What I Read, 1st Ed

Posted on May 11, 2012 in Everyday Life

Don’t tell anyone, but it’s my super secret dream to one day have Rafil Kroll-Zaidi‘s skill and writing gig. Yes, I can already imagine how glorious my life will be when each month I search far and wide for the world’s most fascinating or peculiar research, and pull it all together with exceptional verve.

In the meantime, I’ll keep renewing my Harper’s subscription just for the Findings feature, and here’s what else I read this week:

Susan J Matt explains how social media doesn’t cause loneliness, but rather that Americans have been lonely “for at least two centuries” and that contemporary society has become intolerant of those who are not “cheerfully independent.”

Vienna gets its first cat café and Kate Miltner submits a thesis on LOLCats that proves, once and for all, how “seemingly trivial pieces of media — pictures of cats with captions — can act as meaningful conduits to central elements of our humanity.”

Images of soldiers being “led to slaughter” have long represented the tragedy of war, but today’s conflict casualties are more often civilians who suffer brutal, and repeated, rape. Usually treated as a women’s issue, the use of rape during war effects men in different but no less profound ways.

Miranda Trimmier reminds us why we dissect things, and how to do it well.

If selkies are the new heroes of paranormal romance, let’s hope they smell better than seals.

There comes a stage when all researchers find ourselves in the Valley of Shit. When this happens, remember what Winston Churchill said: “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”

Apparently, not everyone is excited about in-vitro meat.

Maurice Sendak, “who wrenched the picture book out of the safe, sanitized world of the nursery and plunged it into the dark, terrifying and hauntingly beautiful recesses of the human psyche,” is dead.

Consumer “infolust” will soon be satisfied by smart-phone apps that make it easy for shoppers to POINT, KNOW and BUY. Cue Austin Powers: “Smashing! Groovy! Yay capitalism!”

Cassie Gonzales wins Granta’s “Fleeing Complexity” competition with this tweetable short story: “It was my turn to wear the dead boy’s glasses.”

Primatologists ask can animals keep pets, and orangutans use iPads to communicate.