bookmark_borderWeekend Reading

Back from my holiday, so a bumper edition for you! Ohhh and if anyone has any good sources for interesting articles (newsletters, RSS feeds, etc) then leave a comment. I’m always thirsty for more!

  • What It Means To Be Me
    Navigating boundaries as a biracial agender person.A Roundtable Discussion – In my sophomore year of college, while navigating my gender identity and coming to terms with the fact that I might be a trans guy, I took a course called The Sociology of Gender.
  • Why we crave what’s cool
    You probably heard quite a bit during the last 24 hours about the latest cool new products from Apple, iPads and iPhones, that in some circles quickly become the latest must-have gadget. But what exactly makes a product cool?
  • Lower Blood Pressure Guidelines Could Be ‘Lifesaving,’ Federal Study Says
    Declaring they had “potentially lifesaving information,” federal health officials said on Friday that they were ending a major study more than a year early because it has already conclusively answered a question cardiologists have puzzled over for decades: How low should blood pressure go?
  • Cool cartography: the art of mapmaking
    One of the most prolific ski-trail mapmakers at work, Niehues is known for extreme attention to detail, giving unique form, structure and shadows to trees, or adding cars to resort parking lots. He usually begins by gathering images of his subject from various angles, including archival photos and flying around the area at various elevations. A medium-size ski resort takes two to four days to sketch and seven to 10 days to paint. Larger regions have taken weeks.
  • The Dunce Cap Wasn’t Always So Stupid
    Sure, a dunce cap looks dumb now, but that wasn’t always the case. The dunce cap has long been a visual symbol of idiocy and punishment, but was once seen as something closer to a wizard’s hat.
  • This Is The Current World Record For Stone Skipping
    Kurt Steiner crushed the previous record of 65 skips with a whopping 88, the physics of which is simply mind-boggling.
  • Jonny Wilkinson interview: ‘winning the World Cup was a danger for me’
    As the last moments of the 2003 Rugby World Cup final were being battled out in Sydney, Jonny Wilkinson’s mother, Philippa, was shopping in a Tesco near her son’s Northumberland home, too nervous to watch her then 24-year-old’s pivotal role in the England v Australia match.
  • Why London’s music scene is still one of the best
    When it comes to underground and leftfield dance music, London’s been leading the charge for decades.
  • What the World Got Wrong About Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
    In the sleek, cold lobby of the Langham Place hotel in Midtown Manhattan, one of those thoroughly designed spaces in which one cannot find a right angle, much less a comfortable chair, the 68-year-old, 7-foot-2 former basketball star sits.
  • Viola Davis gives stirring speech after historic win at 2015 Emmys – video
    Viola Davis gives a stirring speech after becoming the first woman of color to win the best actress in a drama series award at the 2015 Emmys on Sunday.
  • 10 Tips from One Week as a Professional Baker
    Be prepared to get your hands dirty and apply sprinkles liberally. Have you ever fantasized about quitting your 9-to-5 to bake cookies all day? Well, folks, I’m here to tell you the dream is alive and well.
  • The psychology behind why couples always fight when assembling Ikea furniture
    If you have assembled a piece of Ikea furniture with a partner, then you have probably argued with a partner about assembling a piece of Ikea furniture.
  • Take a Grand Tour of the World’s Great Tattoos
    A Grand Tour of Tattooing, hitting all the highlights, might start in New York and end in Montreal. But in between, it would circle the world. You’d travel to San Francisco, Japan, Beijing, St. Petersburg, and Berlin, before doubling back through Johannesburg, Jerusalem, India, and Bangkok.
  • Scenes From a Human Flood
    For the past several weeks, the world’s attention has been riveted by the spectacle of migrants and refugees from Africa and the Middle East making their way across Europe. A principal entry point has been the Greek island of Lesbos, close to the Turkish mainland.
  • 100 Wonders: The Everlasting Lightning Storm
    The sky above this river never sleeps. Producing 3,600 flashes per hour, for 10 hours at a time, for most nights out of the year, the “Relampago del Catatumbo,” has been raging, on and off, for as long as people can remember.
  • The Self-Made Castaway Who Spent 16 Years on an Atoll With His Cats
    The phrase “sole survivor” evokes scenes of violent disaster—a plane crash; an explosion in a mine; the eruption of a volcano whose lava destroys a city and all its inhabitants but one.
  • The Avenger
    When Ken Dornstein learned that Pan Am Flight 103 had exploded, he did not realize that his older brother, David, was on the plane. It was December 22, 1988, and Ken, a sophomore at Brown University, was at home, in Philadelphia, on winter break.
  • Hit Charade
    The biggest pop star in America today is a man named Karl Martin Sandberg. The lead singer of an obscure ’80s glam-metal band, Sandberg grew up in a remote suburb of Stockholm and is now 44. Sandberg is the George Lucas, the LeBron James, the Serena Williams of American pop.
  • 7 Insanely Inventive Movies You Have To See To Believe
    Noodles like white worms in gray-green sludge, supposedly human flesh studded with suckers like an octopus, and a very unsettling ultrasound — even the seemingly innocuous opening shot of Evolution, of a boy swimming in the ocean, seen from below, is troubling.
  • How Cocktail Culture Survived Prohibition and World War II
    ​When Esquire made its debut in late 1933, repeal was imminent and Americans didn’t know a damn thing about polite drinking.
  • Here’s Why Some People Are More Religious Than Others
    When it comes to predicting the kind of people most likely to be religious, brainiac scientists used to be everyone’s last guess. The more educated a person was, the thinking went, the more likely they were to question the supernatural.
  • Psychologist reveals the 9 most common dreams and what they mean
    Many psychologists have given up trying to interpret dreams, but we talked to one who hasn’t. Psychologist Ian Wallace has interpreted over 150,000 dreams during more than 30 years of practice.
  • Health
    Sitting is basically the new smoking. An ever-growing body of research is showing that being sedentary and sitting for long periods of time are linked to poor health consequences, including a laundry list of risks for conditions ranging from obesity to heart disease.
  • Why Everything Is Bad for You
    When I was growing up in the same New Jersey suburbs so expertly described in Todd Solondz movies and Tom Perrotta novels, the usual lunch for me was a sandwich consisting of Wonder Bread spread thick with Land O’ Lakes butter, a wad of Oscar Mayer bologna and a slice of American cheese.
  • Netflix Data Reveals Exactly When TV Shows Hook Viewers — And It’s Not the Pilot
    Netflix crunched cold, hard viewing data for more than two dozen TV shows and says it has determined which specific episode grabbed most subscribers to the point where they watched the entire first season.

bookmark_borderWeekend Reading

Enjoy this weeks random selection of random articles. No Weekend Reading next week as I’m on holiday, but will be back with a vengeance (and a bumper edition) in a fortnight.

  • The Cold War : Epic Magazine
    “Sure,” Efrain said. He was guarded and didn’t know where this was headed. Dennis took the lead, plunging into a list of complaints: Efrain boxed his drivers in, dropped prices, even catcalled people. Efrain sighed or shook his head in denial at each allegation.
  • On How to Disagree
    We live in a world saturated with disagreement.
  • Scientists say they’ve found a way to slow ice cream’s melting
    Ice cream is already a scientific miracle. It has all three phases of matter—solid, liquid, and gas—in one delicious scoop. But unless you gobble it up, it can melt into a sad puddle too quickly in the summer heat. What if there were a way to slow down the melting?
  • The benefits of being selfish
    None of us wants to feel like we’re being selfish. We all know we should have empathy for others and be helpful. But when it comes to doing your best work, sometimes being selfish is exactly what you need to do.
  • Four future space technologies that will change the world in your lifetime
    Imagine a world where severe storms, tornadoes, and flash flooding are no longer a threat to human life. Or a time when flying from London to Australia takes less than an hour.
  • Want to drink whisky in space? You’ll need this glass
    Getting the whisky into the glass and drinking it has been engineered according to a four-step process, according to James Parr from the Open Space Agency.
  • Soothe Yourself By Watching Tiny Meals Being Cooked in Tiny Kitchens
    Japanese miniature cooking videos, in which hands appear in a dollhouse-esque kitchen to prepare minuscule meals, are slowly becoming an internet sensation.
  • The Players’ Tribune
    I am hours away from playing in the biggest tennis match of my life: the fourth round of the U.S. Open … on Labor Day … on my dad’s birthday … on Arthur Ashe … on CBS … against Roger Federer.
  • One lawyer’s crusade to defend extreme pornography
    One evening in the late autumn of 2008, Andrew Holland returned from holiday to discover that the front door to his home in Wrexham had been smashed in. Thinking he had been burgled, he phoned the police. They came straight round – and arrested him.
  • Real Talk With Trans People — Matter — Medium
    Real Talk With Trans People – How to be an ally – Words can cut, like knives slicing open wounds. For transgender folk, loaded lingo has long made us feel unseen and unwelcome.
  • The refugee crisis: 9 questions you were too embarrassed to ask
    There have always been refugees: people who are forced from their home countries by conflict or repression or something else, and who must find new homes and new lives abroad. But there is something different about what’s happening now.
  • How Much Harm Can Sugar Do?
    If you want to wage a war, you have to have an enemy. By almost any measure—scientific reports, documentaries, government announcements, and nearly thirty million Google results—we have been waging a War on Obesity for many years. It is not going well.
  • High Score
    Awful days, like childhood summers, flow together in a vague, compounding blur.
  • Researchers have discovered a better way to wait in line, and you’re going to hate it
    Think of all the time that you’ve ever spent waiting in line. How many hours have you spent waiting to board an airplane, get a table at a restaurant, use an ATM or a bathroom, or talk to a customer service representative?
  • How mindfulness plays havoc with memory
    Mindfulness, the form of meditation embraced by business leaders, celebrities and the NHS, might not be so beneficial for the mind after all, according to research. The practice, which emphasises paying deliberate attention to the present moment, can implant false memories, a study found.
  • Smashing melons and juggling chainsaws: Guinness World Record breakers tell their stories
    I am always fascinated by this type of challenge – I am a master instructor for self-defence and have tried different ones before, including breaking bricks with my head. I’ve been practising and teaching martial arts for many years, it was a passion of mine growing up.
  • bookmark_borderOn Cheating

    Poly Means Many: There are many aspects of polyamory. Each month, the PMM bloggers will write about their views on one of them. Links to all posts can be found at

    There are many ways in which polyamorous and monogamous relationships are not only similar, but identical and, at a basic level, cheating is one of them.

    If you are seeing someone without telling your partner(s), you are cheating.

    Within a poly relationship this is no different and relies on honesty and trust, and no small amount of talking.

    Which is no different to any other aspect of polyamory, communication and honesty are key.

    So how could someone end up cheating? Well it depends on what the expectations are within a given relationship, what is agreed and allowable by all, and that everyone is being clear on what they want, and what they don’t want.

    First things first; safety. If you and your partners have been tested for STIs, and are happy to not use condoms (technical term: fluid bonded), then obviously the risks rise when another sexual partner is added to the mix.

    Beyond that, how you and your partners define cheating is up to you. You can require notice and a level of approval of any new partner, or allow for casual relationships as long as they are carried out safely and everyone is kept in the know. The latter allows for one-night stands, the former protects your current relationships.

    And if you have cheated, owning up is the hardest part. Admitting you have done something wrong and accepting whatever the consequences may be.

    It may surprise some people that being poly doesn’t remove the chance of being cheated on, or the circumstances that can lead to cheating. After all the act of cheating is a personal, singular one, it is a decision that you take knowingly, even if you don’t want to admit that to yourself.

    bookmark_borderWeekend Reading

    I’m a little behind in my reading so a shorter set of links than usual.

    • The incredible life and haunting death of world traveler Harry Devert
      Photos of Harry Devert almost inevitably show him standing somewhere breathtaking — a frozen cave in Iceland, a mountaintop in the Himalayas, a waterfall in Brazil — with his arms out wide and his face tilted up towards the sky.
    • The contagious madness of the new PC
      It’s becoming pretty clear, as the year rolls on, that some of our brightest youngsters have gone round the bend. It’s as if they’ve caught a virus, a mental one, a set of thoughts and ideas that might loosely be called political correctness, but seem to me weirder and more damaging than that.
    • How to Be Happier Without Really Trying
      You are already a happiness expert. Seriously. You’re just a bit inconsistent. You already do a lot of things that researchers recommend for increased happiness. You just don’t realize it. And that’s the problem.
    • 12 photos of gravy wrestling guaranteed to put you off gravy for life
      They’re so passionate about their gravy in Lancashire that they don’t just have it with their chips and their roast dinners; once a year they get together and wrestle in a big, greasy pool of the stuff.
    • How Kurobe, Japan Became the Zipper Capital of the World
      It has done so through the auspices of YKK, the world’s largest manufacturer of zippers, producing roughly half the world’s supply—some 7 billion a year.
    • How Netflix’s ‘Beasts of No Nation’ Could Change the Movie Business
      Idris Elba nearly plunged to his death filming Cary Fukunaga’s “Beasts of No Nation.” The indie drama, about an African tyrant known as “the commandant” who recruits an innocent boy into his army of youth soldiers, took Elba into the depths of Ghana’s jungles for a guerrilla-like shoot.
    • Why Won’t Anyone Learn My Name?
      My colleagues often misspell and mispronounce my name, so much so that every iteration is a new invention. But since my name is not, say, “Scaachi,” and they think that a convenient mispronunciation of my name harkens a certain ‘90s songstress (RIP), they think it’s correct, or a compliment.
    • The Latest Craze In Winemaking: Marijuana-Infused Wine
      There’s been a lot of buzz about pot and wine recently. It’s hard to separate the toga party contingent’s thirst for a potion into which two psychoactive substances have been crammed, from the more sober, scholarly consideration of the 3,700+ year history of fortifying wine with cannabis.
    • Lucille Clifton Reads “Won’t You Celebrate With Me”
      “One should wish to celebrate more than one wishes to be celebrated,” poet Lucille Clifton (June 27, 1936–February 13, 2010) told Poets & Writers Magazine in 1992.
    • The Story Behind Australia’s Pink Lake
      The big idea behind these “Maphead” posts—the raison d’etre, if you will—is to sniff out geographical oddities. These are places that are somehow unique or weird on the map, often more interesting than they are in real life.

    bookmark_borderAn august month

    I can’t quite believe it’s September but it is, so it’s time to take stock of how my two ‘challenges’ went in August.

    I’ll start with the least successful.

    21 days into Minimalism

    Suffice to say if I’d read ahead I probably wouldn’t have chosen this particular challenge. Day 4 asks you to pack up your entire home as if you are moving… yeah, safe to say I wasn’t THAT invested in the challenge.

    However I stuck to the principle and managed to declutter a few different locations so I’m happy enough with that.

    I’m also more than happy to admit that I failed at this challenge which, in itself, is also a small achievement. Go me! pats self on back

    Apple Watch Activity Ring Challenge

    Simple enough concept, complete all three rings, every day in the month of August.

    August Rings


    This was a nice reminder in how much it means to me to be outside, if only for a short walk. Some days I’d complete all three rings easily, others I had to push myself to get out for a walk. Oddly the ‘Stand’ ring was the toughest, purely because if I had a lazy morning I had to be more disciplined during the rest of the day. However given that I’m not working I’m confident that’ll change when I get a new job.

    Walking every day has also helped my mental health, there have been a few flat days in the last month and on those days I did need some cajoling to get out the door but I always felt better for it after the fact.

    So lessons learned, one challenge complete and no surprise that it was the one that included a level of gamification.

    What’s Next?


    September will be a challenge free month, but there is no doubt that having something to focus on has helped me get through my first full month without a job. Hopefully this time next month I’ll at least have had a couple of interviews. So, aside from continuing the job hunt and a wee jaunt to Singapore, I’ll need to make sure I keep myself occupied.

    That reminds me, I’ve fallen behind in my Goodreads reading challenge, should really catch up…