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Saturday, August 6, 2016

Our Digital Lives And The Chaos Beneath, by Will Self, The Guardian

When I was a child I was always struck by the confusion of reality implicit in advertisements for televisions being shown on … television: particularly when the feature of the television that was emphasised was its superior picture quality. I would sit there, thinking to myself: but how can we see that it’s a better picture, given that the picture on our television is inferior? In the ultra high-definition future children will no longer be subjected to this paradox, because they will have confidence that the imagery they perceive is no longer representational at all, but rather constitutive of reality itself.

Life After Death: The People Who Fake Their Own Demise, by Sarah Weinman, The Guardian

he Elizabeth Greenwood I meet on a recent afternoon in Brooklyn’s Boerum Hill neighborhood seems the least likely person to fake her own death. She is ebullient and animated, her voice rising when passionate about a particular subject. She has a job she loves and is in a serious relationship. She’s also brought along her adorable Jack Russell-chihuahua Bonnie, whose tail brushes up against my leg as she slurps water from a bowl helpfully provided by the waiter.

But the Greenwood I meet is not the woman of five or so years ago. Back then, burdened by more than six figures of student debt and after a conversation with a friend, she sought out the rabbit hole of death fraud and fell straight down – all the way to a fake death certificate in her own name.

The Librarian Who Changed Children’s Literature Forever, by Laura Miller, Slate

They called her ACM, but never, ever, to her face. Her staff at the celebrated Room 105 of the New York Public Library were expected to observe strict decorum at all times, but those who passed muster got to see the giants of the first age of children’s book publishing walk through the door to pay court to Anne Carroll Moore, superintendent of the Department of Work With Children for the NYPL from 1906 to 1941. Beatrix Potter considered her a close friend; she could summon William Butler Yeats to appear at her library events. Carl Sandburg described Moore as “an occurrence, a phenomenon, an apparition not often risen and seen among the marching manikins of human progress.”

Last Supper? Japan's Diners Divided Over Killer Puffer Fish, by Justin McCurry, The Guardian

The poison in the fugu is produced when the fish feed on poisonous starfish, snails and other creatures. Rearing the fish on food that is toxin-free removes the risk, or so the theory goes.

But owners of hundreds of fugu restaurants in Saga have warned that relaxing the law could end up killing diners.