Free

Why The Metaverse Will Depend On Advances In Edge Computing

The metaverse aims to provide a high-quality immersive virtual experience — one that doesn’t need latency, something that cloud computing cannot fulfil. Enter edge computing — technology that reduces latency by placing computing centres and storage close to data sources. It’s already being used by Amazon’s Alexa, which processes some data on the machine itself rather than sending it to the cloud to be computed for a faster customer experience. Read full article here

How To Explore Ethical Non-Monogamy

Ethical non-monogamy (ENM) covers all consensual relationships with more than two participants; this includes swinging, polyamory, and relationship anarchy. If you would like to engage in ENM, Meg Wilson suggests determining your emotional bandwidth, or the amount of room you have in your life at the moment for any relationship — romantic, sexual, or platonic. Because although you may find yourself liking more than one person, you may not have the capacity to carry out multiple relationships simultaneously. Read full article here

On Building Optimism

“We need to build as much as we can, as well as we can.” Although governments are working to address the housing crisis, Coby Lefkowitz believes that we should collectively aim for more than just the generic box developments they are providing. These places, he says, are largely undesirable, unsustainable, or hostile (like being unconducive to walking). On Twitter, he posts about high-quality, aesthetically pleasing, community-centred, and affordable housing projects built in the past 20 years to show that this goal is achievable. Read full article here

Selling Hope

“I can’t help but see the predatory aspect of it, however gauzily wrapped in the vocabulary and signifiers of femininity, strength, solidarity, battling cancer[.]” Wendy A. Woloson recounts her experience of wig-shopping before her first round of chemotherapy. After buying a wig, she was offered many products that claimed to preserve some of her hair or coax it into growing back after chemo. She experienced a disgusting reality first-hand: companies exploit sick people by preying on their desire for compassion and dignity in their most fragile moments. Read full article here

Has Literature Ever Changed The Course Of History?

“When more voices are heard in literature, when women, for instance, tell their stories too, the arc of history bends more towards justice.” Literature may not immediately change the course of history, but it definitely influences the public’s beliefs, which directly affects how the public acts. Marion Turner cites the portrayal of historically less privileged groups in literature; for example, if women are portrayed negatively and if antifeminist literature is abundant, some men may ultimately beat their wives after becoming enraged by the acts of fictional women. Read full article here

In Underground Waterways, An Endangered Ecosystem

Stygofauna is the term given to animals that dwell in groundwater — water found in caves, pores, and cracks underground — and many of them are at the risk of extinction. One of the most pressing threats to their survival is groundwater overdraft. Humanity’s ever-growing need for water is heavily pressurising groundwater hot spots, threatening to suck them dry within the next few decades. Stygofauna are uniquely suited to their subterranean aquatic environments, so dried up groundwater reserves threaten not just humans but them as well. Read full article here

Pandemics Disable People

Historically, pandemics seem to have long-term effects that debilitate people long after they’ve been infected. For example, influenza is speculated to infect the brain and cause inflammation because there’s always a wave of strokes and heart attacks after every flu season. Because of this, people (especially those experiencing long COVID or with disabilities) are urging policymakers to take long COVID seriously. COVID has already been recognised to have long-term effects on ten organ systems, including the heart and the brain. Read full article here

Streaming In The Victorian Era: Early Synthesizer Sent Out Tunes By Telephone

The precursor to Spotify and modern synthesisers is a machine invented in the late 1800s. Thaddeus Cahill’s “telharmonium” allowed people to listen to music without needing to buy a home radio. People and businesses alike would tune in to the service on their telephones, where live music would be transmitted across phone lines. Telharmonium operators synthesised the music — which ranged from operas to children’s lullabies — live by plugging away at piano-like keyboards. Read full article here

Party Like It’s 1999: Reliving Bulgaria’s Turn Of The Millennium Techno Scene

The anti-Soviet protests of Bulgaria from 1999 to 2001 were accompanied by the fresh beats of various techno DJs and artists. Although techno was beloved prior to the protests, it became the backdrop of anti-Soviet sentiment after the biggest techno clubs took an active part in national protests against the Bulgarian Socialist Party. It was so important to Bulgaria’s spirit of democracy that the newly elected opposition president at the time supported the protests by powering the techno DJs to blast their music using electricity from the presidential building. Read full article here

FASCINATING READS, SUMMARISED

The occasional email full of conversation-worthy content