Stuff to do with all that spare time
Some Fridays I’ll send you home with some worthwhile weekend reading in your book bag. This assignment is entirely optional, but if you opt in it’ll make you a better person. Plus, this week, see if you can guess the city in our first photo challenge:
Here we have a city of two million that comes with its own, bespoke, mighty snow-capped volcano view. See if you can decide where this is, and check for the answer at the end of this post.
Tomorrow I’ll be sending my weekly recap of some of the newsy things that caught my eye this week. Please get yourself a subscription. You can sign up for as little as free. Enjoy your weekend, and happy reading.
Reading for January, 2023
• How the Little Ice Age Changed History Starting in the fourteenth century, cooling temperatures disrupted our economic and social structures—and may have given rise to the modern world.
• I loved this: New York City’s 12,000 tons of trash a day, and how to collect it: I Went to Trash School. The starting salary is $40,622, which more than doubles after five and a half years on the job.
• For Patrick Leahy, The Vietnam War Is Finally Ending For 33 years, the retiring Vermont senator and a top aide have quietly but doggedly been working to bind the many wounds of a war that touched the lives of nearly every Vietnamese family. This is what public service is.
Part Bear, Part Bird, Part Monkey, Part Lizard: On the Deep Weirdness of Beavers Their eyes, ears, and nose are aligned, so that they swim like alligators, head barely visible, body submerged; yet unlike alligators, they do so not to hunt but to avoid becoming prey. Beavers can’t see well. They communicate through scent. While the visual area of a beaver’s brain is small, a large area of their neocortex is dedicated to processing somatic sensory and auditory stimuli. But are beavers intelligent creatures? We don’t know.
• How to Learn a Language (and stick to it) Learning a language as a grownup is different. And better. For instance, throw out all the useless, tiresome stuff.
• The Body on Somerton Beach “A man dies in public view on a beach near Adelaide one evening in November 1948. Has he been poisoned? The labels are gone from his city clothes. His abandoned suitcase contains a stencil kit and a reel of orange thread. A fragment from an unknown and possibly unique edition of the Rubaiyat Of Omar Khayyam is sewn into his trousers”
• The Cult of the Hindu Cowboy The Hindu cowboy accords to the cow the holiest status in his imagination: of mother. It is his duty to protect her honour; it is his privilege to kill for her. “If an infidel kills a cow, we are to pump his body with bullets.”
• There’s No Such Thing as a Free Watch A special investigative report for the Museum of Capitalism
• NATO’s Nordic Enlargement: Contingency Planning and Learning Lessons What to do when something goes terribly wrong in the north, and how things ought to look once Finland and Sweden are onboard.
And one more. You know what they say: reading an academic paper every now and then makes you irresistible at cocktail parties.
What Is It Like to Be a Bat? by Thomas Nagel
Reading suggestions from Paige Turner, Staff Writer.
And the answer to today’s photo quiz is … Quito, capital of Ecuador, and that’s mighty Cotopaxi volcano, 19,347 feet. It’s still active, too. Most recently it erupted in 2015/16. You’ll a few dozen other photos in the Ecuador Gallery at Earthphotos.com.