Each week, our editors gather their favorite finds from around the internet and recommend them to you right here. These are not articles about watches, but rather outstanding examples of journalism and storytelling covering topics from fashion and art to technology and travel. So go ahead, pour yourself a cup of coffee, put your feet up, and settle in.
One of the more mysterious aspects of the human brain is how it represents time – or more specifically, what the neural substrate of the representation of time might be. This story from The New York Times looks at a fascinating piece of research by a group of scientists in Dallas, who conducted an experiment in which subjects were asked to memorize lists of words and then attempt to recall them. They found a group of neurons in the brain, active during the recall period, whose firing depended only on the duration of the exercise, not on the kinds of words they were asked to recall – a way of putting, as the article puts it, a “time stamp” on the memories. While they’re not internal clock cells per se, I can’t help wondering to what extent our own internal representation of time might be tied to our fascination with telling the time. Is a watch interesting partly because it mirrors, to some degree, an internal process?
– Jack Forster, Editor-in-Chief
I used to have an aversion to music production from the early 1980s – specifically on albums from artists whose early work I loved. I am talking about Bob Dylan, Brian Wilson, and of course John Lennon. There was something about the sound and over-reliance on electronic instruments that felt sterile to me. This week, The Washington Post published a longform piece on John Lennon’s final album, Double Fantasy, an album that took me years to warm up to. It wasn’t until I heard Lennon’s acoustic rendition of “Watching the Wheels” that something clicked. After hearing that song in its rawest form, I returned to the album with renewed appreciation. I could hear past the electronic instruments, the sparse production style, and really feel the music. That album was released 40 years ago, and it was the final expression of one of the great musical artists of our time. The Post article tells the fascinating story behind its creation (recording the album was basically a top-secret operation), with some really amazing in-studio photos to boot.
– Danny Milton, Editor
This is the internet at its best. A 10-year-old drum prodigy in the U.K. connects with legendary rockstar Dave Grohl for an international celebration of rock n’ roll, and endless smiles ensue. If you weren’t following the story of Nandi Bushell and her sick percussion skills, this is a great primer, and it will also send you down a YouTube rabbit hole that won’t result in an ounce of political anxiety (isn’t that nice for a change?). I truly can’t recommend this enough, and, having watched all of these videos again before writing this, I can honestly say I’m still grinning ear to ear.
– Stephen Pulvirent, Manager of Editorial Products
This short video profile of Jim Henterly delves into “the wilderness experience” in such a beautiful way. It uses the dwindling number of manned fire lookout stations as a lens for the way AI and technology are replacing humans’ role in the stewardship of nature. As Jim points out, for most of humankind’s existence we’ve lived in the wilderness; it’s laid the foundation of what our idea of beauty is. But how badly have we lost touch with it? Spend a few minutes on this video and see if it doesn’t add some depth as you hike your local peak while the leaves are still falling, before the bitter cold sets in.
– Cole Pennington, Editor
Years before he became famous for The String Dance, the Walker Texas Ranger Lever, and a wildly-public separation from NBC, Conan O’Brien wrote what just might be the best episode of one of the best comedy shows in television history. Sure, The Simpsons is an institution now, but in 1993, it was still finding its footing for the long haul, and one missing piece was spectacle. O’Brien’s masterpiece, “Marge vs. The Monorail,” delivered on that front, featuring a full song-and-dance number, endless sight gags and one-liners, and an action-packed third act topped off by one of Leonard Nimoy’s greatest ever line readings. Vice recently took a look back at this 22-minute tour-de-force, and it’s fascinating to read about its production and legacy through the eyes of those who created it. “Donuts, is there anything they can’t do?”
– Dakota Gardner, Web Editor
Lead image by Jamie Pilgrim