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This week I wrote about hitting my late 30s. I had some musings on how Aging has changed my mental and physical state. I also covered the relatively unknown but excellent Ancient Greek writer Theophrastus.
Ireland’s population has surpassed 5 million for the first time since the aftermath of its 19th-century famine. Ireland is THE ONLY country in the world whose population is lower now than it was in 1841 (previous census). The Irish famine was an issue with monoculture. The Irish all grew the same type of potato (lumper). Then a water mold called phytophthora infestans decimated the potato crop. 1 million died. 2 million emigrated.
Overweight/obesity of 5-11 year olds increased from 36% to 45% during the pandemic. Crazy figure. It's a lot harder to reverse obesity than prevent it. Many of these kids will grow up to be obese and deal with the health issues that come with it for the rest of their lives. America is not alone in this category, but it sure is far ahead of other places. I wonder if the rates will continue to increase over the years. This is definitely a novel issue never before seen in previous societies.
Every 2 weeks the New York Times publishes articles that say workers desperately want to go back to the cubicle. It always gets massive engagement of people responding angrily "no we don't.” They found a nice little feedback loop. Even larger more prestigious outlets just are trying to get a reaction out of you. It’s always nice to keep knowledge of the meta-game of social media in the back of your head. It’s a business. The goal isn’t for them to be right or wrong, it’s to get a reaction out of you.
Calling methane "natural gas" is probably one of the best marketing tricks from oil & gas lobbies.
It doesn’t look like we will ever know what the true story is behind what caused Covid.
Will Wilkinson writes about the Southernification of rural America.
I wonder if other cities just build a neighborhood according to trad architecture and urban planning, it would quickly become its most popular tourist site.
William Guppy explores his envy.
People are freaking out over Australia’s (and New Zealand’s) response to Covid. But the Australian people support it in polls. An Australian tries to explain why, to Americans, this seems like too much government power: Click here.
I’ve been working in restaurants for many years. I had friends who worked in the restaurant business. There has always been violence surrounding the hospitality industry. It’s so unlike any other workplace. I was not surprised to see this study come out. Why is violence so prevalent in kitchens, and how has it become a behavioral norm?
If you’ve ever read the Odyssey, or want to begin reading it for the first time, you can watch this 5 part lecture series by Peter Gainsford, a classicist based in Wellington, New Zealand. Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5
The 20th century was filled with these larger than life dictators who created immense change and destruction. Philip Short is a biographer who writes about these individuals. His books are enormously massive tomes. But they do immerse you into the life and world these individuals inhabited.
1) Pol Pot
Very detailed biography of one of the most bizarre and maniacal despots in world history. The author tried very hard to get to the "why" as much as the "who" and did a better job of the latter than the former.
A comprehensive account about a very complicated character. A great introduction to guerilla warfare and gloves-off political infighting by one of its most skilled practitioners.
An interesting read into the life of one of the great European statesmen of the previous century. Philip Short tries his best to create a in-depth account of this most enigmatic creature