Weekend Reading

Apologies for the hiatus; ’twas a mixture of illness on my behalf, and illness on behalf some of the services I use to compile this list. Here are some articles that caught my attention over the past couple of weeks.

  • Why you shouldn’t exercise to lose weight, explained with 60+ studies
    At the end of the 45-minute workout, my body was dripping with sweat. I felt like I had worked really, really hard. And according to my bike, I had burned more than 700 calories. Surely I had earned an extra margarita.
    One thing I love about science, it continues to prove that nothing we know is true. Pass the doughnuts (I’ve done a lot of typing!)
  • 2016 Audubon Photography Awards
    More than 1,700 photographers entered the seventh annual Audubon Photography Awards competition, submitting images in several categories, including Amateur, Professional, Fine Art, and Youth.
    Makes me want to pick up my camera again. Stunning work.
  • iTunes is 13 years old—and it’s still awful
    On April 28, 2003, Apple started up a revolution. Enter the iTunes Music Store, unveiled with a proud flourish by a beaming Steve Jobs. It was a digital jukebox, a music distribution game-changer, a record store to end all record stores—and it did, in fact, kill off a great number of those.
    I’ve blogged about this as well. For a ‘design-centric’ company, iTunes continues to be the embarassing drunk uncle in the corner.
  • My Life as a Teen Brawler in Leicester City’s 80s Hooligan Firm
    It’s 1982 in Leicester. Gary Lineker is playing football rather than selling crisps. Leicester City Football Club languish in the Second Division – miles from the position they’ve soared to, currently at the top of the Premier League for the first time in their 132-year history.
    Quite a journey for a football club.
  • Leicester City’s ‘good karma’: the Buddhist monks behind the Foxes’ divine play
    From supremely gifted players on the pitch to the tactical vision of the manager and coaching staff and the passionate support of the fans, it takes many people to win English football’s ultimate prize.
    I had no idea this happened, the question is, does it make any difference? (answer: probably not)
  • The tragic irony of feminists trashing each other
    ‘Sisterhood is powerful. It kills sisters,’ noted a friend of Shulamith Firestone. Is sisterhood sacred or soul-crushing? Within the feminist movement, the answer is less clear than one might hope.
    ‘Just’ another example of a movement devolving to ‘type’? Sad but interesting read.
  • Sleep-wake cycle: why it’s vital to watch your biological clock
    Breakfast in the morning, work during the day, relaxation in the evening followed by bedtime.
    I work best in the afternoon/evening, now can someone tell my boss that so I can have a lie-in?
  • Kung Fu Motion Visualization


  • The man who’s walking around the world follows footsteps of old Silk Road traders
    An update from a man we first met out on a walk. Hari recently caught up with him.
    Not THAT Silk Road, THAT Silk Road (hey, if you don’t know, you don’t know).
  • Lawsuit Claims Starbucks Is Putting Too Much Ice In Iced Beverages
    For some caffeine lovers, there’s nothing more refreshing than adding some ice to a cup of coffee or tea to bring the temperature down and the energy levels up. Balance is important — too much ice and not enough coffee can result in a weak drink.
    I can’t even.. I mean… seriously? Some people really need lessons in perspective. Ohh and to stop putting ice in coffee in the first place. Weirdos.
  • How the Curse of Sykes-Picot Still Haunts the Middle East
    In the Middle East, few men are pilloried these days as much as Sir Mark Sykes and François Georges-Picot. Sykes, a British diplomat, travelled the same turf as T. E. Lawrence (of Arabia), served in the Boer War, inherited a baronetcy, and won a Conservative seat in Parliament.
    A few lines on a map = years of strife and war.
  • Brazil’s ‘impeachment wall’ may be new but divisions have always been there
    Wall separating pro- and anti-impeachment rallies ahead of a vote on President Dilma Rousseff is a reminder nothing in the country is divided equally.
    I knew there were protests in Brazil (on average 3 million people protest every week.. 3 MILLION!) but a wall? Yikes.
  • The Cure For Fear
    Karin Klaver woke in the darkness and searched the nightstand for her iPhone. It was 2 a.m. Her husband slept quietly beside her. They had arrived in Johannesburg early that morning on the red-eye from Amsterdam and spent the day window shopping and people watching in the city.
    WARNING: There is a large image of a big spider on the page! (it’s a good read though, just scroll real quick when you get there!)
  • The mysterious properties of the wax in your ear
    Whales never clean out their ears. Year after year their earwax builds up, leaving behind something of a life history told in fatty acids, alcohols, and cholesterols. The waxy substance builds in the ear canals of many mammals, including ourselves.
    Gross but fascinating. Mostly fascinating. And gross.
  • Chileans Are Harvesting Fog To Brew Beer In Earth’s Driest Desert
    There is nothing about this that doesn’t sound Sci-Fi astounding. First, the flat and seemingly lifeless expanse of the Atacama desert, 600 miles of graveyard-quiet emptiness rising from Peru’s southern border into Northern Chile.
    What do you do? Ohhh I harvest fog. Ohh that sounds… wait, what?!
  • Mourning Prince and David Bowie, who showed there’s no one right way to be a man
    When the news came this afternoon that Prince had died at 57 at his home in Minnesota, a chorus went up that it was the latest cruelty of 2016, a year that already feels merciless in those it’s claimed, four months along.
    Part of me still doesn’t really believe they are both gone. True trail-blazing trend-setters.
  • No alcohol, no coffee for 15 months. This is what happened.
    Exactly today I haven’t had a single drop of alcohol or coffee in 15 months.A couple of my friends on Facebook & Twitter asked me to write about my experience, so here it is, in a nutshell. With over a year of no alcohol & coffee, I did notice some side effects. Here is what I learned.
    Putting the side effects… er… aside, WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS TO YOURSELF!?
  • How Scotland Became the Most LGBT Friendly Country in the World
    When Scottish Labour leader, Kezia Dugdale, revealed this month that she was in a relationship with a woman, a nation shrugged its shoulders.
    A lot of things are still not right in Scotland, but this, THIS I’m proud of.
  • In a real lightsaber duel, your body would be vaporized
    Research is an unpredictable process. Sometimes you end up making a really cool discovery that you didn’t see coming. I recently uncovered a fundamental property of lightsabers (that’s right—the awesome weapons from Star Wars) while doing my regular plasma physics research.
    Not to self: You should’ve studied regular plasma physics (which begs the question, are there irregular plasma physics?).
  • Dyson’s First-Ever Hair Dryer Will Make All Others Look Weak
    Dyson is unveiling its first-ever hair dryer today. The Supersonic is a $400, technology-laden device. It’s the company’s first foray into the beauty market.
    I have no idea why I’m linking to this. A hair dryer to me is as useful as a chocolate teapot.
  • Feminist, entrepreneur, Twitter phenom, troll-slayer, woman of the year: Trevor Beattie meets Holly Brockwell
    Trouble may not exactly follow Holly Brockwell around, but it certainly knows where she lives. And as she lives almost entirely on Twitter, it’s also probably one of her 20,000 followers (I know I am). Over the last few years Holly Brockwell has become a hugely influential voice for women online.
    I can’t remember why I started following Holly on Twitter but the volume and type of abuse she receives is horrifying.
  • Who Will Debunk The Debunkers?
    In 2012, network scientist and data theorist Samuel Arbesman published a disturbing thesis: What we think of as established knowledge decays over time.
    You know nothing! Well, you knew something, but now it’s as good as nothing. Me? I’ve always been a bit thick, no change.
  • Your Dog Hates Hugs
    I never met a dog I didn’t want to hug. The feeling, alas, is likely not mutual.
    I feel like I should apologise for linking to this. I love dogs!
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