20 favourites from Instapaper

Not all of these articles are from 2021. I’m not even sure if the majority of them are. But, looking back on the last year, these are the articles I read that made the biggest impression on me, whether it’s for the quality of the writing, the ideas they inspired, their timeliness or other, unexpected twists and turns. Looking back on my last year of reading, it isn’t as diverse as I’d though. Most of the sources I’m reading are still pretty mainstream, and most of the topics are far from esoteric. Climate and COVID, politics and polarization; a little more on the nature of self or on the end of the world, a few more entries from blogs and substacks, but pretty overwhelmingly Western, white, and male, and pretty overwhelmingly sourced from a handful of major publications. That’s a habit I’d like to break out of in the new year; we’ll see how that goes.

Instapaper TitleLinkKeywords
A sci-fi writer got meta about gender. The internet responded by ruining her life.https://www.vox.com/the-highlight/22543858/isabel-fall-attack-helicoptergender, sci-fi, literature, social media
Babelhttps://www.nplusonemag.com/issue-40/essays/babel-4/language, technology
Beauty Will Save the World | Reality Sandwichhttps://realitysandwich.com/beauty-will-save-the-world/art, philosophy
Dada on Trial | Colby Chamberlainhttp://cabinetmagazine.org/issues/45/chamberlain.phphistory, art, philosophy, politics
Darwin Among the Machines — [To the Editor of the Press, Christchurch, New Zealand, 13 June, 1863.] | NZETChttp://nzetc.victoria.ac.nz/tm/scholarly/tei-ButFir-t1-g1-t1-g1-t4-body.htmltechnology, history
Everyone Is Beautiful and No One Is Horny – Blood Knifehttps://bloodknife.com/everyone-beautiful-no-one-horny/pop culture, psychology
Fungi’s Lessons for Adapting to Life on a Damaged Planethttps://lithub.com/fungis-lessons-for-adapting-to-life-on-a-damaged-planet/nature, climate
Horsehistory study and the automated discovery of new areas of thoughthttps://interconnected.org/home/2021/06/16/horsehistorylanguage, philosophy
I Miss It Allhttps://longreads.com/2021/07/22/i-miss-it-all-devin-kelly/covid, relationships
I Want My Mutually Assured Destructionhttps://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2021/05/my-mtv-cold-war-retrospective/618812/apocalypse
Love the art, hate the artist? How a popular Chicago college class
is reexamining Kanye West, Michael Jackson, Picasso and others in the
era of cancel culture
https://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/ct-ent-saic-cancel-culture-class-20210505-p5cttxjf4vcsbgla3stp5zkoxy-story.htmlart, pop culture, cancel culture
Meditations On Molochhttps://slatestarcodex.com/2014/07/30/meditations-on-moloch/culture, philosophy, society
Opinion | The Road to Oceania (Published 2003)https://www.nytimes.com/2003/06/25/opinion/the-road-to-oceania.htmlpolitics, literature, sci-fi
The Cold War Over Hacking McDonald’s Ice Cream Machineshttps://www.wired.com/story/they-hacked-mcdonalds-ice-cream-makers-started-cold-war/business, technology
The destructive conspiracy theory that Victoria unleashed upon the worldhttps://capnews.ca/news/satanic-ritual-abuse-michelle-remembers-lawrence-pazder-victoriaconspiracy theories, urban legends
The Math of the Amazing Sandpile – Issue 107: The Edge – Nautilushttp://nautil.us/issue/107/the-edge/the-math-of-the-amazing-sandpilemath, sceince
The Methods of Moral Panic Journalismhttps://michaelhobbes.substack.com/p/moral-panic-journalismjournalism, urban legends, groupthink, cancel culture
The Truth, by Stanisław Lemhttps://thereader.mitpress.mit.edu/the-truth-by-stanislaw-lem/short fiction, sci-fi, weird fiction
Urban Fish Ponds: Low-tech Sewage Treatment for Towns and Citieshttps://solar.lowtechmagazine.com/2021/03/urban-fish-ponds-low-tech-sewage-treatment-for-towns-and-cities.htmlclimate, urban planning, degrowth
Welcoming the Stranger as an Act of Delighthttps://www.sprawlcalgary.com/welcoming-the-stranger-david-goacommunity, philosophy, politics