Lessons, Messaging, Theft, Pregnancy, Libel

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Twelve Rules For Life

Megan McArdle | Bloomberg | 30th January 2018

Lessons learned on turning 45. “Politics is not the most important thing in the world. It’s just the one people talk about the most. Your spouse and others around you matter more to your happiness than the government does. You will notice, as you go about your day, that many, many important things are riding on your spouse, things that will have immediate costs and benefits to you. Very few of the things that irritate you or bring you joy have anything to do with the government” (1,500 words)

Showing Off To The Universe

Stephen Wolfram | 25th January 2018

If we want to despatch spacecraft to distant parts of the Universe carrying evidence there is (or was) intelligent life on Earth, what should that evidence be? It’s hard to imagine that any symbolic message will be understood in isolation. “Perhaps the most obvious thing to send would be whole cryonically preserved humans. It’s ironic how similar this is to the Egyptian idea of making mummies — though our technology is better, even if we still haven’t yet solved the problem of cryonics” (12,500 words)

Acts Of Self-Checkout Thievery

Rene Chun | Atlantic | 2nd February 2018

“Self-checkout theft has become so widespread that a whole lingo has sprung up to describe its tactics. Ringing up a T-bone ($13.99/lb) with a code for a cheap ($0.49/lb) variety of produce is ‘the banana trick’. If a can of Illy espresso leaves the conveyor belt without being scanned, that’s called ‘the pass around’. The ‘switcheroo’ is more labor-intensive: Peel the sticker off something inexpensive and place it over the barcode of something pricey. Just make sure both are about the same weight” (740 words)

Dressing For Two

Stephie Grob Plante | Racked | 30th January 2018

The purpose of maternity clothes used to be the concealment of pregnancy. Only recently have they become a means of celebrating it. “Pregnancy remained something to hide for decades; the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which barred employers from wrongfully firing and withholding benefits from pregnant women, didn’t pass until 1978. A bow-riddled maternity dress in the mid-80s didn’t look a whole lot different from a bow-riddled maternity dress in the mid-50s” (6,640 words)

Merely A Warning That A Noun Is coming

Bee Wilson | LRB | 1st February 2018

Strangely compelling account of a 1920s British libel case which turned on the question of whether a judge and jury could believe a woman capable of uttering foul language. “‘The Littlehampton Libels’ by Christopher Hilliard is a short but dazzling work of microhistory. It uses the story of some poison pen letters in a small town to illuminate wider questions of social life in Britain between the wars, from ordinary people’s experience of the legal system to the way people washed their sheets”

Video of the day Waves

What to expect:

Experiment in computer-rendered shapes and textures. Short and strange (0’39”)

Thought for the day

If there ain’t nothin to be done, it ain’t a problem, it’s just a aggravation
Cormac McCarthy

Podcast of the day McDonald’s Broke My Heart | Revisionist History

Malcolm Gladwell traces the decline of McDonald’s french fries from magnificence to mediocrity

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