Creative cities; Iceman Ötzi; Car-free cities; car tires kill salmon; chilly music; covid race; polio

Transmissions: The Definitive Story of Joy Division & New Order; Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers: Stress and Health

  1. Don’t give up on cities (we desperately need to rethink them; tbh, I just love a good, walkable city): ‘don't write cities off just yet, argues Metropolis author Ben Wilson – history tells us they thrive best after a crisis’;

  2. In my book on the science of walking, I compared two alpine walkers: Ötzi the iceman, and an unnamed modern-day alpine walker, analyzed and measured to within an inch of his life while undertaking the 1200 km Via Alpina. One came to a gruesome ending; the other didn’t. Here’s a wonderful piece on Ötzi the iceman, by a fellow substacker, Patrick Wayman.

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  3. Imagining the car-free city: Barcelona (pedestrian-first zones are expanding to cover most of the city center); Dublin (walking through the streets of Dublin in 2030). The tl,dr: cities have been around for >5000 years, cars for just c. 100: and we have wrecked our cities in the service of cars, not people, for the past century);

  4. And it’s not just cities we have wrecked; wildlife gets it in the neck, too (here’s another example: ‘A ubiquitous tire rubber–derived chemical induces acute mortality in Coho salmon’ and in a lay-reader-friendly form: ‘Pollution from car tires is killing off salmon on US west coast, study finds’);

  5. Get chills from music? (I do). Here’s maybe why: ‘increased felt pleasure on a scale from neutral (lowest intensity) to chills (maximum intensity) should produce an increase of the theta activity over the fronto-central regions, and a specific pattern of theta activity over the centro-parietal and temporal regions. ‘

  6. Politics, Science and the Remarkable Race for a Coronavirus Vaccine. Superb piece, filling in colour and background on the successful race to develop a coronavirus vaccine. When we put our minds to it, we humans are wonderful. No-one fears smallpox now, because of vaccines. My grandfather wore a caliper on his leg for much of his life because of polio - something almost unheard of now. Here’s a polio survivor story: Living in an Iron Lung: 'It was a long, airtight coffin-shaped box with my head sticking out at one end'.

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Music

Transmissions: The Definitive Story of Joy Division & New Order: Maxine Peake tells the story of the beginnings of Joy Division, one of the most influential bands ever. The story begins with a young Bernard Sumner posting a notice in a Manchester record shop: "Band seeks singer".

Some practical neuroscience

"Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers: Stress and Health" by Dr. Robert Sapolsky

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