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Measuring The Mobile Body

Laura Jung | Eurozine | 17th April 2024 | U

History of surveillance technology, long before AI facial recognition. The 19C brought an obsession with turning the human body into data and code. Bertillonage, and the archiving of its results, was a major way this was achieved. An exacting system of measurements devised in the 1870s by a French police clerk, this process was the forerunner of every biometric ID now in use (3,400 words)

The Cloud Under The Sea

Josh Dzieza | Verge | 16th April 2024 | U

The world runs on a network of submarine cables that carry all of our data. A secretive fleet of maintenance vessels hover, ready to carry out repairs when needed. They still use the same techniques as in the Victorian era: hook the cable up with a grapnel anchor, bring it on board, fix it and then put it back. Humans cause the most breakages, mostly with fishing equipment (10,000 words)

City Surprise

Sara Gagné | Revelator | 15th April 2024 | U

Cities are incredibly biodiverse — if one knows where to look. Wander around and seek out species living nearby. “No matter how urban your neighbourhood is, your perception of it will change — from a wasteland to a world filled with tawny emperors, modest masked bees, indigo buntings, labyrinth orbweavers, and more. So why do we perceive our urban centres as unworthy of our conservation efforts?” (1,500 words)

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Novelists As Schoolmasters

Jeffrey Meyers | The Article | 15th April 2024 | U

What D.H. Lawrence, Aldous Huxley, Evelyn Waugh, and George Orwell had in common: they were schoolmasters who loathed their jobs and later fictionalised their teaching experiences. “They disliked the narrow-minded way they had to teach, had recalcitrant students, and hated corporal punishment. Lawrence and Orwell were lively and innovative teachers, Huxley and Waugh hopeless and hostile” (4,800 words)

The Dictionary Of Obscure Sorrows

Maria Popova | Marginalian | 12th April 2024 | U

John Koenig’s “imaginative etymologies” supply words where we lack them, to match the complexity of our experiences. Examples: Craxis — the unease of knowing how quickly your circumstances could change. Zielschmerz — the dread of finally pursuing a lifelong dream. Anoscetia — the anxiety of not knowing “the real you”. “Despite what dictionaries would have us believe, this world is still mostly undefined” (1,200 words)

Podcast: Wallpaper | The Curious History of Your Home. Half an hour on the history of wallpaper, ranging from ancient China to Victorian nurseries (33m 00s)

Video: "What is Love?" | YouTube | WhatsOnStage | 2m 23s

Truman Capote and Tennessee Williams both answer the question "what is love?", put to them by David Frost. "Real friendship inevitably leads to love, there can't be any friendship unless there is love. One doesn't have that many friends in a lifetime," Capote says.

"Every choice is a loss. The past is not where you left it"
Ruth Padel

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