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Etcetera #15: Anthropocene, Bananas, Booze

Matthew Culnane
Matthew Culnane
Hello. A bumper crop for you this week. Truly, there’s something for all the family, particularly if your son or daughter enjoys reading long articles about science.
Please share this link with anyone who you think would like to subscribe—it should feel like far too many people—and I’ll see you next Friday.

The Anthropocene Is Overrated
See also: The Evolution of Knowledge: Rethinking Science for the Anthropocene by Jürgen Renn is a terrific book about the history of scientific and technological knowledge in this period. If you have any interest in the history and philosophy of science (e.g. Kuhn, Popper) or the Lyotardian postmodernist theory of grand narratives, you’ll get a great deal out of this.
Therapists Are Reckoning with Eco-anxiety
Fiction Detective
See also: the go-to ref. for these devices in fiction is obviously David Foster Wallace, as discussed in On the Fine Art of the Footnote. An older article by Alan Jacobs—literally the only conservative I can even tolerate these days—looks at the transition of footnotes from paper to digital screen.
The one where writing books is not really a good idea
The American-Dream-as-a-Service
Inside the ‘Tartarian Empire,’ the QAnon of Architecture
Bananas Are in Trouble. Can Genetically Modified Fruit Help?
See also: due to the precarious position occupied by monocrops, there’s been quite a lot of articles on the dangers facing the banana industry—see the quest to save the banana from extinction and what we can learn from the near-death of the banana for more. A good book on the elongated yellow fruit (sorry, I am fascinated with elegant variation) is Dan Koeppel’s Banana: The Fate of the Fruit That Changed the World.
OPML files of yesteryear
See also: if the use of ‘OPML’ and ‘RSS’ above made your eyes spin round in your head and literal question marks burst through your skull, but you like the idea of keeping up to date with your favourite blogs and sites without relying on platform algorithms, follow the tips in Matt Webb’s About Feeds.
Aside: I am particularly interested in the format of Paul’s piece—an intro with links to the things that inspired it, then an precis of what he did, then a half-hour audio discussion that goes into more depth. It’s not a podcast, more a blog post that’s better served by contemporaneous discussion than structured text.
100-Million-Year-Old Seafloor Sediment Bacteria Have Been Resuscitated
Milli-Helen: The Quantity of Beauty Required To Launch Exactly One Ship
You and I Get Tanked Differently
Shaun Ryder: ‘I was a heroin addict for 20-odd years, but there’s been no damage off that’
You Reposted in the Wrong Golf Links
You Reposted in the Wrong Golf Links
The person in this video is golfer Craig Stadler—affectionately known as ‘the walrus'—who appeared in a 1994 Sega Saturn game called Pebble Beach Golf Links. YouTuber PandaMonium extracted the FMV clips and made them into this… this thing, which I cannot expunge from my brain. Unwanted, it plays constantly. Think you can get it inside mine?
Slime-san Launch Trailer - Nintendo Switch
Slime-san Launch Trailer - Nintendo Switch
Back in issue 5 I briefly mentioned Slime-san. Around that time I had bought and played it a bit but with little progression. More recently, I find myself playing it short bursts every evening. It’s a genre known as ‘twitch platformer’ which is games typically full of lots of one-screen levels that test a player’s reaction times—think Super Meat Boy or Celeste. You play as a slime (and a bird?) that’s been eaten by a worm and you have to battle through its body to escape. The boss levels are, obviously, internal organs and body parts. The graphics are pure Game Boy Color, the chiptune soundtrack is incredible, and the gameplay is huge, silly fun: exactly the sort of game I would play on a stream if my semi-rural internet wasn’t slower than erosion. (Switch, PS4, Xbox One, Mac/PC)
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Matthew Culnane
Matthew Culnane @coldbrain

Interesting & in-depth articles on lots of topics. Sent weekly with added context & further reading from my archives.

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