Journal 138 — competitive ploughing, the worst year in human history, a note from across the world, fake celebrity interviews and China Rules

Walmart, Mianyang, China

This week — competitive ploughing, the worst year in human history, a note from across the world found in a handbag in Arizona, and fake celebrity interviews.

If you only read one thing — The New York Times’ expansive series on China Rules is worth the time.


How to Control Your Citizens: Opportunity. Nationalism. Fear. | The New York Times | Society

Part of a major five part series, China Rules, this piece tries to answer, in the words of its author, the question of how the country can be “both the most dynamic & repressed place in the world?”

Field of dreams: heartbreak and heroics at the World Ploughing Championships | The Guardian | Sport

A look at competitive ploughing, a sport that is a manifestation of a way of life made possible by a “genuinely transformative” piece of technology that turned humans from hunter-gatherers into farmers.

You buy a purse at Walmart. There’s a note inside from a “Chinese prisoner.” Now what? | Vox | Society

A look at the global supply chain and the challenges in fact checking viral news stories, via a step by step investigation into a note from China left in a handbag purchased in Arizona.

The Fault in Our Stars: On Fake Celebrity Interviews | Longreads | Media

A look at the surprising prevalence of A-list celebrity interviews and stories in prestigious German publications that have been entirely fabricated from the ground up.

Why 536 was ‘the worst year to be alive’ | Science | History

Those understandably concerned about the world in 2018 may take some comfort from a recent study of glacier ice suggesting the unique set of challenges in 536 could have been the worst in humanity’s history.


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