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A string of little nothings



September 14 · Issue #131 · View online
A weekly eclectic collection of articles, news, interests and curiosities lovingly curated for you

Still trying to recover from my summer vacation but I stumbled onto this song this other night which encouraged that strong Dolce Far Niente feeling…
Ornella Vanoni - L'appuntamento
Bedtime Reading
Here something strange to get you started. Scientists are trying to understand how life exists in extreme conditions and in the process uncovering new life forms. We are talking of course about new life forms here on earth, about microbes that survive in extreme depth and temperatures by adapting to their environment. How do they adapt? By eating electricity or rocks. I love these type of stories because they either result in more superhero movies or we don’t get to live to talk about them.
Or how about the history of the buchette del vino in Tuscany, small windows on the sides of noble houseσ through which wine was sold. They are still scattered around the country side but are only a relic of a bygone era. Funny fact, they were basically used as a little gimmick in order for the wine producers to sell their wine informally and this way avoid paying taxes.
I don’t know about you but I love these stories. Consider this next one. An ETF is an exchange traded fund, which tracks a basket of stocks and is traded on the stock exchange. The biggest one is the SPDR S&P 500 Trust. “Thanks to a quirk in the legal structure used to set up the ETF , known as SPY, more than $250 billion rests on the longevity of 11 ordinary kids born between May 1990 and January 1993”. Apparently they set up these things and pegged them on these individuals so that the ETF expires when they die. These people don’t know anything about it, yet they are buried in some legal paperwork. You have to love the randomness of such acts. I am sure it means something profoundly philosophical about life, just not sure what.
Maybe what it means is that life is a series of random meaningless events, and that every now and then the chain breaks off. I don’t want to scare you but it seems that there is a consensus in the scientific community that we have been seriously underestimating global warming. Strike that, I do want to scare you. If you are like me, bellow 60 years old, be prepared to witness a little tiny bit of an apocalypse.
You want to find meaning in random events. How about your company send you on a business trip during which you proceed to have a random hookup in a hotel with someone you just met, but you are too old for that shit so you die on the actual act so to speak. Drama all around. Thank God that you happen to live in a country that is called France. Said French company is taken to court and found liable for compensation as an industrial accident. The court upheld the view that sexual activity was normal, “like taking a shower or a meal”. You have to love the French.
OK, so this letter started out with a song and has to finish with a song. I stumbled into this article about Justin Vernon, from the band Bon Iver. It’s one of those articles that doesn’t necessarily say much, but you go through it and it leaves this comfortable smile on your face, this feeling of warm sun on your skin. It kind of brought to my mind the song Holocene from way back. But listen to this meaningful randomness “On Vernon’s upper left arm is a tattoo of a woman named Cicely, the namesake of the fictional Alaskan town from the early ’90s TV show “Northern Exposure.” (In the dramedy, neighbors would wish each other a “bon hiver,” French for “good winter,” which is where Vernon got the name of his band.)”.
If you love the band, and by all means you should love them, then Welcome to Bon Iver.
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