Weekend Reading

Reading time: 8 mins

Extra long list today as I was too busy wandering the streets of Barcelona last week!

  • Stephen Hawking obituary
    The image of Stephen Hawking – who has died aged 76 – in his motorised wheelchair, with head contorted slightly to one side and hands crossed over to work the controls, caught the public imagination, as a true symbol of the triumph of mind over matter.
    A sad day.

  • ‘Remember to look up at the stars’: the best Stephen Hawking quotes
    The British physicist and author had a way with words. Here are a collection of some of his greatest quotations Stephen Hawking, who has died aged 76, combined a soaring intellect and a mischievous sense of humour that made him an icon of both academia and popular culture.
    More stories of his sense of humour are surfacing, utterly inspirational.

  • ‘I have a loving husband and thought I was secure. Then a cat came into my life’
    Pets can highlight your mental health issues. Ask my late dad how he was, he would tell you, “Fine”. If you wanted more information, it was best to ask him how the dog was. “Oh, the dog is depressed.” My dad was doing what Freud described as projection.
    I do not have a loving husband. Nor a cat. Am I doing ‘life’ wrong again?

  • Halsey delivers powerful, personal poem about sexual abuse at Women’s March
    Halsey penned a striking, personal poem about her own experiences with sexual assault and abuse for 2018’s Women’s March in New York City.
    More power to this, more eyeballs on this, more action because of this, please!

  • The Lottery Hackers
    Gerald Selbee broke the code of the American breakfast cereal industry because he was bored at work one day, because it was a fun mental challenge, because most things at his job were not fun and because he could.
    As always, the varied workings of humankind fascinate me.

  • This Mutant Crayfish Clones Itself, and It’s Taking Over Europe
    Frank Lyko, a biologist at the German Cancer Research Center, studies the six-inch-long marbled crayfish. Finding specimens is easy: Dr. Lyko can buy the crayfish at pet stores in Germany, or he can head with colleagues to a nearby lake.
    The real worry is they hook up with those freaky robots that open doors. All hail our new Crustaco-bot overlords!

  • Watch Jack Nicholson Get Maniacally Into Character for The Shining’s Iconic Axe Scene
    “C’mon you f#ck! C’mon death! Die! Axe murderer! Kill!!” That’s my best transcription of Jack Nicholson’s loopy warm up dialog seen in the above clip, taken from “Making The Shining.”
    I cannot get enough about the makings and workings of this movie.

  • How a Meditation App Changed the Way I Deal with Difficult Emotions
    To say anxiety has always been a part of my life would be an understatement. Quite often, it takes the driver’s seat. It affects everything from little tasks to big decisions, and shows up both in my personal relationships and work life.
    A gentle nudge towards trying some guided meditation. It really can work.

  • Are You a Highly Sensitive Person? Should You Change?
    It is certain that being insensitive is an undesirable trait, but does that mean that the opposite, ‘being sensitive’, is a desirable one?  Apparently, in our Western society we cannot make up our minds: We consider either being insensitive or being sensitive to be unfavorable.
    I think I fall under the ’empathetic’ banner, not sensitive about ‘me’ but can be very sensitive about others (even strangers).

  • Do We Need to Redefine Masculinity—or Get Rid of It?
    I would bet a large sum that my father has seen 90 percent of the films nominated for this year’s Academy Awards. And my guess, too, is that he cried during every single one of them. He’s not embarrassed to cry at movies, or television shows, or commercials. He’s a sap, pretty proudly.
    GET RID!

  • Go Ahead, Millennials, Destroy Us
    As with all historic tipping points, it seems inevitable in retrospect: Of course it was the young people, the actual victims of the slaughter, who have finally begun to turn the tide against guns in this country.
    More of this. Destroy us faster. Please.

  • Long-awaited statue of Scots rent strikes legend Mary Barbour to be unveiled on International Women’s Day
    The organiser of the Govan rent strikes will be honoured with a statue  to the woman behind the Glasgow rent strikes whose name is still synonymous with tenants rights will be unveiled in Govan on International Women’s Day this week (8 March), after a long-running fundraising camp
    A timely day to unveil this. What a powerhouse.

  • 11 Clever Buildings Whose Architects Refused To Cut Down Local Trees
    Because everyone loves trees!

  • Chuck Feeney: the billionaire who gave it all away
    Chuck Feeney today is a man of no property. He and his wife Helga live in a modest rented apartment in San Francisco. He has no car or luxuries of any kind. Actually, come to think of it, he has a very nice watch. It is plastic and cost about $15.
    Forwarding this to Bezos, Musk, etc (not you Gates, you’re doing ok)

  • The Ordinary Greatness of Roger Bannister
    The remarkable—and frustrating—thing about watching Roger Federer hit a forehand is that it is impossible to know, as a spectator, what hitting a Roger Federer forehand feels like. No one else in the world can hit a ball like that.
    Never thought about his achievement this way. Remarkable.

  • What Should I Teach My Sons?
    How to Raise a Boy is a weeklong series centered around this urgent question in the era of Parkland, President Trump, and #MeToo. Sometime around 1987, my father tried to teach me how to shoot a gun.
    More men need to ask this question.

  • Humans slapped and shouted at robot cars in two of six DMV crash reports this year
    The human response to possible takeover by robot overlords is off to a troubling start. Of six crash reports involving robot cars filed in California so far this year, two involved a human approaching the car and attacking it.
    We are all thinking about that Fawlty Towers scene, right?

  • #AskMoreOfHim invites us to expect more of men. Good
    Men in Hollywood have launched #AskMoreOfHim, a campaign to call on men in the movie industry to stand by women in the fight against harassment and violence, organised by The Representation Project, an action group dedicated to combating gender stereotypes.
    Yes to this. It’s not ‘the answer’ but another step on this long overdue journey.

  • Everyone Is Going Through Something
    On November 5th, right after halftime against the Hawks, I had a panic attack. It came out of nowhere. I’d never had one before. I didn’t even know if they were real. But it was real — as real as a broken hand or a sprained ankle.
    Good to see role models speaking up on mental health. Normalise it and it’ll be better for everyone.

  • Glasgow’s oldest street will be desecrated, its built heritage disfigured
    One by one the lights are going out on the most historic street in Glasgow. The High Street slopes down through the city in an arc from north to south, taking in the medieval grandeur of Glasgow Cathedral and some of the best preserved examples of Victorian red sandstone tenements in the UK.
    Utterly shameful. Plenty of example of preserving and re-using these buildings.

  • Aprium, anyone? The pick of hybrid fruit and vegetables
    Row 7, a collaboration between a chef, a plant breeder and a seedsman, aims to sell seeds for vegetables that might not otherwise reach a broad market, reported the New York Times last month.
    Bonus points for first live sighting. You win if you are the first to see any of those ‘smashed on sourdough toast’ (hello Shoreditch?)

  • I Think These Dogs Are Broken…
    And another reason why dogs rule, cats drool.

  • Sir William Henry Perkin: Who was the Victorian chemist who made it possible for Prince to wear purple?
    Pioneering British chemist Sir William Henry Perkin (1838-1907), the man who discovered the first artificial clothing dye entirely by accident, was born 180 years ago today.
    And where would we be without Purple Rain…. *sniff*

  • The ability to feel empathy—or not—is shaped by your genes
    Parents are used to getting the blame for their children’s emotional defects. When it comes to empathy, it turns out they are partly responsible.
    Given my Dad and I react the same way to the same kind of thing, I’ll file this under ‘no shit Sherlock’ (entry #5643)

  • Running From the Pain
    Here’s the most important thing I learned while writing a book on running and mental health: In clinical studies, regular aerobic exercise is as effective as antidepressants in reducing symptoms of mild to moderate depression.
    It’s been over a year since I went out for a run. I’m fitter/stronger now than I’ve ever been, maybe it’s time. It all helps.

  • For Decades, Our Coverage Was Racist. To Rise Above Our Past, We Must Acknowledge It
    It is November 2, 1930, and National Geographic has sent a reporter and a photographer to cover a magnificent occasion: the crowning of Haile Selassie, King of Kings of Ethiopia, Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah. There are trumpets, incense, priests, spear-wielding warriors.
    A gentle lesson to us all. Acknowledge your failings and rise above.

  • 135 Amazing Facts for People Who Like Amazing Facts
    Unsurprisingly not all of these are ‘amazing’ … but quite a few are!

  • Reddit and the Struggle to Detoxify the Internet
    Which Web sites get the most traffic? According to the ranking service Alexa, the top three sites in the United States, as of this writing, are Google, YouTube, and Facebook. (Porn, somewhat hearteningly, doesn’t crack the top ten).
    Reddit has long had many dark corners, so every little helps.

  • ‘I want to explain arranged marriage to white people’
    When Pakistani designer Nashra Balagamwala produced a board game about arranged marriage, most news reports about her wrongly assumed she was dead against it. Actually her position is far more nuanced. And one goal is to explain to people in the UK and elsewhere how it works.
    A lot I didn’t know. Acknowledge, rise above, etc.

  • The “Wakanda Forever” salute has become a symbol to celebrate black excellence
    Excellent.

  • Rumpus Exclusive: Passing as Privileged
    I was at a networking event a couple of months ago, talking to a few other young New York City journalists.
    I get this feeling a lot too.

  • Even After 22 Trillion Digits, We’re Still No Closer To The End Of Pi
    Depending on your philosophical views on time and calendars and so on, today is something like the 4.5 billionth Pi Day that Earth has witnessed. But that long history is nothing compared to the infinity of pi itself.
    But is it a proper ‘pi’! (sorry, pie joke there)

  • Nobody Knows Quite Why Elon Musk Has Been Hiring Staffers From The Onion
    Elon Musk, the man who brought you Telsa, SpaceX, $500 flamethrowers, and a whole lot of bad tweets, is apparently now trying to bring you comedy.
    I know it won’t be THAT straightforward but I can’t figure this out. Maybe the beginnings of a media fight back against the far right? He is a humanitarian after all.

  • Green Mountain at Fox Run: It Never Ends
    Maybe I subconsciously paced my scribbles but it’s still a pleasing outcome. Even if I hadn’t learned a thing, the trip would have been worthwhile just for the fun of writing things down all day long like a big nerd.
    The ever wonderful Shauna writes from the heart. All the feels for this one (and some good thoughts too)

  • Meet the tech evangelist who now fears for our mental health
    Belinda Parmar was a passionate advocate of the digital revolution – but has started keeping her family’s smartphones and laptops locked away to protect her loved ones. Is she right to be so worried? In Belinda Parmar’s bedroom there is a wardrobe, and inside that wardrobe there is a safe.
    Are these stories just a ‘trend’ or is there something more to them?

  • Yale neuroscientists debunked the idea that anyone is “normal”
    Don’t you wish everyone would just act more normal, like you? I know I do. But normal is a relative state that depends on time, place, and circumstance. There’s no one right way to be a human, and that applies to mental as well as physical states.
    YAY! We’re all fuckin weirdos!! (I knew it!)

  • The Books You Need to Read Before Seeing Their Adaptations in 2018
    With Springtime in the air, it’s a great time to leave behind the Winter blues, do some watch-list Spring cleaning, and look forward to what’s to come.
    But first, read The Power by Naomi Alderman. Trust me.