Highlights

These are interesting excerpts I’ve clipped from articles online.

Notebooks ()

I genuinely didn’t know how I functioned before this system. Because I was someone who had notes everywhere. […] It always felt like there was information coming at me from every direction, but at the same time I couldn’t really find anything when I was looking for it. But now, with this system, I feel like I’ve got a little built-in secretary always reminding me of what I need to do.

Notebooks, Yooshua Wuyts

Falling Fertility Rates ()

Falling fertility rates mean nearly every country could have shrinking populations by the end of the century.

And 23 nations - including Spain and Japan - are expected to see their populations halve by 2100.

Countries will also age dramatically, with as many people turning 80 as there are being born.

Fertility rate: ‘Jaw-dropping’ global crash in children being born, James Gallagher for BBC News

UK Domestic abuse victims rising under Coronavirus lockdown ()

During the first month after the lockdown began in late March, sixteen women and girls were killed in suspected domestic homicides — more than triple the number from the same period in 2019. At least 10 more have died in the two months since then. The oldest of them was 82 years old. The youngest, killed alongside her mother and 4-year-old sister, was 2.

As Domestic Abuse Rises, U.K. Failings Leave Victims in Peril, Amanda Taub and Jane Bradley in The New York Times

Murakami's Translationese ()

What I was seeking by writing first in English and then “translating” into Japanese was no less than the creation of an unadorned “neutral” style that would allow me freer movement. My interest was not in creating a watered-down form of Japanese. I wanted to deploy a type of Japanese as far removed as possible from so-called literary language in order to write in my own natural voice.

On Translationese, Masatsugu Ono in The Paris Review

The London floor plan ()

For a city that’s long been the repository of vast commercial, imperial, and industrial wealth, this might seem a very modest template. However, it is one that can be easily scaled up, points out Edward Denison, associate professor at the Bartlett School of Architecture and author of The Life of the British Home: An Architectural History.

“What’s extraordinary, in London in particular, is that you can find very grand houses in places such as Carlton House Terrace, with vast rooms and very high ceilings, that are still essentially two-up, two-downs with extra floors added,” says Denison. “Then you go to working-class terraced housing in places like Greenwich, and find a very different scale and quality of fittings, but essentially the same configuration.”

What’s Behind the Iconic Floor Plan of London, Fergus O’Sullivan in CityLab

British Slave Businesses ()

The history of Greene King gives a glimpse into some of these entanglements. Benjamin Greene started off as an apprentice to the leading brewing firm Whitbread in London, and would go on to inherit estates in the island of St Kitts, becoming one of many absentee slave owners living off their Caribbean property. Once emancipation happened he was one of the 4,000 people in Britain (20% of whom were women) who received compensation. His share was £4,000 – £270,000 in today’s money – for 1,396 enslaved men and women in St Kitts and Montserrat.

In 1836, he established a leading London merchant house dealing in colonial goods and shipping. His son Benjamin Buck Greene, who spent time in St Kitts and was a successful planter, married the daughter of a prosperous merchant trader in Mauritius and set up a partnership with him. Greene gained recognition as a respectable entrepreneur and philanthropist, and was appointed governor of the Bank of England in 1873. Meanwhile the brewery flourished under the management of Benjamin’s third son Edward Greene, and the Caribbean estates continued to be profitable up to the 1840s.

There are British businesses built on slavery. This is how we make amends, Catherine Hall in The Guardian

Pay discrimination at Pinterest ()

Ozoma asked her manager to address her level, but she says she was initially told that her current compensation package was the best the company could do. After months of trying to get her level changed, Ozoma finally hired a lawyer, who began to argue that she should have been hired at a level six, two rungs above the level four at which she was being paid. Once her lawyer got involved and began advocating for additional compensation, stock options, and back pay, Ozoma was told she didn’t have enough years of experience—a criteria that does not appear on the level chart, which Fast Company has confirmed. Ozoma describes the difference in compensation between these levels as “exponential,” especially because much of the pay package comes in the form of stock options—which quickly became very valuable when Pinterest IPOed in April 2019. In July 2019, she filed a complaint with California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), alleging pay discrimination based on sex and race.

Discrimination charges at Pinterest reveal a hidden Silicon Valley hiring problem, Katharine Schwab in Fast Company

Demonise Spotify ()

The platform is a fire hose of asinine recommendations for songs you haven’t heard that were only recommended to you because they’re as similar as possible to songs you have. (In the words of one Guardian writer: “You like bread? Try toast!”) In pursuit of its goal of perfect, frictionless streaming, Spotify encourages you to outsource the work of deciding what you like and dislike, and of figuring out why. In other words, it discourages listening to music as such. Not all listening requires immersive attentiveness—that’s what the radio is for—but in its attempts to swallow up radio and home listening alike, Spotify turns all music into something that fills up the background while you work or exercise or scroll through Twitter. And at least radio stations have DJs. Listening to Spotify is like listening to a radio station run by the stupidest version of myself.

I Am Here To Demonize Spotify, Richard Beck in n+1

Igbo Orthography and The Ndebe Script ()

Vowels are separated into low, rising, and high categories, which are presumably the only tonal delineations in Igbo. The notable absence of a corresponding “falling” tone, I first thought, creates problems for adapting the script to a language like Yorùbá, where, for example, the ọ̀ in Báyọ̀ carries a “falling” rather than a “low” tone when the sound is properly rendered. But on a second look, I find that what is meant as “rising” here is actually the same as a “mid” tone in Yorùbá. Still, linguists interested in adapting Ńdébé for languages with different tonal patterns than Igbo’s, or with no tone at all, like Fulfulde, have plenty to work with. Igwe-Odunze, who has been working on this writing system for over ten years, has been clear that her original intention was to provide an Igbo script, calling Ńdébé her “gift to every Igbo person.”

Writing Africa’s Future in New Characters, Kọ́lá Túbọ̀sú in Popula