Weekend Reading

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  • Not all men commit abuse against women. But all must condemn it
    Male violence against women is rife – and it’s getting worse. We need a new, inclusive form of masculinity to eliminate it. The failure of men to speak out about male violence against women and girls renders us all complicit.
    A (now) long standing argument that I will keep repeating and reading.
  • The Falling Man
    Do you remember this photograph? In the United States, people have taken pains to banish it from the record of September 11, 2001. The story behind it, though, and the search for the man pictured in it, are our most intimate connection to the horror of that day.
    I’m amazed how vivid my memories are of 9/11, but then it (and the fall of the Berlin Wall?) are the main two global events in my lifetime. Horrific.
  • ‘We’re the Only Plane in the Sky’
    Nearly every American above a certain age remembers precisely where they were on September 11, 2001. But for a tiny handful of people, those memories touch American presidential history.
    A different look at that day, and at that President. Some details I had forgotten (early reports had a small propped plane involved).
  • Psychology behind the unfunny consequences of jokes that denigrate
    Q: Why did the woman cross the road? A: Who cares! What the hell is she doing out of the kitchen?
    Definitely guilty of this.
  • Why the Purple Skittle Tastes Different Outside America
    Pop quiz: What flavor is the purple Skittle? If you grew up tasting the rainbow in the U.S. of A, the answer is clearly grape. But in other countries, including the U.K. and Australia, purple Skittles taste like another fruit altogether: blackcurrant.
    I never noticed this. But then my ‘cram as many in your gob at a time’ approach to eating Skittles probably distracts from the subtle nuanced flavours…
  • Ikea Forever
    Not long ago, during an interview with the BBC, Kanye West announced, in his trademark third-person idiom, that he hoped to design for Ikea: “Yo, Ikea, allow Kanye to create, allow him to make this thing because you know what? I want a bed that he makes, I want a chair that he makes.”
    I know a lot of people who rail against IKEA, putting their feet up on their KLATFUR table as they do so.
  • New words notes September 2016
    It’s time for another quarterly update to the OED, and we have more than 1,000 revised and updated entries including 1,200 new senses for you to explore, as well as an anniversary to celebrate.
    I love words. I love silly words. I love silly words that a certain Mr.Dahl invented.
  • A philosopher’s 350-year-old trick to get people to change their minds is now backed up by psychologists
    The 17th century philosopher Blaise Pascal is perhaps best known for Pascal’s Wager which, in the first formal use of decision theory, argued that believing in God is the most pragmatic decision. But it seems the French thinker also had a knack for psychology.
    If I was smart enough I’d have used this to make you pay for reading this, or have me pay you to read this… dammit, I always lose these arguments!
  • iOS 10: The MacStories Review
    Sometimes, change is unexpected. More often than not, change sneaks in until it feels grand and inevitable. Gradually, and then suddenly. iOS users have lived through numerous tides of such changes over the past three years.
    Geek heaven, an extensive (50,000 word!) review of iOS 10 (I’ve not even finished reading it yet!)
  • Secret Room
    These books shelves hide a secret room.
    Adding to my ‘when I win the lottery’ list.
  • Who will win in the age of open banking?
    For Europe’s financial and banking industry, December 2017 will represent something of a reckoning: it’s the deadline by which countries in the European Union will be required to enact the revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2).
    Go on, admit it, you had no idea this was a thing. Nope, neither did I but it will explain some of the changes you’ll see in the coming year or so.
  • Who owns your tattoo? Maybe not you
    More than 20 percent of all Americans have at least one tattoo, and for millennials that number jumps to almost 40 percent. What could be more intimately a part of you than a work of body art permanently inked into your skin? You probably assume that the tattoo on your body belongs to you.
    This is why my tattoos are custom designed (bar the first one I got, but the guy who did it is dead now so I think I’m safe…).
  • This new machine can read book pages without cracking the cover
    People can now read books without opening them, thanks to a new device created by scientists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Georgia Institute of Technology. The machine uses beams of radiation to creep in between pages and scan individual letters.
    One for all the ‘never crack the spine’ weirdos out there..
  • Scientists Just Tested the ‘5-Second Rule’
    You’ve probably heard of the five-second rule: If you drop some tasty item of food, but can scoop it off the floor within five seconds, there isn’t enough time for bacteria to get on it and it’s a-okay to eat.
    I’m still waiting for the results of the ‘found a malteser under the sofa a week later’ rule (but it’s ok, I’ve got a malteser to eat whilst I wait).