Amy Winehouse, Prawns, Avatars, Myanmar, Billy Joel

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Confessions Of A Fan

Leslie Jamison | Longreads | 23rd July 2018

Remembering Amy Whitehouse, who drank and drugged herself to death seven years ago. “Elizabeth Hardwick loved to imagine that Billie Holiday faced the wreckage of her life with unrepentant grandeur. She admired Holiday’s ‘luminous self-destruction’. But that was its own myth. Holiday tried to kick her habit many times. Perhaps with Amy, decades later, it was liberating to see someone who didn’t want to get better. Drugs and booze were part of why Amy’s life was so interesting” (4,900 words)

Man Bites Prawn

Jonathan Gold | LA Weekly | 7th October 1998

Said by some to be the late Jonathan Gold’s finest column, his review of the Living Fish Center, a Koreatown restaurant where the specialty is live prawn. “I bit into the animal, devouring all of its sweetness in one mouthful, and I felt the rush of life pass from its body into mine, the sudden relaxation of its feelers, the blankness I swear I could see overtaking its eyes. It was weird and primal and breathtakingly good, and I don’t want to do it again” (900 words)

How Humans Design Their Avatar Selves

Hunter Walk | 23rd July 2018

Lessons learned from building the avatar engine for Second Life. “Your basic form had to be humanoid but within that you could tune a ton of parameters using slider bars. Some people had a fixed appearance and rarely deviated, while others tried on new personas daily. We put a limit on avatar height because of the prisoner’s dilemma that immediately everyone would want to be a huge dragon. We were amazed that so many folks built virtual toilets in their virtual houses” (1,400 words)

Down Myanmar’s Sacred Irrawaddy River

Doug Bock Clark | Pulitzer Centre | 22nd July 2018

Down the Irrawaddy by kayak, hoping vainly to escape the bureaucracy and bloodshed of modern Myanmar. “On the evening of the third day, the river turned gray, choked with soda bottles, dead fish, and human waste, and I landed on the shores of Mandalay, Myanmar’s second-largest city. The dusty colonial trading post of palm trees and tinkly temple bells that Rudyard Kipling memorialised had been paved over with crumbling concrete high-rises warehousing more than a million people” (2,800 words)

In Conversation: Billy Joel

David Marchese | Vulture | 23rd July 2018

Billy Joel talks about why he decided to stop writing songs 25 years ago. “It was time. I couldn’t be as good as I wanted and that was driving me crazy. I was always trying to feel like there was a real progression in my work, and eventually I realized I was only going to be X good. So I stopped. But the performing, what else am I going to do? I only do two gigs a month. I do a Garden show and I do a stadium and then I go home and sit around and look at all my trophies” (6,800 words)

Video of the day Bad Doors Are Everywhere

What to expect:

Psychologist Don Norman explains how to design a better door (5’30”)

Thought for the day

Do it now. The conditions are always impossible
Doris Lessing

Podcast Lateral Thinking Puzzles | Futility Closet

Six logic puzzles attempted and solved. Bonus points if you can resist the temptation to interrupt
(34m 28s)

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