Weekend Reading

Last one of the year (I’m taking next week off to focus on family and friends), I hope you’ve enjoyed these random selections as much as I have. It’s been quite a year, but here is to a wonderful 2018 for everyone.

  • The house that Edek built – and the secret suitcase kept inside
    When Edward “Edek” Hartry and his wife Teresa designed and built their family home near Woking, they created a daringly modern building full of light. Their glass and timber home stood out among the red-brick Tudorbethan of stockbroker Surrey – simple, open-plan and translucent.
    Quite a story, and quite a life they lead.

  • Pinegrove on How Being a Good Artist and a Good Person Are the Same Thing
    Our interview series Icebreaker features artists talking about things—some strange, some amusing, some meaningful—that just might reveal their true selves.
    Been on a bit of a Pinegrove binge (solipsistic moods and all that).

  • Deliverance From 27,000 Feet
    Five Sherpas surrounded the frozen corpse. They swung axes at the body’s edges, trying to pry it from its icy tomb. They knocked chunks of snow from the body, and the shattered pieces skittered down the mountain.
    I’m always fascinated by extremes and the people who take such risks. As horrific as this is.

  • ‘The Basic Grossness of Humans’
    Content moderators review the the dark side of the internet. They don’t escape unscathed.
    The internet can be such a dark and disgusting place, what a job.

  • Want to really understand how bitcoin works? Here’s a gentle primer
    The soaring price of bitcoin—the virtual currency is now worth more than $250 billion—has gotten a lot of attention in recent weeks. But the real significance of bitcoin isn’t just its rising value. It’s the technological breakthrough that allowed the network to exist in the first place.
    Still massively ‘meh’ about this but part of me knows I shouldn’t be. But still. Meh.

  • Hopeful Images From 2017
    2017 has been another year of news stories that produced photos which can often be difficult or disturbing to view. I’ve made it a tradition to compose an essay of uplifting images from the past year.

  • Behold The Most Hilarious Wildlife Photos of 2017
    Wildlife photographer Tibor Kércz would spend a few nights each year camped out in a tent near a tree, hoping to capture photos of little owls and their nestlings. But just before nightfall on one fateful evening, three of the birds flew out onto a short branch.

  • Endlessly zooming art
    DeepDream is a computer vision program created by Google engineer Alexander Mordvintsev which uses a convolutional neural network to find and enhance patterns in images via algorithmic pareidolia, thus creating a dream-like hallucinogenic appearance in the deliberately over-processed images.
    MESMERISING. I just lost 20 mins staring at these.

  • Dancing on roller skates with James Brown’s style
    For the latest installment of the Dance In The Real World series, the NY Times visited a Chicago roller rink where people skate in a JB Style, named after the performer James Brown. I wanted to watch about 10 more minutes of that…and then go roller skating.
    Skating (wheels or blades) is like black magic to me, just… nope… but THIS, I’d love to be able to do this!

  • Jam to These Super-Specific Spotify Playlists
    Writer Grace Spelman collects songs like they’re Legos, in a meticulously sorted tackle box.
    Already decided that 2018 will be a year of musical discovery for me, but I’m a long way from this level of collation!

  • Here’s Why Everyone Should Have an ‘Antilibrary’
    Now is the time when year-end book lists abound, hardcovers are gifted at family holidays, and your favorite writer announces that they’ve got something in store for 2018. But even if it feels like there are too many books and never enough time, that could actually be a good thing.
    An interesting idea, but goes against my desire for ‘less’… still, a mini version might be worth a shot?

  • How to Use Gender-Neutral Pronouns
    If you feel awkward using gender-neutral pronouns—or avoid them because you don’t know how to use them correctly—it’s time to get up to speed.
    Intellectually it’s pretty easy to learn, my struggle has been undoing decades of ‘muscle memory’.

  • A 17-Hour Chronological Playlist of Beatles Songs: 338 Tracks Let You Hear the Band’s Evolution From Talented Boy Band to Legendary Pop Geniuses
    The Beatles have seemingly never been just a band; they’ve been a brand, a history, an institution, a genre, a generational soundtrack, a merchandising empire, and so much more—possessed of the kind of cultural importance that makes it impossible to think of them as only musicians.
    Already decided that 2018 will be a year of musical discovery for me, once I get through this beezer of a playlist!

  • Exclusive interview with Derren Brown as he prepares to take UNDERGROUND back on tour
    As Derren Brown prepares to take his show UNDERGROUND around the country in 2018, he tells us what makes him happy, reflects on the future of magic entertainment and reveals he’ll be back on our TV screens soon. It’s great to see that UNDERGROUND will be back in UK theatres in 2018.

  • Coca-Cola didn’t invent Santa … the 10 biggest Christmas myths debunked
    Are you still boring your relatives with stories about Prince Albert’s tree and the origin of mistletoe kisses. Stop! The truth is much more interesting Christmas is a strange time of the year, when people merrily do all sorts of bizarre things.
    My inner pedant cannot WAIT to unveil some of these beauties to my friends and family (who will LOVE being corrected, so much!)

  • The 1883 Krakatoa Explosion Made the Loudest Sound in History–So Loud It Traveled Around the World Four Times
    Think of ourselves though we may as living in a noisy era, none of us — not even members of stadium-filling rock bands known specifically for their high-decibel intensity — have experienced anything like the loudest sound in history.
    I’m sorry. HOW LOUD? Off-the-scale unimaginable. My brain can’t even. Nope.

  • There’s a reason why iPhones get slower after every iOS update
    Have you ever noticed that after a year or so, it feels like your iPhone is just a bit … slower? You might not have downloaded any new apps or even been using your phone significantly more, but everything feels more sluggish.
    Only comment: Apple should’ve been clearer about this (I think they are doing it for the right reasons though). Transparency would’ve nullified this as a news item.

  • “Inemuri,” the Japanese Art of Taking Power Naps at Work, on the Subway, and Other Public Places
    If you’ve visited any big city in Japan, you’ve no doubt seen a fair few commuters sleeping on the subway. The more time you spend there, the more places in which you’ll see normal, everyday-looking folks fast asleep: parks, coffee shops, bookstores, even the workplace during office hours.
    I wholeheartedly approve this notion (but not so much the reasons it came about)

  • These Are the Stunning Photos From the 2017 National …
    Whoever said there’s no greater artist than Mother Nature was right. Thanks to the professional nature photographers of the world, we regular folk can be exposed to all the unimaginably beautiful, surreal, confusing and even disgusting scenes Earth has to offer.
    Interesting how many are (probably) from drones.

  • It Takes a Special Kind of Person to Get Chills From …
    Music seems to have a primal hold on us, reaching the very core of what it means to be human and reminding us that we are all small town girls, living in lonely worlds. And when it finally hits that chorus, you know that you’ll never stop believing.
    IT ME! I goosebump on a few tracks, every damn time. I am Gordon’s raw emotions.

  • No, Matt Damon, you can’t appropriate #MeToo for innocent men
    When my kids were tiny, they had a mechanical Woody from Toy Story doll, who, when you pulled the cord on his back, randomly uttered one of a selection of quotes. Over many years, as my kids got older and lost interest in him, Woody developed a fault.
    FFS. New rule for 2018, ALL MEN JUST SHUT UP.

  • What to do when Bill Gates sends you a 30lb Pusheen. STEP 1.
    PRO TIP: When filling out your reddit gift questionnaire, don’t act like a crazy person in hopes of making sure your santa understands the 1 thing you really care about. Bill Gates might read it. And then you will over-analyze every lame joke you made. #truestory
    The final link of the year. Here’s hoping 2018 is more like this.