Recently I found myself in the postmodern-Roman Colosseum of the Vancouver Public Library rummaging around the botany section. Through the electric hum and drone masquerading as silence, I heard the unmistakable sound of aggressive mumbling. I emerged from the beige aisle to see a frustrated man at a public computer terminal, scrolling through the comments of a Youtube video — obviously not pleased with what he was reading.
Who knows what grudges and sociopolitical dramas were unfolding on the 6th floor of the Vancouver Public Library that day. Maybe he had every right to be irritated by the comments. But it got me reflecting on both the toxicity of our comment culture and my own relationship with the disturbing entity we call the Internet.
- The Planet Is Burning Around Us – this essay by Stephan Pyne is a succinct summary of his book The Pyrocene: How We Created an Age of Fire, and What Happens Next, a gripping read about fire, a topic I’d never though about in any depth.
- The Ex-Anarchist Construction Worker Who Became a World-Renowned Scientist – A short article on lichenologist Kerry Knudsen, who I learned about from the irrepressible wandering botanist Joey Santore aka Crime pays but Botany Doesn’t.
- The Internet Is Not What You Think It Is – A thought-provoking conversation with Justin E. H. Smith about his book examining exactly what the Internet is.
I have no good explanation why, but lately I’ve been fascinated by Qawwali music, and so I’ve been listening to the great Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, the king of kings of Qawwali. Live at WOMAD 1985 has been playing on repeat.
I can’t quite trace the breadcrumbs of how I learnt about Zulfiqar Ali Loond, a Pakistani multi-instrumentalist who won a national award but can only be heard in a few amateur videos on youtube. Regardless, enjoy…