Weekend Reading

  • What If We Cultivated Our Ugliness? or: The Monstrous Beauty of Medusa
    Myth and folklore teem with frightening women: man-seducers and baby-stealers, menacing witches and avenging spirits, rapacious bird-women and all-devouring forces of nature.
    One of a series of articles on how culture/media portrayal of women is … somewhat troubling (AKA fubar)

  • Mossberg: The Disappearing Computer
    This is my last weekly column for The Verge and Recode — the last weekly column I plan to write anywhere.
    I’ve not linked to many (any?) of his articles but no doubt his legacy is a strong one

  • The Curious Case of the Disappearing Nuts
    At 11:22 a.m. on Thursday, June 20, 2013, an orange Freightliner tractor-trailer arrived at Crain Walnut Shelling in Los Molinos, California. The truck’s driver, a man in his mid-thirties wearing a gray T-shirt, introduced himself as Alex Hernandez.
    OK, I confess. I originally only bookmarked this for FNAR title but turns out nuts are big business! (FNAR!)

  • Essential apps for switching from Mac to Windows
    Over the last few weeks I’ve been writing about my shift to Windows from Mac after five years of using a MacBook, and many of you have written to ask what apps I use to replace various Mac-only tools.
    The one thing I baulk over (daily) is keyboard differences – keys and shortcuts – but aside from that my usage of a computer is a lot more evenly balanced. If ‘Windows’ hardware is catching up then they fast become an interesting, and cheaper, proposition.

  • Salvation Mode
    The forgotten joys of the screensaver. When I first encountered Jorge Luis Borges’s “The House of Asterion,” a short story whose narrator runs with madness through an endless labyrinth, a remote feeling of déjà vu eased into one of bizarre, welcome recognition.
    I always did love a good screensaver. Flying Toasters anyone?

  • A Year of Google Maps & Apple Maps
    Coincidence or not, it was interesting. And it made me wonder what else would change, if we kept watching. Would Google keep adding detail? And would Apple, like Google, also start making changes?
    Fascinating detail, and a good example of why owning your own data is more and more important. Well played Google.

  • When self-improvement is self-destruction: The 4 warning signs
    In the age of Instagram, self-help and wellness have never looked more glamorous and appealing, says inspirational speaker Danielle LaPorte. But as she points out in her new book, “White Hot Truth,” sometimes the path to self-improvement can become self-destructive.
    Stepping away from social media always feel rewarding, turns out it could be crucial.

  • “Personal kanban”: a life-changing time-management system that explodes the myth of multitasking
    Multitasking is probably the single most overrated skill in modern life. Only 3% of the population are “supertaskers,”…
    Do more, do more!! Or, you know, just chill out, stuff always gets done. I’m starting to shy away from these types of article, more to life, innit!

  • There’s a dark side to meditation that no one talks about
    We’ve all heard about the benefits of meditation ad nauseam. Those disciplined enough to practice regularly are rewarded with increased control over the brainwaves known as alpha rhythms, which leads to better focus and may help ease pain.
    Definitely something I’ve noticed as I’ve been meditating more often.

  • The curious story of how transatlantic exchange shaped Italy’s illustrious coffee culture
    In 1959, Italian novelist Italo Calvino received a grant to spend six months in the US. Once he arrived in New York City, he discovered a disturbing trend. More than 50 years later, Italians are still deeply protective of their country’s reputation as the coffee capital of the world.
    I’m not sure I actually equate Italy with coffee. Not culturally at least, odd.

  • Indonesia’s hijab-wearing Muslim metal group challenges stereotypes
    With their heads covered with Islamic headscarves, the three members of the Indonesian band VoB (“Voice of Baceprot” or “Noisy Voice”) do not look like your typical heavy metal group.

  • How a Kids’ Cartoon Created a Real-Life Invasive Army
    Once upon a time, raccoons were strangers to the island of Japan, save for the occasional critter kept in a zoo. That all changed when Araiguma Rasukaru aired and turned a nation onto raccoons’ inherent charm.
    Damn cartoons ruin everything.

  • Pat Kane: Why the Big Yin deserves big, big love as Billy Connolly fades from our sight
    As the supreme comic of human frailty and our subversive bodies — always something leaking, smelling, sticking out or needing covered up — you might have wondered what Connolly would do if his own body started to profoundly rebel.
    He has his critics, I’m one of them, but no doubting the impact he’s had.

  • A Look at How Snapchat’s Powerful Facial Recognition Tech Works
    Snapchat’s “lenses,” more colloquially known as selfie filters or just “filters,” may seem like a totally inane feature. But it turns out the facial recognition technology behind them is advanced, impressive… and a tad scary.
    Part of me is boggled by the science, part of me scared at where this could lead. Add AI to this and… yikes?

  • “I don’t know, let me find out”: learn this phrase. Use it.
    I’ve hit the end of my tether with this fucking election. It’s driving me right up the wall, daily doses of bullshit. Today, it’s one politician making what the Jolyons treat as the worst boo-boo ever. Tomorrow, it’ll be another.
    I’d much rather vote for a party leader who CHECKED HIS FACTS, than one who waffled and lied just to look good. INTEGRITY people, say it with me!

  • The hierarchy polyamorous people don’t talk enough about
    Hierarchies are seen as an inherently negative thing within many polyamorous subcultures, but very myopically.
    Something I always shied away from as a hierarchy always felt rigid and ‘not right’, but I know it works for many.

  • Rebecca Solnit: The Loneliness of Donald Trump
    Once upon a time, a child was born into wealth and wanted for nothing, but he was possessed by bottomless, endless, grating, grasping wanting, and wanted more, and got it, and more after that, and always more.
    I know I know, the T word again. I’m doing my best to avoid but THIS article is worth a read. Scarily.

  • Putting off the important things? It’s not for the reasons you think
    All you really need to succeed, according to the writer-philosopher Robert Pirsig, who died last month, is gumption.
    Linked for one word. Gumption.

  • The Meteoric Rise of McLaren Automotive
    These days, new car companies rarely succeed. For every Tesla, there are 10 would-be companies that never get beyond an initial press release. Five years ago, we test drove the first model from a brand new car manufacturer, McLaren Automotive.
    I’m a car geek, this is all completely ridiculous I know but OH MY CAR GEEK TASTIC

  • The Queer Literary Origins of Wonder Woman
    Six months before the Second World War came to an end, William Moulton Marston, the creator of Wonder Woman—both comics and character—declared his intention for the iconic comics.
    Fascinating look at an iconic character (and I’m seeing the new movie tomorrow!)

  • Why Are We So Afraid of Female Desire?
    There are many stories in history and legend where rampant females are seen as posing a particular threat to the social order. In classical mythology it was the maenads, or followers of Dionysus or Bacchus, who frenziedly tore Orpheus apart.
    Another article tackling another ‘troubling’ aspect of women. Trust me, I cannot roll my eyes any harder at that view, and this article explains why.

  • The third detection of gravitational waves opens up a new, crucial window to study the universe
    When it rains, it pours. After waiting for 100 years since the first prediction of the existence of gravitational waves, scientists have detected them three times in the last two years.
    Our understanding of the universe is expanding fast (which is just as well as Earth is fucked).

  • Is This The Oldest Bottle Of Bordeaux In The World?
    What was Bordeaux like in the 1700s? I want to paint a picture of what things were like back in the 1700s when this recently unearthed bottle was produced. At the time, most wines were sold by the barrel and only rarely bottled.
    Can you still call this wine? Surely it’s just rancid vinegar by now? #boak

  • Mister Softee has team spying on rival ice cream truck
    It’s the harder side of soft serve.
    Not quite on the scale of the Glasgow Ice Cream Wars mind you…