Etcetera

By Matthew Culnane

Etcetera #33: Bad Meals, Wild Things, Murderous Socialites

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Matthew Culnane
Matthew Culnane
Hello. It’s been a while, there’s lots to get through, so let’s keep pleasantries to a minimum, eh? OK. Onward.
See you next time.

Bros., Lecce: We Eat at The Worst Michelin Starred Restaurant, Ever
Queer and Jewish Identity Are the Heart of “Where the Wild Things Are”
The Notorious Mrs. Mossler
Etc.
  • An interview by Justin Ling with the reclusive Simone Veil, author of Pictures for Sad Children. Lots of interesting things here about being a creator; audience demand and public perception; and mostly just getting the hell away from the internet.
  • Tokyo is decentralised—that is, it lacks an ‘important’ geographic centre, existing primarily as a series of smaller, connected villages. Cole Lubchenko explains how the city’s urban design helps it work, rather than being a hindrance.
  • A piece Pete Dyson and Rory Sutherland on the behavioural economics of transport—why people choose different options and why they aren’t completely rational actors—and what this means for future, post-Covid transportation plans. If you ever wonder why the transport options in your area are somewhat less than perfect, Homo transporticus is likely to blame.
  • A podcast interview with Jeff Miller about avocados. Includes reference to their evolution into what we now understand to be the typical fruit, the environmental costs of such a thirsty crop, and its recent elevation to boomer-angering cultural icon.
  • Another crop that has been gradually domesticated is the gourd. Here, Abigail Eisenstadt talks to archaeobotanist Logan Kistler about how he goes about studying ancient plants.
  • Speaking of which: Solanum jamesii, aka the Four Corners potato, has sustained Indigenous people in the American Southwest for 11,000 years. People are now studying its 8-year shelf life, and its resistance to disease, heat, and drought.
  • The Economist on links between language and environment and how the Inuit don’t really have that many words for snow.
  • Duolingo uses the occasional strange sentence (e.g. “The bride is a woman and the groom is a hedgehog”) which it has always claimed helps you stop to think clearly about what you’re translating, thus cementing grammar and vocabulary in your mind. Jane C. Hu investigates for Slate, including getting in touch with the researchers whose work Duolingo uses in its claims.
  • How Lydia Davis learns languages through a sort of extreme immersion in books.
  • Priya Krishna on plagiarism and copyright in recipes.
  • Writer and actor Charlie Cooper (This Country) sets out on the South Downs Way in Sussex in search of the Green Man, the spirit of spring in human form and a totemic figure in British folklore.
Videos and games
You might be familiar with Townscaper, a recent indie city builder game. Developer Oskar Stålberg has released a web version that you can play for free.
Townscaper
Townscaper
Perhaps when you read books you highlight sections of the text. Here’s Johannes Binotto on the filmic equivalent, screenshotting. This is a really interesting video essay on how collecting these screenshots used to be much more difficult, and what—if anything—can be done to repurpose them into a new creative works.
Practices of Viewing: Screenshot on Vimeo
Practices of Viewing: Screenshot on Vimeo
Silly, fun video on where to put the comma in ‘God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen’:
Where Is The Comma In "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen" Supposed To Go?
Where Is The Comma In "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen" Supposed To Go?
I was extremely saddened to hear about the passing of Mike Nesmith a couple of days ago. Here’s Mike duetting with Mickey Dolenz on 2016’s impossibly beautiful ‘Me & Magdalena’ (written by Ben Gibbard of Death Cab/Postal Service fame). Go well, Mike:
The Monkees - Me & Magdalena (Official Audio)
The Monkees - Me & Magdalena (Official Audio)
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Matthew Culnane
Matthew Culnane @coldbrain

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

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