Jim Dickinson, Hypnosis, Nuclear Football, Alarms


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World Boogie Is Coming

Joe Nick Patoski | Oxford American | 16th November 2016

Memoir of Jim Dickinson, Memphis session musician and record producer. “Recording studios were natural environments for Jim, but so were sleazy joints, shotgun shacks, and low-ceilinged venues, especially when inhabited by sloppy drunks. He knew you couldn’t have the sacred without the profane, and that the profane was usually more fun. But he was also fully aware that if you didn’t know your way around the sacred (the recording studio), you were pretty much screwed” (1,200 words)

Mesmerising

Erik Vance | Aeon | 14th November 2016

Hypnosis is “a collaboration between hypnotist and patient”. It can be “a potent means of healing some kinds of illness, easing depression and overcoming pain – one of the great overlooked brain phenomena of our age”. You cannot hypnotise somebody against their will. “There is this persistent idea that either it does nothing or it’s terribly dangerous. People think you lose control with hypnosis – you really gain control. You teach people how to better manage their minds and their bodies” (5,000 words)

At Sea

Merritt Tierce | Paris Review | 18th November 2016

On the language of nautical flags. “The phrases in the International Code of Signals comprise general, medical, and distress/lifesaving communiqués, and within this limited realm they still offer an almost comprehensive existential vocabulary. I wonder if in all of nautical history anyone ever actually raised the flags to say, I have broken adrift (easily conceivable), or, You should indicate your position by smoke signal (seems less likely), or, Emetic has been given without good results (surely not?)” (940 words)

The President And The Bomb

Alex Wellerstein | Restricted Data | 18th November 2016

“I keep getting asked: ‘Are there any checks in place to keep the US President from starting a nuclear war?’ What’s amazing about this question is how seriously it misunderstands the logic of the command and control system. The entire point of the system is to guarantee that the President and only the President is capable of authorizing nuclear war. So is there any check? The election is meant to be that check. Don’t elect people you don’t trust with the unilateral authority to use nuclear weapons” (2,400 words)

How To Annoy People In The Most Effective Ways

Ella Morton | Atlas Obscura | 15th November 2016

An alarm designer explains how to give warning signals the appropriate degree of urgency: “The faster an alarm goes, the more urgent it tends to sound. And in terms of pitch, alarms start high. Most adults can hear sounds between 20 Hz and 20,000 Hz. Baldwin uses 1,000 Hz as a base frequency, which is at the bottom of the range of human speech. Harmonics are also important. To be perceived as urgent, an alarm needs to have two or more notes rather than being a pure tone” (1,100 words)

Video of the day: The Garden Of Earthly Delights

What to expect:

Modern interpretation of Hieronymus Bosch’s masterpiece (3’00”)

Thought for the day

Injustice cannot reign if the community does not furnish a due supply of unjust agents
Herbert Spencer

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