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Friday, June 17, 2016

Making Contact, by Adam Popescu, Medium

Thousands swarmed the high desert like locusts, clad in Birkenstocks and bandanas, cut-offs and tank tops. Their skin burnt cherry red, they poured out of trucks and Toyotas, sweating under the oppressive hundred and six-degree heat, scuttling through sand and rock, not in search of a shady refuge or a sip of water — but to find salvation.

Aging boomers, bearded Mad Max types, hippies, burners, little old ladies and medical doctors, ravers — they all shared a common vision. They’ve had an experience that would cause you or I to laugh, maybe label them crazy. But no one’s crazy at Contact In The Desert, the Woodstock of UFO conferences. If anything, people like you and me, the non-believers, we’re the weirdos.

Power, Fists, Guns, Books: Black Power & Book Cover Design, by Josh MacPhee, Print Magazine

I must have been nineteen when I was first handed a copy of Stokely Carmichael and Charles Hamilton’s Black Power, a book which was already 25 years old at that point. As a white kid from small town New England, the politics were striking, and challenging. As someone with an eye towards aesthetics, the cover was simple yet profound: a white field, the center crowded—almost to exploding—with the giant words “Black Power” in a thick, slab-serifed type. The authors’ names and book subtitle stack above and below, in a more elegant, thin sans-serif. That’s it. No images, no frills. The ten big black letters of the title completely dominate the white background, as if to say “That’s all, folks!”

The Power Of Seeing, And Being Seen, In 'The Girls', by Jean Zimmerman, NPR

Emma Cline's thoroughly seductive debut novel, The Girls, re-imagines the world of Charles Manson's female followers, and does so with a particularly effective literary device. The concept of the male gaze is well established, but Cline employs what can only be termed the female gaze as an entry into the helter-skelter life of her protagonist.

Seafarming At The End Of The World, by Peter Meehan, Lucky Peach

Some scientists think oysters are going to be the first ocean species to be driven extinct by climate change—they’re a very delicate crop, and thrive at very particular temperatures. The acidification of the oceans weakens their shells. Disease spreads as the water temperatures rise. And when a hurricane storm surges and loosens up all the silt and dirt that’s in our waterways now, the oysters drown in mud. Irene was the biggest storm surge since 1938. It was a big deal, and three feet of mud came in, which was bad. But the real bad news was that it loosened up the bottom here, so now smaller storms are bringing in more mud and having an outsized impact.

Oysters are used to filtering 30 to 50 gallons of water a day. If they’re coated in mud, they just die. A clam can squish up and move, same thing with scallops. Oysters are stuck wherever they are. That’s why, with the BP spill in the Gulf, they do most of their testing on oysters—they can’t flee, regardless of how they feel about the water conditions.

A Path To Fatherhood, With (Shared) Morning Sickness, by David Kalish, New York Times

Three weeks before my wife, Ingrid, and I were to move to Mexico, where a coveted job awaited me, my doctor phoned with results from my latest CT scan. My thyroid cancer had spread to my lungs. He suggested I see an oncologist right away.