Category: Reading

I can read

I stopped publishing my weekly Weekend Reading posts last year. As I said at the time:

3 years and 161 posts later and I think it’s time to admit that this is now more of a chore than I’d like. Sure it’s mostly automated, but over the past few months I’ve started searching out and filtering what I read knowing that it will appear in these posts, and that’s not why I started doing it. It isn’t supposed to be a chore, it’s just supposed to be an extension of what I already read, and it no longer is.

Since then I’ve read about the same number of articles but shared a wider variety, or at the very least I feel like I’ve shared a wider variety as I’ve not actually done any analysis on this other than the sense that reading and sharing articles the way I do now definitely doesn’t feel like a chore nor does it feel influenced by the fact that other people may judge me based on what I share (which is really what I was trying to say when I closed the weekly summary posts.

My life has changed a lot this since then, for the better I hastened to add, and naturally my world view and the things that matter to me most have evolved and my reading habits have mirrored that. As I’ve said, I’ve not stopped reading articles and I still subscribe to and enjoy a few daily newsletters, all of which have yielded some fascinating articles which I’ve shared (via Pocket and IFTTT so it’s still kinda automated) to my Twitter account.

When I set this up I would also have had the articles posted to my Facebook account but IFTTT doesn’t support creating posts to a personal Facebook account, but it does support creating posts on a Facebook Page. I didn’t have, nor had any desire to have, a Facebook Page because who needs yet another social media outlet to manage.

That was back then and like I say, life has changed so prompted by someone asking why I don’t cross post to Twitter AND Facebook, I give you – https://www.facebook.com/gordoncanread/ – so if you prefer to consume your social media over there, feel free to Like and follow my new page.

Or don’t.

Weekend Reading

  • What Was Inside the Glowing Briefcase in Pulp Fiction?
    Before I started making my own web pages, I spent a not-insignificant amount of my time on the Internet trawling the alt.fan.tarantino newsgroup for bits of knowledge about Quentin Tarantino, Pulp Fiction, and Reservoir Dogs.
    Fascinating! (well not really, but still v.cool)

  • iPad Pro (2018) Impressions
    (to the tune of Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer) You know ‘Ticci and Gruber, @panzer and Ritchie… Marco and Jason, Joe and Rosemary… But do you recall, the most famous YouTuber of all? MKB(in)HD, had a very shiny Pro… Um, so, yeah.
    My favourite kind of review is one written by ‘real people’. 
  • In Defence of Hate
    Hate can be valid and powerful, but far often it’s misused and misguided.

  • American Women of the Far Right
    In the run-up to the violence last year around the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, a woman named Erika, who is active in the white supremacist group Identity Evropa, was busy posting on Discord, an app originally used by gamers but used at that time by some on the far right.
    Important to remember, that there are all genders involved in this. The men are the figureheads, but there are many other people supporting them.

  • Your City Has a Gender and It’s Male
    Why city designers are increasingly thinking about the female perspective. I have a secret to tell you about my city,” she says. “It has to do with what Eve Ensler calls the feminine cell.” It was the autumn of 2016.
    Rings true for Glasgow.

  • Thanks David Dimbleby. Now maybe Question Time can get with the times
    Imagine the joy of turning to David “Brexit will be a walk in the park” Davis, live on TV, and saying: “Some people might think you ARE the joke about Brexit.” Last night David Dimbleby showed why he has been able to choose his own abdication date.
    Not a show I watch because UGH.

  • Not Here to Dance
    This is the story of the greatest night of my entire life. This is about a moment from the Ballon d’Or ceremony that I will never forget, even if I lived 200 years. It has nothing to do with dancing.
    Yes to this. Sport is so very visible, and men are still such jackasses.
  • How I Quit Apple, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, and Amazon
    It was just before closing time at a Verizon store in Bushwick, New York last May when I burst through the door, sweaty and exasperated. I had just sprinted—okay I walked, but briskly—from another Verizon outlet a few blocks away in the hopes I’d make it before they closed shop for the night.
    tl:dr; it’s very very hard.

  • This is What Happens to Kids’ Brains When They Talk To Alexa
    While I bathe my 3-year-old daughter Marty each evening, we use Alexa to play music — usually a head-spinning rotation of her three favorite songs from Frozen.
    Pause for thought. We really don’t know the longer reaching implications for so much of the technology we use these days.
  • The technology that could end traffic jams
    We’ve all been there. Stuck at traffic lights that never seem to change to green. Sitting in queues of cars that stretch on for miles or delayed by a glut of slow traffic that suddenly disappears. Traffic jams are a blight on our modern, fast moving lives.
    A real bugbear, I know this technology exists, let’s use it!
  • Tibet Is Going Crazy for Hoops
    It was within such a village, Zorge Ritoma, that Dugya Bum, a sheep and yak herder from the Golden Stone Clan, took up the sport.
    Zen basketball, see also; Chicago Bulls of the late 80s.

  • The Endurance of A Christmas Carol
    On January 2, 1840, Dickens wrote to his printers, Bradbury and Evans, to thank them for their annual Christmas gift of a turkey. He chose his words with care:
    What’s this, what’s this! A christmas article!

  • Year in Pictures 2018
    It was a year of populist rebellions and political stare-downs. China’s ambitious expansions raised hackles and pollution levels. Trade patterns were upended, and long-standing bans were lifted. Women gained power, and refugees fled violence and starvation.
    A picture tells… etc etc

  • The Rise of Anxiety Baking
    Last winter, a recipe for salted chocolate-chunk shortbread cookies spread through my social circle like a carbohydrate epidemic. One of my friends kept seeing the cookies pop up on Instagram and, relenting to digital peer pressure, eventually made them.
    Makes sense. I do enjoy baking, although mostly the eating part at the end.

  • Real Christmas trees are the greener choice
    A fake Christmas tree has some obvious advantages over the real thing. There’s no sticky sap. No needles shedding everywhere.
    We always had a fake tree. Time to review that choice.

  • Prime and punishment
    Last August, Zac Plansky woke to find that the rifle scopes he was selling on Amazon had received 16 five-star reviews overnight. Usually, that would be a good thing, but the reviews were strange.
    Is Amazon too big to legislate?

  • 12 Reasons To Ditch The Diet Mentality
    It’s the end of the year, which means resolution season is right around the corner.
    Yes to this! Although I may have gone a little too far into the ‘not giving a shit what I eat’ zone…

  • The Story of Dyngo, a War Dog Brought Home From Combat
    It was late—an indistinguishable, bleary-eyed hour. The lamps in the living room glowed against the black spring night. In front of me was a large dog, snapping his jaws so hard that his teeth gave a loud clack with each bark. His eyes were locked on me, desperate for the toy I was holding.
    What is it with stories about dogs… *sniff*

Weekend Reading

  • 12 Insider Secrets from Restaurant Kitchens (That You Can Use at Home)
    When it comes to top-notch restaurants, head chefs often rack up the attention and acclaim. But ask anyone who has worked behind the scenes in restaurants and they’ll tell you: The cooks are the ones who make the kitchen run.
    A couple I knew, a couple are new. Always learning!
  • The problem with ‘good men,’ according to comedian Hannah Gadsby
    Several celebrities were still milling around when Hannah Gadsby arrived at the microphone, so the Australian comedian — no stranger to letting her audiences wrestle with discomfort — waited a few awkward minutes for everyone to take their seats at the “Hollywood Reporter Women in Entertainmen
    Always learning. Hannah has a wonderful way to frame these things. So obvious, so true. (so guilty of this still).
  • Exercise Wins: Fit Seniors Can Have Hearts That Look 30 Years Younger
    We know we need to exercise for our health, but a lifelong exercise habit may also help us feel younger and stay stronger well into our senior years.
    No YOU are making resolutions for 2019…
  • How to Poach an Egg and Leave a Marriage
    If I can poach an egg, maybe I won’t have to leave my marriage. The thought didn’t come to me fully formed. Whether it was an accident or not, the sudden and unbidden urge to poach an egg coincided with the realization I was thinking about divorce.
    Wonderful article. Great advice. Seriously, give it a read.
  • The Race to Understand Antarctica’s Most Terrifying Glacier
    Few places in Antarctica are more difficult to reach than Thwaites Glacier, a Florida-sized hunk of frozen water that meets the Amundsen Sea about 800 miles west of McMurdo.
    Always fascinated by exploration and science. Although this is getting scary. What if…
  • Bao, a Heartwarming Short Film from Pixar
    Bao, a short film by Domee Shi, was shown in front of The Incredibles 2 at theaters this past summer. In “Bao,” an aging Chinese mom suffering from empty nest syndrome gets another chance at motherhood when one of her dumplings springs to life as a lively, giggly dumpling boy.
    Ohhh Pixar. How you make me greet!
  • Marmite sprouts? Why retailers are pushing the boundaries with festive food
    Many readers will find the thought of Christmas tree-flavoured crisps revolting, but Iceland is betting its customers will feel the opposite this festive season.
    I, for one, welcome our Sprout flavoured crisps, but it is starting to get a bit silly, no? I like festive food that is traditional, don’t change it!
  • Showering Has a Dark, Violent History
    The 19th century was a time of great innovation in plumbing. Cities got the first modern sewers, with tunnels that snaked for miles underground. Houses got bathrooms, with ceramic toilets, tubs, and sinks that you would easily recognize today.
    I had a shower this morning. It was NOT like this.
  • Holland Tunnel’s holiday decorations are ‘OCD nightmare’
    ‘Tis the season for obsessing! A frustrated Manhattan driver is on a mission to rearrange the cluttered holiday sign above the Holland Tunnel — which is causing commuters’ OCD to flare up like crazy, he told The Post Tuesday.
    Ha! Oh dear.
  • “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”
    Educate yourself on the origins on this song, why it might be a feminist anthem, and why we all maybe need to give history a free pass sometimes. Maybe?
  • Demon Underneath John DeLorean and the Invention of the Future
    Long before Elon Musk, a visionary automaker showed how ugly the American Dream could be. In Zachary DeLorean’s little house on Detroit’s Near East side they speak Rumanian. Zachary is from Bucharest. Zachary has a way with machines but his poor English holds him back.
    I look forward to the day these articles are written about women. (and yes that is a carefully considered comment).
  • Four Days Trapped at Sea With Crypto’s Nouveau Riche
    Draw me your map of utopia and I’ll tell you your tragic flaw.
    Wonderful writing as always. This entire bitcoin ‘thing’ is just a … well I don’t even know what the word is. clusteregofuck?
  • 14 Months, 120 Cities, $2 Billion: There’s Never Been a Company Like Bird. Is the World Ready?
    The first 10 Birds descended on Santa Monica, California, in early September 2017. Within days, this small migration became more like an invasion.
    Not spotted them in Glasgow, yet… this is disruption at a grand scale. Horrific? Inevitable?
  • Meet the Safecracker of Last Resort
    Charlie Santore sees Los Angeles from the inside, by breaking into safes whose owners can no longer unlock them. The house was gone, consumed by the November 2018 Woolsey Fire that left swaths of Los Angeles covered in ash and reduced whole neighborhoods to charcoaled ruins.
    Safe crackers and pick pockets. Both exist in that same odd space for me, wrong, but excitingly magic.
  • Virgin Galactic makes it to space
    Virgin Galactic, the space-tourism company backed by Richard Branson, sent two astronauts into space, the first people to make the trip from American soil since the last Space Shuttle flight in 2011.
    I’ll let you make your own Virgin in space jokes…

Weekend Reading


  • Meet Alexa: inside the mind of a digital native
    Alexa was choosing a dress for a party. It was taking a while. This always happens, she gets carried away with every little thing.
    Not THAT Alexa…
  • Social Media, Online Accountability, and the Meaning of an Apology
    Still so much to learn about how to ‘be’ online.
  • Bad sex award 2018: the contenders in quotes
    “Empty my tanks,” I’d begged breathlessly, as once more she began drawing me deep inside her pleasure cave. Her vaginal ratchet moved in concertina-like waves, slowly chugging my organ as a boa constrictor swallows its prey.
    So so SO very bad.
  • How to stop your brain’s addiction to bad news
    Turn on the news these days and you’d be forgiven for thinking the world is about to end. From politics to climate change to the economy, negative and bad news surrounds us everywhere we go. The problem isn’t just that there are terrible things happening around the world.
    Worth a thunk. I do some of this already without even realising, self-protection!
  • Patagonia Donates $10 Million Trump Tax Savings to Green Groups
    Outdoor clothing company Patagonia Inc. has committed the $10 million it saved from federal tax cuts championed by President Donald Trump to nonprofit groups who work on conservation and climate issues, according to a LinkedIn post by Chief Executive Officer Rose Marcario.
    Wonderful. The more I think about the things I buy, the more I care about the people who make them.
  • 14 Expert Ways To Tell If Clothes Are Well-Made Or Super Cheap
    As per above, care about your clothes.
  • Royal Mail delivers: Postman, can you take this to heaven?
    A 7-year-old Scottish boy who sent a birthday card to his father in heaven has received a heart-warming reply. The Royal Mail’s Sean Milligan wrote back, saying, “This was a difficult challenge avoiding stars and other galactic objects on route to heaven.
    Awwwww bless.
  • Michelle Obama On Lean In: ‘That Shit Doesn’t Work All the Time’ 
    In a December 1 appearance at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center to promote her new book, Becoming, Michelle Obama said what we’ve all been thinking about the concept of having it all: it’s a great big lie.
    This woman will not be denied. Can you imagine her as President?

  • Neuroscience Says Listening to This Song Reduces Anxiety by Up to 65 Percent
    New neuroscience research helps us maintain a work-life balance, handle job stress, increase success and wellbeing, and experience more happiness.
    Hmmm bit of a fake headline (the song was MADE to be this way, and you won’t have heard of it!)
  • The 100 greatest innovations of 2018
    Artificial intelligence mastered a lot of tasks in 2018. There are algorithms that win human debates, book dinners, eliminate checkout lines, tend gardens, spot plumbing leaks, and call for help when we trip and fall. But the machines aren’t completely taking over just yet.
    What the… I did not know a lot of these.
  • Ada Hegerberg: first women’s Ballon d’Or marred as winner is asked to twerk
    Luka Modric ended a decade of dominance by Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in the Ballon d’Or but the Croatian’s win was overshadowed when the inaugural winner of the women’s award, Ada Hegerberg, was asked to twerk live on stage by the host DJ, Martin Solveig.
    MEN! FFS, just stop. And why did she have to dance at all?
  • ‘It’s a man’s problem’: Patrick Stewart and the men fighting to end domestic violence
    Patrick Stewart was five years old when his father returned from the second world war to wage his own war on his wife.
    Could not agree more. Domestice violence of any form needs to stop.
  • The Last Curious Man
    Chris Bourdain is searching for a word that he cannot quite find. We’re sitting together in a small café in Grand Central Terminal, drinking table wine and talking about his late older brother, Anthony.
    Now the hubbub about him has quietened a little, some more thoughtful articles are appearing.
  • Do People Who Get Knighted by the Queen Get Anything for It?
    Michael S. asks: Do people get anything when they’re knighted by the Queen?
    Unfortunately yes. But hey, feel free to spend my tax money on this bullshit why don’t ya!
  • Beneath the Surface of Bruce Springsteen
    The first time I meet Bruce Springsteen is backstage at the Walter Kerr Theatre in New York, where he is in the homestretch of performing his one-man show, Springsteen on Broadway.
    Actual legend. Not a massive fan of his music but seems like a genuinely wonderful human.
  • Finally, the Self-Driving Car
    Across Arizona Avenue from Waymo’s self-driving-car showroom sits the Crowne Plaza San Marcos hotel, which is allegedly haunted. According to employees and guests, the ghost can move plates, knock phones off cradles, even—helpfully!—fold clothes.
    And so it begins.
  • 52 things I learned in 2018
    This year I edited another book, worked on fascinating projects at Fluxx, and learned learnings.
    Again with the learning of things I did not know. I love lists like this.
  • The story behind an incredible sky scene in New Hampshire
    Mother Nature must have liked it, because she put five rings on it! This was the surreal scene Saturday morning at Franconia Notch in New Hampshire.
    WOW.
  • Who decides what words mean
    Decades before the rise of social media, polarisation plagued discussions about language. By and large, it still does. Everyone who cares about the topic is officially required to take one of two stances.
    A hot topic if ever I heard one.
  • Big tech has your kid’s data — and you probably gave it to them
    Many parents today enjoy posting about their family on social media. But along with those adorable photos, they are sharing crucial data about their children that big tech companies are harvesting.
    One for the new and soon-to-be parents. Shouldn’t we be letting the kids make that decision when they are old enough?
  • Lunch with M.
    One afternoon last month, a woman in her early thirties, with shoulder-length blond hair and large brown eyes, arrived at Jean Georges, on the ground floor of the Trump International Hotel, in midtown Manhattan.
    I don’t think I’ve ever been to a Michelin starred restaurant. Sounds fun though.

Weekend Reading

  • “Automated Customer Service”
    A short story.
    This day is coming, mark my words!
  • The Simple Joy of “No Phones Allowed”
    A few nights ago I saw Jack White in concert. It was a wonderful night, and a big part of that was due to a new rule he has imposed on all his tour dates: no phones.
    Kate Tempest asked the audience to do this a couple of years ago. Was utterly immersive. These days a few snaps and I’m done.
  • Three Ingredient Oreo Fudge Recipe
    Line the baking tray with aluminium foil, pressing it fi rmly into the corners and sides. Put the white chocolate in a heatproof bowl and pour in the condensed milk. Microwave on full power for 30 seconds.
    Traybake Tuesday is a new thing at work. Here’s what I ‘made’ this week.
  • The Internet Doesn’t Need Civility, It Needs Ethics
    We know this.
  • 16 Comforting Pasta Recipes You Can Make In Your Slow Cooker
    Everybody knows slow cookers are great for making soups and stews — but what if I told you you can make pasta in a slow cooker?Yep, with the right recipe, you can make delicious pasta completely in a slow cooker! We rounded up recipes that cook the pasta directly in the slow cooker, as well as one
    Pasta in a slow cooker? WHAT? (can you tell it’s winter now?)
  • RIP Ricky Jay, Master of the Sleight of Hand Card Trick
    Ricky Jay died yesterday, aged 72. He was a master magician with a deck of cards, an actor, writer, and historian. The definitive profile of Jay was written by Mark Singer in 1993 for The New Yorker. It begins like this…just try not to read the whole thing:
    I watched a documentary about him last year, amazing skill.
  • Field of dreams: heartbreak and heroics at the World Ploughing Championships
    Some compare it to snooker, others to figure skating. But for those who have given their lives to competitive ploughing, it’s more than a sport, it’s a way of life.
    Sport can be wonderful, in all its weird forms.
  • How To Stop Wasting Time On The Internet
    We all waste a lot of time on the internet these days. And due to mobile devices, we do it everywhere, not just at home.
    Stop reading, and go out and do something less boring instead!
  • Dimming the sun: The answer to global warming?
    Scientists are proposing an ingenious but as-yet-unproven way to tackle climate change: spraying sun-dimming chemicals into the Earth’s atmosphere.
    “It was who scorched the sky…”
  • 10 Magic Tricks That Prove Ricky Jay’s Genius
    For decades, Ricky Jay dazzled audiences with his card tricks, both up close and as far away as he could throw them (a world-record breaking distance, in fact). With his flowing mane and fast hands, the magician quickly became a fan-favorite both for his showmanship and his undeniable talent.
    Mind blowing.
  • Swiss hotels are hiring Instagram “sitters” to post photos for you
    A hotel chain in Switzerland is offering a new service: a “social media sitter” who will take photos of a guest’s Valley cation and post them on Instagram on their behalf. This is the world we are now all living in.
    OK. Enough already.
  • The Insect Apocalypse Is Here
    Sune Boye Riis was on a bike ride with his youngest son, enjoying the sun slanting over the fields and woodlands near their home north of Copenhagen, when it suddenly occurred to him that something about the experience was amiss. Specifically, something was missing. It was summer.
    Now that I think about it, this feels true (or is this article biasing me?)
  • How Restaurants Got So Loud
    Let me describe what I hear as I sit in a coffee shop writing this article. It’s late morning on a Saturday, between the breakfast and lunch rushes. People talk in hushed voices at tables. The staff make pithy jokes amongst themselves, enjoying the downtime.
    More soft furnishings, rug those walls!!
  • Researchers built a smart dress to show how often women are groped at clubs
    For a campaign on behalf of beverage company Schweppes, advertising agency Ogilvy created a touch-sensitive dress that tracked how often—and with what degree of intensity—women in Brazil were groped on an average night out.
    Surprised that Schweppes are behind this. Not surprised at the number. UGH.
  • Even in our digital world, the humble sticky note abides
    E-readers and tablets have us doing more of our reading on screens than ever before. The latter category, including devices such as the iPad Pro and Surface Pro, even offers pens for scribbling notes.
    So true. I still use them!
  • The Mistake I Made with My Grieving Friend
    A good friend of mine lost her dad some years back. I found her sitting alone on a bench outside our workplace, not moving, just staring at the horizon. She was absolutely distraught and I didn’t know what to say to her.
    Best advice I was ever given, you just need to be there, you don’t need to say anything.
  • Inside the Great Electromagnetic Resistance
    I walked past the stage and sat down at the bar, the neon lights illuminating my pink teddy, shadowed eyes, and crimson lips. I ordered my first drink of the night and took inventory of the club.
    I used to laugh at these types of people. These days I’m starting to wonder…

Weekend Reading

  • I’m Meditating (I’m Just Not Sitting Down)
    For a while, it seemed like everyone was talking about how meditation changed their lives—friends, acquaintances, podcast interviewees and interviewers, authors, even the baristas at the coffee shops I went to. Someone told me about the Headspace app, so I downloaded it.
    Other apps are available – I prefer Buddhify – but yes to this.

  • Re: Hate Mail
    I’ve received 15 emails from my internet stalker in the past four days. It’s like watching an inmate from behind a two-way mirror. He read a short story I wrote once satirically titled “The Greatest Story Ever Written.” It’s about a group of male writers who lose their way.
    One wish for the world: End hate.

  • How coffee protects the brain
    Scientists have now proved that drinking certain types of coffee can be beneficial to brain health, but how does this popular brew support cognitive function? A new study identifies some of the mechanisms that allow coffee to keep mental decline at bay.
    I bet TEA doesn’t do this, stupid tea.

  • Aaaand Now … an Oral History of the Greatest Starting Lineup Introduction in Sports History
    In the annals of the Great American Sports Songbook, a singular tune has reigned for more than three decades as the undisputed heavyweight champion of outré jock jams.
    I think the third CD I ever bought was purely to get this track.

  • A Day in the Life of a Mountain-Bike Trail Builder
    Clayton Woodruff, vice president of Progressive Trail Design (PTD) in Bentonville, Arkansas, misses digging in the dirt.
    Fun job! (But still a job).

  • Why Don’t We Forget How to Ride a Bike?
    Most of us learn how to ride a bike during childhood. But as we grow older, many of us stop riding and put those once-beloved bikes in storage. Years later, when we discover these relics and hop on, it’s as if we never stopped biking.
    Why don’t I forget song lyrics from 20 years ago but can’t remember what I did last week?

  • Tired of Pasted Text Messing Up Your Formatting? Try This
    You paste text into a document and for some dumb reason the formatting comes with. Gah! Here’s how to stop that.
    Mac users (posting ahead of potential new MacBook purchase…)

  • I Found the Best Burger Place in America. And Then I Killed It.
    I n my office, I have a coffee mug from Stanich’s in Portland, Oregon. Under the restaurant name, it says “Great hamburgers since 1949.
    Screw you internet!!

  • Does cutting carbs really help keep weight off? The big new diet study, explained.
    It’s probably the most contentious question in the dieting wars: How much do carbs really matter when it comes to weight loss?
    Another week, another sciencing of what we eat.

  • This mobile laundry gives homeless people free showers and washes their clothes
    Set up in 2014 by two friends, Nic Marchesi and Lucas Patchett, the Orange Sky Laundry started life as a van that had been fitted out with a washing machine and dryer. There are now 27 Orange Sky vans in Australia, which are operated by a team of volunteers.
    This is wonderful!!

  • The remote UK community living off-grid
    On a remote peninsula in the north-west Highlands of Scotland is the small off-grid community of Scoraig. Accessible only by boat or a five-mile walk, the residents of Scoraig live in relative isolation, partly powering their homes and school with wind power.
    Tempting.

  • The Wrong Pair
    Dr. Alvarez furrowed his brow, crouching to view my right breast head-on, inscribing something on it with a dark blue marker — a map for his scalpel.
    Men have it so so easy.

  • How to Control a Machine with Your Brain
    For eighteen years, Jan Scheuermann has been paralyzed from the neck down. She is six feet tall, and she spends all day and all night in a sophisticated, battery-powered wheelchair that cradles her—half sitting, half reclining—from head to toe.
    The upside of all those scary Boston Robotics and AI videos? This. Life changing.

  • The Fax Is Not Yet Obsolete
    Nicole Follmann arrived at the Brooklyn House of Detention last spring to post bail by fax. This is how it works: You can post someone’s bail from any jail or courthouse, but you have to send a fax to wherever the person is housed.
    BEEEEEoooooooo ksshshhhshshhshhh BEEooeEEOOOOOE Jahsajhjahajshjkkkkk (sorry, you don’t speak fax?)

  • Rape survivors are clear on the distress of a ‘not proven’ verdict
    1878 rapes and attempted rapes reported to the police, but only 251 prosecutions and 98 convictions. Just 39% of cases which are prosecuted lead to a conviction. This is the lowest conviction rate for any crime. Nearly 30% of acquittals were not proven, compared with 17% for all crimes and offences.
    This has to change. Come on Scotland, we are better than this.

  • In Defense of Puns
    Once upon a time—in 382 C.E., to be exact—Eve bit into an apple. Seeing it was good, she offered the apple to Adam, and he also took a bite. Whereupon Adam and Eve’s eyes were opened, and they realized they were naked.
    I love a pun, I tried a number of puns here but none worked; no pun in ten did.

  • 24 Amazing, Homemade Dungeons & Dragons Maps
    Last week we asked Atlas Obscura readers to send us their greatest DIY Dungeons & Dragons maps. It was a critical success. We received dozens of fantasy adventure maps illustrating the amazing worlds in our readers’ imaginations.
    Wow. Never ‘got’ D&D but some of these are epic.

  • New Evidence Emerges of Steve Bannon and Cambridge Analytica’s Role in Brexit
    For two years, observers have speculated that the June, 2016, Brexit campaign in the U.K. served as a petri dish for Donald Trump’s Presidential campaign in the United States. Now there is new evidence that it did.
    But of course.

  • The Mystery of the Havana Syndrome
    In the winter of 2017, the American Embassy in Havana was in a precarious state.
    A fascinating insight into Cuba and the CIA.

  • A dark, handsome rival plans to muscle in on Nutella
    It’s being called the jar wars. For decades, the Italian spread known as Nutella has sat placidly upon its throne—the undisputed queen of the chocolate (and chocolate-hazelnut) spreads, with 54% of global market share. Now there’s a pretender looming in the wings.
    Just posting here. For reasons.

  • Why Scientists Are Rushing to Catalog the World’s Poop
    If a group of scientists is successful, the Svalbard Global Seed Vault will be getting a cousin—one that may initially sound rather strange. Instead of gathering seeds to preserve plant species, this project involves gathering fecal samples from people all over the globe.
    I really must stop complaining about MY job…

Weekend Reading

  • Meditation in the Time of Disruption
    When I was 8 or 9, I became preoccupied with death. It wasn’t that I was afraid; I just like to be prepared.
    Meditation. Good for you? Or just another big business cashing in?
  • Why do some people hurt more than others?
    Anyone who came of age in the 1990s remembers the “Friends” episode where Phoebe and Rachel venture out to get tattoos. Spoiler alert: Rachel gets a tattoo and Phoebe ends up with a black ink dot because she couldn’t take the pain.
    I’ve a fairly high pain tolerance (tattoos being a good example). Until it comes to plucking eyebrows… UGH
  • European Parliament Approves Ban On Some Single-Use Plastics, Reduction On Others
    The European Parliament voted on Wednesday to enact a complete ban on some single-use plastics — such as drinking straws and disposable cutlery — across the European Union and a reduction on others in an effort to reduce ocean waste.
    Good! Ohhh no wait, this won’t apply post-Brexit. FFS.
  • A viral typo from 2009 is the perfect word for this spooky, funny time of year
    Like most people, when I first encountered the word “spoopy” on late-2013 Tumblr, I took it for a charming spelling mistake that had been turned into a short-lived meme.
    But was the typo deliberate?
  • This Is How We Radicalized The World
    On Sunday, far-right evangelical Jair Bolsonaro was elected president of Brazil. The era of being surprised at this kind of politics is over. Now we have to live with what we’ve done.
    We need more ideas on how we de-radicalize.
  • Why be nonbinary?
    Recently, I found myself at London Stansted Airport, travelling back to the United States. I’m a frequent flyer, so I’m familiar with the airport ritual: shoes, laptop, body scanner. But for myself and many others, the final instalment of this liturgy tends to become a social test.
    Short answer: because they are. Long answer: it’s never that easy.
  • Why everyone around the world is having the same nightmare
    The first time Tim Brown saw the Hat Man, he was 14 years old and curled up in his bed in Nashville, Tennessee. He was dozing, with the only light in the room coming from the flicker of late-night television. As he drifted off to sleep, a sound from the television shook him back awake.
    The real question is, how many of you will now have this nightmare having read this article!
  • Climate change is unraveling this Antarctic ecosystem
    Brutal.
  • Sissel Tolaas goes nose-on with the whole world
    When you are a world-renowned pioneer in smells, it’s somewhat inevitable you will end up sticking your face into peculiar places: the burned rubber tire of a Chevy lowrider, a rotting hunk of wall insulation from an abandoned home, a cupped palmful of cool water from the Detroit River.
    One of the least prominent senses but one of the most important.
  • A cockroach’s karate kick is the trick to fend off killer zombie wasps
    Humans loathe roaches, so we don’t feel remorse about killing them, and don’t mind if other living things do it, either.
    I have a cockroach. His name is Bruce!
  • ‘Saviors of the white race’: Perpetrators of hate crimes see themselves as heroes, researchers say
    In Kansas, a middle-aged man yells, “Get out of my country!” and shoots dead an Indian-born immigrant. In New York, another man, convinced the white race is being destroyed by interracial marriage, allegedly finds an African American homeless man and stabs him to death.
    The problem I have reading this is just how much of a leap it ISN’T for some of these men.
  • Welcome to the Petty Hall of Fame
    Being petty can feel good. While we often shoot for grandeur, we frequently land at petty—an offshoot of the French word petit, to be specific. Petty has been a belittling word; calling someone petty would historically have been a derogatory statement.
    Would having to hand code this post count as something has broken my ‘magic IFTTT recipe’?
  • How Do You Move A Bookstore? With A Human Chain, Book By Book
    When October Books, a small radical bookshop in Southampton, England, was moving to a new location down the street, it faced a problem. How could it move its entire stock to the new spot, without spending a lot of money or closing down for long?
    Awww good to know us humans aren’t all bad.
  • One way to make urban cycling safer? Fewer angry dudes
    Copenhagen is renowned for being a bike-friendly city. At rush hour, parents navigate major roads with kids in their bikes or cycling beside them.
    What a surprise. Men.
  • The Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger Language of Dieting
    Late last year, the health-care start-up Viome raised $15 million in venture-capital funding for at-home fecal test kits.
    All about the money.

Weekend Reading

  • The banana is dying. The race is on to reinvent it before it’s too late
    During the summer of 1989, Randy Ploetz was in his laboratory just south of Miami, when he received a package from Taiwan.
    I can’t imagine NOT having bananas.
  • That Time Coca-Cola Released a New Soda Just to Spite Pepsi
    Few companies have a rivalry as fierce and longstanding as PepsiCo and Coca-Cola and in their never ending battle for soda market dominance each company has gone to some spectacular lengths to screw over the other.
    I find this all the more amusing given I mostly drink water these days (yeah, I’m on my high horse, what of it?!)
  • Nationalism Isn’t Patriotism
    At a time when fascism & authoritarianism are creeping into the global politics of the developed world, it’s useful for us to reacquaint ourselves with the difference between nationalism and patriotism.
    As the rise of nationalism increases, this is vital to know.
  • This Man Says the Mind Has No Depths
    A whole lot of books on the brain are published these days and you can read yourself into a coma trying to make sense of their various messages. So it was with my usual low-burn curiosity that I starting reading The Mind Is Flat by British behavioral scientist Nick Chater.
    The human mind is endlessly fascinating.
  • 100 Brexits
    1) The one where Chequers proves unexpectedly workable. 2) The one where furiously redrafted technobabble saves the day. 3) The one where a digital workaround for frictionless trade solves everything.
    It gets better/worse as it goes.
  • Sugar Boat shipwreck: The River Clyde’s unlikely landmark
    For more than 40 years its rusting hulk has risen, whale-like, from the waters of the River Clyde. But what is the story of the “Sugar Boat”? On the night of 27 January 1974 fierce winds were battering Scotland’s west coast.
    A local feature that I knew little about, love me some local history.
  • Surfing Life Force
    “Going with the flow is responding to cues from the universe. When you go with the flow, you’re surfing life force. It’s about wakeful trust and total collaboration with what’s showing up for you.” – Danielle LaPorte
    Go with the flow.
  • Living with Dolly Parton
    Dolly Parton was one of two women I learned to admire growing up in East Tennessee. The other was Pat Summitt, head coach of the Lady Volunteers, the University of Tennessee women’s basketball team. One flamboyantly female, the other a masculine woman.
    Legend.
  • The Japanese Man Who Saved 6,000 Jews With His Handwriting
    “Even a hunter cannot kill a bird that flies to him for refuge.” This Samurai maxim inspired one gifted and courageous man to save thousands of people in defiance of his government and at the cost of his career.
    Silent hero.
  • The lost art of concentration: being distracted in a digital world
    It is difficult to imagine life before our personal and professional worlds were so dominated and “switched on” via smartphones and the other devices that make us accessible and, crucially, so easily distractible and interruptible every second of the day.
    It’s possibly telling that I’m still struggling to get back into reading books, but can read articles about why that would be good for me….
  • Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch Puppeteer Caroll Spinney Retires After Nearly 50 Years on ‘Sesame Street’
    Puppeteer Caroll Spinney is hanging up his feathers after bringing beloved “Sesame Street” character Big Bird to life for nearly 50 years. The cast member of the long-running children’s show is also the man behind Oscar the Grouch.
    Without Oscar I think Sesame Street would’ve all been too twee. I do love a good grouch.
  • Social robots will become family members in the homes of the future
    I first became fascinated by robots as a child while watching Star Wars. To me, R2D2 and C3PO were about so much more than just the novel, futuristic cool-factor—they were genuine friends and companions to the human characters, and even to each other.
    The utopian future. Robot & Frank anyone? (great movie!)

Weekend Reading

Weekend Reading

  • Kitchen machismo off the menu as female chefs blaze a trail in Scotland
    Julie Lin MacLeod worked in male-led kitchens for years, and her experiences there – inappropriate sexual advances among them – served as motivation to open her own place, one that would be run by women.
    Some of the best eateries in Glasgow on this list.
  • 5 Psychological Strategies to Ease the Stress of Perfectionism
    The last three months I’ve been trying an experiment. It’s something that I’ve never done before, and in a certain way, it’s been a huge challenge. However, in other ways, it’s been an enormous stress relief, and I would say a largely successful effort.
    Read for myself, sharing for others.
  • ‘I have an appetite for transgressive women’
    Phoebe Waller-Bridge is sitting in an upmarket restaurant, asking me to teach her how to burp at will. “I can’t armpit fart and I can’t fake burp, and I think that’s a tragedy,” she says. We met about five minutes ago; I’m not quite sure how we reached this point.
    Killing Eve was superb. Prompted another rewatch of Fleabag which still delivers.
  • Why You Should Surround Yourself With More Books Than You’ll Ever Have Time to Read
    Not sure I fully agree but I get the sentiment.
  • Why we don’t have to attend every drama we are invited to
    This week I lost my purse. It had all the stuff your purse usually has in it – bank cards, credit card, driving licence, loyalty cards, stamps (how retro), photos and £50 cash. I was gutted. Gutted I’d have to cancel all my cards. Gutted that I had cash on me when I rarely do.
    Step away from the drama! (life rule 592)
  • One Small Step for the Web…
    I’ve always believed the web is for everyone. That’s why I and others fight fiercely to protect it. The changes we’ve managed to bring have created a better and more connected world.
    Will be following this with a lot of interest. Everything has to start small.
  • You Should Be Eating Pie for Breakfast
    From the moment it opens at 8 a.m. every day, customers flood Chicago’s Bang Bang Pie shop, drawn in by the smell of browned butter and toasted sugar. On a recent morning, peach raspberry was moving fast, as were slices of apple spiked with a slash of cider and baked in a graham flour crust.
    Not actually read this one, just going with the headline!!
  • Students raise money to send a janitor on the first vacation he’s had in almost a decade
    Custodian Herman Gordon has been spreading kindness at Bristol University for more than 11 years. This summer, students of the UK university decided it was time to return the favor.
    Awwwwwww
  • The Joy of Experiencing Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody for the Very First Time: Watch Three Reaction Videos
    Remember when you first encountered Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”? I suspect many of us don’t. It’s not the Kennedy assassination.
    Wow. I’d love to be able to go back and do something like this.
  • Hip Hop Fan Freaks Out When He Hears Rage Against the Machine’s Debut Album for the Very First Time
    I consider myself lucky to have been a child of the nineties. As you know from Portlandia’s tribute to the decade of slack, it was a time when “people were content to be unambitious and sleep to 11 and just hang out with their friends.
    As per above. This is why I keep going to gigs, why I seek out new music. I want THOSE moments.
  • Labels
    For the last 5 months or so, I have been doing some long hard thinking about who I am, something that I probably should have confronted years ago, but somehow managed to bury deep until this year.
    Feelings. All of them!
  • An In-Depth Explanation of Computational Photography on the iPhone XS
    Outside of Apple employees, one of the people most knowledgeable about the iPhone’s camera is Sebastiaan de With, designer of the manual camera app Halide. It is fitting, then, that Sebastiaan would publish what I believe is the best explanation of the iPhone XS camera system to date.
    Geek time. I’ve not yet stretched the XS camera but planning to this very weekend.
  • Raised by YouTube
    The platform’s entertainment for children is weirder—and more globalized—than adults could have expected. ChuChu TV, the company responsible for some of the most widely viewed toddler content on YouTube, has a suitably cute origin story.
    Good that it’s global and multi-culture based. Bad in terms of extended ‘screentime’.
  • Britons Among First to Try Out Carlsberg With Much Less Plastic
    In its effort to use less plastic in its products, Carlsberg A/S will start gluing together the beer cans it sells in six-packs around the world.
    Great idea. Probably not the best lager in the world though, eh.
  • Comedian Shares Stories Of All The Times She Didn’t Encounter A Rapist
    The investigation into sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh have been really hard to watch.
    More men need to read this. Strike that, more men need to UNDERSTAND this.
  • Apple Park
    In Lego.
    This is insane. Amazing. But insane.
  • Why are Apple Watch faces such a mess?
    The state of the Apple Watch is good. Tim Cook continues to hail its popularity, albeit without any hard sales figures. Most pundits felt it outshined the iPhone at last month’s Apple media event. The new Apple Watch Series 4 seems to have been received well by reviewers.
    Could not agree more. Hopefully it’s only a matter of time but, given their track record, I’m not holding my breath (this would be an entire OS upgrade I reckon.
  • Neal Preston’s best photograph: Robert Plant catches a dove
    As far as I know, I’m the only person ever to be Led Zeppelin’s tour photographer. I was just 22 and knew a plum job when it landed on my lap.
    Legendary.