Mental Yoga Sunday :: 5 Favorite Long Form Reads This Week 3.26.17


Hu Kun  is a Chinese artist, living and working in Hubei. This painting is titled “Pull”.

Hu Kun is a Chinese artist, living and working in Hubei. This painting is titled “Pull”.


A Class Apart (1843)

Architects from Denmark to Japan are rethinking school design to foster new ways of learning. 

"Before the Industrial Revolution children were educated at home, in one-room schoolhouses – or not at all. As mass schooling started in the 19th century, architects designed utilitarian classrooms with rows of desks. Schools looked like factories. Before the second world war European modernists like Walter Gropius and Richard Neutra led the “open-air” school movement, which emphasised fresh air, daylight, outdoor learning and freedom for pupils.

But in the second half of the 20th century a lack of money and a lot of children led to a fall in building standards in rich countries. Prefabricated buildings, supposedly temporary, became permanent. Windowless classrooms with fluorescent lighting and air conditioning became more common – as did mould and toxins.

Fortunately there is now a growing understanding of how buildings shape learning, for good and ill. Studies have found that lousy test results are associated with classrooms that are noisy, hot, poorly ventilated and full of artificial light. As a result, there has been a new focus on good, imaginative design for schools."


These Scientists Sent a Rocket to Mars for Less Than It Cost to Make “The Martian” (Backchannel)

And they happen to be women. Indian women, for that matter.

"An artist works outside the realm of strict logic. Simply knowing one’s intention and then executing it does not make good art. Artists know this. According to Donald Barthelme: “The writer is that person who, embarking upon her task, does not know what to do.” Gerald Stern put it this way: “If you start out to write a poem about two dogs fucking, and you write a poem about two dogs fucking – then you wrote a poem about two dogs fucking.” Einstein, always the smarty-pants, outdid them both: “No worthy problem is ever solved in the plane of its original conception.”



"At Domino’s Farms, executives had already admitted to themselves a more persistent long-term threat: The pizza wasn’t very good. “When we did consumer tests, if they knew the pizza was Domino’s, they actually liked it less than if they just thought it was a random unbranded pizza,” Doyle says. “We had somehow created a situation where people liked our pizza less if they knew it was from us. So yeah, that was a problem.” Some of the more memorable comments: “The crust tastes like cardboard. The sauce tastes like ketchup.” And: “This is an imitation of pizza.”

So company chefs began experimenting. They enhanced the quality of the mozzarella and the flour, added garlic butter to the crust, and infused the marinara with flavor and sweetness. Some 18 months later, Domino’s had a new and improved (and more expensive to make) pizza."



"Helibacon and about a hundred other helicopter hog-hunting companies exist in Texas thanks to Sid Miller, a rancher, rodeo competitor, and the state’s agriculture commissioner...Miller served in the Texas House before losing his seat in 2013 in a Republican runoff. While in the House, he wrote and passed House Bill 716, nicknamed the Pork Chopper. Texas is overrun with feral pigs — an invasive species that wreaks havoc on working landscapes. The state’s feral pig population is estimated at about 2.6 million, more than any other state in our fine union, with all but one of Texas’ 254 counties reporting pigs. HB 716 allows landowners to make a deal with hunting outfitters, who sell helicopter hunts to paying customers and thereby help the landowners get rid of pigs."

Mental Yoga Sunday :: 5 Favorite Long Form Reads This Week 3.26.17 ~ Fin.