Tag Archives: NYC

Internet Findings of the Week for September 11, 2015

This week I was intrigued by the CIA interacting with filmmakers, learning more about elements, hearing how ebola survivors are coping, and seeing a poignant reminder of 9/11.

Article of the Week

How the CIA Helped Produce ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ Film

When I saw the film “Zero Dark Thirty” about the killing of Osama bin Laden at the cinema in early 2013, I found it immensely interesting and enlightening about how US forces operate in the Middle East. However I also questioned how much of it was true, and how much was artistic licence. Some of it seemed unlikely, and the torture scenes were very difficult to watch. It also came across as unusually detailed for a film about covert operations (although this could be hindsight). Before I saw the movie I had also read a Vanity Fair article about the killing of Bin Laden, which was told from the president’s perspective, rather than the agents on the ground. I was intrigued to find out that the CIA was actually involved in giving the filmmakers access to restricted information they needed for the movie, plus helping with the script. According to Vice News, one of the reasons the CIA helped the filmmakers, may have been so the film would portray torture as useful and effective.

Podcast of the Week


Picture by Armtuk via Wikimedia Commons

I enjoyed science at high school, and learning about the periodic table. But I never found it THIS enthralling or personalized. This podcast tells three very different stories about human interactions with elements. First, we hear about a woman who struggled with strange episodes where she wasn’t herself, and found a simple elemental salt could completely cure her. Second we hear about how elements are formed inside stars and during supernovas, told in a very dramatic way. Third we hear about how the dropping of atomic bombs has surprisingly helped scientists work out the age of individual cells in human bodies. But for a more comical take on the elements and how they interact, watch this hilarious video.

Video of the Week

Erison and the Ebola Survivors

We haven’t been hearing much about the ebola outbreak in recent months, but in Sierra Leone people are still suffering the consequences. There are are orphaned children and people who have lost their whole families. And though many people had ebola and made a full recovery, those people are now being shunned by society, as others are scared they could catch it from them. But it is heartwarming to hear in this NY TImes documentary that many of these ebola survivors are coming together to show everyone that they are normal and should be treated as such.

Photos of the Week

Rainbow Begins at World Trade Center Day Before 9/11

Living in New York, the lasting effects of September 11, 2001 are obviously more real and saddening than anywhere else. I’ve visited the memorial a number of times, and it is always very moving and intense being there and thinking of the death and destruction that happened there. So a beautiful natural phenomenon like a rainbow is just a lovely and perfect way to remember all the beautiful souls who perished that day, and to believe that the forces of nature are also paying tribute. Photos taken by Ben Sturner.

Internet Findings of the Week for May 29, 2015

Here are my picks of the most interesting things I’ve come across on the internet this week!

Podcast of the week

A Neurosurgeon Reflects on the ‘Awe and Mystery’ of the Brain


Gutenberg Encyclopedia/Wikimedia Commons

I appropriately discovered NPR’s Fresh Air podcast while running through the fresh air of Brooklyn’s Prospect Park a few weeks ago. I am always interested in anything about the brain, and this podcast is fascinating, albeit quite gory and graphic. British neurosurgeon Henry Marsh describes, in wonderfully easy-to-understand detail, many of his notable experiences as a brain surgeon. He laments many failures where patients often died, but also enthuses about his passion for constantly learning more about how the brain works. Compelling things I learnt: the brain itself can’t feel pain; some patients stay awake and watch their own brain surgery on a screen; scientists still don’t know what some parts of the brain do.

Videos of the week

Groundskeepers Turn into Acrobats

I wish I had seen this live! On an April day in NYC, some workers tending to the lawn in Bryant Park (near the New York Public Library) suddenly dropped their gardening tools and appeared to spontaneously start an acrobatic routine! I love that random things like this happen in this city! There are so many talented and creative people. This stunt was done by an awesome group called Improv Everywhere which regularly coordinates amusing, surprising and unexpected performances around the city.

War and Tensions in the Middle East Traced Back Decades

If you’re wondering why western countries feel a duty to intervene in tensions in the Middle East, then watch this video. Although very simplified, it gives a great overview of how the problems Middle Eastern countries are facing now could be rooted in decisions made for the region by westerners following World War I.

Recipe of the week

Vegan Coconut Bacon

My delicious homemade coconut bacon.

My delicious homemade coconut bacon.

I first tried this scrumptious stuff as part of a vegan BLAT (bacon, lettuce, avocado and tomato) sandwich at Little Bird Unbakery in Auckland, New Zealand. At the time it didn’t even occur to me that I might be able to make it myself. Then last week, wanting to make a vegetarian Cobb salad, I decided to go on a mission to make it. I finally found a key ingredient for it on Tuesday this week – liquid smoke. My first attempt turned out perfectly! Coconut bacon is far more delicious and flavorful than any type of meaty bacon I ever tasted before I became vegetarian. It’s also low-fat and cholesterol free!