Engaged Reading Time - Issue #79
Another random newsletter for you long-suffering subscribers. I've just finished running a new newsletter course, and it's rebirthed my enthusiasm for the medium. And so, literally the moment the course finished, I threw open my browser and got to work on this issue.
As ever, these links are commitedly anti-newsy. They're evergreen, interesting stuff that enquiring minds might enjoy.
If you really don't want this in your inbox, an unsubscribe is a single click away at the end of the newsletter. And if it's actually my journalism and publishing stuff you're after, you can sign up for that here.
On with the links!
Photoreal Roman Emperor Project: 54 Machine-learning assisted portraits
For all the scare stories about AI and machine learning, this sort of use of it is just fascinating. These are not, of course, the actual faces of the emperors. This is machine-assisted art, rather than science. But as a way of bringing history vividly to life, of making this historic figures feel like real people — which, of course, they were, it's a really compelling exercise.
Latex "is a noble and natural material that does not kill animals"
Forget its fetishistic appeal, latex is a natural, sustainable material, and designers are getting excited by its potential. Could the non-BDSM community be wearing latex in the next few years?
Not sure I could get away with those trousers on Shoreham high street, though.
The joy of commuting
This is a piece from back in the summer, which I find unintentionally hilarious. The Spectator very much jumped on the "everyone back in the office" bandwagon that was common in the UK's right-wing politics, and which seems hopelessly naive in retrospect.
I do not miss commuting — and I only did it two days a week for most of the last decade!
Hardening Ice Cream Sauce (Ice Magic)
This is one for Brits of over a Certain Age. In the 70s and 80s there used to be an ice cream topping called Ice Magic, which was a chocolate liquid you poured over your yummy dairy treat, and it hardened. This is a recipe to recreate that long-gone dessert topping.
The Scramble to Defuse the 'Feral Swine Bomb'
For anyone who remembers the infamous "30 to 50 feral hogs" tweet from last year, well, it turns our there is a genuine issue here. Ontario and Montana have a wild pig problem. Can they take control of it before it's too late?
Memories of a Heat Wave
As winter takes a grip on the northern hemisphere, this is a beautiful reminder of the balmy post-lockdown days of the early Summer, when the winter, and a resurgence of that-thing-I-don't-mention-in-this-newsletter seemed far off.