Rabbits get a bad rap these days. Or rather, their roads do as they hop from Uncle Remus’ house to Farmer John’s. A rabbit hole today is that dark cramped place where your addiction to social media takes you to confirm your political views. Any new or contrary idea dies in its darkness.

But I love going down rabbit holes precisely because they take me to new places.

So here are some I urge you to explore, and if you end up where you didn’t intend, well, that’s what separates the traveller from the tourist.

1. Could you join MI5? Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service, like the CIA, Russia’s FSB and our own CSIS, now recruits openly and online. But the Brits give you a taste of what you’re in for via a series of tests. Here are four of them.

2. Why does anyone still smoke? One reason could be the oleaginous marketing campaigns of companies like BAT (British American Tobacco). Their latest strategy video is a masterwork of guile and diversion. Any plummy-voiced video that begins…. “For decades, cigarettes satisfied sensorial needs…” deserves our attention if only to learn what that means in English. Speaking of smoke and mirrors….

3. What’s it like to work in a Trump Hotel? This tasty tell-all from The Washingtonian reveals just what a germophobe America’s 45th President is, and how the Washington hotel’s single goal was grovelling to please his followers. You can stay in its smallest room tonight for US$879.

4. Draw an iceberg and see if it floats. Endlessly diverting fun that brings out the glaciologist in us all.

5. Warren Buffet isn’t the only CEO who likes to write often and well. Here’s Jeff Bezos’ annual letters to shareholders. These go back to 1997 and he always attaches this original letter to every new one, to make sure we know he knows that Amazon’s goals don’t change. It’s here that we learn how the idea of Day 1 drives a company that this year will account for 50% of all online sales in America.

6. Robert Capa wasn’t Robert Capa. The famous war photographer wasn’t who he claimed to be, nor was his wife, Gerda Taro, as this fascinating BBC documentary reveals.

7. A new way to classify books in your head. Are you tired of an algorithm telling you “If you like this, you’ll love this?” signals you the minute your favourite author has released a new book.

8. What a difference a wolf makes. Who knew that re-introducing 14 wolves into Yellowstone Park basically saved it from destruction. Talk about a virtuous circle…..

9. Drowning in music? It seems our hardest task online isn’t finding rare things. It’s sorting plentiful ones. Here’s a great selection of 10 classical music concerts, compiled by the New York Times.

10. A map showing buildings by their age. Check out this map of every building in the Netherlands showing its age. How often does a house built in 1450 stand next to one built in 1960? A lot, it seems.


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5 thoughts on “The Plague-Ground – RABBIT HOLES FOR EAGER DIGGERS”

  1. Jim, I can’t compliment you enough for your updates. I’m close to giving up all, other sources of news.

  2. Bob – that British American Tobacco piece was like an episode of Black Mirror… complete with non-threatening-female-British-AI voiceover (just as Armageddon descends). I next expect one of BAT’s “less risky”, “beyond nicotine” products to innocently appear on my doorstep (perhaps via silent drone?), for a small, virtuous taste of their improved, next-gen ETHOS?

    Wow. I’ll be sure to show my 12 year old. Tricky stuff.

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