Solvitur ambulando: why walking spurs creativity

Walking at our own pace creates an unadulterated feedback loop between the rhythm of our bodies and our mental state that we cannot experience as easily when we’re jogging at the gym, steering a car, biking, or during any other kind of locomotion. When we stroll, the pace of our feet naturally vacillates with our moods and the cadence of our inner speech; at the same time, we can actively change the pace of our thoughts by deliberately walking more briskly or by slowing down.

Because we don’t have to devote much conscious effort to the act of walking, our attention is free to wander—to overlay the world before us with a parade of images from the mind’s theatre. This is precisely the kind of mental state thatstudies have linked to innovative ideas and strokes of insight. [link]

On why Africa needs pulp fiction, not just literary writing

The Pacesetters series was really special. And only now, standing in their former section in the Botswana Book Centre, did I realise why. They were written for me. For three decades these books had been doing a very simple job: entertaining numerous ordinary Africans by telling exciting stories in environments we could imagine. They were not competing for the Man Booker Prize, and probably wouldn’t make the cut for any contemporary short-story competition. But that’s because they weren’t written for the White gaze. They were not made to explain Africa to half-curious American housewives, or home-sick African students in UK. These books were written not for the purpose of lifting a mirror to the European psyche, nor did they need to tell yet another tale of the New York immigrant experience. The Pacesetters series sought to entertain, but in doing so ended up connecting. [link]

Dap, visually and historically

LaMont Hamilton’s fascinating exploration of the dap:


White soldiers and commanding officers deemed the handshake a threat under the misconception that the dap was a coded language of potential black insurrection… The dap was banned at all levels of the military, and thus many black soldiers were court-martialed, jailed, and even dishonorably discharged as a punishment for dapping. [link]

Okro Mouth Close Road

okro mouth close

Photo via Amos Anyimadu

An okro mouth speaks of a character and a tongue devoid of discretion, deeply tactless, indelicate and thoughtless. A lose tongue that delights and finds pleasure in making up stories about others or one that is quick to air other people’s dirty linen in public. [link]

At Buzzfeed, Quinta Brunson subverts the machine

Via Karen Attiah:

At my job, we have a piece of software that tells us which thumbnail will get the best response for our videos. 9/10 this system will pick a thumb with a white person on it, over a thumb with a black person. The piece of software itself isn’t racist, it’s just recording the views of the world around us. I made it a small goal of mine to start beating that computer software with my face on the thumbnail of my videos. In time, I did. I was making so many videos that people enjoyed, that my face—a black face—became more popular than the default norm. [link]

The cult of Steve

By the time Jobs died in 2011, his cruelty, arrogance, mercurial temper, bullying, and other childish behavior were well known. So, too, were the inhumane conditions in Apple’s production facilities in China—where there had been dozens of suicides—as well as Jobs’s halfhearted response to them. Apple’s various tax avoidance schemes were also widely known. So why… with thousands of people all over the world leaving flowers and notes “to Steve” outside Apple Stores the day he died, and fans recording weepy, impassioned webcam eulogies, and mourners holding up images of flickering candles on their iPads as they congregate around makeshift shrines—did Jobs’s death engender such planetary regret? [link]

There are a growing number of elderly poor

Nearly one-third of U.S. heads of households ages 55 and older have no pension or retirement savings and a median annual income of about $19,000.

A growing proportion of the nation’s elderly are like Westfall: too poor to retire and too young to die.

Many rely on Social Security and minimal pensions, in part because half of all workers have no employer-backed retirement plans. Eight in 10 Americans say they will work well into their 60s or skip retirement entirely. [link]

Europe has 99 problems but refugees ain’t one

To be fair, what Christian Caryl argues is that while Europe has a refugee challenge, it is smaller than what other countries face, and it is relatively well able to handle it. Other countries, however, have much larger refugee flows proportionately and fewer resources with which to address the problem. The original article is here