Thursday, 24 July, 2014
Julie Scelfo, New York Times
There are many good reasons why restaurants cast off their classics: Chefs tire of making the same things over and over. Costs rise. Banh mi (or crudo or kale) go in, then out of fashion. But diners like me, left with nothing but memories and longing, often have a hard time letting go.
Jenny Diski, London Review Of Books
The subtitle of Nikil Saval’s book is curiously inapt. Cubed is not a ‘secret history of the workplace’, but the not (entirely) secret history of a very particular kind of workplace. The main title is intended to pull that particular workplace into focus, I suppose, to narrow the vast number of possible workplaces down to a single square box (or latterly a three-walled lidless box) that will inevitably bring to mind the environment of the white-collar pen-pusher, although it has been a very long time since office workers reliably wore white collars or pushed pens to fulfil their duties. But even if we allow ‘the workplace’ to stand for ‘the office’, ‘the history of a secret workplace’ would have been a more accurate subtitle. What happens there? People can be said to ‘work in an office’ and no further explanation is required, but there’s no real clue to what they do, unlike people who work in other places, who make things in a factory, mine in a mine, teach in a school, sell things in a shop. What are the millions of children who since the late 19th century have increasingly been told that one (or both) of their parents is ‘at the office’ to understand by that? At least that nothing is made, mined, taught or sold.
Wednesday, 23 July, 2014
Robin Sloan, Medium
And its challenge to the rest of us.
Tuesday, 22 July, 2014
Matthew Francis, Aeon
Albert Einstein was a genius, but he wasn’t the only one – why has his name come to mean something superhuman?
Jesse Barron, The New Inquiry
The suicidal veteran, who volunteered to inflict damage abroad and wound up fatally damaging himself, doesn’t usually write his own story. He leaves a note, which leaves the storytelling to others. The narratives start almost instantly.
Monday, 21 July, 2014
Elizabeth Kolbert, New Yorker
How the Paleolithic life style got trendy.
Maywa Montenegro and Terry Glavin, Seed
Scientists offer new insight into what to protect of the world's rapidly vanishing languages, cultures, and species.
Mario Cacciottolo, BBC
A container filled with millions of Lego pieces fell into the sea off Cornwall in 1997. But instead of remaining at the bottom of the ocean, they are still washing up on Cornish beaches today - offering an insight into the mysterious world of oceans and tides.
Zachary Crockett, Priceonomics
Once heralded as the time-saving successor to stairs, the fire pole is, after 150 years, sliding toward extinction. In its heyday, the pole revolutionized the way firefighters responded to alarms, accessed their trucks, and, ultimately, saved lives. But fire poles came -- and still come -- with a caveat: they have the potential to be lethal for those who descend them. A comb through archives reveals dozens of pole-related deaths, hundreds of serious injuries, and a slew of unsavory lawsuits resulting in multi-million dollar payouts. Today, an increasing number of firehouses are altogether abandoning the fire pole as they remodel old structures and re-analyze building and safety codes.
Sunday, 20 July, 2014
Erin Blakeley, The Boston Globe
Now we sit in the car while my husband hunches over his phone, tapping out our route. You’d think he was charting our course across the Atlantic, but he’s actually just searching for the best way to get to P.F. Chang’s. The P.F. Chang’s we’ve been to a million times. The one we’d be on our way to if he weren’t looking at his phone.
Tim Wu, New York Times
But the effects are real: The web has reduced professional creators to begging for scraps of attention from a spoiled public, and forced creators to be their own brand.
Saturday, 19 July, 2014
Edward Hirsch, New York Times
The Israeli writer David Grossman has crafted a strange and riveting book — partly a folk tale, partly a play, partly a novel in verse. There’s no genre to describe it.
David Lehman, New York Times
But the activity of writing them redeems itself even if it is only a gesture toward what we continue to need from literature and the humanities: an experience of mind — mediated by memorable speech — that feeds and sustains the imagination and helps us make sense of our lives.
Bernd Brunner, The Smart Set
Some thoughts on being naked in public.
Moises Velasquez-manoff, Nautilus
Antioxidant vitamins don’t stress us like plants do—and don’t have their beneficial effect.
Friday, 18 July, 2014
Jacob E. Osterhout, Newsweek
But what a novel it is! Tenacity and perseverance were the qualities that helped Hastings become a star reporter for GQ and Rolling Stone, and they inform the novel’s narrative, creating a story as engrossing as it is believable.
David Auerbach, Slate
Why are techno-futurists so freaked out by Roko’s Basilisk?