Friday Five: 5 Favourite Books of the Half Year

Weirdness Rodeo: Follow More Strangers

art by hyoin min

Archigram concept for the Trocadero, Piccadilly Circus.

Virginia Woolf goes to the movies

No, seriously, she does.

We behold them as they are when we are not there. We see life as it is when we have no part in it. As we gaze we seem to be removed from the pettiness of actual existence. The horse will not knock us down. The king will not grasp our hands. The wave will not wet our feet. From this point of vantage, as we watch the antics of our kind, we have time to feel pity and amusement, to generalize, to endow one man with the attributes of the race.

Also contains the immortal criticism: "if it ceased to be a parasite, how would it walk erect?" You're going to be seeing that in a lot of reviews from now on.

Follow more strangers

Gillian Tett (@gilliantett), author of The Silo Effect, in an article for the RSA:

Our natural instinct is to retreat into what feels safe: namely, our social tribes... If we want to break down tribalism and polarisation, we do not need to abandon our Twitter and Facebook feeds; we could just set a reminder on our computers that tells us to mix up who we follow and friend on a regular basis, and teach our children to be curious too. We could try switching out some of the people we follow on Twitter and replacing them with something radically different. Or we could try joining different Facebook groups, swapping around our Instagram account, or changing our newsfeed." - 

Oh, and this, from MIT / Sloan Review (discussed previously here):

The more diverse a person’s social network, the more likely that person is to be innovative. A diverse network provides exposure to people from different fields who behave and think differently... It’s not the number of people you follow on Twitter that matters; it’s the diversity within your Twitter network. - 

So,... go for it? Why not start by following five strangers today. (On Twitter, please. Don't get arrested.)

A suggestion - go way, way outside your existing bubble. No one that's in your fandom, no creators or bloggers or reviewers or anything of the sort. Avoid SF/F entirely - we're all so digitally-inbred as to wake up with Lannister hair. Find something fun instead - an interest that you've never explored, a field of study you've always admired, the teacher you wish you had, the scientist you wish you understood, the job you always wanted, a museum or an artist or a gallery or a chef... seek out some people and places that have absolutely nothing to do with you.

And, you know what? If they turn out to be boring? Unfollow them and try again next week! They're strangers - who cares!? But try adding five new strangers every week and see what happens.

If you need some starters, here's a list of 100.

Also, links

Text mining 50 years of popular music. The 1960s were about digging. The 2010s are about fucking. Hmm.

What's it like working for EEEEEEEEEVIL? (The perks are great!) (Backchannel)

Books vs e-readers. (Onion)

Guillermo Del Toro sings (tweets) the praises of John Carpenter. (via Storify)

"The Kids of Today and Tomorrow" - overview of a study from Nickelodeon, based on over 6,000 interviews with 9-14 year olds. (Viacom)

Mac cosmetics partnered with Star Trek. Who else should they check out? (YouGov)


As always, this grab bag of awesomesquish is equally tasty by email