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The Pipwick Papers

A reading list

It's the sort of weekend where the creep of summer becomes noticeable. There are sunny spots to sit in (or to try to block out if they fall on your PC monitor). Here are some bits and bobs to read while you lounge.

This is not the Sunday Papers:

  • Something I've been trying to do recently is get into cryptic crosswords. I remember my grandad chipping away at a single crossword over the course of a week and between him and my mother I know a fair bit about how to start unpicking a clue but really enjoyed The Allusionist podcast digging into the topic
  • New Scientist has Catherine Brahic asking "Did neurons evolve more than once on Earth?"
  • Here's how Martin Bellander worked out the colours used in paintings over nearly 800 years. There's an observable increase in blue over the last hundred years and a decrease in orange.
  • I have two ideas about that, both of which are touched on in the piece - one is that perhaps degradation over time distorts the colour of older paintings (there are studies which look at how blues might become grey, how varnish might react with pigment turning bright yellow to orangey-grey, and we know that paintings like The Raft Of The Medusa have darkened over time thanks to bitumen in the paint) another is the general problem of "blue" - both in terms of its historical expense and its durability and stability. That's just a bit of armchair theorising, though - Bellander invites interested readers to play around with the data and offer their own analyses.

  • Mound by Allison Schulnik
  • I love poking about in the LEGO Ideas proposals for cool ideas and I love that this Golden Girls set is being considered for approval.
  • A heavy one to finish with but an important one about exoneration and compensation by Ariel Levy in the New Yorker; The Price of a Life.
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