Weekend Reading

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  • Did a violin teacher from Plano, Texas solve the world’s greatest classical music mystery?
    In 2006, Padgett was part of an orchestra preparing for a concert dedicated to the “mysteries and hidden messages” of Edward Elgar’s Variations on an Original Theme, Enigma, Op. 36. The Enigma Variations, as it is commonly called, is one of Britain’s most beloved classical music works.
    I love stuff like this, yeah, I’m a geek, bite me!
  • I Work from Home
    ROBERT: Hi, I . . . uh . . . I work from home. OPERATOR: O.K., is anyone else there with you, sir?
    No longer an option but I can see how this could happen…
  • Renewables are no longer ‘alternative.’ Fossil fuels are ‘legacy.’
    Whether to bet on the low-carbon energy transformation now well under way — or stick with business-as-usual. That’s the decision facing investors, from American families with 401(k)s to managers of the world’s largest pension and sovereign wealth funds.
    Hello! 1995 called with an environmental update!
  • There’s a growing body of evidence that butter is actually good for you
    A team of medical researchers have some good news for those who cook with butter but consider it a guilty pleasure: It might actually be good for you.
    I do wish they’d make up their minds!!
  • Here’s What TfL Learned From Tracking Your Phone On the Tube
    At the end of last year, between 21st November and 19th December, Transport for London carried out an intriguing trial: It was going to track your phone on the London Underground.
    Data data everywhere, where it goes… most people seem to know it seems
  • The Man Who Broke Ticketmaster
    In February 2005, after the band won its third Grammy of the night, U2 drummer Larry Mullen Jr. stepped to the microphone and made an announcement about the band’s upcoming Vertigo tour: “Due to circumstances beyond our control, a lot of our long-suffering fans didn’t get tickets,” he said.
    Hate this guy. But nice to know how it all “works” though, right?
  • How to Get Ketchup From a Bottle Without the Wait, Watery Goo and Splatter
    Some foods have stirred important questions: Where’s the beef? Got milk? How many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop? And what is the most effective way to get ketchup from a glass bottle?
    Try this at home! (But don’t complain to me when it all goes wrong)
  • A Grammar Geek’s Confession
    Forgive me, dear readers: I have sinned against grammar and in thy sight, and, as I might have expected, you’ve caught me. I’m referring to the “Verbs” section of The Atlantic Daily newsletter, which includes a series of four links attached to four (hopefully) sonically pleasing predicates.
    Word geekage, you have been warned
  • We Know Almost Nothing About the Animals That Live on Our Faces
    You mite not even have heard of them. The history of humanity’s grand sweep around the world is recorded in our genes and genealogies, our art and artifacts, our literature and languages.
    Skin feeling a bit itchy right now?
  • Some animals kill each other after sex because their distinction between hungry and flirty is blurred
    Sorry, cephalopod enthusiasts. For a second year in a row, there will be no Octo-Sex event at the Seattle Aquarium. In honor of past years’ Valentine’s Day, the aquarium has organized a viewing party as they introduce two octopuses that will hopefully mate.
    Takeaway: Never fuck (with) an octopus
  • The long and troubled history of Apocalypse Now, the video game
    In late January, an exciting and unlikely project showed up on the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter: a request for $900,000 to make a video game adaptation of Apocalypse Now, officially blessed by the film’s director Francis Ford Coppola.
    I didn’t even know this was(n’t) a thing
  • Mia The Easily Distracted Beagle Won’t Win A Westminster Dog Show Award, But She’s Already Won Our Hearts
    At the end of the day, dog shows are kind of cruel: How can you expect dogs to just ignore an adoring crowd all around them? Mia, to her credit, stood up for her species and basked in all that lovely human attention.
    Awwwwwwww
  • Honeybees let out a ‘whoop’ when they bump into each other
    Whoop whoop! A vibrational pulse produced by honeybees, long thought to be a signal to other bees to stop what they are doing, might actually be an expression of surprise.
    More proof that bees are too cool for school
  • The Man Who Played with Absolute Power
    In his 2008 TED Talk, Philip Zimbardo introduced his subject by showing his audience M.C. Escher’s Circle Limit IV, a set of black and white tessellated angles and demons. The art, Zimbardo explained, reminds us that “good and evil are the yin and yang of the human condition.
    Psychology from the Stanford Prison Experiment Man (as I’m sure he LOVES being referred to as)
  • This summer, O.J. Simpson is up for parole. How good are his chances of getting out of prison?
    As prison life goes, you could do worse than a stretch at the Lovelock Correctional Center. The inmates at Lovelock—1,680 when filled to capacity—are fed fresh fruit and permitted to watch ESPN. Each 80-square-foot cell is shared by two men.
    I can see the tweets now “OJ who?”
  • Russians Engineer a Brilliant Slot Machine Cheat—And Casinos Have No Fix
    In early June 2014, accountants at the Lumiere Place Casino in St. Louis noticed that several of their slot machines had—just for a couple of days—gone haywire.
    Geniusly “simple” hack