Weekend Reading

  • Meditation in the Time of Disruption
    When I was 8 or 9, I became preoccupied with death. It wasn’t that I was afraid; I just like to be prepared.
    Meditation. Good for you? Or just another big business cashing in?
  • Why do some people hurt more than others?
    Anyone who came of age in the 1990s remembers the “Friends” episode where Phoebe and Rachel venture out to get tattoos. Spoiler alert: Rachel gets a tattoo and Phoebe ends up with a black ink dot because she couldn’t take the pain.
    I’ve a fairly high pain tolerance (tattoos being a good example). Until it comes to plucking eyebrows… UGH
  • European Parliament Approves Ban On Some Single-Use Plastics, Reduction On Others
    The European Parliament voted on Wednesday to enact a complete ban on some single-use plastics — such as drinking straws and disposable cutlery — across the European Union and a reduction on others in an effort to reduce ocean waste.
    Good! Ohhh no wait, this won’t apply post-Brexit. FFS.
  • A viral typo from 2009 is the perfect word for this spooky, funny time of year
    Like most people, when I first encountered the word “spoopy” on late-2013 Tumblr, I took it for a charming spelling mistake that had been turned into a short-lived meme.
    But was the typo deliberate?
  • This Is How We Radicalized The World
    On Sunday, far-right evangelical Jair Bolsonaro was elected president of Brazil. The era of being surprised at this kind of politics is over. Now we have to live with what we’ve done.
    We need more ideas on how we de-radicalize.
  • Why be nonbinary?
    Recently, I found myself at London Stansted Airport, travelling back to the United States. I’m a frequent flyer, so I’m familiar with the airport ritual: shoes, laptop, body scanner. But for myself and many others, the final instalment of this liturgy tends to become a social test.
    Short answer: because they are. Long answer: it’s never that easy.
  • Why everyone around the world is having the same nightmare
    The first time Tim Brown saw the Hat Man, he was 14 years old and curled up in his bed in Nashville, Tennessee. He was dozing, with the only light in the room coming from the flicker of late-night television. As he drifted off to sleep, a sound from the television shook him back awake.
    The real question is, how many of you will now have this nightmare having read this article!
  • Climate change is unraveling this Antarctic ecosystem
  • Sissel Tolaas goes nose-on with the whole world
    When you are a world-renowned pioneer in smells, it’s somewhat inevitable you will end up sticking your face into peculiar places: the burned rubber tire of a Chevy lowrider, a rotting hunk of wall insulation from an abandoned home, a cupped palmful of cool water from the Detroit River.
    One of the least prominent senses but one of the most important.
  • A cockroach’s karate kick is the trick to fend off killer zombie wasps
    Humans loathe roaches, so we don’t feel remorse about killing them, and don’t mind if other living things do it, either.
    I have a cockroach. His name is Bruce!
  • ‘Saviors of the white race’: Perpetrators of hate crimes see themselves as heroes, researchers say
    In Kansas, a middle-aged man yells, “Get out of my country!” and shoots dead an Indian-born immigrant. In New York, another man, convinced the white race is being destroyed by interracial marriage, allegedly finds an African American homeless man and stabs him to death.
    The problem I have reading this is just how much of a leap it ISN’T for some of these men.
  • Welcome to the Petty Hall of Fame
    Being petty can feel good. While we often shoot for grandeur, we frequently land at petty—an offshoot of the French word petit, to be specific. Petty has been a belittling word; calling someone petty would historically have been a derogatory statement.
    Would having to hand code this post count as something has broken my ‘magic IFTTT recipe’?
  • How Do You Move A Bookstore? With A Human Chain, Book By Book
    When October Books, a small radical bookshop in Southampton, England, was moving to a new location down the street, it faced a problem. How could it move its entire stock to the new spot, without spending a lot of money or closing down for long?
    Awww good to know us humans aren’t all bad.
  • One way to make urban cycling safer? Fewer angry dudes
    Copenhagen is renowned for being a bike-friendly city. At rush hour, parents navigate major roads with kids in their bikes or cycling beside them.
    What a surprise. Men.
  • The Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger Language of Dieting
    Late last year, the health-care start-up Viome raised $15 million in venture-capital funding for at-home fecal test kits.
    All about the money.