Year: 2016

Weekend Reading

  • How Japan went crazy for KitKats
    Photos: How Japan went crazy for KitKats
    Having recently tried some of these, the Wasabi one was delicious (seriously!)
  • Life
    I am in Waterstones, pushing my son in his pram. We are on the hunt for an indestructible book, because my son has destroyed all his books so completely he might be a book-Terminator sent back from some anti-book future. Suddenly, a woman comes up and asks how much I charge.
    Prejudice everywhere. I think what stuns me most is how little ‘these people’ think, such are their fixed ideas of their world. Sad. Angry-making.
  • A year after Aylan Kurdi’s tragic death, the world is still numb to the Syrian refugee crisis
    One year ago today, the world was devastated by images of a small Syrian child who had drowned while attempting to reach safety in Greece.
    When you start looking at the numbers involved it is overwhelming.
  • How Fox News Women Took Down Roger Ailes
    It took 15 days to end the mighty 20-year reign of Roger Ailes at Fox News, one of the most storied runs in media and political history.
    Another small step forward, we need a LOT more of this though.
  • Finally, a politician is talking about one of the biggest taboos of being a woman
    Not having children is a choice that some people make. When the person in question is a woman in politics, however, not giving birth is often treated as a statement, or a sign—even, sometimes, as a reason for distrust.
    As mentioned previously, if Clinton wins the US elections, the majority of the most powerful people in the world will be women. THEN will we treat them equally? (Yeah, I know, of course we won’t).
  • Your avocado toast may be killing the Monarch butterfly
    Two things Americans really love are coming into conflict. Avocados have become an increasingly popular food in the US in recent years, as they’ve been both linked with health benefits and also aggressively marketed.
    I love avocado. I love butterflies, THIS IS SUCH A DILEMMA!!
  • The world wide cage
    It was a scene out of an Ambien nightmare: a jackal with the face of Mark Zuckerberg stood over a freshly killed zebra, gnawing at the animal’s innards. But I was not asleep.
    I do love these type of articles, no spoilers but it’s not quite what you think.
  • To lure people put off by the freakiness of lab-made meat, this is what the industry wants to call it
    There’s an effort afoot to change the the way people perceive high-tech versions of old-fashioned food—and it’s happening far outside the laboratory.
    Ten people took the ‘freak meat’ challenge and 7 of them preferred the meat that isn’t really meat!
  • Lenny Pozner Used to Believe in Conspiracy Theories. Until His Son’s Death Became One.
    On December 14, 2012, Lenny Pozner dropped off his three children, Sophia, Arielle, and Noah, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Noah had recently turned 6, and on the drive over they listened to his favorite song, “Gangnam Style,” for what turned out to be the last time.
    A much needed reality check. Conspiracy theories have an innocent enough name but a real life impact.
  • Researchers Confront an Epidemic of Loneliness
    BLACKPOOL, England — The woman on the other end of the phone spoke lightheartedly of spring and of her 81st birthday the previous week. And with that, Beryl’s cheer turned to despair.
    Note to self: next time that ‘old biddy’ is chatting to the bus driver, chill out a bit, might be the only interaction she has today and it doesn’t matter if getting home takes a few more minutes.
  • What science can tell us about trigger warnings.
    As educators and students suited up for the fall semester last month, University of Chicago dean of students John Ellison sent a provocative letter to incoming freshmen about all the cushioning policies they should not expect at their new school.
    Et tu, common sense?
  • Your smartphone performs better in one hand than the other
    If you’ve got an iPhone, you’re likely to get better reception if you hold it in your right hand (and right ear) during a call.
    One for all the weirdos… err… lefties out there. It’s true, it’s all a big conspiracy!! (but that’s just a theory…).
  • What Makes Vertigo the Best Film of All Time? Four Video Essays (and Martin Scorsese) Explain
    Vertigo is the greatest motion picture of all time.
    To be honest, you don’t need to click through to this one. Just accept the above sentence as fact, except do click through and watch the video essays, fascintating stuff (and I know what movie I’ll be watching later).
  • Glamour Exclusive: President Barack Obama Says, “This Is What a Feminist Looks Like”
    There are a lot of tough aspects to being President. But there are some perks too. Meeting extraordinary people across the country. Holding an office where you get to make a difference in the life of our nation. Air Force One.
    I will be sad to see Obama go, whether you like his policies or not, he at least seems to have a grasp on being an adult in the modern world.
  • How to Pick the Fastest Line at the Supermarket
    You dash into the supermarket for a few necessities. You figure it will be 10 minutes — tops — before you are done and on your way home. Then you get to the checkout lanes and they are brimming with shoppers. Your plan for a quick exit begins to evaporate.
    I learned this about 10 years ago, basic principle is the number of people in the queue, regardless of what they have as it’s the ‘paying’ part of the process that takes longest. Works for me about 8/10!

Weekend Reading

  • The Most Exclusive Restaurant in America
    The first time Jeffrey Merrihue came across the name Damon Baehrel, he was amazed that he hadn’t heard of him. “I didn’t understand how the secret had been kept,” Merrihue said recently. “The people I go around with, it’s hard for us to find something that is genuinely unique and new.”
    I wonder what the Yelp reviews are like?
  • Can smiling make you happier? Maybe. Maybe not. We have no idea
    In the spring of 2013, a 63-year-old social psychologist in Wurzburg, Germany, made a bold suggestion in a private email chain.
    A wonderfully sprawling article that, ultimately, you can just ignore (but do read!).
  • In the rural Pacific Northwest, prepping for the day it hits the fan
    Don and Jonna Bradway recently cashed out of the stock market and invested in gold and silver.
    I’m definitely never going to be a Prepper, but then if the SHTF I figure we are all equally fucked anyway (read article above for that reference)
  • What Killed the Jingle?
    Marketing ditties once had a distinctive, hokey sound, but today’s advertisers have ditched them for standard pop songs. Most Americans can recite their share of jingles. Perhaps they can’t remember their partner’s cell phone number, but they know every digit required to reach Empire carpet.
    Ask your kids, or young relatives if they even KNOW what a jingle is and prepare to feel very old
  • Gene Wilder’s Genius Reason for Willy Wonka Walking With a Limp (Video)
    Gene Wilder starred in the original 1971 “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory,” but he only did so under one condition. “When I make my first entrance, I’d like to come out of the door carrying a cane and then walk toward the crowd with a limp,” he said, according to Letters of Note.
    One of a kind actor, with a gentle humour and kindness about him. Sad times.
  • ‘Freaks on the peaks’: the lonely lives of the last remaining forest fire lookouts
    There were 10,000 lookouts, scanning the wilderness for signs of smoke. Now just a few hundred remain, and they pass the time hiking, writing and knitting. For Levi Brinegar, alone atop his mountain, a storm can feel like the end of the world.
    Not sure I could do this job, but somedays it’d be a nice option!
  • Psychology debunks the idea that we’d be happier if we lived somewhere else
    Virtually every time I travel to a new place, I find myself fantasizing about starting over there. Mostly the feeling sneaks up on me, as it did this summer while I walked on a coastal trail above the Pacific Ocean in Victoria, Canada.
    Scientists are doing a lot of debunking. Maybe THEY should move somewhere else to be happ… dammit.
  • The Audacious Plan to Save This Man’s Life by Transplanting His Head
    What would happen if it actually works? Like a little white Lazarus with red eyes, the paralyzed mouse was walking again.
    Bit gruesome this one, does talk about animal testing, but the applications are astounding (put it this way, that headline isn’t JUST clickbait)
  • Situations where it’s OK for men to talk to women they don’t know
    The tantrum crops up time and time again. This time it’s because there was backlash from women towards an article teaching men how to chat up women who are wearing headphones. When women say they’d rather be left alone, men tend to completely lose their shit.
    Clear instructions. Please read.
  • The Inside Story Of “The Crystal Maze”, The Most Epic Game Show Ever Made
    Before you read a single word of this piece, put your headphones in and start playing the video below. If you suddenly find yourself with a great big grin on your face, it’s safe to read on.
    I still write Mumsy on cards for my Mum.
  • Great Missenden Plays Itself
    Nestled in Buckinghamshire’s Chiltern Hills, a 45-minute train ride from London, Great Missenden (pop: 2,255) was originally built in the 12th century around a vast monastery. Many of its row houses are themselves upwards of four hundred years old.
    The life of one amazing man and the town he lived in. Roald Dahl.
  • GoPro’s New Strategic Focus: The Plan to Expand Into Original Content (EXCLUSIVE)
    “I was up jammin’ ’til 3 a.m. last night,” GoPro founder and CEO Nick Woodman says by way of apology, as he arrives half an hour late for a recent interview at the company’s headquarters in San Mateo, Calif.
    Interesting times if their plans take off, sorry, I’ll stop droning on.
  • The Real-Life Superhero Who Beats the Cops to Bike Thieves
    He rode his bike to work. After work, he rode his bike home again. In the evenings, in his basement, he wrenched on bikes that he fixed up and flipped. Monkeying with bikes helped him burn off stress.
    Hooray for everyday, ‘average’, human beings (who aren’t average at all).
  • How Do Mathematicians Cut Cake?
    What’s the best way to cut a cake? Unless you’re a professional wedding planner, you probably haven’t given the question much thought.
    OK, I’ll admit it. I didn’t read all of this one. But if you like Maths and cake, you’ll love this!
  • Book Reading 2016
    Americans today have an enormous variety of content available to them at any time of day, and this material is available in a number of formats and through a range of digitally connected devices.
    Must get back on my Goodreads challenge, and might make note of the format I read (digital or paper) just for kicks.
  • My Brother’s Pregnancy and the Making of a New American Family
    When the call came, my brother was at work in the open office in Cambridge, Mass., he shares with seven colleagues who, like him, help run clinical trials for a drug developer. The phone number came up blocked, so he knew it must be the doctor. He stood up, unsteady on his feet.
    Dear World, gender is fluid. Ends.
  • Glasgow’s Building Built in Lego
    Having lived in Glasgow nearly all my adult life, I have come to love this city’s varied and exciting built heritage. I recently started making Lego models of some of my favourite buildings. This blog tells you a little about how I came to do this.
    I am the proud owner of his version of the Wellington statue (including traffic cone!).

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

Weekend Reading

  • Why Trump voters are not “complete idiots” (in charts and photos)
    A common trope when trying to understand voters who vote differently from you is to simply call them idiots. This is particularly true this year, when discussing Trump voters. The most aggressive (and IMO offensive example of this) is by Jonathan Chait.
    Fits with the view that people who say they are going to vote for Trump are really just voting ‘against’ what they perceive as failures in the system (see also Brexit).
  • Fences: A Brexit Diary
    Nigel Farage canvassing for ‘Leave’ votes during the Brexit campaign, London, May 2016. He resigned as leader of the UK Independence Party on July 4, shortly after the referendum.
    I’m kinda done with this but it’s an interesting view of how Brexit played out in the final few weeks.
  • Clay Shirky, on avoiding complacency this election season (with tweets)
    I want to say something to my liberal white friends: Trump talked a lot of shit last night, but not one word of “I am your voice!” was a lie.
    Trump could win. That’s the scary part. Send this to all your American friends.
  • One of the fastest growing fields in science still makes a lot of people very uncomfortable
    Think of someone whose political ideology leads them to ignore and groundlessly reject science. Typically, this often describes those on the right of the political spectrum, where climate change, women’s reproductive health, and even evolution are routinely dismissed.
    Behavioural Genetics – aka – it’s not me, it’s my genes. Another in a list of increasingly valid excuses for my poor decisions.
  • History tells us what may happen next with Brexit & Trump
    It seems we’re entering another of those stupid seasons humans impose on themselves at fairly regular intervals. I am sketching out here opinions based on information, they may prove right, or may prove wrong, and they’re intended just to challenge and be part of a wider dialogue.
    One reason to chill out about the current political turmoil, it’s happened before, and it’ll happen again. We just gotta get through it.
  • Don’t think too positive
    Do you believe that positive thinking can help you achieve your goals? Many people today do. Pop psychology and the $12 billion self-help industry reinforce a widespread belief that positive thinking can improve our moods and lead to beneficial life changes.
    I’ve always been positive that thinking too much is bad for you, can’t you tell?
  • If War Is Hell, Then Coffee Has Offered U.S. Soldiers Some Salvation
    In April 1865, at the bloody, bitter end of the Civil War, Ebenezer Nelson Gilpin, a Union cavalryman, wrote in his diary, “Everything is chaos here. The suspense is almost unbearable.”
    Linked mostly because of that wonderful name (why is no-one called Ebenezer any more?) and further proof of how awesome coffee is.
  • Offices should follow the lead of the NBA and create “hustle stats”
    Have you ever heard of Rosalind Franklin? Probably not. But you certainly know of James Watson and Francis Crick. They won a Nobel Prize for describing the structure of DNA, a discovery they wouldn’t have made if they hadn’t seen Rosalind Franklin’s x-ray photograph of the DNA double helix.
    I’ve always thought the whole ‘lean in’ thinking was to mimicing the male view of business, where ego and loud voices that prevail. Telling that more women are currently in positions of global power than before?
  • The Longest Run: Olympics about more than winning for Refugee team
    For six weeks, from the Olympics opening ceremonies to the Paralympics closing, men and women represent their country with one common goal in mind: Gold.
    I know who I’ll be sporting, heartwrenching stories, and fresh hopes for those picked. Humanity CAN do good.
  • Why News Junkies Get Are So Glum About Politics, Economics, and Everything Else
    Man bites dog. It is one of the oldest cliches in journalism, an acknowledgement of the idea that ordinary events are not newsworthy, whereas oddities, like a puppy-nibbling adult, deserve disproportionate coverage. The rule is straightforward, but its implications are subtle.
    Media bias is real. The top of the news isn’t the majority of the news, it’s just all we hear.
  • Beyond anger
    There’s no emotion we ought to think harder and more clearly about than anger. Anger greets most of us every day – in our personal relationships, in the workplace, on the highway, on airline trips – and, often, in our political lives as well. Anger is both poisonous and popular.
    Interesting read in the current global situation. Love will prevail, but only if we confront our own angry reactions.
  • The Campaign to Make You Eat Kimchi
    Korean food is having a moment. Baum + Whiteman food consultancy recently chose Kimchi, Korea’s traditional fermented vegetable dish, as one of the top food trends for 2016. According to Google, Bibimbap was one of 2015’s top five ‘rising’ foods by search query volume.
    This is so ‘this year’, I wanna know what the next thing is! That said, anything that brings new deliciousness to my face is nothing but a good thing.
  • Set It and Forget It: How Default Settings Rule the World
    We’ve seen how design can keep us away from harm and save our lives. But there is a more subtle way that design influences our daily decisions and behavior – whether we know it or not. It’s not sexy or trendy or flashy in any way. I’m talking about defaults.
    As one of the people involved in such discussions, I forget how ‘moulding’ it can… but with great power, comes the chance to really really screw things up… or something…

Weekend Reading

  • Sharia Does Not Mean What Newt Gingrich Thinks It Means
    One country that officially endorses the Muslim legal system is one of the politician’s favorites—Israel.
    I’m no expert, but then I don’t need to be. Senior politicians need to be better than this.
  • Falling for sleep
    In Evelyn De Morgan’s numinous painting, Night and Sleep (1878), Nyx, the mighty Greek goddess of night, hovers across a dusky sky with her beloved son Hypnos, the sweet-natured god of sleep.
    I’m increasingly focusing on my sleep, and this article backs up my lay hypothesis that bad sleep = bad Gordon.
  • Researchers have finally discovered the key to naturally stripping sugar from all our foods
    The global sugar-industrial complex is about to face a serious challenge—from a mushroom. A young start-up based out of Aurora, Colorado is poised to disrupt how sugar is used in packaged goods.
    Yeah but who wants a mushroom flavoured Mars bar?!
  • The perfect breakfast for people with depression
    Antidepressants and therapy, while both effective, are not the only means available to combat depression. Exercise has been described as a “wonder drug” for reducing symptoms, walking in nature reduces negative thoughts, and meditation can have a powerful positive effect.
    Breakfasters of the world rejoice! In other news, I’m now depressed that I’m hungry again…
  • Inside The Playlist Factory
    When he’s choosing your music for you, Carl Chery, 37, is in Culver City, California, sitting at his desk in an office with no signage, trying to decide whether Drake and Future’s “Jumpman” (jumpman, jumpman, jumpman) has jumped the shark.
    Curated playlists intrigue me, are they adding value, or just adding volume?
  • How Mr. Robot’s creator took the reins of season two
    It’s a strange coincidence, hearing two different cast members of Mr. Robot describe Sam Esmail in these near-identically enigmatic terms.
    Not started season 2, yet, but if you haven’t, season 1 is well worth a watch! GEEK-TASTIC!
  • ‘Hope is a​n embrace of the unknown​’: Rebecca Solnit on living in dark times
    We may be living through times of unprecedented change, but in uncertainty lies the power to influence the future. Now is not the time to despair, but to act. Your opponents would love you to believe that it’s hopeless, that you have no power, that there’s no reason to act, that you can’t win.
    More and more this simple message compels me, it’s easy to hide away but that is how fear wins.
  • Looking Back at Marvel’s Wonderfully Weird Comic Adaptation of the First Star Wars Movie
    Marvel recently released the first issue of its The Force Awakens comic adaptation, and it is weird. It is weird in 2016 to see a straight adaptation of a movie in comic form, months after the movie came out.
    Star Wars wasn’t a thing when they did this, it’s weird to look at it through this telescope.
  • The science of serving draft beer at 35,000 feet
    Some airlines will stop at nothing to lure travelers on their planes. They’ve managed to fit sleeping pods, private apartments, and even an in-flight bar on board. But one nut they haven’t cracked? Serving draft beer high in the sky.
    File under: Good idea, bad idea.
  • Derided at the time as “slacktivism,” the social-media campaign has had surprisingly long-lasting benefits.
    Out of nowhere, a huge fad sweeps the country. It dominates social media and leads to a blizzard of think pieces, which are followed almost immediately by a backlash, as critics warn of the fad’s baleful consequences. Eventually, people get bored and move on to something new.
    Did you do the ice bucket challenge?
  • Repeat After Me: Cold Does Not Increase Odds of Catching Cold
    I’ve become somewhat known for medical myth-busting (having been a co-author of three books on the subject), so a fairly large number of emails sent to me are from people with articles or studies that they think prove me wrong.
    Yes, yes, yes, Yes, YES!! *achooooo* dammit!
  • Fred saga : ‘A small town with a big heart’
    Officers responded to a call on July 9 concerning a pitched tent near a Gordon State College parking area not knowing this call would once again be one to bring Barnesville’s community together and deem the city as one of compassion.
    More stories like this place. MOST people are nice.
  • Reign, Supreme
    Supreme is the most influential streetwear brand in the world. You might have seen its white-on-red rectangular logo on Drake, Kanye West, or Tyler the Creator. Or noticed the lines that form outside its stores on Thursdays.
    I include this article purely because I was so blissfully unaware of this in any way, shapre or form.
  • Beneath An Ugly Outside, Marred Fruit May Pack More Nutrition
    When orchardist Eliza Greenman walks through a field of apple trees and gazes upon a pocked array of blemished and buckled fruits — scarred from fighting fungus, heat and pests — she feels a little thrill of joy.
    Hooray for ugly ducklings! Tasty tasty ducklings…
  • The new science of cute
    On 14 April 2016, a 6.2-magnitude earthquake hit Japan’s southernmost island of Kyushu, toppling buildings and sending residents rushing into the streets. Hundreds of aftershocks – one an even stronger 7.
    I think we can all agree that Japan wins at ‘cute’, but who knew they put so much work into it.
  • Master Plan, Part Deux
    The first master plan that I wrote 10 years ago is now in the final stages of completion. It wasn’t all that complicated and basically consisted of: The reason we had to start off with step 1 was that it was all I could afford to do with what I made from PayPal.
    Elon Musk – history will either view him as a saviour or a madman. Either way, applaudable!
  • The Bicycle Problem That Nearly Broke Mathematics
    Seven bikes lean against the wall of Jim Papadopoulos’s basement in Boston, Massachusetts. Their paint is scratched, their tyres flat. The handmade frame that he got as a wedding present is coated in fine dust. “I got rid of most of my research bikes when I moved,” he says.
    Ahhh mathematics and physics, they boggle my brain! *falls over*
  • First Lady Michelle Obama Carpool Karaoke
    James Corden’s White House tour takes an unthinkable turn when First Lady Michelle Obama joins him for a drive around the grounds singing Stevie Wonder and Beyonce. Surprise guest Missy Elliott drops in to sing “This Is For My Girls.”
    Not quite as fun as some of the others (yes, this is a guilty pleasure, check out Adele’s!) but still, First Lady rapping?
  • I’m With The Banned
    This is a story about how trolls took the wheel of the clown car of modern politics. It’s a story about the insider traders of the attention economy. It’s a story about fear and loathing and Donald Trump and you and me.
    Horribly fascinating. But mostly horrible.
  • Why Do We Haggle For Cars?
    Even if you’ve never purchased a car, you know the script. You stroll onto the car lot feigning indifference. The salesman sizes you up and asks what you’re looking for. You point to a red sedan. And then the dance begins.
    Not sure I should post this one, when I start charging for these posts I just KNOW I’ll get haggled down…

Weekend Reading

It’s always odd posting things from a week ago when the real focus of the news is the awful events from Nice, the continuing political maelstrom that is engulfing UK politics, and the brutal Police killings in America (and, literally as I type, a coup in Turkey? Good god). Now is the time for calm and considered thought, no matter how hard it is to find. Love will win, fear will lose.

  • How discrimination feels
    A short video featuring Jane Elliott. She’s a noted anti-racism activist famous for her blue eyes/brown eyes exercise, featured in the video linked.
    This has been doing the rounds given recent events in America. Powerful, thought provoking stuff. Taught me a few things.
  • 2016 Will Be One Second Longer Than Expected
    No more complaining that there’s not enough time to get it all done: On the last day of this year, you’ll have a whole extra second to finalize your New Year’s resolutions.
    Why can’t I get to choose when I get my second?! Life is so unfair…
  • The bleak truth about how we spend our time
    What constitutes time well spent? One pitfall here is that we may think we’re in control when we’re not.
    Reading random articles doesn’t count, I checked.
  • Spin cycle: how stationary bikes went from curiosity to cult
    Spin class or 6 a.m. rave with sweaty, aroused strangers? You’re not meant to dissect the difference. For the past decade, indoor cycling has pumped throbbing beats between stationary bikes and their gasping riders.
    Have to admit, neither of these options massively appeal!
  • Headphones Everywhere
    Anyone who has recently spent time in a public space—traversing the aisle of an airplane, say, lurching toward your seat adjacent to the toilet, trying to shift your backpack without thwapping a fellow traveller on the forehead—has likely noticed the sudden and extraordinary ubiquity of headphones.
    Given how the world is, maybe fewer headphones would be better? Talk to a stranger, learn and understand.
  • Why Are There Seatbelt Demos On Airplanes?
    A seatbelt is a fairly intuitive safety device: insert the flat end into the other piece and you’re secure in your seat — it’s fairly simple. We’ve all snapped one together, whether flying, driving or riding.
    I do a lot of things without thinking about them, like trying to write silly comments about these links.
  • Why Women Are Winning at the Politics Game
    Now that two of the world’s five biggest economies — Germany and the U.K. — are headed by women, and the biggest one of all, the U.S., has a woman front-runner in its presidential election, the glass ceiling in politics can probably be declared broken, and it’s time to consider what kind of change this brings to the world.
    Generalising massively, but ‘powerful men’ are prone to wanting to prove that more than they are interested in doing good (corrupted by power?). And anyway, women are smarter than men, so it’s all good.
  • Hillary
    This is not a profile of Hillary Clinton. It is not a review of her career or an assessment of her campaign. You won’t find any shocking revelations on her emails, on Benghazi, on Whitewater, or even on her health care plan.
    Likely to be the next President (dear God I hope so), if you read the previous link, this one will be all the richer.
  • How technology disrupted the truth
    One Monday morning last September, Britain woke to a depraved news story. The prime minister, David Cameron, had committed an “obscene act with a dead pig’s head”, according to the Daily Mail.
    A common theme, stop trusting the media.
  • Chemists accidentally created this beautiful new color in a lab experiment, and now you can paint with it
    Seven years ago, chemistry researchers accidentally created a brilliant new blue pigment, while testing the electronic properties of chemical compounds.
    A new blue! What’s it called?… Ehh, what? AKA why scientists suck at marketing.
  • For The Record
    Let me start by saying that addressing gossip is something I have never done. I don’t like to give energy to the business of lies, but I wanted to participate in a larger conversation that has already begun and needs to continue.
    All hail Jennifer Aniston. There’s a sentence I didn’t think I’d ever write!
  • Sorry, Ghostbusters purists, but the original spirit exterminator was a woman who lived 100 years ago
    Given the controversy over Paul Feig’s decision to remake Ghostbusters with an all-woman cast, one might be fooled into thinking that female ghostbusters are a shocking, newfangled phenomenon. Au contraire.
    No comment to add. I’ve not seen the new movie, but I could care less that it’s got women in it. IS IT FUNNY?!
  • A Precious Hour
    I am told that the manner by which others understand that I am busy is when my writing coherence suffers. This primarily occurs in email when whole words are dropped, sentences become jumbled, and logic falls on the floor. Rands, I literally did not understand what you were asking in that email.
    Taking time for yourself is increasingly important, I know you want to catch more Pokemon but maybe, just maybe, you should focus elsewhere?
  • Nintendo doubles down on nostalgia with the $60 mini NES Classic Edition console
    Nintendo has been laughing all the way to the bank this past week with the runaway success of the Pokémon Go augmented reality mobile app, but the Japanese gaming giant isn’t done cashing in on nostalgia quite yet.
    Want. Want want want want want. WANT!!!
  • In Senate floor speech, Tim Scott recalls ‘sadness and humiliation’ of being targeted by police
    U.S. Sen. Tim Scott was stopped by police officers seven times in one year. He’s frequently told that he’s suspected of driving a stolen vehicle. While a local official back in Charleston, the hosts of a public event were reluctant to invite him inside.
    It’s hard to write comments for these things when they continue to have to be a ‘thing’. It’s 2016, why is racism still a thing?
  • 10 Predictions About the Future That Should Scare the Hell Out of You
    The future looks bright, except when it doesn’t. Here are 10 exceptionally regrettable developments we can expect in the coming decades. Listed in no particular order.
    Item 11 – gentle brainwashing by people posting collated links.