Like many of you, a lot of my family is unemployed. I won’t lie — it’s pretty darn stressful! Every human being is a breathtaking combination of creativity and smarts and skills, a miracle of evolution, and how we’ve created a global economy where millions of them are blocked from doing any paid work is truly mind-boggling to me. But here we are.
Recently, I’ve been giving some thought to how I can help in a more meaningful way than just giving money (not to trash giving money, it’s an important thing to do). So, we’ve been working together to…
There’s a story about J. Robert Oppenheimer, the father of the atomic bomb. Standing in the test room when they first deployed the Trinity bomb, the first test deployment of the same kind of nuclear device that would kill 200,000 civilians in Nagasaki and Hiroshima just three weeks later, he watched the great mushroom cloud fill the sky and thought of words from the Bhagavad Gita:
I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.
Except, people who were there at the time say what he actually said in the moment was, “It worked.” …
Let me tell you about my current obsession: Victory Gardens.
During World War I and World War II, a lot of the normal supply chains that produced essential things were disrupted. Remember how back in March we were all running out of toilet paper? Well, in America and Britain in the 1910s and 1940s they were running out of food, which is a significantly bigger problem.
The food shortages happened because the wars disrupted supply chains, very quickly. Before the wars, a lot of food was imported, and obviously it gets a bit awks to try to buy stuff from…
I’m working on a project that has me deeply immersed in reading about the climate emergency. And yup, as you’d expect, a lot of the time this has me almost breathing into a paper bag in panic. To be honest, I’ve felt for a long time that sure, this is obviously very important, but isn’t it all a bit hopeless really? Because c’mon, how are you actually going to convince the fossil fuel industry to stop burning coal, or persuade politicians to make them? Might as well just start building an emergency bunker in New Zealand, I guess.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the marshmallow test, recently. You know, that thing where they put a marshmallow in front of a child, and tell them that they can either eat the marshmallow now or have TWO marshmallows if they can wait 15 minutes. It’s supposed to be a way to test self-control, and common wisdom is that kids who can “win” the marshmallow test by waiting 15 minutes will go on to lead far more successful lives as reliable students/responsible savers/productive employees/all-around trustworthy people/Professional Marshmallow Resistors.
Here, watch some kids trying to resist eating the marshmallow. It’s HILARIOUS.
It feels very difficult to know what’s true, right now.
So, I’ve joined a socially distanced Rabble group, which is like voluntary P.E. for grownups. Last night, after a fun game I call “try not to die from doing burpees”, I was chatting to one of my rabblemates over a pint of beer. It was wonderful! Chatting to an actual human being in real-life and not on a computer screen! And then, he started talking cheerfully about how well the U.K. did at managing the Coronavirus.
To which, my response was…
Let me tell you about one of the most remarkable drawings I’ve ever seen: these watercolour studies of the moon that Galileo made in 1609, observing the moon through his telescope.
All cultures have studied the moon, for as long as there have been people. Heck, there’s even a basic lunar map carved into a cave in Knowth, Ireland that’s 5,000 years old.
Greetings from day 4,305 of lockdown. How are you holding up?
Like every other nerd who grew up in the 2000s, I’ve always loved post-apocalypse fiction. World War Z might actually be my favourite novel of all time (I just pretend that the movie doesn’t exist). The Stand, Hunger Games, The Road, Oryx and Crake, The Girl With All the Gifts, Blindness, The Walking Dead, Children of Men, 28 Days Later… oh man. I love that bleak shit. The grimmer the better.
SIDENOTE: Lauren Beukes just released a new book called Afterland that imagines a world after a pandemic wipes…
This was going around Twitter the other day and it cracked me up.
Friends, I finished a draft of Money: a guide for young people, my book that wants to teach 11–14 year olds the stuff they really need to know about money. There’s a ridiculous number of poop jokes in it. Sorry/not-sorry :)
Here’s a little sneak-peak for you, from the chapter about getting an allowance.
Have you ever watched nature videos about baby birds learning to fly? When the bird is very small, the baby never leaves the nest, and the mother bird will bring back delicious worm goop and drop it straight into the baby’s mouth. (Delicious for baby birds…
Sam writes weird horror stories and kids’ tv shows, and helps people learn how to adult better (she’s still figuring it out herself).