Weekend Reading

  • The Story Behind Monopoly Pieces
    While many board games use colorful little pegs as markers, Monopoly, the game with the unique power to unite and divide a family in the matter of an hour, has those odd tokens you’re no doubt familiar with.
    I always wanted to be the shoe, but I’m not sure why.
  • A Liberated Woman: The Story of Margaret King
    In October 1786, 27-year-old feminist philosopher Mary Wollstonecraft journeyed from London to her new temporary home: an imposing Palladian-style mansion in County Cork, Ireland.
    AMAZING women, why haven’t I heard of her before now?
  • There’s a mathematical reason you’re less popular than your friends
    Do you ever get the feeling that the people you follow on social media are more popular and active than you are? Unfortunately, this is probably not your imagination. Due to a strange social phenomenon, chances are that you’re right.
    Phew. I’m glad I can use numbers to explain why no-one likes me.
  • The History of Pho
    Pho is so elemental to Vietnamese culture that people talk about it in terms of romantic relationships.
    Who doesn’t like a good pho?
  • The Brexiteers look like villains cornered by Batman in a hall of mirrors
    The politicians backing Brexit are all dreadful – as are all the politicians against it. Their campaigns should speak to a majority of the population but both sides seem to aim at its very worst minority.
    Frankie Boyle lays down the polemic.
  • He Sold His Business for $2 Billion. Now He’s an Uber Driver. Huh?
    Last year, Paul English, a co-founder of the travel booking site Kayak–which Priceline bought for $1.8 billion in 2012–looked at his calendar. Ninety percent of his meetings and outings, he realized, were with people in tech or nonprofits. He wanted to broaden his circle.
    Love this story! If it were me I’d also work on becoming a recognised eccentric.
  • A slave in Scotland: ‘I fell into a trap – and I couldn’t get out’
    Abul Azad left Bangladesh for a chef’s job in London – so how did he end up enslaved in a remote Scottish hotel? What’s left of the Stewart hotel sits on a steep hill overlooking sheep-flecked fields, tumbling hedgerows and distant snow-capped mountains in Appin, west Scotland.
    Horrific story.
  • Chocolate, it’s the newest party drug
    It’s sweet, delicious, gives us an energy boost and is perfectly legal – chocolate has become the party drug of choice in the US and Europe.  Chocolate – and in it’s raw form, cocoa – can be ingested as a drink, a pill, in powdered form, and can even be snorted.
    Snorting chocolate? Seriously, hipsters, enough already! What next, beetroot juice injections?
  • Prince’s death casts spotlight on anti-opioid addiction drug
    It was an intervention that never happened, and it featured two stars: Prince, an adored music icon, and buprenorphine, an obscure drug hailed as a revolutionary tool to fight opioid addiction.
    Opioids kill more Americans than anything other drug. Scary.
  • The stigma of mental illness is under attack by sufferers, who are coming out publicly and defiantly
    For several years, she wrote about her bipolar disorder under a pseudonym. She described how she’d been hospitalized four times, twice since her first child was born.
    It’s never easy ‘coming out’ about anything. My depression is long in my past (as far as it ever can be), but I still don’t talk about it much.
  • A match-making service pairs neuroscientists with designers to explain scientific breakthroughs
    Scientists are smart. Designers are, er, good with color. Stereotype holds that scientists and designers are vastly different thinkers: Scientists are exacting and objective, while designers and artists are intuitive and associative.
    In other words, smart people do good work when they work with other smart people. The type of ‘smarts’ don’t really matter.
  • Doom was video gaming’s punk moment
    A new Doom title is released today, but the 1993 original had the impact of punk rock in the 1970s – especially for this young drama student. This was how it happened for me, and I guess for a lot of people at the time.
    I can still remember the first time I played Doom, so gory and visceral. Couldn’t sleep for a week!
  • Australia puts traffic lights in the ground to alert phone addicts
    The German city of Augsburg has already tried putting traffic lights in the ground to keep cellphone-obsessed pedestrians from walking on to train tracks, but the Australian state of New South Wales wants to take things one step further.
    Now we just need to invent something that’ll stop these gormless idiots walking into me every morning!
  • Startups can’t explain what they do because they’re addicted to meaningless jargon
    Internet startup culture has evolved and matured over the past five years, and there’s no better example of this than the RISE conference happening this week in Hong Kong.
    I think this is an unfair view of the harmonious synergies that can spring up when thinking outside the box, but what do I know?