1. Can we talk about Zanzibar? Zanzibar is one of those places that sounds like it is completely made up, but it’s not. It’s a real place. The name Zanzibar almost sounds completely made up. It’s not. It is real. Zanzibar is an archipelago, which is a series of islands off the eastern coast of Africa and most of it belongs to Tanzania. Another super-cool name. Unguja Island is home to 896,721 humans and Pemba Island is home to 406,808. that’s a lot of people. Humans on Zanzibar go back as far as 20,000 years ago and have even found glass beads, which means that it was maybe part of the Indian Ocean trade network. It was known for its spice trade and slave trade, apparently it was horrific, up to 50,000 slaves a year went through Zanzibar. A lot of people end up vacationing in Zanzibar. The beaches are amazing, but it’s darn near on the other side of the glove if you’re in the U.S.
2. Herding hundreds of sheep in New Zealand. Dogs are amazing.
3. I wish I could tell you where or when I found out about The Morning News, but they do headlines and they do, every year, The Tournament of Books which is a bracket style elimination of the best fiction. The link is from the 2021 list of 77 books. And yes, it’s all fiction and you should read fiction. Fiction helps us as humans empathize with other humans. You literally sit in the place of others, something that you normally cannot do without a book. If you haven’t read fiction in a handful of years, I’d encourage you to do so and this is a good list of highly read and supposedly good books (I haven’t read them, but I will read a handful of them in 2021 for sure.).
4. Some young runners decided to run the length of the Berlin Wall. I was a sophomore in high school in 1989 when the wall came down and I really don’t remember that much about it and that makes me a bit sad that I was this unaware. Maybe I should feel happy that I was this unaware, especially compared to the youth today who maybe know too much what’s happening and can’t get away from it. These people ran 1,400 km on the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.
5. Bitter Southerner’s Hadassah Patterson writes about Indian Corn.
For Roberts, it was difficult to talk about the horrific and enduring effect wrought by the destructive manner of American colonization. “So, we went from 100,000 distinct varieties of Native maize at first contact, down to less than 20,000. It’s been disastrous, and then there’s just a massive amount of condensation hybrids.” These commercial hybridizers combined them to make number two yellow dent corn, which, according to Roberts, has “no redeeming qualities whatsoever except its production value, which we have weaponized worldwide and disseminated to everybody.” This is the primary cheap corn variety for food manufacturing. It is in the cornmeal, tortilla chips, and corn chips in most grocery aisles.