1. On January 1, Xenomorph Records released over 200 minutes of music, including tracks from various experimental artists like Scott Lawlor, Cousin Silas and Oneirich. The compilation is named New Year’s Darkness and is available on a pay-what-you-like basis on Bandcamp. Listen here.
2. The Mothman (shudder), Bessie, Momo and Chupacabra: A Cryptozoological Map of the United States.
4. “It was not until I took part in a performance of the Bach B Minor Mass in 1983 that I came to question the desirability of having a degree of perfect pitch. The so-called early music revival was in full swing at that time and as soon the rehearsal started I realized that this performance of Bach’s masterpiece was, to my ears, in Bb minor. I was going to have to mentally transpose every note down by a semitone. In such complex, often chromatic and swiftly-moving music, the concentration involved in transposing was overbearing.”
5. How did Neversink, New York meet its end? It sunk.
6. “Crickets are surprisingly nutritious. Per hundred grams, they contain nearly the same amount of protein as ground beef and the same amount of iron as spinach, and more vitamin B12 than salmon. In light of the glaring resource-intensiveness and environmental impact of raising traditional meats, crickets have piqued people’s interest because they are so efficient: Pound for pound, the bugs need far less water and feed than chickens and cows. The market now includes competing cricket-protein bars, cricket-based snack chips (“Chirps”), and cricket flour for baking; chefs are offering items such as cricket tacos on menus.”
8. “Devoid of shoppers for years, Bangkok’s New World shopping center is losing the thousands of fish that have more recently called the condemned mall home. An estimated 3,000 fish, brought to the roofless, flooded building a decade ago by nearby vendors in hopes of controlling a burgeoning mosquito population, are being removed by Bangkok Metropolitan Administration staff.”
9. “It may seem like a wasteful act of reckless pollution, but there is a deeper purpose behind this odd method of disposal. Each subway car will be left on the ocean floor, to be assimilated into the ecosystem. Over time, every surface will be covered in life, creating an artificial coral reef system.”
10. American Idol’s Season 11 winner Phillip Phillips wants out of his contract with “the oppressive, fatally conflicted 19 Entertainment, Inc.” His complaint–filed last week with the State of California Labor Commissioner–reads as equal parts procedural vaudeville and artistic caterwauling, often within the same sentence: “Petitioner, after achieving substantial success as a recording artist, frequently requested that Respondent secure for him various improvements to the terms of the Recording Agreement, a typical event in the life of a rising star.” Something tells us that these depositions won’t be as fun as Pharrell’s, but the claim is still young.
11. Jerry A. Coyne–among many others–reports that Andrew Sullivan will retire from blogging. (Didn’t we go through this once already?) Sullivan’s transition from uneasy conservative to heckling contrarian should have been fascinating to watch, but the religious longform, gated content and sometimes deafening pitch of his rhetorical voice became off-putting. I’d like to say that we’ll miss him, but he’ll be back. As to any stress-related health issues, we wish him a prompt and full recovery.
–C.E. Alexander would gladly offer up Book of Constants for an artificial coral reef. In the Caribbean, preferably. But really anywhere.