Wednesday headlines: Crude awakening

Wednesday headlines: Crude awakening

In the past year, the Pentagon has successfully tested a wide range of autonomous weapons, and while there’s more to come, international consensus remains iffy. / Defense One

The US is currently on pace to produce more oil—13.3 million barrels of a day—than any country in history. / CNN

In Ukraine, Radio Boiling Over in Kharkiv gives residents a megaphone to broadcast their fears and anger as they face daily bombardment from Russian missiles. / The New York Times [+]

“The best approach to teaching empathy may be through literature, art, music, and other humanities.” Why defunding liberal arts is bad for health care. / STAT

In all of 2022 there were 941 cases in Europe. From January to February last year there were more than 30,000. / The Guardian

The current state of white-collar employment: Job dissatisfaction is growing, with more workers hoping to switch jobs, but with fewer openings to choose from. / The Wall Street Journal [+]

See also: A database that tracks tech layoffs as they’re announced. /

“I’m not going back.” The dramatic story of what happened when an astronaut refused to return from a spacewalk, an incident that remains shrouded in mystery. / Ars Technica

Remembering music writer Neil Kulkarni, who died this week at 51. / The Quietus

See also: Published earlier this month, Kulkarni’s retrospective of some of his own favorite pieces. / The Wire

Johnny Marr responds to video showing the Smiths’ “Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want” playing at a Trump rally: “Consider this shit shut right down right now.” / Pitchfork

An argument for why some rich countries are so culturally conservative. / The Great Gender Divergence

“The pain cave is where I go when it physically feels like I can’t take another step.” A dispatch from one of the world’s most competitive ultra-marathons, in Chamonix. / BBC


More Headlines

Friday headlines: Rùnnin

The United States economy grows 3.3% in the final quarter of 2023, beating analysts’ predictions. / Semafor

Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova say they didn’t grow women’s tennis for it to be exploited by Saudi Arabia. / The Washington Post [+]

Four women from Myanmar relate what it’s like to survive a coup. “All I want is to be safe.” / The Dial

Interviews with young Chinese people attempting to “rùn” away, often to the United States. / Dan 

News organizations across the US are undergoing a rapid contraction. / CNN

One corner of the media that’s actually doing well? The conservative “Never Trump” movement. / Reliable Sources

YouTube says it’s aware that it’s currently plastered with AI-generated ads in which celebrities unknowingly pitch scams. / 404 Media

X, formerly Twitter, is being swamped by AI-generated pornography featuring Taylor Swift; one example garnered 45 million views. / The Verge

New York City loses $100 million to speeding cars with obscured or covered license plates. / Streetsblog NYC

Some examples of odd car keys. / Jalopnik

See also: Notes on guitarists building their own effects pedals. / Why is this interesting?

Some rules for living, from science fiction author Larry Niven—e.g., “never fire a laser at a mirror.” / Futility Closet

How did groups of birds acquire their odd names? Partly from “an unknown nun in an English convent on a planet without clocks, calculus, or democracy.” / The Marginalian


Thursday headlines: Who’s rat girl

The world’s deadliest humanitarian crisis in 2022 was not in Afghanistan or Ukraine, but the Central African Republic. / Undark

Ten countries have now been dragged into the “ever-expanding” Middle East war. / The Economist

An investigation finds the United Arab Emirates funding more than 100 assassinations in Yemen, with training provided by American mercenaries. / BBC News

See also: A reporter’s “obsessive search” to unearth the history of how Congress secretly funded the atomic bomb. / The New York Times [+]

Notes from a simulated coup following the upcoming presidential election. “I think the biggest threat is denial.” / Slate 

Jelani Cobb: The pertinent issue now is not what caused the Civil War but what we should have learned from it. / The New Yorker

“Nones,” or the spiritually unaffiliated, are now the largest religious group in the United States. / Pew Research Center

Your weekly white paper: A survey of students using chatbots finds 3% halted their suicidal ideation. / NPJ Mental Health Research

Nearly 90 percent of top news outlets now block AI data collection. / WIRED

Descriptions of different sounds to be heard in space (or sounds based on those sounds)—e.g., “the groans of a ghost in a bottomless well.” / Nautilus

Related: The best neighborhoods for starting a life in the galaxy. / Quanta Magazine

Some early drawings from engineers who dreamed of tunnels connecting England and France. / Public Domain Review

A French photographer trains rats to take selfies. / Augustin Lignier

Correction: Yesterday’s link to a Guardian story omitted the word “measles.” Our bad!


Tuesday headlines: Forever, forever ever?

In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court rules Border Patrol can once again remove razor wire installed by Texas at the Mexico border. / The Dallas Morning News

An investigation of the White House’s pharmacy uncovers disturbing findings, including a request to “hook up” someone with a controlled substance. / STAT

Plastic bag bans work. In New Jersey alone, 5.5 billion bags a year have been eliminated since 2022. / Grist

See also: Elias Sime creates artworks from e-waste, much of it found in the artist’s home city of Addis Ababa. / Hyperallergic

As cruise ships become more and more massive, so do their greenhouse gas emissions. / Bloomberg

With more television coverage than ever, more of the world’s soccer fans are finally watching the African Cup of Nations. / Quartz

See also: “As countries fail to produce more technical midfielders, they will continue to struggle against defensive teams in low blocs.” Explaining Afcon upsets. / Africa Is a Country

On box beds, the medieval sleeping cabinets that sheltered inhabitants from the cold, but cramming too many inside carried a risk of suffocation. / BBC

“When I first read about this project, I liked the idea, but I also thought it sounded a bit insane.” How the California Forever project could transform urban planning. / Noahpinion

See also: A world map of places mentioned in Red Hot Chili Peppers songs. / Data Is Beautiful

Analyzing the current state of restaurant menus: the of-the-moment foods, the focus on labor, the very tiny fonts. / The New York Times [+]

“Vibe Personality Order occurs when you take a backseat in your own life…so you turn to shopping instead of doing things.” / The Trend Report

A new book looks inside click farms—which boost clients’ social media through paid likes, follows, and comments—and which the author used to promote the very same book. / Huck


Monday headlines: nobody, not even the rain

Israel appears to be following the advice of the Biden administration and other allies by waging a more targeted war to reduce civilian casualties. / The New York Times [+]

Still, the death toll of Palestinians in the Gaza war surpasses 25,000, as Israel announces the death of another hostage. / AP

Weeks ago, OpenAI announced chatbots of political candidates aren’t allowed; now, it’s halted a Dean Phillips bot built by a group supporting his presidential campaign. / Engadget

Does double dipping matter? Research shows there are “between 100- and 1,000-times the number of bacteria transferred to the dip when a chip was bitten.” / Bon Appétit

Mary Weiss, lead singer of the Shangri-Las, whose hit “Leader of the Pack” is one of the most famous “teenage tragedy” songs, has died at 75. / The Guardian

See also: A playlist of teen tragedy songs, aka “death discs” or “splatter platters.” / Spotify

“What also separates this era of artfully inane music is the sheer volume of it and its wide-scale popularity.” The musical age of shitpost modernism. / Pitchfork

Why swapping uppercase letters for lowercase saves data. /

“It was a thrill to slough off, for a few minutes, the expectations of my human form.” What it means when we pretend to be animals. / Aeon

Nashville to Raleigh/Durham tops the list of the most turbulent US flight paths. / Travel + Leisure

“Any space that can house a table and chairs is flipped into a temporary sponsored home.” Spending a week with billionaires in Davos. / The Wall Street Journal

A solution to the trolley problem, courtesy of actual railroad workers. / Mastodon


Saturday headlines: You can’t get there from here

Some of these certainly flew under the radar, but here are 20 things the US government did this week. / Wake Up to Politics

A surprising number of Americans think they live in the Midwest, even when they’re as far away as Colorado or Arkansas. / The Wall Street Journal

See also: A brief but fascinating history of US accents and dialects. / Smithsonian Magazine

A higher-than-normal number of restaurant closings in New York City can be attributed to the fact that sales haven’t returned to pre-pandemic numbers, but rents have. / Eater

One theory as to what actually killed Pitchfork: Streaming and AI-based recommendations are a lethal combination for human-generated music writing. / Platformer

Another theory: New music is bad business for labels, who’d rather plunder established catalogs, and platforms, who’d rather generate musician-free tracks. / The Honest Broker

See also: People hated Pitchfork because it mattered. / Hell Gate

A look back at how the artist-first social network Ello, seduced by investors, met an untimely end. / Waxy

“It’s a parasitic plant that grows around Mt. Takao… I just added them on a whim.” What Kazuo Oga of Studio Ghibli thinks about when he thinks about backgrounds. / Animation Obsessive

Remembering when, in 1983, When Nick Cave and the Birthday Party played to 30 people at a show in Dallas. / Dallas Observer

In 1976, a Massachusetts judge made headlines by saying he couldn’t rule on a cocaine trial unless he’d tried it first, and then attempted to legalize the drug. / Weird Universe

Ten of the world’s greatest sandwich styles. / Atlas Obscura


Wednesday headlines: The big greasy

The United States attacks Houthi ballistic missiles in Yemen over the Iran-aligned group’s targeting of Red Sea shipping. / PBS

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards say they attacked Israel’s “spy headquarters” in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region. / Reuters

Pakistan warns of retaliation for an Iranian airstrike. / CNN

OpenAi no longer prohibits using its technology for military purposes. / The Intercept

Related: Amazon is now full of products with names like “I’m sorry but I cannot fulfill this request it goes against OpenAI use policy.” / Ars Technica

Worldwide, more than one in three women do not feel safe walking alone at night in their own community. / Gallup

In China, suspected criminals who end up in court are found guilty 99% of the time. / The Economist

In the United States, chronic absenteeism in schools nearly doubled between 2018-19 and 2021-22, to 28% of students. / The New Yorker

A dialect group selects “enshittification” as 2023’s word of the year. / The American Dialect Society

See also, from last month: “It’s been a year of endless einsteins.” / The New York Times [+]

Emma Stone says she applies to be on Jeopardy! every year—”and not that ‘Celebrity’ horsecrap.” / AV Club

BBC Radio 1’s first female presenter Annie Nightingale dies at 83. / Mixmag

“Gen Z lip-sync face” refers to young men physically contorting their faces online to appear to have prominent jawlines. / GQ

See also: “It’s a new year, the annual Great De-bogging, when we all attempt to heave ourselves out of the muck and into a better life.” / Experimental History

A company harvests ice from Greenland’s fjords and ships it to bars in the United Arab Emirates. / The Guardian

A short video on how river ice is made into hot tea in Mongolia. / The Kid Should See This

A study finds around 99% of Americans live near at least one Mexican restaurant. / axios

Similar to how General Tso’s chicken is hard to find in China, “New Orleans-style wings” have almost nothing to do with Louisiana. / The Wall Street Journal [+]


Tuesday headlines: Insane in the mundane

A round-up of African migration trends to watch in 2024—e.g., state fragility, seasonal economic opportunities. / Africa Center 

The world’s most “powerful” passports, ranked. / The Points Guy

A very big battery replaces Hawaii’s last coal plant. / Grist

TW Lim: We went from mining nature for particular fats, to mining fats for their components. / Scope of Work

From November, “tyromancy” refers to an ancient fortune-telling practice that uses cheese. / Saveur

What it’s like to organize a race that goes up and down a mountain in the middle of winter? “If I sit down, I get snoozy.” / Patagonia 

A paraplegic rock climber decides to climb Yosemite’s legendary El Capitan “one tiny pull-up at a time.” / The Los Angeles Times [+] 

A man spent $1 million—and seemingly wrecked part of his family—to turn his modest living room into “the world’s greatest hi-fi.” / The Washington Post [+]

Related: How to make a traditional Japanese-style kitchen knife. / Chicago Magazine

Unrelated: A video tour of “the world’s best houseboat.” / YouTube 

A profile of the Hollywood screenwriter who’s paid $300,000 a week to rewrite other people’s scripts—”a fee that he acknowledges is ‘insane.'” / The New Yorker


Friday headlines: Purple reign

Internet and telecom services in Gaza get cut as a result of the Israeli bombardment. / Al Jazeera

Jeremy Bowen: It’s time to stop talking about the war spreading elsewhere—it’s already happened. / BBC News

Spencer Ackerman: You did it, Joe! You escalated the war you spent the week saying shouldn’t escalate. And you have a plan now, right? / Forever Wars

Museum curators and ordinary citizens are trying to preserve Ukraine’s experience of Russia’s invasion. / Atlas Obscura

A team of physicists finds a new kind of magnetism “playing out within an engineered material only six atoms thick.” / Quanta Magazine

A 2023 study finds physician shortages in medically underserved areas in the United States unimproved by increased pay or student loan forgiveness. / Undark

The Federal Highway Administration wants less sign language that uses pop-culture references or humor. / The Wall Street Journal [+]

Why does a cul-de-sac in Los Angeles have an ordinance barring skateboarding? Public safety. / The Los Angeles Times

Related: The great skate show Epicly Later’d is back. / GQ

London-based illustrator Edie Medley draws a comic about what it’s like for women to grapple with urinary tract infections. / It’s Nice That

British artists like Damien Hirst and Glenn Brown are running their own museums. / Artsy

What it’s like to look at flora and fauna through AI-powered binoculars. / Outside

Fashion’s favorite color for 2024 is predicted to be “deep, muddy yurples.” / Blackbird Spyplane

See also: An open letter to Jeremy Allen White regarding his recent Calvin Klein ads. / McSweeney’s Interent Tendency


Thursday headlines: Exit through the Swift shop

A report says Niger, Senegal, and Rwanda will be among this year’s highest growth economies. / Semafor

Whither pandemic preparedness and global health cooperation? Helen Branswell’s public health questions for 2024. / STAT

Unrelated: Collective online archiving as a way to mourn a friend. / Dirt

In normal times the Panama Canal carries about 5% of global maritime trade—but “normal” is being upended by the climate crisis. / The Economist

A map shows where homes in the United States repeatedly flood. / The Washington Post [+]

Efforts to sell better chicken in the US are stymied by the birds being known as “the cheapest of the meats.” / Noema

Unrelated: A Florida car dealership opens a fine dining restaurant—inside the dealership—headed by a Michelin-starred chef. / axios

Hotel prices are already soaring in anticipation of Taylor Swift’s upcoming tour of Europe. Though is Swift a Pentagon psyop? Probably not. / Le Monde, Vice

A new app enables businesses to charge to use their bathrooms. / TechCrunch

Scientists in Iceland aspire to take direct measurements of molten rock in a magma chamber. / NewScientist

In one photo: an Italian Basilica, a mountain, and the moon. / Colossal

Tajja Issen: Every book that finds you is a minor miracle. / The Walrus

“It is still surprising that Apple turned us loose onto strangers.” What it was like to repair Macs door-to-door in the early aughts. / Mat Duggan


Wednesday headlines: Not them, but you!

Taiwan says it doesn’t consider the launch of a Chinese satellite, whose rocket flew over southern Taiwan, an attempt at election interference. / Reuters

Related: Breaking down Wang Yi’s speech on China’s diplomacy in 2023 and priorities for 2024. / Tracking People’s Daily

Ethiopia is very likely on the road to recognizing Somaliland. “That is a big deal.” / An Africanist Perspective

Emmanuel Macron makes a “daring” choice by appointing modern France’s youngest-ever prime minister. / The Economist

Extremely online conservatives in the United States have been fighting about a pinup calendar. / Vox

New research finds a typical liter of bottled water to contain 240,000 microscopic pieces of plastic. / Grist

As devices get better at connecting brains to computers, neuroscientists launch an international movement advocating for “neurorights.” / Undark

Meta says it will restrict teens from viewing content that deals with topics like suicide, self-harm, and eating disorders. / The Verge

Casey Newton: If you believe that at least some teens experience harm on social media, it seems unlikely that a parental permission slip will solve it. / Platformer

Anne Helen Petersen: if you think someone uses too many exclamation points: maybe the person with an exclamation problem isn’t them, but you! / Culture Study

See also: Analyziing the harms of “almond moms.” / Airmail

A former competitive Skee-Ball player breaks the world record for rounds of golf played at different courses in one year. / The Wall Street Journal [+]


Tuesday headlines: Best laid schemes of ice and men

Hezbollah says one of its commanders has been killed in a strike in southern Lebanon. / BBC News

Alon Pinkas: Maybe the most ominous thing about an Israeli-Hezbollah war in Lebanon is the feeling that it’s a foregone conclusion. / Haaretz

In 2024, more than half of humanity will live in a country holding a nationwide vote. / The New Yorker

See also: Semafor’s inaugural “Global Election Hot List,” TIME’s “Top 10 Global Risks for 2024,” and a list of unpredictable but possible events that could “throw 2024 into turmoil.” / Semafor, TIME, Politico

Futhermore: A round-up of current visual trends, with guesses on how they’ll unfold this year. / It’s Nice That 

“There’s probably never been a better time to believe in aliens than right now.” The UFO movement is experiencing “otherworldly” growth. / The Wall Street Journal [+]

In Antartica, an increase in human traffic and effects from the climate crisis are opening the door for invasive species. / The Revelator

A study finds flowers are rapidly evolving to have less sex. / The New York Times [+]

An animation recreates central Washington’s “stunningly dramatic” geological history. / Futility Closet

Salt Lake City police fired more than 135 shots in 18 months. Most incidents involved injured deer. / Deseret News

A Russian oligarch accuses Sotheby’s of helping an art dealer trick him into overpaying for art. / The Guardian

Unrelated: Grilled spicy ice cubes are said to be trending in China. / Instagram

From a year ago but new to us, a man asks people from around the world to teach him their favorite dance move. / YouTube

And in case you missed it: A wildlife photographer captured footage of a mouse cleaning his shed, night after night. / The Washington Post [+]


Monday headlines: How the cookie crumbled

Xi’s military leadership shake-up—apparently part of his plan to tackle corruption and disloyalty—raises questions about China’s combat readiness. / The Wall Street Journal [+]

The history of the US government’s comic books, which run the gamut from educating Americans on safety to pushing all-out propaganda. / Beautiful Public Data

“Electrons may exist in a dense state of quantum entanglement with one another, forming a kind of fluid.” The very strange properties of so-called “strange metals.” / IEEE Spectrum

Americans are getting shorter, and the likely reason why is wealth—and therefore health—inequality. / The Week

In a century-long battle of sandwich cookies, Oreo has almost entirely vanquished Hydrox, which claims its competitor employed dirty tricks to get to the top. / The Hustle

Elizabeth Spiers on how working with ChatGPT is like raising an eight-year-old, or, “So you knew it was wrong and you did it anyway?” / The New York Times [+]

How Pyongyang’s architecture and city planning is an expression of state ideology and asserts control over its citizens. / Atlas Obscura

This is cool: Using Lego-like bricks made of a material similar to fiberglass, a small crew built a 96-unit apartment building in under two months. / Fast Company

“A mouse has been filmed secretly tidying up a man’s shed almost every night for two months.” / The Guardian

A website dedicated to documenting every British record shop since the 20th century—”the legendary, the lost, the infamous and your forgotten favourites.” / British Record Shop Archive

“The first month was excruciating; the 35 or so others have been mostly fine.” Rich Juzwiak on his decades-long addiction to quitting. / Slate

John Warner has never watched ET, but he’s read the novelization multiple times, and honestly it sounds better than the movie. / The Biblioracle Recommends

“I think it’s nice to remember that songs can never be fixed in place.” An oral history of PC Music, the influential label that’s now 10 years old. / Dazed


Saturday headlines: Nahmaste

Three years after Jan. 6, more than 80 people are yet to be identified for their roles in the violence, and the mystery of who placed the pipe bombs remains unsolved. / AP

Related: This morning, three Jan. 6 fugitives were captured at a ranch in Florida. / NBC News

A breakdown of how Republicans have rewritten Jan. 6 to give Trump a viable path back to the White House. / The Washington Post [+]

“It was an event that, in some sense, didn’t happen…it clearly was a failure, a debacle, even a farce.” Make no mistake about Jan. 6, the original fascists were morons too. / Unpopular Front

A modest proposal for New Year’s resolutions, or why “anything worth doing is worth doing poorly.” / The New York Times [+]

See also: “Frustration, a sense of lack, is the necessary precondition for any kind of satisfaction.” What we talk about when we talk about giving up. / The Guardian

Still: A large medical trial finds regular exercise is linked to lower incidence of specific types of cancer. / Gizmodo

In the largest-ever settlement for California garment workers, the Beyond Yoga apparel brand will pay $1.1 million in back wages and damages to contractors. / Quartz

Lululemon’s founder slams his former company’s brand inclusion initiatives: “You’ve got to be clear that you don’t want certain customers coming in.” / The Cut

An interactive retrospective of Cologne’s legendary WDR Studio for Electronic Music, where experimental artists gained access to equipment to bring their ideas to life. / Google Arts & Culture

“It maybe feels more like Philip Glass not being able to get hired in his side career as a plumber.” More from Tom Scocca on his medical plight and the health of journalism. / How Things Work

Taylor Swift has now surpassed Elvis for the most weeks at no. 1 by a solo artist. Only the Beatles have more weeks at the top spot. / Billboard

See also: An AI-generated image of the Beatles drinking tea mysteriously includes a fifth bandmate that could be any one of them (but is probably dead Paul). / Indy100


Friday headlines: Every picture tells a story

The White House has confirmed that Russia has been using ballistic missiles provided by North Korea in Ukraine. / The Hill

House Democrats claim during Trump’s presidency his businesses took in at least $7.8 million from foreign entities—similar to what Republicans allege against Biden. / CBS News

A set of theories for how the US brought down inflation without, as many economists predicted would happen, triggering unemployment. / Noahopinion

Whether AI will meaningfully change photography comes down to—among other quandaries—whether photography is intended as a depiction of truth. / The New York Times [+]

Paul Ford: “If the current narrative holds—if AI is victorious—well, liberal arts types will be ascendant.” / WIRED

On the likelihood of the “Zoo Hypothesis,” which posits that extraterrestrial civilizations exist, they just don’t want us to know that. / Universe Today

Probably related: Twenty-one species were removed from the US endangered species list in 2023 because they are now presumed extinct. / The Guardian

New books about slime, a misunderstood substance that is everywhere, and that never fails to produce a visceral response in humans. / Los Angeles Review of Books

“I paused longer and longer each time. Disabled? I was … less able. To do things. Than I’d been. For now? I clicked ‘no, uncertainly.” Tom Scocca’s medical unraveling. / Intelligencer

Crosswords are a uniquely American innovation, and at more than a century old, the puzzles’ stalwart US-centricity is in serious need of reconsideration. / The New Yorker

“The rise of McCartney’s reputation at the expense of Lennon’s over the last few decades has something to do with the way popular music has become a less crucial part of youth culture.” / The New Left Review

“Oh, this is unlocking something I didn’t know about the gay experience.” Why 2023 was a landmark year for onscreen gay male sex. / GQ


Thursday headlines: Prime suspect

Recent events—the killing of a senior Hamas leader, explosions in Iran and Lebanon—raise fear of wider conflict in the Middle East. / Politico

A round-up of trends likely to drive humanitarian need in 2024. / The New Humanitarian

Theaters report seeing a lot more standing ovations. “You’re swept along with it, aren’t you?” / BBC News

In 2023, a record low was reached in global child mortality, with only 3.6 percent of newborns dying by the age of 5. / The New York Times [+]

China’s population, now around 1.4 billion, is projected to drop to around half a billion by 2100, and women are taking the blame. / The Wall Street Journal [+]

A small polling of American women from different generations on plastic surgery. / TZR

Unrelated: Phrases like “conspicuous consumption” and “dependence effect” can obscure as much as they reveal—”but then I read a novel by Émile Zola.” / UnHerd

How big exactly is YouTube? One estimate says 13.325 billion videos. / Ethan Zuckerman

Mark Zuckerberg’s Hawaiian estate is thought to suggest “a petty overlord hiding in his castle keep, incapable of imagining anything but a siege.” / The Nation 

The great Ana Gavrilovska’s favorite jazz albums from last year. / Sick Sad Motherslug

The past year in lost ships and underwater discoveries, and Strava’s year in sport. / Atlas Obscura, Strava

A $70,000 watch is said to be the first made entirely in the United States in over five decades. / GQ

See also: One reason why we may not have been visited by time travellers: we aren’t important enough. / The Seeds of Science


Tuesday headlines: Up down turn around

A political crisis may be brewing in Israel, as its Supreme Court strikes down a law proposed by Netanyahu’s government that would have limited the court’s government oversight. / Axios

As we head into a major election year, you can expect a tug of war over the US economy—here are 12 charts comparing Biden’s economy to Trump’s. / The Washington Post [+]

We asked some of our favorite journalists, writers, and thinkers: What were the most important events of 2023, and what were the least? / The Morning News

Related: The biggest discoveries in physics in 2023. / Quanta

The shoegaze music scene mostly died in the mid-’90s, but is now back and bigger than ever. TikTok is the reason why, and here’s a deep dive into how it happened. / Stereogum

See also: A look at the big musical trends of 2023 and what could be coming next, including a Spotify backlash and more music from Africa. / Can’t Get Much Higher

TMN’s Andrew Womack brings us the top albums of 2023. / Andrew Womack

“The human web, the one made by regular people, is resurgent.” Anil Dash on how the internet is about to get weird again. / Rolling Stone

Erin Kissane on how to solve the problem of Threads, whose stated embrace of decentralized social media should absolutely be taken with as much salt as you can find. / Erin Kissane

Archaeologists discover a 2,300-year-old Roman banquet room with a large, intact mosaic made of shells and coral. / CNN

See also: In Pompeii, archaeologists unearth a “bakery-prison” that reveals the brutality endured by those who were enslaved. / The New York Times [+]

“It is a sign that we are more than just bodies, thoughts, and emotions.” Kierkegaard’s theory of despair is not so despairing. / The Nation


Saturday headlines: Giving

We’ll be back with more headlines on Jan. 3. In the spirit of giving, here are some charities and groups favored by TMN contributors. Happy holidays!

The Clean Air Task Force works to reduce air pollution in the US and beyond by pushing for the technology and policies to reach a zero-emissions future. / Clean Air Task Force

Patagonia Action Works connects people with environmental groups working in their community. / Patagonia Action Works

Sunrise Movement helps young people organize and act to fight the climate crisis and environmental injustice. / Sunrise Movement

Global Empowerment Mission is working to provide immediate relief to families in Israel and Gaza. / Global Empowerment Mission

Palestine Legal advocates for people whose rights have been violated for expressing pro-Palestinian opinions. / Palestine Legal

All for Armenia provides immediate and long-term support for the Indigenous Armenia refugees from Artsakh/Nagorno-Karabakh. / All for Armenia

Plan International helps girls and young women in developing countries reach their potential. / Plan International

Black & Pink works in a variety of ways to support incarcerated LGBTQI people. / Black & Pink National

The Asian American Writers Workshop offers crucial resources to writers at an intersection of migration, race, and social justice. / The Asian American Writers Workshop

National Coast Watch keeps a watchful eye over the United Kingdom’s coastline, via a network of 60 stations and over 2,700 volunteers. / National Coast Watch

The Augusta Heritage Center dedicates itself to preserving and protecting traditional American art forms like blues, gospel, Old Time, and percussive dance. / The Augusta Heritage Center

HAAM helps Austin’s working musicians with affordable health care focused on prevention and wellness. / HAAM

The UK-based MS Society funds global research into the treatment and prevention of multiple sclerosis. / MS Society

Give Directly facilitates direct cash transfers and lets people spend the money however they need. / Give Directly

Charity Navigator helps you find and research charities that fit your reasons for giving. / Charity Navigator

Dec 23, 2023

Friday headlines: Here come the warm jets

As Israel expands the ground war against Hamas, the Palestinian death toll tops 20,000—nearly 1% of Gaza’s population before the war. / AP

There’s scant evidence to support Israel’s claims that Hamas was using Gaza’s largest hospital as a command and control center. / The Washington Post [+]

An analysis of aerial imagery purports Israel used 2,000-pound bombs in south Gaza after ordering civilians to evacuate there. / The New York Times [+]

See also: Maps and diagrams show how Israel pushed nearly 1.9 million Palestinians—85% of Gaza’s population—into a tiny corner of the region. / The Washington Post [+]

A deep dive into how, in 1970, the FBI weaponized a New York Times article on antisemitism to sow divisions between Black and Jewish communities. / Twitter

By assembling an antisemitism advisory group whose political beliefs align with influential donors, Harvard is ignoring its own antisemitism experts. / Jewish Currents

The Pentagon wants to pursue a “new nuclear gravity bomb that would be 24 times as powerful as the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945.” / Salon

After 16 months of silence that began after Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan, the US and China resume military talks. / Semafor

No white Christmas: Record heat across the US next week will mean temperatures 20 to 35 degrees above average. / Axios

See also: How extreme heat is changing tourism. / Fast Company

“Since air in warmer climates tends to absorb and dampen higher frequency sounds, languages there developed more sonorous and resonant sounds that could better withstand that distortion.” / Atlas Obscura

Readers weigh in on their 10 favorite Longreads picks of 2023. / Longreads

See also: Five video essays worth your holiday downtime. / Hyperallergic

“Percentages are reversible. Working out 4% of 50 will give you the same result as 50% of 4.” A wealth of simple yet effective life hacks. / Reddit

Dec 22, 2023

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Gaylene Ramage