Over the holidays I worked hard to get my Instapaper queue cleaned out, especially a whole swath of very long reads that had been sitting there for months and months. Of them, this might be my favorite, an accounting Susie Goodall’s attempt to sail around the world by herself. There are all kinds of harrowing details of her effort, but what stuck with me most was how the media framed her journey.

Those about Goodall took a different tone, shaped in part by Goodall’s fame as the only woman and in part by the fact that the race had released only the portion of the call in which Goodall sounded shaken and distraught. The media never heard Goodall say that she was prepared to save herself…Just like that, it seemed like race organizers were trying to shift the narrative around her journey from lone heroine to feckless damsel in distress.

Alone at the edge of the world

It’s always fun when you visit someplace and learn about its history and, shortly after, that exact thing pops up in the news.

Here are details of a study that may explain why Roman concrete was/is so much more durable than our modern stuff. Our tour guide in Rome shared what had been the prevailing view – until this study came out – that it was the volcanic ash the Romans mixed into their concrete that made it last millennia.

Previously disregarded as merely evidence of sloppy mixing practices, or poor-quality raw materials, the new study suggests that these tiny lime clasts gave the concrete a previously unrecognized self-healing capability.

Riddle solved: Why was Roman concrete so durable?

This is pretty geeky – I admit I couldn’t follow some of it – but it is a cool breakdown of how limited the hardware of the Atari 2600 system was, and how amazing it was that the games that were made for it were as good as they were.

Atari 2600 Hardware Design: Making Something out of (Almost) Nothing

Side note: I read both this, and a story about the change in the rules licensing for Dungeons & Dragons, on a Sunday morning when I was listening to an American Top 40 from January 1983. Which was just about perfect, as I got D&D for Christmas 1982 and likely spent a lot of that break playing on friends’ Ataris. I wouldn’t get my own until the next Christmas.


De La Soul’s Whole Catalog Is Coming To Streaming Services In March