Ed Ruscha, Konzo, Worms, Bats, Symbols

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Plenty More To Say About America

Mark Rozzo | Vanity Fair | 18th June 2018

Profile of Ed Ruscha, “artist laureate of Los Angeles”, possessor of “the coolest gaze in American art”. Dennis Hopper bought a Ruscha in 1964 for $780. Christie’s sold a Ruscha in 2014 for $30 million. The Obamas hung a Ruscha in the White House. “In 1956, at age 18, he rolled into LA in a customized 1950 Ford from his hometown of Oklahoma City, along with his good pal Mason Williams. He is to highways, service stations, and signage what Warhol was to soup cans” (4,040 words)

The Curse Of Konzo

Matt Castle | Damn Interesting | 2nd May 2018

How a young Hans Rosling and other scientists tracked down the cause of a polio-like disease devastating northern Mozambique in 1981. They first suspected that chemical or biological weapons might be to blame. “Cases of the mysterious paralysis continued to mount. Affected people would find themselves unable to walk normally or, in the worst cases, at all. It was almost as if someone — or something — had tied their legs together with invisible cord” (3,800 words)

Nobody Likes Me

Chris Offutt | Oxford American | 12th June 2018

Raising earthworms for profit and food — with a recipe for Worm Apple Surprise Cake. “Worms are highly nutritious. They are eighty percent protein and packed with Omega-3 fatty acids. As with all food, the key to worms is preparation. You can feed them roughage to clean out their system, or boil them until the water is clear. You can dehydrate the worms, grind them down, and add them to flour. I like to mix my chopped worms with onion, garlic, and rosemary, then form small patties and fry them” (2,100 words)

The Last Bat

Patrick Barkham | Guardian | 12th June 2018

“We cannot speak of its loneliness, but it must be Britain’s most solitary animal. For the last 16 years, every winter, a male greater mouse-eared bat has taken up residence 300 metres inside a disused and exceedingly damp railway tunnel in West Sussex. The greater mouse-eared bat has been all but extinct in this country for decades. This is the only remaining one we know of. The future of the species in Britain appears to rest with one long-lived and very distinctive individual” (4,800 words)

Decoding The Earliest Symbols

Ian Tattersall | Inference | 18th June 2017

Retracing how humans learned to think and write. “Our curious symbolic ability seems to be of rather recent origin. The archaeological record, which begins at before two and a half million years ago with the first stone tools, shows a pattern of step-wise elaboration over time. Each conceptual advance in stone-working reflected a cognitive refinement of one kind or another. But it is far from clear what those refinements meant in terms of understanding of the world” (2,400 words)

Video of the day Erodium Thunk

What to expect:

Collage of vintage advertising footage. What Terry Gilliam might be doing if Monty Python were made today (2’49”)

Thought for the day

Happiness is a condition attributed by adults to children and by children to adults
Thomas Szasz

Podcast Jonathan Galassi Reads Frederick Seidel

Paul Muldoon talks to Jonathan Galassi about Frederick Seidel’s “Poem by the Bridge at Ten-Shin”
(28m 0s)

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