Weekend Reading

Reading time: 9 mins
  • Knitting at the end of the world
    I love this picture of actor Nicholas Hoult knitting on the set of Mad Max: Fury Road.
    As do I. Contrasts are always interesting.

  • Trent Reznor Thinks Artists Should Speak Out
    “Bad Witch,” your ninth studio album with Nine Inch Nails, is the final record of a politically-minded trilogy you began in 2016.
    If you have a platform you must use it, now more than ever.

  • Now is the envy of the dead
    Do not lose time on daily trivialities. Do not dwell on petty detail. For all of these things melt away, and drift apart within the obscure traffic of time. Live well, and live broadly. You are alive and living now. Now is the envy of all of the dead.
    Trite? Possibly. But live in the now is something I’ve been trying to do more and more. There is nothing else.

  • Tessa Thompson models the season’s statement pieces in #PorterEdit
    Tessa Thompson’s nails are not her own. They belong to Bianca, her singer-songwriter alter-ego in the film Creed II, she explains, as she waggles the extravagant, pink-polished talons at me from across the table. She wrapped filming on the follow-up to 2015’s Creed yesterday, in Philadelphia.
    What a crap title for a great article with a quietly powerful person.

  • Is eating natural food the same as eating what’s healthy?
    What is a ‘natural’ food product? One common suggestion is that ‘natural’ things are not made of chemicals. But the whole biological world is chemicals! Another suggestion: natural products are not genetically modified (that is, a GMO). Alas, that won’t work either.
    Ahhhh food science. The cycle continues. Next up, use more salt, it’s actually good for you!!

  • Science Says That Redheads Are Super Resilient People!
    Redheads are generally maligned by society writ large.  Even though many of the biggest household names out there have red hair, including Prince Harry, Ed Sheeran, and Jessica Chastain, a great amount of conversation does revolve around their hair color.
    I will make a point of asking some of the redheads I know. Some of them are even natural redheads…

  • ‘Taps aff’: the native Glaswegians’ response to a heatwave
    A distinctive temperature scale seems to have evolved in Glasgow caused by recent extreme UK weather patterns. In other parts of Britain abnormally high temperatures such as those recorded over the last week or so are referred as a heatwave. In Glasgow we now call this “taps aff” weather.
    One for non-Glasgwegian readers (also, fellow Weegies, read for that last wonderful pun!)

  • Being Non-Binary in a Language Without Gendered Pronouns – Estonian
    To put it simply, choosing the right pronoun is a big deal. Half of millennials in the United States think that gender isn’t limited to male and female, and in the U.S., Facebook offers 56 custom options to select for gender.
    Ouch. I struggle with English at the best of times and it’s a very flexible language.

  • Not So Simple Living
    I’ve got to level with you. This simple living thing isn’t always so simple.
    I’m not quite at this level of simple living (if that’s what we are calling it today) but even getting to where I am was hard.

  • Your Morning Cup of Coffee Is in Danger. Can the Industry Adapt in Time?
    Howard Schultz wants to know if I drink coffee. The Starbucks boss is sitting on a balcony overlooking the company’s leafy farm in the Costa Rican province of Alajuela, where I’m told the coffee–harvested and roasted on-site–is a must-try.
    OMFG STOP THE PRESS!!

  • A Summer Reading List of Contemporary Books by Women

    No comment needed. I’ve added to my list (I’m currently about 20+ books away from even getting to the START of the list so Summer 2020?)

  • Should you shield yourself from others’ abhorrent beliefs?
    Many of our choices have the potential to change how we think about the world. Often the choices taken are for some kind of betterment: to teach us something, to increase understanding or to improve ways of thinking.
    My take: yes and no. I don’t need to know details of others beliefs but I do need to know OF them.

  • Why We Need to Stop Calling Women Crazy
    In Heart Berries, author Terese Marie Mailhot’s unravelling is rooted in a look. The moment happens not long after Mailhot orders breakfast while out with her boyfriend, Casey. When the food arrives, she discovers that the server has forgotten the toast.
    This ties in with my recent watching of Hannah Gadsby: Nanette (more on that when I figure out how to write it).

  • And How to Stop Right Away
    “Expectancy” is your belief in the outcome of the task you’re avoiding. Expectancy can be either too high (overconfidence) or too low. It looks like you have low expectancy for this task. Maybe you’re discouraged because it didn’t go well in the past.
    The URL helps explain a little. But this is a ‘tool’ to help you stop procrastinating. Posting for a friend, obvs.

  • Astronomers captured the first image of a baby planet
    Thanks to European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) Very Large Telescope, a group of astronomers have taken the first photograph of a planet being formed around a young dwarf star called PDS 70. The planet has been named PDS 70b.
    Awwww loookit, look at the ickle wickle planety… awwwww

  • The Nutella Billionaires: Inside The Secretive Ferrero Family

    Go on, grab a tub of Nutella, a box of Ferrero Rocher, dunk away and read this.

  • ‘It’s nothing like a broken leg’: why I’m done with the mental health conversation
    I am bleeding from the wrists in a toilet cubicle of the building I have therapy in, with my junior doctor psychiatrist peering over the top of the door, her lanyards clanking against the lock. Her shift finished half an hour earlier.
    Linked via many people. This is a hard but compelling read. Mental health is a motherfucker but we have to keep talking about it.

  • Sustainable Fashion: small change = big difference
    Sustainability is such a huge topic that it can be hard to work out what you can possibly do that will make a difference. It’s easy to become disheartened but, as Christopher Raeburn said at the BFC’s London Craft Week event, “We’re all part of the problem and part of the solution.”
    I am not fashionable but sustainability is definitely something I need to be better at.

  • Afternoon tea with Sir James Dyson
    It is rare but refreshing when a technology CEO can explain how their product actually works. Steve Jobs, the late Apple founder, was great at this — the pitchman who could explain deeply why a new device was special; the specific engineering or design trick that made it work like magic.
    Tech wise I like Dyson. Non-tech wise, he’s a bit of a douchebag, no?

  • Homelessness needs a radical solution. This Scottish village may have the answer
    Later this month, 20 homeless people will take up yearlong tenancies in a specially-designed community called The Village.
    Proud to be Scottish (and to have donated a little towards this effort). SO much more needed.

  • Academics Gathered to Share Emoji Research
    Two years ago, Sanjaya Wijeratne—a computer science PhD student at Wright State University—noticed something odd in his research. He was studying the communication of gang members on Twitter.
    [insert *shrugs* emoji here]

  • A Little Chaos with Your Coffee?
    Any serious coffee drinker can offer abundant anecdotal proof of the power of caffeine to boost our information processing abilities.
    Warning: You’ll need to have coffee before reading this. I’m still not quite sure whether I add the chaos before or after the milk…

  • This adopted woman scoured the country for the sister she never met — only to discover she literally lived next door
    Hillary Harris was adopted as an infant. She searched for her birth family as an adult, and after many years, her search was incomplete. She knew she had a half sister, and she knew the sister’s name from her adoption file, but she couldn’t find her.
    No way! Way! etc. Kinda lovely.

  • How Do You Make a Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich? Twitter Has Opinions
    This simple sandwich just got divisive as heck
    First things first, do you add butter/margarine as well…. or is that just me?

  • Maybe We’re All Just Searching For Our Yellow Paint
    I once read somewhere that Van Gogh used to swallow yellow paint because he thought it would bring him happiness. He thought that swallowing something the color of the bright, shining sun would him feel brighter, his disposition shining. But it poisoned him, the toxins flowing through his blood.
    GAH! Baader-Meinhof strikes again. Read this the day before watching Hannah Gadsby… brain melt.

  • Private Telegram, Public Strife
    Telegram, a messaging app with more than 200 million users, is a company known for its rakish independence. Pavel Durov, who created the app with his brother, Nikolai, is a 33-year old from St. Petersburg, Russia, with a taste for dark suits and tax-free municipalities.
    I have Telegram but without more friends using it I’m kinda stuck with WhatsApp/Messenger.

  • Sublime colours brought back from oblivion – the exquisite effects of natural dyes
    This striking and almost entirely wordless video from the Victoria and Albert Museum in London beautifully conveys the work of Sachio Yoshioka, the fifth-generation owner of the Somenotsukasa Yoshioka dye workshop in Fushimi, southern Kyoto.
    Striking is the word.

  • Francine Prose: It’s Harder Than It Looks to Write Clearly
    If we are hoping to communicate something—anything—nothing is more important than clarity. The dangers of not being clear are obvious.
    Yes yes, I know this blog is evidence of this on a grand and long-running scale!!

  • “I Was Devastated”: Tim Berners-Lee, the Man Who Created the World Wide Web, Has Some Regrets
    “For people who want to make sure the Web serves humanity, we have to concern ourselves with what people are building on top of it,” Tim Berners-Lee told me one morning in downtown Washington, D.C., about a half-mile from the White House.
    But he has a plan to fix it.

  • Can the A.C.L.U. Become the N.R.A. for the Left?
    On the morning of Friday, June 22, the American Civil Liberties Union won a major Supreme Court decision in Carpenter v. United States, which was possibly, at least in terms of pure jurisprudence, the most important case argued before the court this past session.
    Doesn’t affect the UK. Right? Wrong. We will follow these trends, so the ACLU is more and more vital.

  • Google Takes Sides in the Scooter Wars
    Silicon Valley investors are somewhat divided over the viability of electric-scooter companies, two of which have now ballooned to billion-dollar valuations overnight. “I want no part in it,” one investor told me last month.
    Not yet spotted in the wilds of Glasgow, but they are appearing in London. One of my favourite muppets too.

  • The Rise And Fall Of CrossFit’s Science Crusader
    As the camera rolled, Russell Berger paced back and forth before a whiteboard in a dark gym. The CrossFit spokesperson talked in somber tones, wearing a shirt with the company’s logo over a pair of crossbones. CrossFit was under siege, he said.
    Definitely one of these expected surprise kinda things. ANYTHING that becomes a religion will have a darker side IMHO.

  • The best Mario Kart character according to data science
    Mario Kart was a staple of my childhood — my friends and I would spend hours after school as Mario, Luigi, and other characters from the Nintendo universe racing around cartoonish tracks and lobbing pixelated bananas at each other.
    I played my first game of Mario Kart a few weekends ago. I won. I’ve now retired. But this might be useful to you lesser players.

  • The Morpheus Hotel by Zaha Hadid Architects: The World’s First High Rise Exoskeleton
    Zaha Hadid Architects has a way of designing buildings so intricate and complex that the photographs look like renderings rather than completed architecture. Their latest unveiling is Morpheus, the flagship hotel for the City of Dreams resort in Macau.
    SUCH a talent, and good to see her work continuing. STUNNING building.

  • Dormio: Interfacing with Dreams to Augment Human Creativity
    Sleep is a forgotten country of the mind: A vast majority of our technologies are built for our waking state, even though a third of our lives are spent asleep.
    Yes. Because we need MORE tech…

  • ‘Everyone is breaking the law right now’: GDPR compliance efforts are falling short
    The arrival of the General Data Protection Regulation a month ago led to a flurry of activity, clogging email inboxes and flooding people with tracking consent notices. But experts say much of that activity was for show because much of it fails to render companies compliant with GDPR.
    File under: No Shit sherlock.

  • The People Are the Problem
    Drew Magary on how, at a rally in Duluth last week, Trump’s supporters showed that even in the midst of historical atrocities at the border, the president is still their guy.
    Yes. A Trump article, but it isn’t about Trump. Those ‘people’ are everywhere.

  • How To Grow Old
    “Make your interests gradually wider and more impersonal, until bit by bit the walls of the ego recede, and your life becomes increasingly merged in the universal life.”
    A quote worth living.

  • The heart-wrenching stories behind immigrants’ sand sculptures on London streets
    Sand Men is a distinctly different take on the artisan short-documentary genre. It follows Raj, Neculai and Aurel as they practise an unusual craft that has been passed around the Romanian immigrant community in London.
    A friend was asking why they were always dogs. Sad.

  • Summer of Rage
    It shouldn’t have been such a shock. After all, many of those most painfully poleaxed by the news of Anthony Kennedy’s retirement on Wednesday were the same ones who’d always understood the stakes; we knew that this was the risk, we’ve been scared for a long time.
    Once again, what happens in the US will filter across the Atlantic. The rage is building.

  • Trump ‘angry baby’ blimp gets green light to fly over London during president’s visit
    London mayor Sadiq Khan’s Greater London Authority has approved a request for the flight after thousands signed a petition and a crowdfunding campaign raised more than £16,000 to get the six-metre inflatable off the ground.
    A fun story. But I’m more bothered that he is being allowed to visit at all.