Crime, Cheetahs, UX, Paint, Fights

Murder On The Allotment

Jenny Kleeman | Guardian | 13th April 2019

Classic fait divers worthy of Simenon. The gradual piecing together of additional information transforms a crime scene from a seemingly random killing into an almost inevitable tragedy. An elderly woman is strangled in a vegetable garden; the murder weapon is a starter-cord from a lawn-mower; probably, therefore, we are looking for a fellow-gardener with access to the communal tool shed; which proves to be the case. But what could possibly be the motive? This is where the real story begins ( 4,100 words)

The Most Modern Of Modern Sports

Jennifer Noonan | Damn Interesting | 15th April 2019

You might expect a calendar of races pitting cheetahs against greyhounds to be a sell-out anywhere. But when British investors tried this in the 1930s, with cheetahs from Kenya, the cheetahs were too fast. Nobody would bet on the greyhounds. So the promoters tried a new scheme: Cheetahs against motorbikes. The bikes could reliably reach 90mph; enough to outrun the cheetahs; with a twist: “There was always the chance that a stalled motor could bring its deliciously meaty operator to a halt mid-race” (4,900 words)

The Metrics Of Backpacks

Victoria Gannon | Art Practical | 3rd April 2019

Elegant memoir of San Francisco office life in the lower reaches of the internet industry, writing copy for a hotel booking agency while your colleagues pretend to be part of the tech overclass. “We do not do much work here. We start projects and tend to them, like low-yielding crops, and then, mercifully, let them die. A film of pseudoscience sticks to everything we touch. We are not changing the world here, except in the sense that everyone is always changing the world, just by moving through it” (4,100 words)

The Invention Of A Leonardo

Matthew Shaer | Vulture | 14th April 2019

Gripping — at times breathtaking — backstory of how Salvator Mundi, a painting on wood attributed to Leonardo da Vinci, sold for £45 at Sotheby’s in 1958, and then for $450 million at Christie’s in 2017, after  very heavy restoration. It has since vanished from view. Its current owner is said to be the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has parked the painting in a Swiss warehouse while he decides whether to give it to a museum, or hang it on one of his many walls (7,600 words)

Philosophy Fight Club

Agnes Callard | The Point | 12th April 2019

In praise of argument. “Fighting is something we resort to when negotiations break down. This is a good critique of fighting. But it doesn’t extend to the case where a resource is sought-after precisely because it provides an occasion for fighting. Sometimes I want what you want, because you want it, and the reason I want to fight you is to know which one of us is stronger. I reject a 50-50 division, not because I know I can get better, but because I don’t know, and finding out whether I can is my true goal” (1,550 words)

Video: Paris In Motion. Hyperlapse of Paris scenes. On most days this short film would be merely dazzling; in the wake of the Notre Dame fire it risks provoking the shedding of tears (2m 16s)

Audio: An Instrumental Case | Curious Cases. Adam Rutherford and Hannah Fry investigate how different musical instruments produce different tones and timbres (39m 14s)

“Never commit yourself to something until you are amazed at your luck”
— Iris Murdoch

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