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Saturday, September 23, 2017

Keepers Of The Secrets, by James Somers, The Village Voice

I was told that the most interesting man in the world works in the archives division of the New York Public Library, and so I went there, one morning this summer, to meet him. My guide, who said it took her a year to learn how to get around the Schwarzman Building on 42nd Street, led us to an elevator off Astor Hall, up past the McGraw Rotunda, through a little door at the back of the Rose Main Reading Room. Our destination was Room 328.

A sign above the door called it the “Brooke Russell Astor Reading Room for Rare Books and Manuscripts.” Inside, there were a handful of quiet researchers stooped at large wooden desks, and in the corner, presiding over a cart of acid-free Hollinger document boxes, was the archivist Thomas Lannon.

Is Beaming Down In Star Trek A Death Sentence?, by Xaq Rzetelny, Ars Technica

But can beaming out save someone’s life? Some would argue that having one’s “molecules scrambled," as Dr. McCoy would put it, is actually the surest way to die. Sure, after you’ve been taken apart by the transporter, you’re put back together somewhere else, good as new. But is it still you on the other side, or is it a copy? If the latter, does that mean the transporter is a suicide box?

These issues have received a lot of attention lately given Trek’s 50th Anniversary last year and the series' impending return to TV. Not to mention, in the real world scientists have found recent success in quantum teleporting a particle’s information farther than before (which isn’t the same thing, but still). So while it seems like Trek's transporter conundrum has never had a satisfying resolution, we thought we’d take a renewed crack at it.

Loyalty Nearly Killed My Beehive, by John Knight, Nautilus

I became fascinated with bees after reading this story. I bought guidebooks, joined beekeeping meet-ups, watched documentaries, and, last year, finally sent away for a nuc of 20,000 bees. I asked a friend if she thought this was a good idea, and after a telling pause, she said, “Well, you’ll have to be okay with being that guy.” Undeterred, I installed the bees on the roof of my Brooklyn apartment and began the absurd process of learning how to keep them alive. Incredibly, they flourished, and by October I had perhaps 70,000 bees and had harvested nearly 30 pounds of honey.

Then, this past spring, disaster struck. The queen wasn’t laying fertilized eggs, and if I didn’t act quickly, the hive would be dead by the end of summer. Thus began a months-long struggle that I only later realized was really about loyalty: mine to the hive, and the hive’s to its queen.

Singapore's Rebel Bookseller Seeks New Narrative, by Peter Guest, Nikkei Asian Review

One evening in May 2015 in Singapore, a week before the public launch of a much anticipated manga-style novel, publisher Edmund Wee received a phone call summoning him to the National Arts Council.

The book was "The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye," a sprawling, ambitious retelling of Singapore's post-war story by celebrated local artist Sonny Liew, and the government-backed Arts Council had contributed thousands of dollars toward its publication. But on the eve of its launch, someone got cold feet about the story, which weaves the titular fictional character into real historical events and in doing so, subtly challenges the government-approved narrative of the nation's rise.

I’ve Been Demoted – My Daughter’s Taken Over The Kitchen, by Saskia Sarginson, The Guardian

Once upon a time, my kitchen table was covered with glitter and pots of paint, my twin daughters having claimed the space for their A-level art work. Every time we wanted a meal, it involved pushing piles of paper and heaps of pencils out of the way so we could fit a plate on the table. With Lily and Megan now in their mid-20s, those days are long gone. Yet still I can’t find a space on the kitchen table.

Whereas it used to be art work cluttering the surface, now it’s the essentials needed for Megan’s new vegan catering business. At the moment, she’s at the stage where she’s cooking for friends and family, experimenting with recipes, scribbling down measurements and timings in a book. The table is the repository for bulk-size packets of ingredients and bowls of finished products waiting to be tasted. She’s taking health and safety exams too, so there are also piles of paperwork. Orders of fold-up cardboard food boxes and wooden forks are packed up in bigger cardboard boxes, stacked high, ready for the day she’ll need them at her market stall.

For Everyday Vegetable Dishes, Meera Sodha Is The Master, by Tejal Rao, New York Times

Maybe my mother and grandmother should have been the ones to teach me their repertory of satisfying vegetarian dishes from Gujarat, in western India. But they never measure or write anything down.

So instead, I learned to make my everyday comfort foods — dals seasoned with fried garlic and spices, lively single-subject vegetable dishes — from the British author Meera Sodha.

All The Good Things By Clare Fisher Review – A Sparky And Unsettling Debut, by Gerard Woodward, The Guardian

Part of what makes reading the novel so unsettling is how easy it is for the reader to see the mistakes Beth is making – the warning signs to which she is blind. We know her love for a married older man is not going to end well. At the same time, the author enables us to see how Beth was overwhelmed by the feeling of being loved. The overall trajectory of the book may come as little surprise, but its secrets still have a tremendous power to move and disturb.