I haven’t done one of these for a long time, but I have a big old pile of interesting things I’ve read recently. I might make this a weekly thing–Harry Connolly does a Friday Randomness roundup and there’s always something interesting or weird there. I don’t think I can quite attain his level of randomness, so I’ll have to settle for “worth reading” as a criterion.
Dogs Are People, Too: Functional MRI for dogs! And the dogs get to choose whether or not to play, which is really great.
The Mother of All Squid Builds a Library: Lovely short story.
What the World Eats: Twelve families from very different parts of the world photographed with a week’s worth of groceries. I keep going back to look at them.
Meat Atlas: Friends of the Earth and the Böll Foundation produced this report about global meat production, the economics, the environmental impacts, and so on.
Hofstadter interview in The Atlantic: After reading this long interview with Douglas Hoftstadter, I was inspired to go back and re-read Gödel, Escher, Bach and I now have a pile of other Hofstadter things to read. He’s a very interesting guy.
The Guardian: Ask a Grown-Up: This is something The Guardian has been doing for a while, but I’ve only just seen it. It’s a great idea. Children can write in with questions about anything at all, and they get answers from experts in whatever field they’re asking about (or sometimes slightly random celebrities, but mostly the answerers know what they’re on about). Best one I’ve seen so far: Douglas Hofstadter (yes, him again!) answering a six-year-old’s question “Does my cat Oscar know he’s a cat?”!
The UK National Archives: I’ve not had much of a chance to rummage around in here yet, but it looks like an amazing resource where I could probably waste infinite amounts of time.
How Doctors Die: End-of-life care choices and the differences between what doctors recommend to their patients and what they do themselves. Pretty grim, but needs to be talked about.
Early Onset Dementia: More grimness, also needing to be talked about. Early onset dementia (not just Alzheimer’s–the article is about something different) is just terrifying. Imagine losing the ability to recognise all of your loved ones, to know who you are or where you are, and this not to be something that happens towards the end of your life, but at a time when you might conceivably have to live like that for 40 or 50 years. Now imagine that it’s not you that has this problem, but your partner...
Implementing a JIT Compiled Language with Haskell and LLVM: On a completely different topic, this is a Haskell rendering of a long LLVM tutorial that looks really useful. I’ve only read part of it so far, but it’s good.