Sunday, March 1, 2015

Internet favorites for March: two favorite New Yorker articles

I think about these two all the time:

Jonathan Rosen about passenger pigeons, 6 Jan 2014:
In 1813, John James Audubon saw a flock—if that is what you call an agglomeration of birds moving at sixty miles an hour and obliterating the noonday sun—that was merely the advance guard of a multitude that took three days to pass. Alexander Wilson, the other great bird observer of the time, reckoned that a flock he saw contained 2,230,272,000 individuals. To get your head around just how many passenger pigeons that would mean, consider that there are only about two hundred and sixty million rock pigeons in the world today. You would have to imagine more than eight times the total world population of rock pigeons, all flying at the same time in a connected mass.

Burkhard Bilger about Sandor Katz and wild fermentation, 22 Nov 2010:
The ants, collected from his woodpile in the winter when they were too sluggish to get away, had a snappy texture and bright, tart flavor—like organic Pop Rocks. (They were full of formic acid, which gets its name from the Latin word for ant.) He brought us a little dish of toasted acorns, cups of honey-sweetened sumac tea, and goblets of a musky black broth made from decomposed inky-cap mushrooms. I felt, for a moment, as if I’d stumbled upon a child’s tea party in the woods.

ps: all the other internet favorites

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