What I’ve Been Reading

Okay. I’ll be writing more about the political situation here in Bangkok next week. But for now, let’s move on to this: Conundrums solved by MacGyver. North Korean agitprop. And dope raps about supercolliders.

Here’s a list of some links that have caught my eye over the past fortnight.

Storyboard: a profile of a profile of Charlie Kaufman

An almost-real-time, behind-the-scenes look at the assigning, writing, editing, and designing of a Wired feature.

Large Hadron Rap

…a rap about CERN’s Large Hadron Collider. Some are calling it the greatest physics rap of all time.

Tales From the Cellphone Tour

Most people take a vacation to get away from their jobs. Cyriac Roeding took a vacation for his job.

Instead of relaxing on a beach, Roeding — a mobile technology expert and enthusiast — took a ’round-the-world odyssey to see how the rest of the world uses cellphones.

Monitoring the Future of Newspapers

A professor of mine used to say – a tad cryptically, I thought – that “history doesn’t happen at the same time in the same place.” Similarly, the Armani-clad “futurists” who haunt the corridors of Fortune 500 companies are fond of quoting William Gibson’s apothegm that “The future is here. It is just not evenly distributed.”

One place where the future remains unevenly distributed is the newspaper business. The country’s most successful dailies are enduring draconian cutbacks in personnel and coverage. Some of the also-rans are disappearing altogether. What no one knows is: What will the newspaper of the future look like? Maybe it will look like The Christian Science Monitor.

National Explainer: A Job for Journalists on the Demand Side of News

This American Life’s great mortgage crisis explainer, The Giant Pool of Money, suggests that “information” and “explanation” ought to be reversed in our order of thought. Especially as we contemplate new news systems.

Photo Essay: North Korean Propaganda Posters

“When provoking a war of aggression, we will hit back, beginning with the US!”

China Defends Its Reviled Soccer Team

The Olympic Games have shown that sports and national pride are still tightly intertwined, and perhaps nowhere more so than in the minds of Chinese leaders.

The evidence is indisputable: the more than $40 billion spent on the Games, the record haul of 51 gold medals by Chinese athletes, the invitations to 80 world leaders to attend the opening ceremony.

Now, the government is taking a step to shore up the reputation of that most dubious of national sports icons: the men’s soccer team.

And last but not least:

List of problems solved by MacGyver

This is a list of problems that have been solved by the fictional character MacGyver from the television series of the same name. (This list is not yet comprehensive.) MacGyver employs his resourcefulness and his knowledge of chemistry, physics, technology, and outdoorsmanship to resolve what are often life or death crises. He spontaneously creates inventions from simple items to solve these problems. These inventions became synonymous with the character and were called MacGyverisms by fans. MacGyverisms became a distinct motif of the series. MacGyver was unlike secret agents in other television series and films because he carried only a Swiss Army knife and duct tape, instead of relying on high-tech weapons and tools.

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