I love a good format and this time of year is brimming with them. There's Tom Whitwell's brilliant 52 Things I Learned. And now people are doing excellent secular things with advent. Like Amy's I Thought About That A Lot and Anne's new nanofiction (also on twitter)
This is one of the best justifications I've ever heard for someone being an arse. It's Ed Catmull of Pixar talking about Steve Jobs.
"Sending out a sharp impulse—like a dolphin uses echolocation to determine the location of a school of fish—can teach you crucial things about your environment. Steve used aggressive interplay as a kind of biological sonar. It was how he sized up the world."
But it's a really useful metaphor. Made me think: what's the impulse I send out to size up the world?
I love this amazing piece by Kathryn Schulz about animal navigation. We understand it better these days because of advances in tracking. This is my favourite bit:
"What makes this striking is that we are living in a golden age of information about animal travels. Three hundred years ago, we knew so little about the subject that one English scholar suggested in all seriousness that storks spent their winters on the moon.”
And while I'm linking to the New Yorker, here from Margaret Talbot is a great read about exercise. What an opening:
"Lucky are those for whom the benefits of vigorous exercise are more or less the unintentional effects of something they love to do. I am not one of them. My friends have heard me declare that I like to swim, but what I really like is not so much moving purposefully through water as being immersed in it, like a tea bag."
Good bits from an interview with Stella Rimmington, a former head of MI5.
"I like getting older. People look after you. It’s a relief to no longer feel responsible for the world and all that’s happening. I hate this war, but I’m ancient, so I can do nothing. Being powerless brings a sense of lightness that’s rather pleasant."
"I listen to the radio in the middle of the night. It’s probably a function of old age that these days I don’t sleep soundly. I live alone with my two dogs – I think I’m comforted by feeling someone’s there with me."
See you in 2023. I've thoroughly enjoyed emailing you all, thank you for being there. I guess you are the world and this is my impulse.
(There are 823 of you. 823 is a twin prime with 821, which is how many of you there were last month. Please proceed only in primes from now on.)