, , ,

So apparently I can now blame Neanderthals for my allergies! And here I have been blaming my mom all these years for not breastfeeding me when I was a baby. I am sure my mom will be relieved to know she is now off the hook. I’m going to have to think of something else to blame her for now. (I love you Mom!)

That glowy post-vacation feeling evaporated when my alarm went off yesterday morning and when I got home last night I just couldn’t face a computer screen any longer (I’d been looking at one all day). Today isn’t that much better but at least I have some interesting places on the internet that I can direct your attention because I know you all need more links to click on and things to read!

So Emma Watson, who you may know as Hermione Granger, is going to start a feminist books group on Twitter. It is going to be called Our Shared Shelf and the first book up for discussion is Gloria Steinem’s latest, My Life on the Road. I am really impressed with how well Watson has grown up. She’s a goodwill ambassador for the UN and in 2014 launched the UN’s HeForShe Campaign that asks men to step up and help women fight sexism. I think Hermione would be proud of how little Emma turned out.

It is kind of interesting and a little strange how many celebrities these days have book groups. Gwyneth Paltrow runs a cookbook group, Reese Witherspoon has a book club on Instagram, and Mark Zuckerberg has a book group too. Are they filling in where Oprah left off? Have the floodgates been opened? If it gets people reading who might not read otherwise, I am all for it.

If this essay at the Los Angeles Review of Books doesn’t give you chills then you are a far too trusting and innocent person in this world. The essay examines Orwell’s 1984 and how Orwell lays out the politics behind how the state gained so much control. Sure, people have been chattering for years about Big Brother watching, but this is a serious article that turned my stomach into knots. It says stuff like this:

Orwell is clear: regardless of shifting enemies, the Party perpetuates a permanent state of war in order to maintain complete control over society.

And this:

The first essential ingredient in permanent war is that ‘it is impossible for it to be decisive.’ And that is intentional, using up the products of ‘the machine’ without ‘raising the general standard of living.’ If the machine was used not for war, but to eliminate human inequality, then ‘hunger, overwork, dirt, illiteracy, and disease could be eliminated within a few generations.’ But an all-around increase in wealth would threaten ‘the hierarchical society.’ ‘If it once became general, wealth would confer no distinction.’

And it just keeps piling on the bad.

So as to not end on a big downer, wondering what is behind the door for us in room 101, allow me to present a delightful distraction.

You know scientists announced four new elements earlier this week? They have not named them yet and there is a petition afoot to name one of them “Octarine” in honor of author Terry Pratchett who died in 2105. Octarine, in case you don’t know, is the color of magic and is only visible to wizards and cats. Its abbreviation would be Oc and pronounced “ook” in honor of the librarian at Unseen University who was turned into an Orangutan and can only say “ook.” You can sign the petition at Change.org.

Whether or not you know Pratchett’s Discworld books, wouldn’t it be really awesome to have an element inspired by books? Go on, go add your name. Octarine, element 117 on the periodic chart will be one I won’t ever forget!