Ten Stories We Have Enjoyed This Week

5th January 2019

From Quartz. “Black Mirror” isn’t just predicting the future—it’s causing it. Released on Netflix on Dec. 28, “Bandersnatch” charters new territory. ‘Yes, it’s one of the first mainstream attempts at narrative-driven gameplay on a streaming platform. But it’s also potentially the progenitor of a new form of surveillance—one that invades our privacy while wearing the cloak of entertainment.

The Economist runs its first TV ad in a decade to urge viewers to retain childhood curiosity. Never Stop Questioning.

From NY Mag. ‘In late November, the Justice Department unsealed indictments against eight people accused of fleecing advertisers of $36 million in two of the largest digital ad-fraud operations ever uncovered. How Much of the Internet Is Fake? Turns Out, a Lot of It, Actually.

So, apparently, parents are now being told to worry less about children’s screen use, as long as it does not replace sleep, exercising and time with the family. 

From Wired. ‘The viral video of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez dancing is actually a meta-meme.’ ‘..The reason Ocasio-Cortez’ detractors were able to find the video on the internet in the first place is far more interesting than their criticism. The story demonstrates how copyright law is often used to squash free expression on the internet—and sometimes even potentially erase a video featuring a future member of Congress.’

From VisualCapitalist. ‘Languages provide a window into culture and history. They’re also a unique way to map the world – not through landmasses or geopolitical borders, but through mother tongues.’ This infographic, A World Of Languages, shows the world’s major tongues broken down by country.

Time-lapse photographs capture swarms of airplane lights as they streak across the night sky. 

‘The English writer Lewis Carroll’s nonsense poem The Hunting of the Snark (1876) is an exceptionally difficult read. In it, a crew of improbable characters boards a ship to hunt a Snark, which might sound like a plot were it not for the fact that nobody knows what a Snark actually is. It doesn’t help that any attempt to describe a Snark turns into a pile-up of increasingly incoherent attributes: it is said to taste ‘meagre and hollow, but crisp, like a coat that is rather too tight in the waist’’. This is what nonsense verse tells us about reality. 

Love this idea, spotted in the loo of the rather charming Riverside Tea Rooms in Eynsford. ‘Toilet Twinning’ is a water and sanitation initiative. Their aim is to flush away poverty, one toilet at a time’.

From Colossal, here are black and white photographs capturing the striking appearance of bare trees against snow-filled landscapes. And..still on an arboreal angle, sciencemag.org suggests the idea that plants can actually help their relatives in taking root.