Weekend Reading

  • When You Name Your Fictional War Criminal After a Real Man By Accident
    When the name of my novel’s antihero popped up in my inbox one afternoon, I didn’t even pause for thought. I had just spent six long years with the man. Why wouldn’t he be emailing me? Even as I read the first few lines, I had no doubt this was my character writing to me.
    I get emails from fictional characters all the time. Mostly from Nigerian Princes.
  • 10 Simple Ways to Help You Say No
    It’s important to say no so we can create more time to engage in what matters most. Even though we may feel bad or worried about saying no, it’s still important, because we need more time than we think.
    I’ve gotten better at saying no for the right reasons, it takes practice but it does make a difference.
  • Reminder: Blue Monday Isn’t Real
    Today is so-called ‘Blue Monday,’ allegedly the most miserable day of the year. Sure, it’s cold, we’re all poor from Christmas and a literal cartoon supervillain is being sworn into power later this week, but we don’t need made-up reasons to be grumpy alongside the real ones.
    A reminder that fake news isn’t a real thing, this shit has been going on for ages.
  • A Martin Luther King Jr. Must-Read – and Why It’s As Relevant Today
    In April 1963, following his arrest for a non-violent protest, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. drafted a letter from a cramped, solitary cell in the Birmingham Jail in Alabama.
    When Obama was elected I posted a picture of myself holding a sign saying “I too have a dream”. By the time you read this, that dream seems to have died.
  • Subversive Sounds : The Straight Men Who Made America’s First Gay Record
    When “Love Is a Drag” hit record-store shelves in 1962, it was decidedly not a sensation. Only a few shops carried the album, which featured jazz standards performed by an anonymous singer and band, and its label flopped shortly after the release.
    I do love a bit of subversion.
  • Men Can’t Be Feminists
    After Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TED talk, “We should all be feminists,” I have noticed an increasing number of men laying claim to being feminists. Like them, I once called myself a feminist, but no more.
    I call myself a feminist but reading this, perhaps I need to change that stance. Ally is a strong word.
  • Obama’s Secret to Surviving the White House Years: Books
    Not since Lincoln has there been a president as fundamentally shaped — in his life, convictions and outlook on the world — by reading and writing as Barack Obama.
    West Wing fans; Red Mass episode: “Is it possible we would be willing to require any less of the person sitting in that chair? The low road? I don’t think it is.”
  • ‘It’s not just banter, it puts you on edge’: readers on harassment while running
    More than 60% of women feel anxious when out running on their own, according to a new survey. Readers share their experiences What do you do if you experience unwanted attention while out running on your own? Many women try to ignore it, while others confront their catcallers.
    As an ally I will call out this behaviour if I see it happening.
  • Private Manning and the Making of Wikileaks
    Midnight, May 22nd, 2010. Army intelligence analyst Private First Class Bradley E. Manning is sitting at a computer at Contingency Operating Station Hammer, east of Baghdad. He is online, chatting with Adrian Lamo, an ex-hacker and sometimes-journalist based in San Francisco.
    A look back at how events unfolded around Chelsea Manning .
  • Men explain things to me: examples from 2016
    I’m a woman on the internet, so men explain things to me. They’re usually well-meaning. They want to help me out with an issue they have spotted, or give me the lowdown on something they think I should know.
    I’ll say it again. Ally. Read and learn from this utter bullshit (seriously, men, stop with this shit!)
  • Iceland knows how to stop teen substance abuse but the rest of the world isn’t listening
    It’s a little before three on a sunny Friday afternoon and Laugardalur Park, near central Reykjavik, looks practically deserted. There’s an occasional adult with a pushchair, but the park’s surrounded by apartment blocks and houses, and school’s out – so where are all the kids?
    I’m still torn, Canada or Iceland? Last bastions of forward thinking and decency?
  • To Obama With Love, and Hate, and Desperation
    On a recent October morning in the White House mailroom, on the ground floor of the Executive Office Building just beside a loading dock, 10 interns sat at two long tables, each trying to get through 300 letters. Grab a bundle, sit down and read. It was pretty straightforward.
    It’s hard not to try and imagine Trump doing anything like this. But maybe he will/does.
  • Geopolitical forecast: 2017 will bring a triangle of instability and an uprising of Luddites
    A half century ago, Thomas Kuhn invented the term “paradigm shift.” It described a wholesale change in an arm of science—in its very definition, the fundamental concepts underlying it, and the rules of the road in studying it. Evolution and relativity are examples.
    This is not a happy making read, but a worthwhile look forward.
  • The Trump Promise Tracker
    All politicians make campaign promises, though few made them with the abandon, spontaneity, and flamboyance of Donald Trump. During the campaign, he would casually guarantee vast and circumstantial shifts in policy, often saying he’d do them on day one.
    By the time you read this he’ll be President. A lot of what he said during the campaign had global implications, worth keeping an eye on this.
  • Nintendo Wants Players to Look at Each Other Again
    But will they want to? A father and son stand facing one another, hands at their sides, five feet apart. Each holds a small Nintendo controller in his palm. Right now, that controller is a firearm. Later it will be a samurai sword, a ping-pong paddle, or a cow’s udder.
    Yeah, new tech toys! Booo, using conflict (guns, swords) as the examples. Surely we can do better for our children?
  • Lunch with the FT: Bill Gates
    The Microsoft founder turned philanthropist talks with Gideon Rachman about China, foreign aid and the miracle of vaccination.
    The more I read about Bill Gates the more I like him.
  • How Louis C.K. tells a joke
    Evan Puschak looks at a single joke Louis C.K. tells about playing Monopoly with his daughters and takes it apart to see how Louis builds and delivers his material.
    Doesn’t matter if you aren’t a fan of Mr C.K, this is an insightful look at how comedy works.
  • Isaac Asimov: How to Never Run Out of Ideas Again
    If there’s one word to describe Isaac Asimov, it’s “prolific”. To match the number of novels, letters, essays and other scribblings Asimov produced in his lifetime, you would have to write a full-length novel every two weeks for 25 years.
    Ideas are like butterflies, sometimes they float by and you forget what you were going to ….
  • Music to Play When You Want to Get Focused
    There are a handful of albums that I listen to obsessively when I want to get focused on creative work. Below, you’ll find the ones that have gotten the most play, organized into calm, atmospheric music and high-energy, upbeat music.
    Playlists! Some of these are pretty good.
  • Why does the Smithsonian have objects from a fake presidency on “The West Wing?”
    As the fanfare leading up to the 2017 inauguration swirls around the Smithsonian and Washington, D.C., at large, I cannot help but think about watching events such as these portrayed on television and in movies.
    In four years time, a wig, tiny gloves, orange clown makeup will be added.
  • US safety investigators say Tesla’s Autopilot system wasn’t to blame for last year’s fatal crash
    US safety investigators have determined Tesla is not at fault in a fatal May 2016 incident that killed the driver of a Model S using the company’s Autopilot system. The incident in question occurred in Florida; the Model S slammed into a tractor trailer, killing the car’s driver.
    Big implications for the future of this technology. It IS gonna happen.
  • Listen with your eyes: one in five of us may ‘hear’ flashes of light
    A surprising number of people experience a form of sensory cross wiring in which light flashes and visual movements are ‘heard’, research finds.
    I’ve been known to say “I can hear blue!” when I’m over caffeinated but… maybe I actually can?