Weekend Reading

  • A billion dollar gift for Twitter
    Listen, it’s almost 2017, so it’s absurd to still be writing “how to save Twitter” thinkpieces.
    My use of Twitter is waning. It might just be the usual cycle of the mehs, but I’m finding myself increasingly less bothered about it recently.
  • But Really, Why DO We Post So Many Food Pics?
    There is no sincerer love than the love of food. – George Bernard Shaw
    And no, it’s not JUST because we are all fat bastards (what? just me, ohh ok then)
  • Things I read this year: My favourite books of 2016
    2016 has basically been a left-up toilet seat of a year, but it wasn’t all terrible. Some great books were published that I gobbled up like a little library gremlin. If you haven’t read these books yet, I strongly recommend you resolve to do so in 2017. Get in quickly, before the world ends.
    Last one of these, some good books in here that I’ve added to my list already.
  • Why poly is so feminist: The version to give the clueless
    Wonder why modern poly is so feminist? Why most of its leaders, organizers, book authors, bloggers, public spokespeople, and other movers-and-shakers are women? And have been ever since Deborah Anapol and Ryam Nearing got the movement rolling 30 years ago?
    A good counter to the ‘it’s all a ruse by guys so they can get laid more’ line which, frankly, annoys and insults the hell outta me in equal measure!!
  • The Rejection
    They wait, when they should turn to journeys, / They stiffen, when they should bend. —Louise Bogan, “Women”.
    A writer writes about facing her rejector, an abstract lesson in how your actions towards others reflect more about you than you realise.
  • Scottish baby box pilot scheme launched
    Scotland’s first baby boxes are being delivered to mothers-to-be by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. All newborn children in Scotland will receive the boxes by the summer following a three-month pilot in Clackmannanshire and Orkney.
    Bravo!! What a great idea, another reason I’m proud to be Scottish.
  • The Inside Story Behind Pebble’s Demise
    If the myth of Silicon Valley is to be believed, Eric Migicovsky should be ebullient. After all, he has failed.
    I backed the original Pebble kickstarter but it never ‘felt’ like this would end any other way.
  • Denmark will become first country to no longer define being transgender as a mental illness
    Denmark is set to become the first country to no longer define being transgender as a mental illness. Changes by the WHO are characteristically slow, and the Danish government will now aim to push ahead with the move on 1 January 2017.
    Bravo! Here’s hoping more countries follow suit ASAP.
  • 16 Things You Didn’t Know About Avocados
    OK, maybe you know some of these things, but hey, I bloody love avocado so bite me (or rather, bite one of them!)
  • Leia Organa: A Critical Obituary
    Leia Organa, the politician and revolutionary who led the defeat of the Galactic Empire, died after a short illness. She was 60 years old.
    Alternate title: Clever fan fiction hits me right in the feels.
  • Sharon Horgan: ‘Carrie Fisher was so real it was dangerous’
    The Hollywood legend’s last role was in Horgan’s Catastrophe. The night before Fisher returned to LA, they went for dinner (with Salman Rushdie). Here, Horgan recalls an evening that was typical of their friendship It’s hard to write a love letter to someone who was allergic to bullshit.
    I love Catastrophe, so this is especially poignant, and rather wonderful. What a woman.
  • If you make one health resolution this year, it should be to stop cleaning your ears
    The best thing you can do to clean your ears is to leave them alone. No, really.
    Of course I have, since reading this, ignored this advice completely. How can you NOT? Ugh.

  • Taste with Your Ears
    Charles Spence, head of the Crossmodal Research Laboratory at Oxford University in the United Kingdom, has been working on how our senses combine for many years. He’s done a lot of research on how sound affects your perception of flavor. He’s done this with wine and music.
    Despite what the summary suggests, this is not just an excuse for a night out. Fascinating our brains is!
  • Zero-Calorie Sweeteners Are Making You Fat
    File under: Ohhh FFS, what now?!

  • George Lucas Can’t Give His $1.5 Billion Museum Away
    “I’ve been ready to retire for a few years,” George Lucas said. “The idea of going out and doing another Star Wars is something I’m not that crazy about. You know, it’s very consuming. “
    He’s a strange one, isn’t he? Interesting view, albeit through a very specific lens.

  • Google’s AlphaGo AI secretively won more than 50 straight games against the world’s top Go players
    When Google’s artificial intelligence program AlphaGo made history by taking down Korea’s Lee Sedol—one of the world’s best Go players—in a landslide 4-1 victory in March, Chinese player Ke Jie was skeptical.
    AI is rapidly becoming the tech story of the year (so far, v.early days and all that!)

  • The world’s best Go player says he still has “one last move” to defeat Google’s AlphaGo AI
    Robots 60, Humans 0. Over the past few days, Google’s Deepmind machine-learning team secretively put its AlphaGo artificial intelligence system onto two Chinese online board-game platforms to test its skill in fast-paced games against several of the world’s best Go players.
    And no, it’s not ‘unplug it’.
  • Alexa: Amazon’s Operating System
    The concept of an operating system is pretty straightforward: it is a piece of software that manages a computer, making said computer’s hardware resources accessible to software through a consistent set of interfaces.
    Tech story of the year number two? The rise and rise of Alexa.

  • Anatomy of a Tomboy
    With roots in race and gender discord, has the “tomboy” label worn out its welcome? An Object Lesson. The tomboy conjures an image of a girl in overalls and baseball hats, wearing short hair and nondescript shoes. She probably isn’t into Barbie.
    Another in a series of articles that highlight just how important language is (in terms of understanding the origin of some of the terms)

  • The Troublesome Women of Sherlock
    The BBC show seems to have difficulty fitting female characters into its universe. But it isn’t Arthur Conan Doyle’s fault. When Arthur Conan Doyle killed off Mary Watson, Dr. John Watson’s wife, in 1903, it was in such perfunctory fashion that he didn’t even mention her by name.
    I enjoy Sherlock, but this isn’t the first time Stephen Moffat has been accused of this kind of thing.