winter clothes

Themal Winters

Electrically-heated parkas, socks and gloves are all the rage this winter. But so are parkas with onboard Wifi Hot Spots and heated battery packs. Which begs two questions: Will our grandkids hear in disbelief that our winter outerwear wasn’t electrified? And, why go south for the winter?

Meanwhile…here are some things to warm your soul indoors.

1. All lemurs are cute. These ones, Sifaka Lemurs in Madagascar, are hungry risk-takers.

2. A film about Anthony Bourdain. It’s hard to believe he died two years before COVID.

But here’s the wonderful tale of how an anonymous chef became a world-renowned cultural icon.

3. Can science reverse the aging process? As the BBC says in this 7-minute documentary, the idea is “hugely appealing.” Speaking of aging – and there are times when that’s all I talk about – check out this drawing of a woman’s life, from birth to heaven.

4. The semen retention movement. 92,000 men have joined it so that they can have the physical and spiritual benefits of ….retaining. They’re not against having sex or masturbating.

They just think that frequent orgasms are harmful. Do not confuse them with that other online subculture, the “Incels”, men who are unable to get a romantic or sexual partner despite desiring one, and who the Southern Poverty Law Center included in their list of hate groups because they’re part of the online male supremacist ecosystem.

5. How shipping works and how it’s broken. If all you’ll be getting for Christmas this year is coal, here’s why. Speaking of new ways to move things and people, here’s a new way to design transport for people. “It’s common to hear that transport providers are ‘simply getting people from A to B’: a low-bar ambition that misses the real purpose of much travel. Imagine if other sectors adopted the same reductionism: if cafes were just about the efficient delivery of calories; if hotels focused solely on their number of beds per square meter; or if healthcare was solely about longevity, not the reduction of pain.”

6. The scandalously high cost of higher education. More in the US than Canada, for sure. But when student loan debt is now greater than credit card debt, something’s out of whack. As always, Scott Galloway connects the seemingly unconnected, noting the corresponding doubling in suicidal ideation on campus from 2007 to 2017, which is much worse for Black students who are almost twice as likely to attempt suicide as their white peers.

7. Winston Churchill was a great leader and a terrible racist. This is becoming the main course in tasting Churchill today. The dessert is that his flaws were simply the norms of his time. But the Stanford historian, Priya Satia, says no, even that’s only half right. Churchill was a man of his time – and ours.

8. Bursting out from the walls. Trompe-l’œil is an art technique that uses realistic imagery to create the optical illusion that the depicted objects exist in three dimensions. But the actual images are much more exciting than that last sentence from Wikipedia. Surprise!

9. How will COVID change us? In the very first weeks of the pandemic, the online magazine Noema asked 18 thinkers, from Jared Diamond and Dambisa Moyo, to Joseph Nye and Yuval Noah Harari, for their best answers. Reading their replies 18 months later reveals just how hard it is to predict the future.

10. Boris Johnson gives the world’s piggiest speech. Speaking on Monday to a tony business audience on “the coming industrial revolution” and the “moral mission” of levelling-up, Britain’s Prime Minister chose instead to discuss Peppa Pig World. Shambolic barely begins to describe it.

Here’s the speech.

Forbidden Words. Rather than give you a word you may no longer use in polite company, here’s a brand-new bookful of new words to describe your obscure sorrows.

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