You Might Like… Some Diversions on Broccoli, Cruises, Space, Wilde, Potatoes, and More

This is a post in a series that is by now regular, setting out some articles, videos, podcasts and the like that contributors at Slaw are enjoying and that you might find interesting. The articles tend to be longer than blog posts and shorter than books, just right for that stolen half hour on the weekend. It’s also likely that most of them won’t be about law — just right for etc.

Please let us have your recommendations for what we and our readers might like.

Carl Warner Photographer – Foodscapes – Carl Warner – Don’t play with your food, you were told. Carl’s mum clearly failed in this respect. He’s built landscapes entirely out of food and then photographed them. (On his website, click on the second square to be taken to the foodscape images. There’s also an NPR piece about him and his work.)

Brain Pickings – Choosing to Die: Sir Terry Pratchett Comes to Terms with His Death – Maria Popova – The fantasy author, afflicted with early onset Alzheimer’s, talks in an hour-long video about choosing to die and arranging for it in Switzerland. Sad but timely, perhaps, given the legal case begun in BC.

The Guardian – Rebecca Coriam: lost at sea – Jon Ronson – “When Rebecca Coriam vanished from the Disney Wonder in March, hers became one of the 171 mysterious cruise ship disappearances in the past decade. So what happened? Jon Ronson booked himself a cabin to find out…”

Nasa, ISS on Vimeo – Earth | Time Lapse View from Space | Fly Over – Michael König editor – Enough death. Now for something quite majestic: five minutes of watching the world go by – from a viewpoint that’s extraordinary.

Food Politics – Ketchup is a vegetable? Again? – Marion Nestle – This will make you laugh, albeit hysterically perhaps—if it doesn’t make you cry.

Jennifer Egan’s Website – A Visit from the Goon Squad: Great Rock and Roll Pauses – Jennifer Egan – This is a chapter from Egan’s novel done as a PowerPoint slide show. It’s a bit on the difficult-to-follow side, but once you get into it, you may find it a change from all the PP slideshows that have been driven against your eyeballs over the years.

Slate Magazine – The New Classics: The most enduring books, shows, movies, and ideas since 2000 – Slate Staff – Slate’s seeking your input. But until that arrives, the staff have proposed some works that “will speak to future eras.” It’s not at all hard to find fault with their choices—which is the point, I suppose. I mean, “The Black eyed Peas”?!

The Chronicle of Higher Education – I Will Never Be a Ranter – Geoffrey Pullum – A good rant’s a wonderful thing: all that high talk in full flight—like rockets or a hailstorm. But not everyone’s capable of it. Pullum, one of the authors of the Lingua Franca column, claims that he’s not qualified, having read Ambrose Bierce’s “utterly assassinative prose” about Oscar Wilde, three whopping paragraphs of which he presents as proof.

The Smithsonian – How the Potato Changed the World – Charles C. Mann – First it was carrots (you may remember) and now it’s potatoes, as we work our way through the humble veg among us.

NPR – The ‘Worm’ That Could Bring Down The Internet – A 43 minute interview with Mark Bowden, whose book, “Worm –
The First Digital World War”, frightens us about the worm, Conficker, that’s currently assembling massive botnets.


  1. A little more on the Marion Nestle article: here’s what the Democratic National Committee is distributing, on Republican/food industry’s attempts to make pizza (apparently not just ketchup) a vegetable for school lunch purposes:

    House Republicans are ramming through legislation this week to classify pizza as a “vegetable” for the purpose of school lunches.

    Why? Because a massive lobbying effort of Republican lawmakers by the frozen pizza industry, among other corporate interests, is underway to get around Obama Administration guidelines to make school lunches contain healthier options.

    In this Republican Congress, almost anything is up for sale to the highest bidder and most powerful lobbyists — including the literal definition of the word “vegetable” — and this time, it’s coming at the expense of our kids’ health.

    This is business as usual for some in Washington, but shining a spotlight on it can stop it.

    *Sign this petition and spread the word: Pizza isn’t a vegetable.

    Look, we could have a lot of fun with this one. But the fact is that there is a very real bottom line: Childhood obesity has tripled in the past three decades. And for some kids, school lunches are some of the best nutrition options they have during the day.

    School lunches are hard to change — and it doesn’t take a doozy like “pizza is a vegetable” to know that the corporate interests have more money and more Washington lobbyists than kids do. That’s why pizza was classified as a vegetable during the Bush years. The Obama administration made that common-sense change, but the Republican Congress wants to take us back to the money-for-influence status quo.

    *If you think this is as ridiculous as we do, tell the GOP that it’s time they started picking real people over corporations (and real vegetables over slices of pizza, for that matter):*