‘When the English Fall’ shows how to handle the apocalypse with dignity

After a powerful solar storm destroys electrical devices and causes civilization to crumble, an Amish farming community in Pennsylvania helps by supplying food to a neighboring town. But as things deteriorate, the outside world encroaches on their isolated society.

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Daily Miscellany: Is ‘buying local’ even possible?

  1. Is “buying local” even possible? “Imagine my surprise when I encountered a sign promoting a “local” food product in the bakery aisle of our town’s Safeway.”
  2. X-Ray views of the New York City subway system.
  3. Lies our tech overlords told us: A list of the bold promises on which we’re still waiting for Silicon Valley to deliver.
  4. What one reporter learned by working as a butler at the Plaza Hotel.

Steampunkalypse: A review of ‘The Clockwork Dynasty’

While doing field research and trying to unlock a mystery from her childhood, anthropologist June Stefanov makes a startling discovery: For millennia automatons have lived among us, hiding their presence while trying to understand the nature of their own existence. But their time is drawing to an end and Stefanov may be a key, if unlikely, ally in their survival.

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A list of Amazon RSS feeds

It’s hard to find a list of Amazon RSS feeds, but they do exist for best sellers, new releases, movers & shakers, most wished for and gift ideas. You can navigate to the sections linked above and choose one of the subcategories. At the bottom of each subcategory page there is a link to an RSS feed. There are hundreds of subcategories for which you can find feeds.

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Review of new August fiction: ‘Mrs. Fletcher’ and ‘See What I Have Done’

Mrs. Fletcher

Mrs. Fletcher reviewIf the title reminds you of Mrs. Robinson from The Graduate, it’s with good reason.  This satire explores love, loss, hookups and cross-generational relationships.

After divorcee Eve Fletcher’s son goes to college she is left trying to reinvent herself and give meaning to her life as an empty nester. She sets her hopes on a community college course on gender and society, but an unexpected text message sends her down a rabbit hole of online porn and thoughts of illicit relationships.

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Daily miscellanny: We’ve never had it so good

  1. Megan McArdle says that from cooking to woodworking, rising levels of skill and effort have become barriers to entry.
  2. Enable HTTPS for free on you website with Let’s Encrypt.
  3. Kevin Rose talks with Ryan Holiday about Stoic philosophy.
  4. An increasingly influential group of thinkers insists that humankind has never had it so good – and only our pessimism is holding us back.
    • The proportion of the world’s population living in extreme poverty had fallen below 10% for the first time.
    • Global carbon emissions from fossil fuels had failed to rise for the third year running.
    • Child mortality is roughly half what it had been as recently as 1990.
  5. Share and receive photos at the Feature Shoot Print Swap.

‘Rescued from ISIS’ a disappointing telling of a compelling story

Rescued from ISIS book reviewIn 2013 former soldier Dimitri Bontinck’s 18-year-old son, Joe, fell under the sway of a radical Islamic mosque and traveled to Syria from Belgium to take part in that country’s civil war. Rescued from ISIS (St. Martin’s Press, digital galley) recounts his many harrowing trips into Syria to find and ultimately bring his son home.

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An assortment of links for Friday

  1. Tumbling battery prices mean that EVs will not just have lower lifetime costs, but will also be cheaper to buy than internal combustion engine cars in most countries by 2025-29.
  2. Cellphone notifications are a tragedy of the digital commons.
  3. We now spend 30 minutes a day watching videos on our phones.
  4. Throughout our planet’s history, massive volcanic eruptions have devastated life. Could one bring an end to human civilization?

Review: ‘The Late Show’ introduces a fierce detective

the Late Show book reviewMichael Connelly introduces a new detective in The Late Show (Little, Brown and Company, digital galley), a fast moving police procedural that is hard to put down. Renée Ballard works the LAPD overnight shift, responding to everything from burglaries to homicides. Because she has to hand off all of her cases at the end of her shift, she rarely gets to see anything through to completion.

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An assortment of links for Sunday

  1. Zume pizzas are made by robots, and they’re cooked in ovens inside delivery trucks on their way to delivery.
  2. While dental X-rays account for less than 3 percent of all the radiation that Americans get through medical imaging, every effort should be made to minimize their use.
  3. Let’s clear up some of the most common myths and misunderstandings about sulfites, wine, and headaches.
  4. There are two reasons why almost all digital B&W is like drinking rotten pond scum.