12 Gifts for Perennials, a curious people*
Perennials is a term coined by Gina Pell, my co-founder of The What. It’s used to describe enduring, ever-blooming, curious people of all ages not a demographic or a generation. If this sounds like you or someone on your holiday list, here are some items you’ll both enjoy (especially #12). In case you need some last minute inspiration for holiday shopping!
On Optimism and Despair
First I would like to acknowledge the absurdity of my position. Accepting a literary prize is perhaps always a little absurd, but in times like these not only the recipient but also the giver feels some sheepishness about the enterprise. But here we are. A powerful piece by the ever wonderful Zadie Smith
The empty brain
No matter how hard they try, brain scientists and cognitive psychologists will never find a copy of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony in the brain – or copies of words, pictures, grammatical rules or any other kinds of environmental stimuli. The human brain isn’t really empty, of course. I’m entirely convinced by this, I think some brains are both empty and full of holes. I think we call these people idiots.
Procrastination: A Scientific Guide on How to Stop Procrastinating
Procrastination is a challenge we have all faced at one point or another. For as long as humans have been around, we have been struggling with delaying, avoiding, and procrastinating on issues that matter to us. Subtitle: Stop reading about procrastination! (Ya big procrastinator!)
There And Back Again
As, indeed, starting to write again starts with a single word. A word that has been a very long time coming, it seems. I lost my words. They deserted me. My brain deserted me. It also made sure it gave me a damn good kicking on the way out. Written by a friend, sharing for the benefit of others.
iOS 10.2 Emoji Changelog
After a lengthy beta period, Apple today released iOS 10.2 to the public. With 104 new emojis and a brand-new 3D emoji design, this is a big update for iPhone users. Released just in time for me to use the ‘green sick face emoji’, excellent.
Buckfast monks make record £8.8m
Monks who make Buckfast tonic wine linked to violent crime in Scotland raked in a record £8.8m in a year. Sales of the caffeine-fuelled wine made at Buckfast Abbey in Devon make up most of the income to its charitable trust. Is it irresponsible for the ‘monks’ to turn the other cheek here? Not sure but the facts are simple, buckie is vile.
Inside Nike’s Quest for the Impossible: a Two-Hour Marathon
The world record for a marathon, set by Dennis Kimetto of Kenya in Berlin in September 2014, stands at two hours, two minutes, and 57 seconds. If that number means nothing to you, understand this: running 26.2 miles in 2:02:57 is absurdly fast. If they manage this it will be incredible. I continue to be fascinated by this approach, small incremental improvements (think Team Sky/Tour de France) for a larger overall gain.
It’s Like Reddit, Without the Trolls
The discussion site Imzy promises to be—you ready?—“a community as welcoming / conscientious / creative / intellectual / opinionated / fanatical / diverse / curious / active / passionate / goofy /funny / tough / adventurous / interesting / obsessed / quirky / generous / playful / … I’m not a big reddit user, I dip in and out. But should we have to move away from the trolls, surely they will just follow us?
The sickening business of wellness
The term “wellness” — which seems to encompass everything from yoga to detox teas to crystals — is very hot right now. Love reading stuff like this when I feel like death. I may never feel wellness again
An Enemy of the Kremlin Dies in London
Who killed Alexander Perepilichny? On November 10, 2012, Alexander Perepilichny was feeling a little under the weather. I don’t even remember this hitting the news, but given recently alleged Russian involvement in other areas… are we heading back to the Cold War? (US/RUS vs China?)
Five Things You Notice When You Quit the News
I grew up believing that following the news makes you a better citizen. Eight years after having quit, that idea now seems ridiculous—that consuming a particularly unimaginative information product on a daily basis somehow makes you thoughtful and informed in a way that benefits society. Very VERY tempted to make this my goal for 2017 but then, how would I hear about all the good news? Ohhh…
Why vitamin pills don’t work, and may be bad for you
For Linus Pauling, it all started to go wrong when he changed his breakfast routine. In 1964, at the age of 65, he started adding vitamin C to his orange juice in the morning. More wellness that isn’t wellness, or is it? I’m getting confused.
Does echinacea prevent colds?
If you find yourself about to go down with a cold this winter, the chances are that at some point a friend will suggest you take echinacea. Some swear by it to ward off a cold when they feel the first stirrings of a sore throat. More wellness that… ohhhh for goodness sake.
How Does It Feel
I was born in Chicago on December 30, 1946, within the vortex of a huge snowstorm. My father had to help the taxi driver navigate Lake Shore Drive with the windows wide open, while my mother was in labor. One legend writes about another; Patti Smith on performing Bob Dylan.
Prince’s Closest Friends Share Their Best Prince Stories
He was a legend, a virtuoso, one of the true gods of music. But he was also (at times, anyway) a person in the world like anyone else. He liked to send goofy Internet memes to his friends. He made really good scrambled eggs. More of this please.
Why the United Nations Must Move Forward With a Killer Robots Ban
Russia’s Uran-9 is an unmanned tank remotely controlled by human operators, who are “in the loop” to pull the trigger. Many observers fear that future AI-powered weapons will become fully autonomous, able to engage targets all on their own. A headline that would’ve seem ridiculous just a few years ago, but as we now have Uber cars running red lights, maybe it’s time we ALL woke up?
What the Octopus Knows
My love affair with octopuses began when I was 9. On a summer holiday by the sea, I found Octopus and Squid: The Soft Intelligence (1973) in my great-aunt’s bookcase. If you’ve seen Finding Dory, read this. If you’ve not seen Finding Dory, read this. Fascinating creatures.
When Tyranny Takes Hold
What is the precise moment, in the life of a country, when tyranny takes hold? It rarely happens in an instant; it arrives like twilight, and, at first, the eyes adjust. Xu Hongci had been drawn to politics by the promise of dignity. I’m more scared by the slow trudge into the ‘new world’ than ever. How do WE fight this?