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Friday, July 22, 2016

The Hidden Science Of The Missing Gravitational Waves, by Sarah Scoles, Nautilus

Space should be churned up like a speedboat-filled lake, crisscrossed by gravitational waves rushing at the speed of light in every direction. That’s because any kind of acceleration, of any kind of mass, will produce a gravitational wave. When you whoosh your arm through the air, you are launching a gravitational wave that will travel forever. The Earth produces gravitational waves as it orbits the sun. So do black holes that twirl around or crash into each other.

Every accelerating mass produces a signal, and all those signals should add together into a detectable background.

So where is it?

Voyeur, Collector, Amateur Sleuth, by Kristin Van Tassel, Los Angeles Review of Books

When I look back now, with the perspective of a decade and several subsequent travel-writing classes, I see the trip was risky, if not exactly irresponsible. I didn’t know what I was doing or where I was. I didn’t have contingency plans in place. And even so, that first travel-writing class proved to be the best teaching I’d done to that point in my career, in part because — as was the case with my students — I learned to figure things out as I went.

Words Are Losing Their Power. Not Even Jason Bourne Can Save Them Now, by Catherine Shoard, The Guardian

Cinema uses speech less and less. Superman says 43 lines in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. In Mad Max: Fury Road, Tom Hardy grunts out 52. That’s three times what Ryan Gosling manages in Only God Forgives. The reasons are obvious. Later this year,China will overtake America as the biggest box office territory in the world. The tickets may be cheaper, but many more millions of people in that country are forking out for them. If you’re in Hollywood, the western world is no longer enough. In order for movies to turn a profit, not only do they need to conquer east Asia, but South America and all of Europe too.

The Mare By Mary Gaitskill Review – Bold, Dramatic And Deeply Unsettling, by Alex Clark, The Guardian

At a crudely superficial level, everyone in The Mare behaves true to type; it is in its more subterranean depths that the mystery of attachment begins to show itself. Gaitskill is a writer who situates herself in a version of reality, and then studs it with the portents and symbols of the unconscious; the tiny box of found objects, including a broken doll that looks like Ginger, that Velvet keeps close; the news reports from the Iraq war that float from the car radio into Ginger’s agitated brain. And while The Mare is not perfect – sustaining a child’s voice is near-impossible, and the book’s adherence to an unfolding temporal narrative means that it lapses into episodic repetitiveness – it is bold, dramatic and deeply unsettling.

Food & Consequences: Cooking With Colostrum, by Aaron Thier, Lucky Peach

The first thing all mammals eat, or are supposed to eat, is colostrum, a thick, yellow milk-precursor that has the consistency of eggnog. It varies in composition from species to species, but it tends to be much higher in protein than the milk that follows. It also contains immune factors that protect a vulnerable newborn. It used to be the best source of antibiotic agents in the days before penicillin; the first polio vaccine used an immunoglobulin from bovine colostrum. It was prized as a sort of panacea long before its composition was understood, and today it’s available in capsule form, as a nutritional supplement. It’s supposed to be good for the gut, good for adding lean muscle mass, and good for weight loss.

But from a culinary perspective—which is the perspective from which I was initially committed to evaluating it—the amazing thing is that it sets when it’s cooked, so it can be substituted for eggs.