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Monday, November 27, 2017

What Bikini Atoll Looks Like Today, by Sam Scott, Stanford Magazine

“We found, much to our surprise, not just scattered corals, but very abundant, big healthy coral communities — corals larger than cars scattered about the edges of a hydrogen bomb crater,” he says. “You’re kind of looking at that and thinking, ‘Well, that’s strange.’

“Frankly, the visual and emotional impact of it is just stunning.”

Given their short life spans and their mobility, the hearty fish were comparatively easy to understand. But the corals look like they have been growing in place for 50-some years. How they emerged from such toxic beginnings is a question Palumbi and doctoral student Elora López hope to illuminate using the genomes of samples they took from Bikini. It’s an area of research López says has received scant attention.

How ‘Frasier’ Found A Second Life On Streaming, by Kate Knibbs, The Ringer

It’s a premise so weighted in failure, it almost sounds like a modern sitcom—not a show that premiered on NBC in 1993. Even more remarkable, in retrospect: Frasier Crane does not have a particularly uplifting character arc on Frasier. He stays emotionally and professionally stagnant, with a glimmer of hope for actual lasting love in the finale, when he moves to pursue a girlfriend. Frasier is older than a traditional single sitcom lead, and yet he hardly seems to mature. He’s balding, a little paunchy, more than a little melancholy—and unnecessarily snooty toward his father, who is recuperating from a serious hip injury. Frasier starts the series as a well-meaning, flailing snob who barely sees his son and he ends the series a well-meaning, flailing snob who barely sees his (now Goth) son. Rewatching Frasier now, it seems like a little miracle that this wry, circuitous show was a blockbuster in its time, winning 37 Emmy Awards during its 11-year run.

Why Maryland’s Blue Crab Industry Might Be In Trouble, by Mickie Meinhardt, Eater

“Hey Steve, will you cook this for me?” the boy holding the crab asks Steve Dunlap, who’s behind the bar. The crab is small and missing a claw, and the kid has him by the backfin, dangling the poor crustacean so it’s splayed out, lone pincher open and ready to clamp down on anything.

“Aw, put it back, Robert,” Dunlap says. Robert sulkily obliges, letting the crab scuttle off into the bay, but makes it clear that he wasn’t going to kill it. Here, on Smith Island, Maryland, there is an overpowering respect, almost a reverence, for the blue crab. At the dead center of the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, 12 miles from Maryland’s shore, Smith is a central part of the Maryland crabbing industry, and has been for generations. Here, crab is everything: Food, money, work, family, tradition, history. Crab is life. But it might not be for very much longer.

Writing About Alcohol Brought Me Back From The Brink Of Addiction, by Hope Ewing, Literary Hub

Many of us exist somewhere in the middle, however, not physically dependent, yet not exactly what a reasonable person would consider moderate. We in-betweeners—the heavy users, the bingers, the everyday drinkers—are frequently the children or grandchildren of alcoholics, and we walk a dotted line between craving and revulsion when it comes to booze. I can only speak from my own experience, but I believe those of us on the edge of trouble can make a break for healthy drinking lives. I’ve been on the catastrophe train, myself, and changed direction with the least likely of allies: booze culture itself.

From Inboxing To Thought Showers: How Business Bullshit Took Over, by André Spicer, The Guardian

Although Kroning may have been killed off, Kronese has lived on. The indecipherable management-speak of which Charles Krone was an early proponent seems to have infected the entire world. These days, Krone’s gobbledygook seems relatively benign compared to much of the vacuous language circulating in the emails and meeting rooms of corporations, government agencies and NGOs. Words like “intentionality” sound quite sensible when compared to “ideation”, “imagineering”, and “inboxing” – the sort of management-speak used to talk about everything from educating children to running nuclear power plants. This language has become a kind of organisational lingua franca, used by middle managers in the same way that freemasons use secret handshakes – to indicate their membership and status. It echoes across the cubicled landscape. It seems to be everywhere, and refer to anything, and nothing.

It hasn’t always been this way. A certain amount of empty talk is unavoidable when humans gather together in large groups, but the kind of bullshit through which we all have to wade every day is a remarkably recent creation. To understand why, we have to look at how management fashions have changed over the past century or so.

Won’t Get Fooled Again: Malcolm Harris’s “Kids These Days: Human Capital And The Making Of Millennials”, by Jacqui Shine, Los Angeles Review of Books

Nearly 20 years later, as the youngest millennials reach adulthood, we’re stuck with the stereotypes Strauss and Howe proffered, and not much else. Millennials are said to be a generation of tech-obsessed narcissists whose failure to match, much less exceed, our parents’ economic success is evidence of poor moral fiber. We think we’re special; we’re too sheltered; we’re too conventional; and we certainly aren’t achieving enough to warrant our wild overconfidence. (Full disclosure: I’m a millennial.) If that’s so, says Malcolm Harris, it certainly didn’t happen by accident. In his new book Kids These Days: Human Capital and the Making of Millennials, he warns that we ought to take the historical formation of this cohort seriously, because it represents a single point of failure for a society veering toward oligarchy and/or dystopia. We will either become “the first generation of true American fascists” or “the first generation of successful American revolutionaries.”

No pressure, though.