Summer 2016


This summer has been a busy one. Since I last wrote here, the British — or half of them anyway — decided to leave the EU; rhetoric concerning refugees became increasingly toxic; a spate of terror attacks has left communities all over the world reeling; and Trump has made hundreds of gaffes, none of which seem to have dented his popularity with the tens of thousands disenchanted with mainstream politics in America.

Closer to home, I have moved house twice, signed off the final final final version of The Secret Lives of Colour, which will be published on October 20th (and can now be pre-ordered from Amazon), and started researching in earnest books two and three (I know! More on that in the books section when I can). So, I have dispensed with the monthly version of this for the moment and done an extra-long summer version of the many fascinating and unexpected things that I’ve come across, and three things by me at the bottom.

The secret to getting laid more? Sharing household chores

Sharks apparently have individual personalities. (Is it wrong to hope that, if I ever meet one, it has anxiety and/or an eating disorder?) And why a rise in the number of great whites in the waters off California is a good thing

Put down your iPhone and turn off that audiobook: why multitasking is bad for you

A 3,000-year-old ball of thread has been discovered in the remains of a Bronze Age in the east of England

In Iceland, scientists discovered a way to turn carbon dioxide into solid rock

Why South Korean soldiers are taking ballet lessons

Have you ever wondered which country is the most rectangular? Wonder no longer

Does being surrounded by digital personal assistants make children rude?

The bullet journal, to use its own parlance, is “an analogue system for a digital age”. Basically a new way to make to-do lists; I’m a convert.

On a similar note: a calendar rubber stamp from my favourite stationery shop and is this the most beautiful pen in the world? (A: yes)

The letter the Stanford rape victim read to her attacker in court. (You’ve probably already read it, but it’s worth reading a second time.)

A fascinating and disturbing long read on Robert Heath, a neuroscientist who claimed to have found a “gay cure” and was subsequently written out of scientific history

When are running shorts more than running shorts? When the company making them is taking on Nike

Why Californian fathers are twice as likely to take paternity leave for sons than daughters

One reason to be grateful for crappy battery life. A robot made a bid for freedom from a lab in Russia; the escape was foiled when it’s battery died after the robot had gone just 50m

Sweden has a new museum: the Ikea museum. And, in other Ikea-related news: the secret to getting a jaded populace to read a political manifesto: disguise it as an Ikea catalogue

And, from me:

The love affair between fonts and cities in honour of the remastered Johnston100 typeface

A review of “On Trails” by Robert Moor

How architects are responding to increased incidents of flooding

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