Weekend Reading

  • The strange life of Q-tips, the most bizarre thing people buy
    Years ago, my mother complained about a terrible earache. The pain was unbearable. And it wouldn’t go away — for a week, she walked around with a debilitating ringing in her head.
    I always find articles about everyday items like these fascinating; how does the usage change?
  • You’ll Spend 3.5 Days of Your Life Untangling Headphones
    Now instead of just being frustrated that my headphones are always tangled, now I’ll get to enjoy knowing I’m wasting a few days of my life. Untangle 4 times a day.
    I dunno, the estimates seem a bit light.
  • Should Fiction Be Timeless? Pop Culture References in Contemporary Novels
    Should fiction be timeless? It was a debate that became especially heated in the 1980s, as a younger generation of writers, raised on corporate advertising and the burgeoning brand-ification of America, attempted to portray the daily consumption of pop culture and corporate sponsorship.
    Interesting take, I always find older pieces of fiction can jar when you stumble across something you don’t recognise because you weren’t part of that piece of pop culture.
  • An End to Parking?
    If you drive out to visit Disney’s Epcot center in Orlando, Florida, you will arrive at one of the biggest parking lots in America. With room for 12,000 cars, it sprawls out over 7 million square feet—about the size of 122 football fields.
    Mind boggling.
  • Sick Woman Theory
    In late 2014, I was sick with a chronic condition that, about every 12 to 18 months, gets bad enough to render me, for about five months each time, unable to walk, drive, do my job, sometimes speak or understand language, take a bath without assistance, and leave the bed.
    An outlier, or more common than we realise. Tough but interesting read.
  • My Year Without Makeup
    In a New York cab on a rainy afternoon in Union Square last June, an hour before I was to appear on British national television, I opened the travel makeup palette I had just bought from Sephora while the car was stopped in traffic.
    So so glad I am not a woman.
  • 7 Management Myths That Need To Be Busted 3
    There are many aspects of modern business management which bother me. More than anything though, is the relentless invasion of idiotic myths which seems to pass for “inspirational leadership”.
    Some of this caught me by surprise, fascinating look at the history of these ‘teachings’ and how they came (wrongly) to prominence. Guarantee you’ll have heard of a few of them.
  • Food and home
    January gets a bad write-up. It’s a time of year I love – a time to gather thoughts to let the holiday glow slowly dim. I let it run until about the 15th, when I gently lay down some intentions for the year ahead.
    Yes to this.
  • This Visitor Center Is Designed To Make You Focus On Nature, Not Your Photos
    If you stop to take a selfie, you might actually die.
    A little extreme, but I’ll admit sometimes you just want people to focus on what’s right in front of them. Be part of it!
  • Who’s Afraid of Gender-Neutral Bathrooms?
    In the middle of taking the bar exam at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, in New York City, along with thousands of aspiring lawyers, I had to go to the bathroom. The enormous line for the women’s restroom looked like it would take at least a half hour.
  • World’s Fastest Rubik’s Cube Solving Robot
    My Friend Paul and I show off our Rubik’s cube solving robot.
    Oh dear god. It’s started.
  • Why Facebook Won, and Other Hard Truths
    A lot of people have been tweeting and emailing me and DM-ing me the recent Guardian piece by Iran’s “blogfather”.
    Any article with ‘Facebook’ in the title grabs my attention as I’m weaning myself off it. Great read (and I’m happy to publish this on my very own blog).
  • Cuba’s Internet Is F*cking Insane. And the Ways Cubans Use It Are Genius.
    When you order a beer in Cuba, you’ll likely be presented with two options: Cristal (a watery, government-owned light lager) or Bucanero (a watery, government-owned dark lager).
    Go back 15 years, that’s how Cuba is now.
  • 2016 will be the year of conversational commerce
    Nearly a year ago today, I wrote a post inventorying the forebears to what I believe has become the dominant trend of consumer computing apps in 2016, a trend that I dubbed Conversational Commerce and have tracked with the hashtag #ConvComm.
    Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. But, probably kinda right.
  • ADHD Is Fuel for Adventure
    By second grade, it was clear that while Zack Smith could sit in a chair, he had no intention of staying in it. He was disruptive in class, spoke in a loud voice, and had a hard time taking turns with others.
    I just thought I was a fidget!
  • The True Crime Tourists Who Visit Sites from ‘Serial’, ‘Making a Murderer’ and More
    In the show, which chronicles the mysterious circumstances surrounding the killing of teenager Hae Min Lee and the conviction of another teen, Adnan Syed, for her murder, the Best Buy parking lot in Baltimore looms large.
    Weirdos. Or are they?
  • The Calorie Is Broken
    Calories consumed minus calories burned: it’s the simple formula for weight loss or gain. But dieters often find that it doesn’t work. Cynthia Graber and Nicola Twilley of Gastropod investigate.
    I must update my list of podcast recommendations, Gastropod is always interesting!
  • Faked Moon landing? Nah
    Major conspiracies theories, such as a faked Moon landing, would have been exposed within just a few years if they were really true, a scientist has concluded.
    I love how scientists can apply maths to ANYTHING. Next up, scientist concludes that no-one reads this sentence by calculating bees flying east + interest from the over 90s.
  • Here’s how UK film censors rated a 10-hour film of paint drying
    It’s official. Paint drying is a suitable image for viewers aged 4 and over. That’s the conclusion the British Board of Film Classification reached Jan. 26 after reviewing Paint Drying, a 10-hour documentary consisting of a single shot of white paint drying on a wall.
    I wonder if this is a bit like 4’33 by John Cage, more interesting that it seems?
  • Death of a troll
    Everyone who played Epic Mafia knew Eris, or at least knew of him.
    Online versus real life personas, the psychology and lifestyles, always fascinating, if somewhat tragic at times.
  • Playing ‘Street Fighter’ With the Chinese Mafia
    It ’s a summer day in the mid-2000s and my brother and I are stalking gaming dens around the dusty, hot streets of Mongkok, a dense, crowded district of Hong Kong.
  • Researchers have established a worrisome link between social media usage and sleep
    The regular, sometimes absent-minded act of checking social media may be having profound effects on your sleep.
  • 15 uses in four minutes: This Japanese video celebrates the simple genius of binder clips
    It’s impossible not to fiddle with a binder clip, once it comes within range of idle hands. Simple and elegant, the little metal object invites curiosity and invention—which may be one reason this video demonstrating more than 15 unexpected uses in under four minutes is so engrossing: