News 21.06.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


News 21.06.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 21.06.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 21.06.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

At first glance, the form of the aphorism – a short text, of the sort that pops up everywhere from the Bible to Noël Coward – seems authoritative. It promises a universal truth, pithy wisdom, summed up with piercing snap. Aphorisms declaim their opinions, admitting no doubt. The poet W H Auden described them as ‘aristocratic’, signalling power, confidence and prestige. Many aphorists – La Rochefoucauld, for instance, the 17th-century nobleman who wrote maxims – were indeed wealthy or influential. Or Wilde, son of the philanthropist Sir William Wilde, whose poised, polished witticisms seem to bear the marks of his prosperous upbringing, and register an expectation to be heard and admired.

The critic Susan Sontag underlined the same point in her diary of 1980: ‘Aphorism is aristocratic thinking: this is all the aristocrat is willing to tell you; he thinks you should get it fast, without spelling out all the details.’ But this isn’t quite right. Part of the charm of the aphorism, and mystery, is that it doesn’t really expect its audience to ‘get it fast’, or even get it at all. Its slick form sets out to confound and stymie as much as educate.

Read the rest of this article at: Psyche

News 21.06.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 21.06.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

In the summer of 1893, an unusual volume appeared on the shelves of London booksellers. The Great Barrier Reef of Australia: Its Products and Potentialities, published by W. H. Allen and Company, was remarkable both for its price—the leather-bound volume would have cost a skilled tradesperson nearly two weeks’ pay—and for its fantastically close observation of the world’s largest reef system.

Many British readers knew of the existence of coral reefs, from the accounts of Charles Darwin and other naturalist-explorers. They might have known that James Cook and his crew had been trapped and nearly died in the labyrinthine “shoals” off the eastern coast of what would become Britain’s most distant colonies. But far fewer grasped that coral reefs were living systems composed of countless tiny, soft-bodied animals; even fewer had any real sense of the squirming, kaleidoscopic grandeur of the Great Barrier Reef. For most of its readers, The Great Barrier Reef of Australia revealed an almost completely unknown world.

At a time when photography was cumbersome and expensive and color photography was little more than a curiosity, the author William Saville-Kent had waded into the Pacific at low tide and, with the help of a specially constructed four-legged stand, had worked out a method of photographing coral colonies from above. The resulting large-format prints were exceptionally clear, and Saville-Kent’s accompanying watercolor sketches suggested the polychromatic glory of a flourishing reef: Pale-violet stony corals, orange sea stars, and crowds of colorful reef fish burst from the pages in preindustrial abundance.

Read the rest of this article at: The Atlantic

The Balmoral in Chestnut

Shop the Balmoral in Chestnut
at Belgrave Crescent &

Back in 2011, when Twitter was young, the artist and musician Leon Chang made a joke that you might remember even if you didn’t see it: “slept over at a kids house once in third grade. saw him pour milk into bowl first, then cereal. never talked to him again. hes in jail now.” Over the years, that joke has been stolen again and again, often retold with slightly different details. It still happens. Everyone tells it as if it happened to them—as if they really knew a kid with such a weird habit and were personally disturbed by it. This never really bothered Chang, one of the better-known and most beloved personalities in a scene called “Weird Twitter.” He knew that, by and large, people were ripping the tweet off just to impress a few hundred followers.

For many years, rampant theft of tweeted jokes didn’t seem so bad. Twitter users loved to make the observation: “This website is free.” This was often posted in response to something amazing and bizarre, to express disbelief at all of the unhinged entertainment that was available for viewing at no cost whatsoever. In that context, Chang explained, if a viral marketing company or a corporate brand such as Wendy’s had stolen his milk criminal and used the idea to make money, it would have been annoying. But otherwise, who cares?

Read the rest of this article at: The Atlantic

News 21.06.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 21.06.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Somehow it was always my mother who answered the phone when he called. I remember his voice on the other end of the line, muffled in the receiver against her ear. Her eyes, just starting to show their wrinkles in those days, would fill with the memories that she shared with this man. She would put out her cigarette, grab a sheet of paper and scribble down the address. She would put down the receiver and look up at me.

“It’s your dad,” she would say.

I slept in a twin bed in the living room, and I would start jumping on it, seeing if I could reach the ceiling of our mobile home with my tiny fingers. My mother would put on some makeup and fish out a pair of earrings from a tangle in the basket next to the bathroom sink. Moments later, we would be racing down the highway with the windows rolled down. I remember the salty air coming across San Francisco Bay, the endless cables of the suspension bridges in the heat. There would be a meeting point somewhere outside a dockyard or in a parking lot near a pier.

And then there would be my dad.

He would be visiting again from some faraway place where the ships on which he worked had taken him. It might have been Alaska; sometimes it was Seoul or Manila. His stories were endless, his voice booming. But I just wanted to see him, wanted him to pick me up with his big, thickset hands that were callused from all the years in the engine room and put me on his shoulders where I could look out over the water with him. From that height, I could work my fingers through his hair, black and curly like mine. He had the beard that I would grow one day. There was the smell of sweat and cologne on his dark skin.

I remember one day when we met him at the dockyard in Oakland. He got into our old Volkswagen Bug, and soon we were heading back down the highway to our home. He was rummaging through his bag, pulling something out — a tiny glass bottle.

“What’s that?” I asked him.

“It’s my medicine, kid,” he said.

“Don’t listen to him, Nico,” my mother said. “That’s not his medicine.”

She smiled. Things felt right that day.

Read the rest of this article at: The New York Times

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News 21.06.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Canned tuna is high in protein, low in fat and by far the most popular shelf-stable seafood in the United States.

It can also be mysterious, questionable and scandalous. As The Washington Post reported in late January, Subway — the world’s largest sandwich chain — is currently facing a class-action lawsuit in the state of California that claims its tuna sandwiches “are completely bereft of tuna as an ingredient.”

After the news broke, the jokes swiftly followed. Jessica Simpson (who famously didn’t know whether Chicken of the Sea was chicken or tuna back in 2003) tweeted: “It’s OK @SUBWAY. It IS confusing.” Jimmy John’s, a competitor, started sending email blasts with subjects like: “Tuna 👏 Sandwiches 👏 Should 👏 Use 👏 Real 👏 Tuna 👏.”

Subway, for its part, has categorically denied the allegations. “There simply is no truth to the allegations in the complaint that was filed in California,” a spokeswoman wrote in an email to The New York Times. “Subway delivers 100 percent cooked tuna to its restaurants, which is mixed with mayonnaise and used in freshly made sandwiches, wraps and salads that are served to and enjoyed by our guests.”

From a reporter’s perspective, however, the case bore further investigation — a deep dive, if you will.

So, I procured more than 60 inches worth of Subway tuna sandwiches. I removed and froze the tuna meat, then shipped it across the country to a commercial food testing lab. I spent weeks chatting with tuna experts. I waited, and waited, until the lab results came back.

Here’s what I found.

Read the rest of this article at: The New York Times

P.S. previous articles & more by P.F.M.