Geese, Presidential Succession, Monsters, Hipgnosis, Cremation


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Who Will Speak For The Geese?

Peter Moskowitz | Outline | 5th July 2017

Ever since Sully Sullenberger safely landed his plane on the Hudson River in 2010 after hitting a flock of geese, New York has been quietly exterminating local geese and seagulls for fear of a recurrence — even though the birds in Sullenberger’s case were migratory. “Jamaica Bay was apparently once a veritable Gooseville, with hundreds or thousands of geese. We saw about ten geese on our trip there last month, prime goose-spotting season. We were walking through a goose ghost town” (2,300 words)

Bunkers For The 0.03 Per Cent

Garrett Graff | Bulletin Of The Atomic Scientists | 5th July 2017

How the succession to the US presidency should work in case of nuclear catastrophe. “You’ve got 20 people in the line of official succession, but each office has a 20-person line of succession beneath it. You would have this very weird set of surprise leaders. It would include the UN ambassador, the US attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, the top federal prosecutor in Chicago. You would have all of these people popping up and saying: Hi, we’re the new leadership of the United States!” (1,600 words)

Monsters, Marvels, And The Birth of Science

Steve Paulson | Nautilus | 5th July 2017

“By the 17th century Aristotelian natural philosophy was doomed. The question was what would replace it, and there were lots of fiercely competing theories. Monsters and other marvels offered extreme cases: Could your revision of natural philosophy explain such things? This made monsters and wonders more prominent in the late 16C and early 17C than ever before or since. For the most part, science is interested in the regularities of nature. In this period, anomalies took centre stage” (3,100 words)

Facing The Music

Jonathan Meades | Literary Review | 3rd July 2017

Pleasingly caustic review of the Complete Hipgnosis Catalogue, Aubrey Powell’s tribute to the prog-rock design partnership whose clients included Pink Floyd. “Three hundred pages of photographs of egomaniacal longhairs trying to look insolently delinquent. An introductory essay weighed down by cliché. A commemoration of the last century’s sartorial nadir. A vanity project that exhumes ephemera and binds them boastfully in hard covers. That’s one way of looking at this book” (1,045 words)

The Crematorium

Nina Riggs | Catapault | 8th August 2016

The poet Nina Riggs, who died last month, recalls her mother’s death and cremation a year earlier. “The hair on my head is a patchy fuzz following months of chemo. I am one-breasted from a mastectomy last month, my T-shirt sagging off my body on that side like a sheet on a windless clothesline. ‘Damnit’, my mom had said when she was still coherent, ‘I can’t believe I’m going to die right when you’re in the middle of all this. It’s killing me’. One of her wry smiles” (1,800 words)

Video of the day: Isotype

What to expect:

Zoetrope animation by Henning Lederer with images from Gerd Arntz and music by Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark (6’09”)

Thought for the day

The best thing in life aren’t things
John Ruskin

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