Weekend Reading

  • Bananas Emit Antimatter Almost Every 75 Minutes

    Potassium-40 is a fairly unstable isotope, although the half life is nearly a billion years. Because bananas have so much of this isotope, there is enough decay to generate one positron (approximately) every 75 minutes.
    Hey CERN, hey, see that super collider thingybob… HAVE YOU TRIED A BANANA IN IT?

  • A Story About ‘Magic’

    Some years ago, I (GLS) was snooping around in the cabinets that housed the MIT AI Lab’s PDP-10, and noticed a little switch glued to the frame of one cabinet. It was obviously a homebrew job, added by one of the lab’s hardware hackers (no one knows who).
    A metaphor. I think. Maybe? I dunno. Flip that switch and see what happens!

  • My White Friend Asked Me on Facebook to Explain White Privilege. I Decided to Be Honest

    Yesterday I was tagged in a post by an old high school friend asking me and a few others a very public, direct question about white privilege and racism.
    Well worth a read. As a white male I have privilege up the wazoo so these kind of posts help keep some perspective on that.

  • Local Boy

    The life of twenty-seven-year-old Lin-Manuel Miranda, the writer of and lead actor in the new musical “In the Heights”—about the ups and downs of the residents of a block in Washington Heights—seemed pretty serene the other day as he did some errands in the old neighborhood.
    A before they were famous article. I think this guy went on to create another Broadway show… maybe..

  • Can You Speed-Read Your Way to Happiness?

    Since you’re wondering: no, I haven’t taken a speed reading course (although I did read 10 Days to Faster Reading). I signed up for Blinkist.
    Excellent article. Confirms I can ignore all the adverts for this (yes I’d been tempted).

  • How I Learned to Stop Being a “Chill Girl” and Start Being Me

    Somewhere along the trek between girlhood and womanhood, I went through a phase of trying excessively hard to be the most chill, fabulously blasé person ever. The problem was that I was not chill. And I hated it.
    Finding yourself, regardless of gender, is hard. Peer pressure sucks.

  • The World’s Greenest Sports Team Is a Century-Old Football Club in a Tiny English Town

    When Dale Vince became the chairman of Forest Green Rovers, a hundred-and-twenty-eight-year-old club in English soccer’s fourth tier, in the autumn of 2010, one of the first problems that he set out to fix was on the menu.
    Whilst I’d heard of FGR, I didn’t realise just how green they were.

  • Bigger, Longer, And Shockingly Feminist

    The first Magic Mike film was definitely a surprise. When you hear there’s a movie coming out starring Channing Tatum as a male stripper, even with an auteur like…
    Still not seen this, but I’ve some free time this weekend….

  • Snopes and the Search for Facts in a Post-Fact World

    It was early March, not yet two months into the Trump administration, and the new Not-Normal was setting in: It continued to be the administration’s position, as enunciated by Sean Spicer, that the inauguration had attracted the “largest audience ever”.
    Dammit, a Trump mention snuck in here…

  • How Apple Built An iPhone Camera That Makes Everyone A Professional Photographer

    This fall, when hundreds of gorgeous, expertly lit portrait shots of friends, relatives, and their pets inevitably begin to dominate your Instagram feed, feel free to thank 17th-century Dutch master painters like Vermeer. It’s the day after Apple’s Sept.
    Yeah it’s good PR but I don’t recall seeing articles like this coming out of anyone else in the smartphone space (Google buying HTC may change that… or may not)

  • Here Are 10 Pictures of Your Daily Recommended Servings of Fruits & Vegetables

    What’s the most important part of a nutritious diet? Most of us can automatically recite the answer: fruits and vegetables. And yet it can be tough to eat the daily recommended amount of produce, and most Americans simply don’t.
    As a visual thinker this is v.helpful (he said, munch on cake whilst skimming reading articles)

  • The shorter your sleep, the shorter your life: the new sleep science

    Leading neuroscientist Matthew Walker on why sleep deprivation is increasing our risk of cancer, heart attack and Alzheimer’s – and what you can do about it.
    Ignore the scaremongering. Sleep is fast becoming better understood and way more valuable now that no-one (it seems) is getting enough.

  • How to Clear Your Amazon Browsing History

    Not only does Amazon track your purchases, it tracks all the products you looked at and didn’t buy too. Here’s how to make it go away. There are a couple reasons you might want to clear your Amazon browsing history.
    I’ll try and remember to re-post this after Christmas, when my browsing history is full of perfume, hair accessories, and toys for two year olds (there ya go, set that one up for y’all…)

  • Am I Bi Enough?

    Content note: this post might be very confusing for straight people. Sorry, buddy, I can’t help you. This isn’t for you.  Happy Bi Visibility Day, the one day of the year where we blink into the visible light spectrum, usually only existing somewhere between X-rays and gamma radiation.
    A good primer for those who are still not that sure what being ‘bi-sexual’ means. Hint: it’s not a binary thing (no pun intended)

  • Ex-British spy on leading a “double life” as a famous author

    The name David Cornwell is probably unfamiliar to most of you, but he’s an interesting person to talk to in these days of alleged political conspiracies, espionage and a rekindling of the Cold War.
    Nope, I didn’t know who David Cornwell was either. Turns out he’s been a tinker, a tailor, a solider, and a spy.

  • Caitlin Moran on Fighting the Cowardice of Cynicism

    Maya Angelou wrote in contemplating courage in the face of evil. In the decades since, cynicism has become a cultural currency as deadly as blood diamonds, as vacant of integrity and long-term payoff as Enron.

  • Wes Anderson’s Cinematic Debt to Stanley Kubrick Revealed in a Side-By-Side Comparison

    Most film fans hold the work of Stanley Kubrick and Wes Anderson in high regard, even if they don’t find one, the other, or both to their particular taste. And at first glance, it might seem hard to understand what kind of taste could possibly encompass both Kubrick and Anderson.

  • Taking a knee

    Late last week, Donald Trump called any NFL player who kneels during the national anthem protesting police brutality a “son of a bitch” (recall that this is the President of the United States we’re talking about here) and said they should be fired (Ha! He said his catchphrase! From that TV show!)
    Yup. Trump. Again. Sorry. But this is an important one.

  • How Hollywood created its own worst enemy in Rotten Tomatoes

    Rotten Tomatoes, which scores movies on its Tomatometer based on the share of critics on the site who gave “good” or “bad” reviews, is the go-to barometer for US films. And Hollywood encouraged it all—until things got rough.
    Something something stop making shit moves/sequels/remakes something

  • Apple Watch Series 3 First Impression: Mindblown.gif

    This might be the most delightful Apple product I’ve ever purchased. It feels like an inflection point in the story arc of consumer devices. The addition of cellular isn’t iterative. It’s revolutionary. In other words: This is my second Apple Watch.
    Interesting side take. As disillusionment with social media grows, as does the desire to ‘switch off’. Is the Series 3 a solution for some?

  • macOS High Sierra Review: A Modern Snow Leopard?

    The Mac has had a stressful time over the past few years. The professional portion of its user base has been wondering about the future as the Mac Pro grew older and less relevant and notebooks got thinner and lighter.
    Worth a read if you use a Mac, some little details I’d not seen elsewhere.

  • You’ve done a man’s job, sir.

    In the run-up to the release of Blade Runner 2049, three short prequels showing events that occurred between the 2019 setting of the original film and the 2049 setting of the sequel have been released.
    ALL THE EXCITE for Blade Runner 2049 (given how much I loved Arrival). So these prequels ONLY ADD TO THE EXCITE!!

  • Structural engineering you can wear

    Whether or not you wear them, chances are you probably don’t realise just how complicated bras are to design and how difficult they are to manufacture.
    Article #512 in ‘fascinating details about everyday items’.

  • The data that prove bad weather alters your mood

    Before Facebook and Twitter existed to explain us to ourselves, we knew the weather made us moody because we were gloomy on rainy days and cheery when the sun shone.
    Article #2927 in ‘No Shit Sherlock’.

  • Marc Benioff got tired of the gender pay gap at Salesforce, so he spent $3 million to close it—twice

    Companies under pressure (paywall) to close the gender pay gap might want to look to Marc Benioff, chairman and CEO of Salesforce.
    I’m still not sure if this is a good thing or not. Laudable yes, but he had to do it twice? Why didn’t they fix it the first time? This is not sustainable either. Equality now, please.

  • Staying motivated without urgency

    How do I stay motivated when there’s no sense of urgency? I’ve moved from a stressful ‘everything due yesterday’ full time job to part time teaching and working on my portfolio, and am slipping into some bad habits. Motivation — when we want it most, it just isn’t there.
    Oh god yes to all of this. *looks forlornly at half written novels*

  • Do men interrupt more than women? Yes, they do.

    About a month ago at work I overheard one woman complaining to another woman about a man’s habit of interrupting everyone in meetings. Then they went further. “That’s just how it is around here. The women listen, but the men interrupt in meetings all the time,” one of them summed it up.
    Ugh. Men are dicks.

  • Why We Read: The Case for Books as a Means to Many Ends

    If hell exists, I know that for me, it’s a place without books. Even when I am just out running errands, I always carry a book in my bag with me.
    I too always have a book in my bag.