Friday, October 5, 2012

Today's #fridayreads suggestions: Vampires, recycling and more

Looking for some lunchtime reading? Here's another eclectic set of suggestions from my ever-odd-and-rambling mind:1

  • "The Floating Forest" by Sam Worley. This eye-opening article details how recyclable wastepaper from the U.S. travels halfway around the world and then ends up back here, on our retail shelves.

    "Chinese factories have grown exponentially hungrier for garbage that they can repurpose and put, in some new form, back on the market. Paper mills in China churn wastepaper into containerboard, which packages Chinese-made products — iPhones, to pick a prominent example — whose destination is the United States. ... Scrap fills the hulls of China-bound ships that, after making their deposits in the U.S., would otherwise return empty. ... Rates are so low that it costs less to ship a container of wastepaper from Seattle to China than it does to ship it from Seattle to Portland."
  • Salon: "Is Movie Culture Dead?" by Andrew O'Hehir.

    "Film culture ... has a history, and I think it pretty much ended with 'Pulp Fiction,' the brief indie-film boom of the late ’90s and the rise of the Internet. It’s just taken us a while to realize it. When the [New York Film Festival] was launched in 1963, the films of the French New Wave were the hottest things on roller skates, and the Mt. Rushmore Great Men of postwar art cinema – Bergman, Truffaut, Fellini, Kurosawa – were at or near their career peaks. Cocktail party debate among the chattering classes often revolved around existentially inflected, black-and-white works like 'L’Avventura,' 'Last Year at Marienbad' or violent, generationally-defined American films like 'Easy Rider' and 'Bonnie and Clyde,' along with the contentious reviews published by Pauline Kael, Andrew Sarris and numerous others. Those who hadn’t seen such films, or hadn’t 'gotten' them, felt not so subtly left out."
  • Wired: "American Stonehenge: Monumental Instructions for the Post-Apocalypse" by Randall Sullivan.2 This one has stuck with me since I first read it back in 2009.

    "The story of the Georgia Guidestones began on a Friday afternoon in June 1979, when an elegant gray-haired gentleman showed up in Elbert County, made his way to the offices of Elberton Granite Finishing, and introduced himself as Robert C. Christian. He claimed to represent 'a small group of loyal Americans' who had been planning the installation of an unusually large and complex stone monument. Christian had come to Elberton — the county seat and the granite capital of the world — because he believed its quarries produced the finest stone on the planet."
  • Smithsonian: "The Great New England Vampire Panic" by Abigail Tucker. This panic, by the way, occurred in the 1800s, long after you might have thought this level of superstition was left behind.

    "The particulars of the vampire exhumations, though, vary widely. In many cases, only family and neighbors participated. But sometimes town fathers voted on the matter, or medical doctors and clergymen gave their blessings or even pitched in. Some communities in Maine and Plymouth, Massachusetts, opted to simply flip the exhumed vampire facedown in the grave and leave it at that. In Connecticut, Rhode Island and Vermont, though, they frequently burned the dead person’s heart, sometimes inhaling the smoke as a cure."
1. Here are some previous posts with #fridayreads suggestions, short and long:
2. had a post on the Georgia Guidestones in 2009.

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