Nope. Research shows living well is more than marathons and what you put in your mouth.
    If only there was a sense of common held ideas that we could apply to these things. A common sense, they’d call it…
  • Joseph Stiglitz on Brexit, Europe’s long cycle of crisis, and why German economics is different
    Globalization seems to have a lot more discontents lately.
    The ‘long tail’ ramifications of the Brexit vote will be with us for generations, but it’s not anything all that new.
  • China’s new quantum satellite will try to teleport data outside the bounds of space and time
    This week, China launched the world’s first quantum satellite. So what exactly does this mean? Uncrackable keys? Bizarre features? Both true. This satellite is designed to literally teleport information, to distances 1,200 kilometers (746 miles) away.
    Boldly going etc etc
  • A Charming 1926 Case for Why the Bicycle Is the Ideal Vehicle for Writers
    “Don’t cultivate a ‘bicycle face,’” an 1895 list of don’ts for women cyclists admonished just before the bicycle became a major vehicle of women’s liberation.
    Mostly this is a reminder to me that I have a bicycle and should use it.
  • Giving up alcohol opened my eyes to the infuriating truth about why women drink
    I’m newly sober and dog-paddling through the booze all around me. It’s summer, and Whole Foods has planted rosé throughout the store. Rosé is great with fish! And strawberries! And vegan protein powder! (Okay, I made that last one up.)
    And no, not just ‘because they like it’ apparently.
  • Denmark has figured out how to teach kids empathy and make them happier adults
    Empathy, or the ability to read another person’s emotions, is a critical life skill. Many fear children are losing it—and that they’ll be less happy as adults as a result.
    A pebble in the ocean? Or an idea that really deserves to take off? Less hate, more love and all that!
  • In 1898, Nikola Tesla Predicted Drone Warfare
    Nikola Tesla was both of his time and ahead of it (he has a car company named after him, after all). Besides his contributions to altnerating current electrical systems, the inventor predicted smartphones, television, and apparently drones, which he thought could cause humanity’s destruction.
    I read an autobiography of this amazing (flawed) man, he continues to be remarkable in every sense of the word.
  • What does a dog want more — “good boy” or treats?
    Sometimes the best dog treats aren’t edible. Every night when I walk my 6-year-old Boxer, he knows exactly what to expect once he’s unleashed. His tail wags furiously, his body wiggles, and glistening drops of saliva drip to my kitchen floor.
    I am offended on behalf of all dogs, reducing their characters to praise or treats? What about sleep and playing fetch? What about… ehhh.. yeah, ok, as you were.
  • Prof. Brian Cox Has a Maddening Conversation with a Climate Science-Denying Politician
    According to NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, July 2016 was the warmest month ever recorded. 2016 will likely be the warmest year on record. And the decades ahead will only get worse, much worse.
    Once again Prof. Brian Cox proves he is a better man than I by NOT punching this a-hole in the throat.
  • Tesla has maxed out what its current batteries can do
    Tesla says it has built the fastest production car in the world powered by one of its most potent electric batteries. Yet it won’t be enough to power a new generation of mass market electric vehicles.
    Market tip: Find the company that will take batteries to the next level, that will make the ‘leap’. Back them.
  • How an Algorithm Learned to Identify Depressed Individuals by Studying Their Instagram Photos
    One of the curious things about color is that we associate it with emotions. Intuitively, we tend to link darker, grayer colors with negative moods and brighter, lighter colors with positive ones. Indeed, researchers have found that people suffering from depression prefer darker colors.
    And you will all now be checking your Instagram photos. Yer welcome!
  • HUGE Domino Tower Fail!
    HUGE Domino Tower Fail! America’s largest domino tower collapses after 7 hours of non-stop building! 3,242 dominoes were stacked in 241 layers on a 19 feet tall FREE STANDING tower – 10 layers away from being the SECOND tallest tower in the world.
    OK, admit it, you thought this was a bit pizza…
  • Under attack? No, it’s just a Snorlax causing another Pokemon Go stampede
    The Taiwanese aren’t about to let a little traffic get in the way of a rare Pokemon. After all, the Snorlax, which is usually found sleeping in inconvenient locations throughout Kanto, is docile enough to let children bounce on its huge tummy.
    Still ‘phenom-ing’ then…
  • A Filipino fisherman kept a 75-pound pearl under his bed for 10 years
    The world’s largest natural pearl has been unveiled in the Philippines after a local fisherman says he kept it under his bed for ten years. It has yet to be formally appraised by gemologists, but some are speculating that it could be worth millions.
    Puts the Princess and the Pea in a cocked hat!
  • The Virtual Surgeons of Syria
    Earlier this year, a Syrian American orthopedic surgeon was shopping with his two toddlers at a Walmart in Grand Rapids, Michigan, when he heard the familiar ping of a notification from WhatsApp, the encrypted messaging service: A teenager had been shot in the leg.
    Harrowing, amazing, and a reminder both of the horrific conditions many people live in, and the power of the human spirit to persevere and do good things.
  • Why Is It That Most Zippers Have YKK Written On Them?
    It has all to do with the “circle of goodness”.
    I used to guess what the abbreviation meant, but none of those are fit for public consumption.
  • Philippines drugs war: The woman who kills dealers for a living
    The Philippines is in the midst of a brutal war on drugs sanctioned by the controversial President Rodrigo Duterte, which has seen almost 2,000 killings in a matter of weeks.
    Largely unreported in mainstream media. Horrible question: what number does it need to be to be considered genocide?
  • Like. Flirt. Ghost: A Journey Into the Social Media Lives of Teens
    Lara has just updated her Instagram with a picture. It’s of her and her twin sister, Sofia, in bathing suits, doing the backstroke in crystalline water. It’s shot from afar, from a height, and the girls look like synchronized swimmers or else mermaids.
    A timely reminder that I am old, very very uncool (almost wrote ‘unhip’!) and my social media is not your social media.
  • Why You Should Stop Eating Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
    Meals are good, and snacking is bad. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and if you eat dinner with your family, you will keep your girlish figure and your kids will be healthier. Taking a lunch break will make you succeed at your job. Okay, now forget all that.
    I think most people know all of this already, but it’s good to have proof from the internet when I order my second dinner (that’s how it works, right?)

Weekend Reading

  • Nabisco’s X-Rated Toy Scandal of 1971
    No one at Nabisco’s corporate headquarters in New York City had any idea why members of the National Organization for Women were lined up outside.
    The truth is always stranger than fiction. ALWAYS.
  • For many in my fearful, frustrated generation, “having it all” means opting out of monogamy
    The Daily Mail would have you believe that polyamory is all wild orgies. Think more tea and washing up rotas. Polyamory, if you believe the news­papers, is the hot new lifestyle option for affectless hipsters with alarming haircuts, or a sex cult, or both.
    A great article on a topic dear to my heart.
  • What I Learned Working With Jony Ive’s Team On The Apple Watch
    Meet Bob Messerschmidt. Apple quietly acquired Messerschmidt’s startup in 2010 (after Messerschmidt sent Steve Jobs an unsolicited email, but that’s another story).
    Fanboy alert: Not quite pulling back the curtain to display Oz but an insight into a very secretive company called Apple.
  • Brain Region Associated with Generosity Uncovered
    This particular brain region seems to makes some people quicker to learn empathy for others, the study found. Previous research has shown that this same brain region is smaller in those suffering from major depression or bipolar disorder.
    The more we learn about the brain, we more complex it seems.
  • The Strange Brain of the World’s Greatest Solo Climber
    Alex Honnold has his own verb. “To honnold”—usually written as “honnolding”—is to stand in some high, precarious place with your back to the wall, looking straight into the abyss. To face fear, literally.
    Speaking of brains (no this isn’t a zombie special) here’s an interesting chap.
  • Free Soloing with Alex Honnold
    Join rock climber Alex Honnold in his ascent of Half Dome, nearly 2,000 feet — without a rope.
    From the previous article. Warning: May induce vertigo and fear!
  • How Fish Sticks Became the Food of the Future That Nobody Asked For
    As a society, our relationship with food is in constant flux. Sometimes we value efficiency in the name of feeding as many people as possible. Other times we value quality ingredients in the name of nurturing the body or soul.
    Fish dicks. That is all.
  • Humans need to swear. But are we wearing out obscenities?
    Humans are a profoundly foul-mouthed species, as anyone who’s taken part in an emotional argument, listened to a toddler recite the words she’s picked up from her family, or hit a thumb with a hammer—that is, all of us—can attest.
    Bet you thought I’d include a swear here, ha, gotcha!
  • The Fake Dicks Are Coming, at the University of Texas at Austin
    One week from Wednesday, gun opponents predict the campus at the University of Texas (UT) at Austin will be covered with students hanging dildos from their backpacks for the first day of classes. The action comes in protest of a new right for gun owners in the state.
    Fish dicks. Wait, what?
  • Yes, There Is Such a Thing as an ‘Introvert’ Hangover
    The first Christmas I spent with my now-husband, he took me to a family event at his aunt’s house. He mentioned during the drive that this was a family reunion of sorts, with people having flown in from all over the country. Needless to say, this made me a little apprehensive.
    This, many many times this! Reminds me of a line from a song “before his first step, he’s off again”.
  • How Big Is A Fart? Somewhere Between A Bottle Of Nail Polish And A Can Of Soda
    The questions kids ask about science aren’t always easy to answer. Sometimes, their little brains can lead to big places adults forget to explore.
    My new favourite question I think (and the answer may surprise you).
  • Someone please explain to Kim Kardashian that she’s a feminist—and that’s OK
    Kim Kardashian recently underwent a complicated exercise in cognitive dissonance, declaring on her website that she believes in feminism but is not a feminist herself. “Why do we have to put labels on things,” she asks.
    I am a feminist.

Weekend Reading

Found in song

Walking in silence through the nest of headphone cables, dodging pigeons and detritus as she picks her way through the tangle of closed minds. She lets her ear guide her on days like today, days where she doesn’t need a place to hide away. She walks past shops whilst buses and taxis produce their every day noise.

Roaming where she wants to, from busy streets to quieter parks. Over head the birds sing out and the wind cries as it rustles leaves, sweeping through the trees. Kites on a string reach the highest heights.

She keeps to herself, just trying to keep her head screwed on, philosophising some.

She stops to sit on a bench that is picked out for her in sunlight, she rests her bones, knowing the loneliness won’t leave her alone. She lets the warmth wash over her and listens to the world as it turns, as it quietly sings in its long forgotten tongue.

The chords progress, minor turns major, reflecting the sunbeams all around her, visions in chromatic wonder.

She closes her eyes and starts to hum a broken melody, back and forth, over and over. She ignores this as best she can, she is practised in this routine now, letting the notes seep in and be accepted for what they are. She knows not to force it. She sits there as the sun beats down, just lets it be. She wonders. There is still a light that shines on me, shine on until tomorrow.

A cacophony of little children run past her, all giggles and shouts, tiny feet pound out staccato steps that she stores away.

The sun fades as she rises from the bench. Dazzled by the change of light she heads home, as the pregnant sounds kick and writhe in her head.

Home and her head is full of voices, she can only hope her house holds no lies. She picks up her guitar and strums, trying to capture the melody, coaxing it out into the light once more. She adjusts her fingers, maybe here? No. Here. There, there. She can feel it beginning now and knows she is safe to capture it. She plucks a pencil from the table and marks down some notations, her looping forms tumble and fall like dice.

She plays it again, letting it adjust itself, feeling the hooks growing as starts to pick up pace, the cadence and rhythm start to emerge as the music is born, another badly strung declaration, gently smiling.

Months later, she watches from behind her keyboard as the light breaks over the crowd before her. The moments of recognition as a trumpet heralds the melody writ large. The syncopated beat mirrored by the shuffling crowd, older than children in body but never in mind. Strings breeze in as the melody builds. She watches the faces, some with eyes closed and upturned to the ceiling, like a hundred flowers searching for the sun.

Like a lost woman who found herself on a park bench.

Weekend Reading