Weekend Reading

Inside the Lively World of Competitive Stone Skimming Fog shrouds Easdale Island, a windswept 62-acre chunk of slate, grass, and shrubs just off Scotland’s west coast, as rain intensifies on the roof of the Puffer Bar and Restaurant. I thought I was doing well with 5 or 6 ‘bounces’. Amateur! The origins of the high five, and its inventor – an unsung gay pioneer In 1977, Glenn Burke, a rookie outfielder in Major League Baseball (MLB) with the Los Angeles Dodgers, lifted his arm high above his head and slapped palms with his teammate Dusty Baker to celebrate a milestone home run, marking what is widely regarded as the first documented instance of a high five. I was gonna write …

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The old room

His chair sits to one side of the bay window. The unloved leather is cracked, shiny dark patches worn smooth, seams barely holding on, tired with all the life it’s seen. Cold air creeps through the rotting window frame, tickling the rising pale curls of smoke as they fade into nothing. Beside the chair a small table, the walnut ringed with decades of cold drinks. On it a small wooden pipe stand, a heavy oversized cut glass ashtray, and a leather pouch spilling pungent dried entrails. Another puff; a draw and dull pop from his lips as the last embers glow and die. Fragrant fumes drift on the gentle draught as he watches nothing beyond the glass outside. The mantelpiece …

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Weekend Reading

Yelling at Amazon’s Alexa The first time I met Alexa, the A.I. robot voice inside the wine-bottle-size speaker known as the Amazon Echo, I was at my friends’ house, in rural New England. “Currently, it is seventy-five degrees,” she told us, and assured us that it would not rain. The future is coming. I admit I’m tempted even though I know the technology isn’t quite there. yet. Brain Implant Restores Sense Of Touch To Paralyzed Man Twelve years ago, a car wreck took away Nathan Copeland’s ability to control his hands or sense what his fingers were touching. Science and technology can be marvellous. In every sense of the word. Nations, Fighting Powerful Refrigerant That Warms Planet, Reach Landmark Deal …

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Weekend Reading

A Freudian theory, now backed up by neuroscience, explains why so many fear clowns Creepy clown sightings across the United States are no laughing matter. Glimpses of disturbing clowns began in South Carolina in August, but the phenomenon of pranksters in sinister costumes has become so widespread that it was even mentioned at a White House news conference. Hey… is it Halloween soon maybe? We’re So Addicted to Our Gadgets That ‘Unplugged’ Tourism Is Booming If a tree falls in the Amazon, but you don’t capture it on Snapchat, did it actually fall? I had the thought while hiking through the rainforest, on the third day of a digital detox that was slowly killing me. I’m away for a few …

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Weekend Reading

Bedlam: The story behind the London mental hospital that came to mean hell on earth The word “Bedlam” conjures up scenes of wild chaos and confusion but, in the 13th century, it was linked to one specific place: The Bethlehem Royal Hospital in London. This was the first asylum in England, founded in 1247, and it cared for the mentally ill free of charge. I have a bit of a thing for articles like this, taking something every day and exploring it (try The Allusionist podcast if this floats your boat). New York monument honors victims of giant octopus attack that never occurred Cast-bronze sculpture by Joseph Reginella, who made up the story of a Staten Island ferry disaster, directs …

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Rotterdam or anywhere

I need some time off work. The last week I had off was in June and whilst life as a contractor means no worky = no money, I know I need some downtime. So I’ve booked the middle week of October off and I’m planning to try and get away somewhere. Where? Well that’s the thing, I don’t really care where, I only really care about how much it’ll cost me. I’m thinking a 3-4 night city break (mid-week) and so far places like Prague and Budapest are at the top of the list (and, oddly Milan, cheap flights FTW). However, part of me is tempted to wait until the first weekend (the 15th) and then try and book a …

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Weekend Reading

The women of the Moonlite Bunny Ranch brothel answer your questions about working as legal prostitutes In August, two Quartz reporters, Allison Schrager, who’s also an economist, and Siyi Chen, a video journalist traveled to Carson City, Nevada to visit the famed Moonlite Bunny Ranch Brothel. How do you break the stigma around sex workers? By talking to them. I Used to Be a Human Being I was sitting in a large meditation hall in a converted novitiate in central Massachusetts when I reached into my pocket for my iPhone. A woman in the front of the room gamely held a basket in front of her, beaming beneficently, like a priest with a collection plate. Turn off your smart phone …

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