Weekend Reading

Reading time: 8 mins

quotemail #46: stitched together
It me. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about communication in the last couple of years, and how intention isn’t magical. We may not have intended to be unclear (at best) or offensive (at worse), but it is on us to repair the damage nonetheless.

Breaking the format for this week, I wanted to highlight this. Partly because it’s written by a very talented person whom I’m lucky enough to call a friend, and partly because it speaks to the very heart of this blog, the title, and my entire raison d’etre. It’s a daily email which I’ve linked to before and, 46 days since it started, has yet to be anything other than interesting, engaging, thought provoking, comforting and just all round wonderful. Do yourself a favour and subscribe (you can look through the archives there too).


  • Scotty P’s Big Mug Coffee
    Scotty P’s Big Mug Coffee is dedicated to finding the best coffees from around the world and bringing them to you at a great price. We love coffee and we know you do too. Coffee should be freely flowing to fill that BIG MUG of life with great memories.
    Hey, Gilmore Girls fans, it’s ACTUAL Luke!

  • A list of must-read books you don’t have to read
    The editors of GQ have compiled a list of 20 notable books that you don’t actually have to read, despite their inclusion on various must-read lists. For each one, they suggest a replacement. So: Don’t read: The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien Do read: Earthsea Series by Ursula K.
    Love this idea. If only I didn’t have 20 not-so-notable unread books on my ‘to read’ shelf already (yes, it’s a physical shelf)

  • Do We Even Need Men?
    I’ve wondered the same thing myself sometimes…

  • Artificial Intelligence Writes Bad Poems Just Like An Angsty Teen
    Was that poem written by an angsty middle schooler or an artificially intelligent algorithm? Is it easy to tell? Yeah, it’s not easy for us, either. Or for poetry experts, for that matter.
    This is the reason I don’t write poetry. Or, is it the reason I’m still an angsty teen?

  • In the Place Where Prince Lived
    In Minneapolis, Prince was everywhere. He held impromptu, late-night shows at Paisley Park, his studio complex in Chanhassen, 20 miles away from the city, testing new songs on audiences that sometimes numbered only in the dozens.
    Gone but will never be forgotten.

  • Margaret Atwood
    A long time ago I was in Barcelona, visiting my Catalonian publishers. I learnt the answers to many questions during that stay – for instance, why does Dalí have so many pictures of folks with lobsters on their heads? (Think about it, but not too intently.)
    Wonderful interview, as sharp a mind as ever. *heart emoji* Margaret Atwood.

  • The Finkbeiner test for gender bias in science writing
    In a 2013 piece, Christie Aschwanden suggested a test in the spirit of the Bechdel test for avoiding gender bias in profiles written about scientists who are women.
    Hadn’t heard of this one but timely as the last ‘sci-fi’ I read was The Power.

  • Ludwig Wittgenstein was one of the great 20th-century philosophers. He also invented the emoji
    Eighty years ago, philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein had a brainwave. No, not when he claimed he’d solved all great philosophical questions at just 29 years old (that was in Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, completed in 1918 and published in 1921.
    And you kids emoji-ing everywhere thought this was a new thing! (did I verb that correctly?)

  • Requiem for Pianos: Dilapidated Instruments Photographed Among Ruins
    Once standing as symbols of prosperity within the luxurious interiors of grand European villas, these broken pianos have played their last tunes, now rotting among ruins.
    My aching heart. Beautifully brutal photos. Think of all the tunes those pianos have played, the people gathered around them… sad.

  • Why The U.S. Chills Its Eggs And Most Of The World Doesn’t
    Go in search of eggs in most foreign countries and you might encounter a strange scene: eggs on a shelf or out in the open air, nowhere near a refrigerator. Shock and confusion may ensue. What are they doing there? And are they safe to eat?
    Didn’t know this. I’m still keeping it on the list of ‘Why America is a bit weird’ though.

  • One Question for a More Joyful Day
    We were having dinner with our good friends Baxter and Lauren last night, and they mentioned that their daughter Margaux, age 4, has spontaneously started asking a new question at dinner.
    Worth trying? Hey I’ll try anything to get through the days at the moment!

  • Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: ‘This could be the beginning of a revolution’
    She’s on school reading lists and counts Hillary, Oprah and Beyoncé as fans. The author talks about motherhood, #MeToo – and causing controversy
    Smart takes from a quietly inspirational person.

  • The economics of artificial intelligence
    Rotman School of Management professor Ajay Agrawal explains how AI changes the cost of prediction and what this means for business.
    AI is here and it’s not going away. And anything that impacts ‘business’ will end up coming out of your pocket.

  • Michael Hayden: The End of Intelligence
    In 1994 during the height of the Bosnian civil war, when I was head of intelligence for American forces in Europe, I walked through the ruined streets of Sarajevo.
    Fascinating insight into a dark world. OR… a clever attempt to throw us ALL off the scent?

  • Ghostbusters’ Slimer was created in a cocaine frenzy
    We’ve all been there: You get jerked around by studio executives for months on end while you’re trying to create a plausible practical-effects model of a gelatinous green ghost, until finally you get an eight ball of cocaine, go to town on it, and are visited by the ghost of John Belushi to help.
    I might suggest this approach to my boss.. would make the weekly death-by-powerpoint meetings a lot more fun at least!

  • Marvel Is Already Planning MCU Films Through 2025
    The MCU has once again proven it has a choke hold on the box office, with “Avengers: Infinity War” breaking a ridiculous number of records and raking in a boatload of cash on its opening weekend.
    I’m feeling a bit Marvel jaded. And then I went to see Infinity War. OMG WHEN IS THE NEXT ONE!!

  • The Strange History of the “King-Pine”
    Recent pineapple decorating trends. “There is no nobler fruit in the universe,” Jean de Léry writes of the pineapple. Charles Lamb loved the fruit erotically: “Pleasure bordering on pain, from the fierceness and insanity of her relish, like a lovers’ kisses she biteth.”
    You a wonderful pineapple, dear reader, yes you are.

  • Zippers
    YKK or bust? Apparently not.

  • Rain of terror: Egypt to crack down on ‘fake’ weather reports
    Donald Trump may routinely rail against the “fake news media”, but Egypt is going one better by cracking down on “fake” weather reports.
    Come to Glasgow! We’ll show you ‘fake’ weather reports (is it fake if it’s consistently unpredictable?)

  • Please don’t use this study to justify your horrible habit of using two spaces after periods
    Is it better to have one or two spaces after a period? The first study investigating this hotly contested issue is here, and it supposedly gives the win to the two-spacers.
    I am only linking to this because I am gobsmacked people STILL THINK IT’S ACCEPTABLE IN 2018!!

  • Ezra Klein explains why men are “so shit at friendship”
    I’m still not great at this, but trying my best. But it’s hard work for ALL the reasons listed in this article.

  • Taboo Week: That Time I Learnt To Draw A Graph With My Vagina
    Once upon a time, a long time ago, I was diagnosed with vulvodynia, vestibulodynia, lichen sclerosus and a few other related things.
    A great series, and a fascinating article that taught me a few things I did not know about vaginas. Always learning.

  • Rodrigo Koxa breaks world record for the largest wave ever surfed after incredible run at Nazare beach
    Brazilian surfer Rodrigo Koxa has officially broken the world record for the world’s biggest wave ever to have been surfed, with his incredible run at Nazare beach in Portugal being recognised as a Guinness World Record.
    That’s not a wave…. THIS is a wav… OHHHFUUUCC…..

  • 5 Houseplants You Can’t Kill
    Originally hailing from Southeast Asia, rubber plants’ sap was once an important ingredient in producing — you guessed it — rubber. Now known as a go-to indoor house plant, its large, deep green leaves make this plant pair perfectly with any of your wooden furniture.
    GAME ON! I do like a challenge.

  • The Robot Assault On Fukushima
    The night before the mission, Kenji Matsuzaki could not sleep.
    The robot may be doing the hard work but I’m glad that humans are still required to problem solve some of this stuff. Until the uprising of course….

  • Cocaine, boats, and backgammon: The insane life of Rocky Aoki, Benihana’s celebrity founder
    Branson, Musk, Trump, Hefner. All playboy entrepreneurs with an ego the size of Texas, an instinct to go big, and, of course, an obsession with cold, hard cash. But make no mistake, these men were no trail blazers.
    I had no idea. Interesting and repulsive all at the same time.

  • Taboo Week: Fat bodies, uneven skin, and the courage to disrupt
    The number of more positive articles on fat bodies is finally starting to increase, in the wake of the popularity of ‘plus size’ (ugh I hate that term) models like Ashley Graham, Audrey Ritchie and Tess Holliday.
    Another great article from this week of posts.

  • There Is Only One Thing IMHO Can Mean
    Those lovable scoundrels at BuzzFeed, as they are wont to do, have kicked up a new controversy about the breakdown of our shared reality in this time of dislocation and doubt. They have asked people to settle, via internet poll, what the correct meaning of IMHO is.
    I honestly don’t really care… he bragged.

  • Disconnect and take a break from your iPhone by using this little-known feature.
    Having device fatigue? Need a break from the screen? Right now, hidden in your settings, your iPhone has a feature that locks down your phone, making it unusable, while you get a much needed break.
    Clever. Might try this on ‘Switch Off Sundays’.

  • If You’re Going to Read Plays, Read Annie Baker’s
    VICE fiction editor Amie Barrodale recently told me to read The Vermont Plays by Annie Baker. I had never heard of Annie Baker, and at first I didn’t read it. Two weeks later, Amie brought up Annie Baker again. Had I read her? she asked. I hadn’t.
    This article features one of the best quotes about writing. If you want to write but have the fear, read it. I too am a stupid writer!!

  • Biology Will Be the Next Great Computing Platform
    In some ways, Synthego looks like any other Silicon Valley startup. Inside its beige business park facilities, a five-minute drive from Facebook HQ, rows of nondescript black server racks whir and blink and vent.
    Crispr. Learn that name.

  • Parenting the Fortnite Addict
    Every so often a game comes along that conquers the hearts, minds and thumbs of gamers everywhere. Fortnite: Battle Royale is the latest victor in this category.
    Not having kids, and not being a massive gamer, Fortnite has largely passed me by… but seems to be on the minds of a LOT of parents.

  • The Gambler Who Cracked the Horse-Racing Code
    On the evening of Nov. 6, 2001, all of Hong Kong was talking about the biggest jackpot the city had ever seen: at least HK$100 million (then about $13 million) for the winner of a single bet called the Triple Trio.
    $1billion. That’s all I’m saying.

  • ‘My whole life has been a lie’: Sweden admits meatballs are Turkish
    Turks have reacted with undisguised glee to what many have described as an official – and certainly long overdue – confession from Stockholm that Sweden’s signature national dish is, in fact, Turkish.
    Next they’ll tell me the product names IKEA use are just made up nonsense!!

  • How Janelle Monáe (and Black Panther) Travel Through Time and Space
    Black people have a complicated relationship with movement. Our history is a timeline of displacement and transport: Slave ships. Underground railroads. Eviction from gentrified neighborhoods.
    I was lucky enough to see Janelle Monáe live in Glasgow (at the Arches, RIP). Their rise to prominence is fascinating to behold.

  • The World’s Largest Brewers Have a New Weapon: Weak Beer
    To boost sales in Australia, a land where the ability to drink large quantities of ale can be a badge of honor, brewing giants Anheuser-Busch InBev NV and Kirin Holdings Co. think they’ve found a new weapon: weaker beer.
    I’m not sure this is the BEST way to counter the ‘fear of being a drunk idiot on social media’…