Hogs, Whales, Neuchwanstein, Science News, Dada

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Everyone Used To Raise Hogs

Josh Foreman | Literary Hub | 14th October 2016

A family history of pig farming. “My ancestor died with 50 pigs roaming his farm. His larder was stocked with 80 pounds of meat — enough to support him and his wife and son for a long time. My two-year-old son is excited to see the Large Blacks when I take him to the farm in the spring. ‘Hi, pigs!’ he screams. They meet him at the fence, then turn away when they realise he doesn’t have any food. One day I’ll explain to him why the big pigs disappear over winter, replaced by piglets in the spring” (2,800 words)

The Last Whale Hunt

Saki Knafo | Men's Journal | 3rd October 2016

Far above the Arctic Circle, on the shores of the Chukchi Sea, the Alaskan village of Kivalina lives for the whale hunt. Within living memory the village could count on a great Bowhead whale every three or four years. But they have seen no whale for the past 21 years. Still, they hunt, and hope. “The meat of a whale, divided among friends and family in accordance with age-old guidelines, can feed a village for two months. The head is returned to the sea so that the animal’s spirit can live on” (6,500 words)

The Kitsch King’s Palaces Get A Facelift

Matthias Schulz | Der Spiegel | 14th October 2016

King Ludwig II of Bavaria’s palaces “feel like stone and mortar versions of Wagner’s music”. The most extravagant of them, Neuschwanstein, was based on the stage directions for Lohengrin. “Explosives experts removed part of a mountain near the town of Füssen, a steam-operated crane lifted the stones up to the site and the castle was a precursor of the steel skyscraper. Inside, it had a telephone and central heating. The king had meals brought up to the dining room with an elevator” (2,600 words)


Rafil Kroll-Zaidi | Harper's | 14th October 2016

News from the world of science. “A shortage of fish urine will harm coral reefs. Scientists described a new crab genus in a Chinese pet market and a sleeping beauty rain frog in a Peruvian rainforest. Giraffes are four species. The first confirmed puppy twins were born. A herd of 323 reindeer were killed by lightning. A queenless colony of ants were found living in a Soviet nuclear bunker, perpetually starving to death and being replenished by new ants who fall from the surface” (550 words)

The Growing Charm Of Dada

Alfred Brendel | New York Review of Books | 13th October 2016

Dada was an attitude, more than a school or a doctrine. It began as entertainment, before widening and deepening into art. Its founders in 1916 Vienna saw frivolity as a means of defying the “butchery” of World War One. They wanted laughter. “Traditionalists see Dadaists as silly people. To a degree, they are right. Silliness was liberating from the constraints of reason. Silliness has the potential to provoke laughter. To Dadaists, Charlie Chaplin was the greatest artist in the world” (4,300 words)

Video of the day: Howard Jacobson: Shylock

What to expect:

How Shakespeare reveals the character of Shylock in “The Merchant Of Venice” (4’03”)

Thought for the day

Anyone who afflicts the human race with ideas must be prepared to see them misunderstood
H.L. Mencken

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