L. Rhodes


unsafe environments, phase-shifting sounds

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In the backyard of the house where I spent my formative years grew a huge pecan tree tinseled with Spanish moss. I have distinct memories of grazing with my family beneath its limbs, gathering into five-gallon buckets the masses of nuts in their double layer of armor, a green-gray outer hull clenched around the woody, pointed shell beneath. That's why this Atlanta Magazine article about the destruction of pecan groves hits a little closer to home than most stories about how climate change is reshaping our communal environments. Imagine France losing its old-growth vineyards, and you'll have a sense of what the loss of generational groves means for parts of Georgia. And if, as seems likely, supercharged hurricanes like Irma, Matthew and Michael continue plow inland through regions previously regarded safe, pecans may soon cease to be a viable crop in the state.

According to forthcoming research summarized at Motherboard, awareness that you're under constant surveillance can have a cumulative effect tantamount to PTSD. That doesn't mean ignorance is bliss, though. "I actually think one of the main problems is that people don’t think about it enough and companies are able to get away with things that are ultimately harmful," says Dr. Brock Chisholm, one of the researchers. "I think there are some benefits to people feeling a little bit more unsafe."

"Outside the Raft" is a short story about young, black cousins growing up in Florida, and also, ultimately, about the moment that you start grappling with your own ethical character. Sadly, Tin House, which ran the story, has announced that the magazine will cease publication later on this year.

Bandcamp has announced plans to open a brick-and-mortar version of its digital marketplace. They're not the first online-only retailer to open an offline retail space, of course, but I always find these moves interesting, if only as an indication of the limitations businesses run up against when their embodiment is solely digital.

For fans of not-quite-analog synthesizer music, VCV Rack is an open source project that lets users run a simulated modular rack on their computer. There's a guide to using the system at the creative tech magazine CDM.