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The Pipwick Papers

I’m writing this from my new laptop. It still feels rather fancy and like I might break anything and everything if I look at it wrong. The first thing I did was try to play what I thought was a game about zebras but then it turned out the be a children’s book app with a zebra icon so I deleted the whole thing out of sheer disappointment. Now I’ve installed Dota and it’s business as usual. Here’s what I’ve been using it to read this weekend:

  • New Scientist takes an in-depth look at the world’s first biolimb – a rat forelimb grown in the lab
  • I enjoyed Margaret Maitland’s piece in response to the Guardian and BBC’s discussion of Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics as inferior to or on a par with emoji. I particularly liked the sound of King Amenhotep III’s commemorative scarab messages where he delivers updates of his life. To my social media-saturated experience it sounds like a form of Twitter or royal PR. I think I might start sending my tweets as commemorative scarabs to other people’s houses. But anyway. hieroglyphics. Interesting stuff.
  • Settle in for the trailer for The Good Dinosaur – Pixar’s upcoming story set in a world where an asteroid never hit the Earth
  • There are a whole bunch of “ones to watch”style articles about the women’s World Cup which kicked off yesterday. I’ve picked the Mashable one because they’ve embedded highlights videos for the players where possible and I’ve been watching them over my morning coffee.
  • Jessica Fulford-Dobson goes into detail about her photo portrait series on the skate girls of Kabul. I really love the pictures for their mixture of stillness and energy. One of them came second in the Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize which I try to go and see every year in the National Portrait Gallery but my favourite is actually a few pictures further into the set – a younger girl, I think, with her hair rumpled from her helmet, wearing a bright green scarf.
  • A longer read than the rest but absolutely fascinating, and not a little disconcerting, is Adrian Chen’s investigation of a Russian troll farm for the New York Times
  • And finally, there’s been a lot written this week about Charles Kennedy’s death and why British politics will be a poorer thing without him but one of the most moving was Alastair Campbell’s blog post. There are obviously forays into their political lives and a mention of Blair and the Iraq war but first and foremost it is a tribute to a great friend.
  • Going by the chats and text exchanges before and after his election defeat, he seemed to be taking it all philosophically. Before, he took to sending me the William Hill odds on his survival, and a day before the election I got a text saying ‘Not good. Wm Hill has me 3-1 against, SNP odds on, they’re looking unstoppable.’ Then he added: ‘There is always hope … health remains fine.’ Health remains fine – this was a little private code we had, which meant we were not drinking.

    NB: Pip is off the next couple of weekends due to E3 and associated [predicted] jetlag but will return after that!

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    Philippa Warr


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