The Roundup for June 16-July 1, 2018 Edition

Monsterous Weather by Christopher Parsons

The past few weeks have been clustered with travel across Canada for work and personal reasons, and a lot of packing as I prepare to move a few kilometres in my city. (I suspect it won’t be until after I move that things settle down and return to a more regular posting schedule.)

I’ve made a small change in this Edition that I’ll be carrying forward in all future roundups: beside each link is a little more information about the item in question to clarify what will be found on the other end of the link. I hope you like it.


Inspiring Quotation of the Week

A person’s dignity does not depend on them being a citizen, a migrant, or a refugee. Saving the life of someone fleeing war and poverty is an act of humanity.

  • Pope Francis

Great Photography Shots

Daniel Mercadante’s light photography is just magical.

Music I’m Digging

  • The Carters – Everything Is Love//This might be the surprise album of the season, with APESHIT looking like it might be the Hotline Bling of 2018.
  • Jay Rock – Redemption//I hadn’t come across his work in the past, and it’s slowly starting to grow on me.
  • NAS – Nasir//I can’t pretend to appreciate many of NAS’ lyrics — the nonsense he writes about vaccines, in particular, are frustrating at best — but in terms of flow NAS’s new album is pretty terrific.

Neat Podcast Episodes

Good Reads for the Week

  • Interview with Ragnar Axelssom//An interesting, if sad, interview with a photographer who’s watched climate change damage and destroy otherwise pristine northern environments.
  • Instagram’s Wannabe-Stars Are Driving Luxury Hotels Crazy//More and more companies are capitulating to ‘influencers’ coming to promote their businesses. But to no one’s surprise, many of those so-called influencers really just want a free trip and a place to take swimsuit shots.
  • 8 Men on What It Was Like When Their Partner Had an Abortion//An honest account of the often complicated, and hard to express, feelings pro-choice men have in cases of unintended pregnancies.
  • Friends and enemies: Reacting to Apple’s privacy stance//”Is Apple your friend? No. Of course not. It’s a company that sells stuff. But, right now at least, it’s an ally. And The Macalope doesn’t know about anyone else, but he’s not clear on the rationale behind the “Always shoot your allies first” policy.”
  • The Death of a Once Great City: The fall of New York and the urban crisis of affluence//This is an ode to the downfall of New York that has been brought about by speculative land development, rising property taxes, and a hollowing out of what made the city itself. But the same thing could be written for any of the cities that are now experiencing hyper-inflated rent increases, declines of social and public services, and a general shift toward transient populations over permanent residents. What will become of these cities in ten or twenty years time?
  • Canadian winemaker Norman Hardie accused of sexual misconduct//The Globe & Mail’s investigation of sexual impropriety in the food and beverage business has revealed that one of Canada’s more notable winemakers has a long history of harassing women. And, once more, the reporting reveals that basic power imbalances led women to just leave bad situations instead of feeling like they could demand accountability and justice. If there is any silver lining, it’s that the story is coming out, now, and that there were at least some persons who refused to have business transactions with Hardie after realizing what he did to women who were around him. Sadly, such refusals were often premised on a personal realization of the truth of the behaviours: the men who stopped doing business with Hardie didn’t choose to believe women from the get-go.
  • A Janitor Preserves the Seized Belongings of Migrants//Looking at these everyday items which were (and are) seized and discarded by American border authorities I’m reminded of a Canada 150 exhibit where the contents of migrants’ bags were presented. Many of the ‘inconsequential’ things like rice, or toilet paper, held incredible value for those making the trip to Canada; while they might have been ‘inconsequential’ to the eyes of Canadian authorities, I’m very happy that we didn’t take away those things that provided a sense of security to the persons migrating to Canada.
  • How Tidal Got So Fucked//A deep dive into the problematic business practices associated with Tidal, Jay-Z’s music stream service. The title of the article is entirely apt.
  • It Can Happen Here //”In their different ways, Mayer, Haffner, and Jarausch show how habituation, confusion, distraction, self-interest, fear, rationalization, and a sense of personal powerlessness make terrible things possible. They call attention to the importance of individual actions of conscience both small and large, by people who never make it into the history books.”
  • Explaining the ‘Mystery’ of Numbers Stations//A great deep dive into how messages are decoded from numbers stations, as well as whom has used them and to what effect.
  • Intel and the Danger of Integration//Intel has been stumbling for years now, as evidenced in the inability of companies like Apple re reliably provide new processors with meaningful changes into their product lines for the past several years. At the same time, other chip designers and foundries are racing ahead of Intel. Thompson’s article does a good job in laying out how Intel got into its current conundrum and the corresponding implications.
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