My weekly collection of the provocative, intriguing, or curious, in a world where the house is falling down. The contextual, the cultural, and other things that catch my eye.

Image: Chris Richmond, CC BY-NC-ND

  • Bananas: going, going, gone. A completely avoidable story of everyday agricultural monoculture is devastating the banana strain that everyone grows.
  • Robots are good at recycling waste. Certainly much better than humans are.
  • Modelling the future. An extended profile of the long wave ‘secular cycles’ theorist Peter Turchin, and the patterns shaping our current crises. (Thanks to Pippa Biggs).
  • The psychology of Greta Thunberg’s climate message. She seems to have found language which appeals to the moral foundations of liberals and conservatives.
  • Choosing a winner in a photographic competition. Some of the portraits that made the National Portrait Gallery’s final cut are simply exceptional.
  • East German punk and the fall of the Wall. To update Josef Skvorecky: the guns of the dictatorship were turned on the young men with guitars. Podcast, 25 minutes.
      • Update: The full versions of the songs on the podcast can be heard here.

“The whole world’s at sixes and sevens, and why the house hasn’t fallen down about our ears long ago is a miracle to me.” (Thornton Wilder)