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Etcetera #18: Tacos, PDFs, Replica Kits

Matthew Culnane
Matthew Culnane
Hello. Here are this week’s picks. And last week’s, I suppose. Sorry about that. We start with a discussion around food appropriation and authenticity, then content publishing, then the bits and pieces. I hope there’s something that you enjoy. The idea, as always, is to provide you with at least one link you hadn’t seen before or didn’t think you’d enjoy. Let me know if that was the case, or if you have any thoughts or recommendations.
See you next week (I promise this time).

Who Invented the "Mexican" Food of the United States?
The Radar - Euro 2020 scouting guide: in-depth analysis of the players your club are watching
  • This Foul Earth is back! I mentioned series 1 back in Etcetera #3; now’s the time to catch up.
  • An interesting podcast interview with Keith Stuart, videogame journalist and fiction writer. There’s some nostalgia here for the games magazines of the ‘90s and '00s, the circulations of which seem unimaginable now.
  • Another podcast: Adam Buxton talks about his career and how he comes up with the silly stings, idents and jingles for his various comedy shows. If you’re from the UK and roughly my age you’ll probably have fond memories of things like The Adam and Joe Show; likewise, if you’ve ever pissed about with Garageband or Logic then you might find it interesting to hear some of Adam’s stories of homemade entertainment.
  • A much better BBC programme index. God, I would have loved this in a previous job where I had to comb through the data in a far less organised way.
  • How memes became money. A useful followup to the articles last time round about the attention economies of the web. Any article that kicks off with a chat with leon is probably worth your time.
  • Will I ever shut up about rewilding? I suspect not. It’s mainstream now, baby, everyone wants that sweet Royal land taken over by wolves and vines.
  • Another interesting thing from The Athletic was this piece on the battle to capture the allegiance of footballers who have dual (or more) nationalities. I think there’s an interesting alternative history piece that could be written (if it hasn’t already, it seems very obvious) about the large number of exceptional players who could have represented far smaller nations. For example, many of the successful French side of the late '90s to mid '00s, as second-generation immigrants, could have turned out for various Caribbean or African teams. The colonial past of large nations is never far behind us. And many hugely successful players come from autonomous regions, far from a nation’s administrative centre—I think particularly here of Portugal, with Cristiano Ronaldo hailing from Madeira, 1,000 km from Lisbon, and Eusebio from Mozambique, getting on for 8,000 km. Football’s geopolitics will always interest me.
  • Jonathan Liew on supporting Engerland. I note that this article has been fairly widely shared over the past couple of days by some of my American friends, so I’m glad to see it reaching beyond the typical audience.
  • You probably read the thing about turf, but if not, here it is.
  • All the passes is a great bit of datavis about, well, passes.
  • I belong to the subset of football fans who would never wear a replica shirt in a million years. The other lot, the heathens, are making luxe lifestyle brands out of them:
Providence City FC’s 2020 “Good Night Lights” home kit.
Providence City FC’s 2020 “Good Night Lights” home kit.
  • Don’t tell my old boss but I’m back on my brassica bullshit again. This article differs slightly from the previous in its look at how the different varieties found their way into different cuisines, dovetailing somewhat with the article right at the top. “These crops have a lot to say about humans, and human history along the way. These things are found all throughout the world and, more than most crops, people are growing them in their backyards and having a close relationship with them.”
  • Twitch has done some good things (and some bad things, usually from inaction) to help support minority languages through game streaming.
  • Speaking of Twitch, here’s the Iliad. (If this is remotely interesting, you ought to read Emily Wilson’s wonderful translation of The Odyssey.)
  • We’ve seen a few articles on game translation and localisation in recent issues, and here are two more. The localisation files for cult classic Earthbound were thought to be lost 25 years ago, but they were recovered, and there are some interesting (if ultimately trivial) things to be found. Over on Polygon Janet Hsu talks about bringing the new Ace Attorney game, set in C19th Japan, to a Western audience who in general will have little understanding or awareness of that setting.
  • I mentioned Super Metroid recently. I am unbelievably hyped for Metroid Dread.
  • Some good books about the periodic table of elements. I read a couple of these for a work project a few years ago and I can particularly recommend the Sam Kean one to anyone even remotely interested in the topic or indeed popular science in general. If you need convincing—and, well, you might—he wrote a fun series of ‘Elements’ articles for Slate a decade ago which are great (and which the book was commissioned off the back of).
  • The incorrect mathematics of Infinite Jest. Requires a bit of maths knowledge.
  • This is a brilliant use of a bot network to raise the profile and value of climate change reporting. “Synthetic Messenger is a botnet that artificially inflates the value of climate news. Everyday it searches the internet for news articles covering climate change. Then 100 bots visit each article and click on every ad they can find.” It’s currently paused but, hey, what an idea.
  • See also: GB NewsWipe, an effort to derail Andrew Neill and his cronies, which of course won’t make any difference, but it’s nice to feel like you’re trying.
  • A programatic way of surfacing unexpected word etymologies.
  • Edward de Bono has died. I’m naturally positively disposed towards things about generalism, transferrable skills and lateral thinking, but I could never quite get into his stuff. Perhaps it stems from a particularly dreadful work team-building exercise around 15 years ago based about his Six Thinking Hats book. In general, I appreciate his impact and legacy, even if I found bits of his writing a little Sphinx-esque:
Mystery Men - Mr. Rage questions The Sphinx
Mystery Men - Mr. Rage questions The Sphinx
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Matthew Culnane
Matthew Culnane @coldbrain

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