Ordinary Sunday Brunch: Culture Quick Links

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Music Links

[Mu1] We’ve known listening to music during workouts helps, now we have some science to back up the commonly held belief. And, yes, it really can help.

[Mu2] “Easter eggs,” subtle references hidden in movies, have become a thing, and now music videos are getting into the act.

[Mu3] The “music” of volcanos erupting, and how “charting” the infrasonic clues could be a breakthrough predicting eruptions.

[Mu4] Yesterday marked 17 years since the death of R&B singer Aaliyah in a plane crash. Here’s a brief overview of her career.

Art Links

[Ar1] Art among the ruins is a common theme; so it is with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

[Ar2] AI-produced art has hit the big time, literally, with a first of it’s kind offering by Christie’s.

[Ar3] “Proust’s mid-career struggles with writing led him to art criticism, which provides clues to the qualities prized by readers of In Search of Lost Time.”

[Ar4] When we think of art exhibitions, dressed up folks with cocktails mingling might come to mind. I like this piece because it starts with the artist trying to figure out how to carry their piece from the car, while closing the doors and not dropping it, on the way into the building.

[Ar5] This Quillette piece argues that there are too many artists, too little talent, and not enough people to say so.

History Links

[Hi1] Known for it’s leaning tower, in the Middle Ages Pisa was known for its port, and the recovering of that lost history is fascinating.

[Hi2] Thomas Edison, failed concrete mogul? The history of molded concrete in construction.

[Hi3] John Chapman became the first Air Force member since Vietnam, and 19th overall, to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor (Posthumous) this week. The story of what really happened on Takur Ghar 17 years ago can hopefully be a ghost finally put to rest.

[Hi4] Sam Wilkinson touched on the history of the “Silent Sam” statue that was torn down by protesters this week, but here is the rest of the story, and how it is incomplete even after it’s fall.

Food Links

[Fo1] So what do you do in one of the worst traffic jams in LA history, where burning fuel truck shuts down the highway? If you are a food truck, you open for business and start serving breakfast on the spot.

[Fo2] “Just four crops – wheat, maize, rice and soybean – provide two-thirds of the world’s food supply. But scientists in Malaysia are trying to change that by reviving crops that have been relegated to the sidelines. ”

[Fo3] Fast food was invented to entice folks that didn’t want to make food at home. Drew Magary goes the other way with that idea, and lays out copy cat recipes for eating, and making, your favorites at home.

[Fo4] “Food as medicine,” takes on a new meaning for these non-profit and volunteer organizations.

Religion Links

[Re1] Volokh’s take on “The Case for a Consistent Approach to Government Discrimination on the Basis of Religion

[Re2] Here’s one you might not have thought of: your religious influences affects your psychedelic drug experience.

[Re3] Teaching World Religions in high school is getting a makeover, and it’s instigator is a teacher from Harvard Divinity School’s Religious Literacy Project, and whose own parents are an ex-nun and ex-monk.

[Re4] Pew has a bunch of data on how Americans are more religious than folks in other wealthy nations.


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Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire.

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30 thoughts on “Ordinary Sunday Brunch: Culture Quick Links

  1. Fo2 –

    Forgotten crops hold key answers, according to CFF. By investing in neglected local plants, countries can reduce their reliance on imported crops and their carbon-heavy supply chains.

    So they’re going to buy into some autarky food miles nonsense and cut down more of their forested land to grow crops. Sounds like a great plan to fight climate change and promote biodiversity.

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      • I’m also curious how much diversity there is within the big 4 crops. It’s probably narrow enough that a significant blight on one strain would be disruptive in the short term, but not catastophic in the medium or long term. (I’m also thinking of the every few years ‘death of the banana’ article which has yet to yield results commensurate with the level of alarmism)

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      • Yeah. I was going to point out that the four are well-suited to industrial agriculture, survive low-tech storage for months/years, can be handled brutally during transport, and at least of one of the group will do reasonably well over precipitation levels ranging from semi-arid to sub-tropical.

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  2. I think there’s something to that. You ingrain yourself into a certain scene, say art for example, and learn the language and be accepted into the circles but not be able to rise out of the group to the level of self-support.

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    • I was going for something else. The world economy has gotten advanced enough to produce a class of prosperous but largely income wealthy people. These are basically your upper-middle class professionals. They can do many things for their children but can’t set them up to be so wealthy that those children will never need to work. My anecdotal observation says that in the United States this class takes two paths when teaching their children about passions:

      1. Path #1: You are smart and able. You should study whatever you want and things will work out in the end because you will show employers that you can apply yourself; or

      2. Path #2: Your future is not secure. You need to study something practical to maintain your position, etc.

      The veracity of each statement is hard to ascertain. I do think that Path #1 probably produces a lot of kids with arts-backgrounds and educations but in areas where supply still outstrips demand. But I also think that a lot of parents usually get some kind of psychic pleasure over arts-educated children and this goes beyond basic piano lessons.

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  3. Hi1: Pisa was one of the four great maritime republics of Medieval Italy. The others being Genoa, Venice, and Amalfi. Venice had the coolest official name of the Most Serene Republic of Venice. It played an important part in organizing the Crusades and expanding commerce during this time.

    Fo2: If Malaysian scientists really want to make forgotten crops popular again, they need to turn to modern marketing. The forgotten crops will be huge if they can be promoted as having legendary health powers.

    Re4: Social scientists and other intellectuals are arguing on why Americans are more religious than other people in developed nations for decades. The traditional argument was that America had a free market in religion thanks to the First Amendment and therefore religions had to compete for worshippers. I’ve always found this argument unconvincing. The other British derived countries like Canada, New Zealand, and Australia had free markets for religions but a similar decline in faith. Many European countries were not as dominated as the official state church as most people assume but saw a decline in faith. The United Kingdom had a long and strong non-conformist tradition that lasted well into the 20th century. It was only during the late 1960s and early 1970s that religious observation began to decline fast.

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    • Really, any sort of mythology about an ancient or forgotten food might be used to market an otherwise-forgotten crop, at least in the USA. Mythology need not have anything to do with scientific knowledge about the food — viz. the “paleo diet” which has at best a passing resemblance to what we can reconstruct about what paleolithic peoples actually ate.

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    • Re4: On world value surveys, English-speaking countries group more traditional than other OECD countries. LINK So I don’t think a complete discontinuity argument works, particularly given the First Amendment didn’t apply to the states 100 years ago and the states were where religious requirements were traditionally found.

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  4. [Ar5] strikes me as first being infused with “my judgement of the value of art is the only possible judgement” and second being angry with government-supported arts. As best I can tell, government support for arts is tiny, particularly in fiction, as she seems primarily concerned with.

    Government support in things like sculpture and mural and architecture is somewhat more, since governments, by necessity build buildings and parks and monuments. But novels, not so much.

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  5. Boy, two things really jumped out at me on that Pew link: US being similar to China and Russia in terms of income inequality, and the way income inequality and the way religious belief tend to skew together.

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