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I used to write these Omnium-Gatherum (OG) blog posts every month, with 8 to 10 brief items to lead you down the rabbit hole. Now, they’ll land every week, a mark of how much strange and beguiling life is online these days, and how quick-like-a-bunny it can lead you to a castle or a briar-patch.
So here’s this week’s edition, delivered just in time for the weekend, when you have time to lose yourself and maybe even find yourself again.
1. Shhhh…Mars is checking in. Listen to the first sounds recorded by humans on Mars, of Mars. They’re part of the huge haul of ‘firsts’ when the Perseverance Rover landed there last month.
2. “I can get anyone to fall in love.” So claims American psychologist Robert Epstein. It’s all revealed in a documentary, You Are What You Act, that says the West has much to learn from ancient tantric practices and arranged marriages.
3. Yuval Noah Harari on life after the pandemic. Of the zillions of predictions on what life holds for us, the author of Sapiens and Homo Deus seems to make brilliant sense. An excerpt: “[Before], when your finger touched the screen of your smartphone and clicked on a link, the government wanted to know what exactly your finger was clicking on. But with coronavirus, the focus of interest shifts. Now the government wants to know the temperature of your finger and the blood-pressure under its skin.” See the entire article here.
4. The biggest model train set on earth. Did you love model trains (or model planes) as a kid? No matter. This will appeal to your enormous inner child. Hamburg has the most eccentric epic entertainment anywhere, which is Germany’s most popular tourist attraction.
5. 51 Tricks and Techniques for More Delicious Meals Every Day. From the editors of Epicurious, everything from ‘give your stale bread a shower” and “toast your oats in butter”, to “add seltzer to your pancakes” and “cool your pie in the oven.” But what is it with these listicle creators? Couldn’t it have been 50 and not 51?
6. Thinking the worst of ourselves. We might be murderers, and we might not, but isn’t it safer to assume we are and be proven wrong? Maybe not. Jason Arn unpacks three of our most cherished myths and finds them wrong, wrong, wrong.
7. Where are the 10 most memorable places you’ve been? Andrew Alfred-Duggan creates ‘Lifemaps’ that smudge together your favourite places into a single map. Here, the Danforth turns into Via Veneto becomes Antarctica, then Piccadilly-on-the-Humber. Dare I say, they make great gifts.
8. You have a new Aria Code. WQXR is New York’s great classical radio station. They’ve teamed up with the Metropolitan Opera to look into (hear into?) the operatic melodies everyone knows and loves. Sort of a deep dive into your tear ducts. This one is about Nessun Dorma from Puccini’s Turandot, with commentary from the Montrealer, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, who’s now the music director of the biggest opera company on earth, and of Orchestre Métropolitain and of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Click here to weep.
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