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Recommended Reading 2022

Table of Contents

I enjoy reading about a variety of topics, especially on long train rides and on lazy Sunday mornings. In “Recommended Reading”, I regularly collect articles that I have read on Pocket and found inspiring. The list below covers the year 2022.

In English #

  • Obama Reckons with a Trump Presidency (The New Yorker): Written in 2016, around the Presidential election. A lot of foresight from Obama and his aides back then… The new media ecosystem “means everything is true and nothing is true,” Obama told me later. “An explanation of climate change from a Nobel Prize-winning physicist looks exactly the same on your Facebook page as the denial of climate change by somebody on the Koch brothers’ payroll.”
  • A Holiday Feast, Cooked in the Cab of a Truck (The New York Times): How are truck drivers coping with being away from home from their loved ones, especially during Covid and vacation season?
  • Now Is When We All Learn to Darn Our Socks Again (The New York Times): “I like the mends to look a little rough,” she said. “If it looks like it came from a factory, it negates the point.” Showing off your patches, visible menders say, draws attention to the way a garment’s life span has been extended. It also subverts the notion, long held, that mended clothes are worn by the poor, while the height of luxury is buying a new wardrobe every season. “We’re saying the opposite with our mended clothes,” Ms. Sekules said. “The pride in the look of a mended thing, that’s pretty recent. That’s now.
  • Just a little too slow: Why journalists struggle to cover climate change (Nieman Lab): *climate change today is pretty much the same as climate change yesterday and tomorrow. Over a decade or two it will profoundly change the planet, but a decade is not a unit that really registers for TV, much less Twitter. The climate crisis is at all times the most important thing happening on earth, by far, but there’s rarely a 24-hour period when, by the standards we’re used to, it’s the most important thing happening that particular day.”
  • Embracing a Wetter Future, the Dutch Turn to Floating Homes (Yale Environment 360): “If you consider that in the second half of the century, hundreds of millions of people will be displaced by sea level rise, we need to start now to increase the scale of floating developments.”
  • Economics is Once Again Becoming a Worldly Science (The Aeon): In the later years of his long life, Ronald Coase, one of the most influential members of the conservative Chicago School of Economics, began to lament how economists in the 20th century had gone down the rabbit hole of focusing on price sensitivity. He said that, rather than studying real-world wealth creation, as early economists such as Adam Smith sought to do, their successors had focused on building mathematical models of the world and probing datasets to find correlations consistent with the models. Coase didn’t consider such work to be empirical, dismissing it as ‘blackboard economics’. In the past two decades, there’s been a turn against ‘blackboard economics’. Some younger economists have made careers out of going out and studying the world as it actually is, and deriving an economics – insights, conclusions and solutions – based on this empirical work. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of California, Berkeley have been especially prodigious in producing such economists.
  • Is the ‘Future of Food’ the Future We Want? (Eater): Opening an app and hiring someone to drive to your house with some burgers and sodas does not have to be an inherently exploitative task. It is pretty objectively a nice thing to have. Using a drone to deliver medicine to people who may live up to 50 miles from the closest pharmacy? Also, in a vacuum, a great idea. What’s exploitative is the way it functions: These apps, services, and even restaurants are not built from the standpoint that every worker should be making a living wage on every order. Instead, they’re built on the idea that waiting or effort is the same thing as being denied, and on the fact that building a business on the backs of exploited workers isn’t considered a fundamentally failed model.
  • Climate Change Enters the Therapy Room (The New York Times): Dr. Doherty recalled the conversation as “cathartic in a basic way.” It was not unusual, in his practice; many clients harbor dark fears about the future and have no way to express them. “It is a terrible place to be,” he said. A big part of his practice is helping people manage guilt over consumption.
  • Scientists Watch a Memory Form in a Living Brain (Quanta Magazine): Contrary to expectation, the synaptic strengths in the pallium remained about the same regardless of whether the fish learned anything. Instead, in the fish that learned, the synapses were pruned from some areas of the pallium — producing an effect “like cutting a bonsai tree,” Fraser said — and replanted in others. Previous studies have sometimes suggested that memories can form through the addition and deletion of synapses — but this real-time and large-scale visualization of the brain suggests that this method of memory formation may be much more significant than researchers realized.
  • Six Promises You Can Make to Help Reduce Carbon Emissions (Pocket / The Guardian)
  • Did I Turn Off the Stove? Yes, but Maybe Not the Gas (The New York Times): The small study — based on measurements from cooktops, ovens and broilers in 53 homes in California — estimated that stoves emit between 0.8 and 1.3 percent of the natural gas they consume as unburned methane, a potent greenhouse gas. During the course of a typical year, three-quarters of these emissions occur when the devices are shut off, the study showed, which could suggest leaky fittings and connections with gas service lines.
  • How to Feed Crowds in a Protest or Pandemic? The Sikhs Know (The New York Times): “The concept of langar is to serve the needy,” Mr. Pal Singh said. Before the pandemic, he said, most people participating in langar were local Sikhs coming more for social and religious reasons than out of need. The drive-through and deliveries will allow them to put meals into the hands of people who struggle to afford to eat. That will mean a lot of extra food for volunteers to prepare, in a city where the Sikh population is still small. But none of that seemed to worry Mr. Pal Singh. “We would love to be in that situation,” he said, his optimism vibrating through the phone. “We will handle it.”
  • ‘Omar Became a Superhero Costume’ (Vulture): About the scene where Omar gets shot in the series: The first time he saw the effect go off was when we were rolling; that scared look on his face you see onscreen is the real human being, the real little boy going into shock. He drops the gun and is freaked out; that’s not acting. We all stepped right into the real there.
  • Thousands Have Joined Mastodon Since Twitter Changed Hands. Its Founder Has a Vision for Democratizing Social Media (Time Magazine): If you allow the most intolerant voices to be as loud as they want to, you’re going to shut down voices of different opinions as well. So allowing free speech by just allowing all speech is not actually leading to free speech.
  • How an Early Oil Industry Study Became Key in Climate Lawsuits (Yale Environment 360): “Once I actually opened it, it was immediately clear how profoundly important it was,” he remembers. “It was absolutely a jaw drop moment.” This was the earliest, most detailed and most direct evidence Muffett had yet seen that the industry’s own experts had warned its largest trade organization, not just an individual company, “that the science around climate change was clear, it was abundant, and that the best indications were that the risks were really substantial.” The paper’s delivery date put it well before Exxon’s extensive 1970s research into climate risks.

In German #

  • “Los, sagen Sie etwas!” (Die Zeit): Was macht man bloß mit einem Nobelpreis?, fragte sich der Schweizer Jacques Dubochet. Er wurde Klimaaktivist.
  • Grüne Studierendenwohnheime: Nachhaltig wohnen (taz): In Rosenheim entsteht das wohl nachhaltigste Studierendenwohnheim Deutschlands – nur soll es nicht so heißen. Ein Besuch.
  • Der Wasserträger des Weltrekordlers (Die Zeit): Bei Eliud Kipchoges Weltrekord rückte auch ein anderer Mann in den Blickpunkt: Claus-Henning Schulke, 54 Jahre alt – und als “Bottle Claus” längst ein Internetstar.
  • 1. FC Nürnberg: Wie ein Verein seine NS-Zeit aufarbeitet: Dass sich der 1. FCN nur Wochen nach Adolf Hitlers Ernennung zum Reichskanzler ihrer entledigte, dürfte für viele von ihnen traumatisch gewesen sein. Der Club war damit (…) einer der ersten Fußballvereine, der seine jüdischen Mitglieder ausschloss - “in vorauseilendem Gehorsam”, wie Siegler betont. Siegler recherchierte die Leben der Ausgeschlossenen. Biografien, die unterschiedlicher nicht sein könnten. Während den einen die Flucht gelang und sie sich in den USA, England oder Frankreich eine neue Existenz aufbauten und Familien gründeten, kämpften andere im Krieg für Deutschland an der Front oder im Widerstand gegen die Nazis. 13 der ausgeschlossenen Clubmitglieder überlebten die Nazi-Zeit nicht. Zehn wurden in Konzentrationslagern ermordet.