"There’s a whole class of human communication that happens through decorational lights. New York City does a lot of this. They light up the tree in Rockefeller center. That moment when it goes from dark to gleaming, that’s a big moment for humans. There’s a lot of ceremony involved. What is actually being communicated, then? What is the difference between the dark tree and the light tree? They light up the Empire State Building most nights in specific colors. And of course fireworks. On July 4 you go on the roof (our building, any building) and in the distance are the great fireworks displays, shot from barges in the river. [...]
Paul Ford is an associate editor at Harper's Magazine. His duties include the full operation of the website. We requested that he join us for a conversation about the magazine, its website and the site's paywall choices and goals.
Choire: Hey Paul! Thank you for joining me. At the outset, let me disclaim that we are somewhat friendly, and in fact for one night shared a bedroom in Sag Harbor, though not in any way that calls your heterosexuality into question. Paul: That was a beautiful weekend. Choire: Ha, well you just made that sound a lot worse for you, but okay! Innuendo aside, I requested your [...]
"There is an immense opportunity—maybe it’s even a business opportunity—to look at our temporal world and think about calendars and clocks and human behavior, to think about each interaction as a specific unit, to take careful note of how we parcel out moments. Whether a mouse moving across a screen or the progress of a Facebook post through a thousand different servers, the way we value time seems to have altered, as if the earth tilted on its axis, as if the seasons are different and new." —In case you haven't read this a thousand times yet.
Behind the scenes of The Beaver: "I mean, if only there was some way we could have known he was an alcoholic abusive racist we could have avoided this entire thing."
"Question: Is there an afterlife? -Matt." Answer: If you ever need to make your own Grand Canyon, start with a river and lift up the earth. As the ground rises the river will carry some of it away. Wait seven million years, at which point tourists will come. Some will see eons of erosion at work; others will believe that, a mere 4,500 years back, God dragged His fingernail across the desert. Like the group of evangelical-Christian creationists that rafted through in 2005. 'One of the things it says to me,' a rafter was quoted as saying, 'is I'm small and God and the world He created is huge. [...]
"Baby yoga is basically one step up from cat yoga. Also, babies are incredibly flexible. My biggest fear before becoming a dad was that I’d break baby. But I went over to my friend’s place and he has a seven-month-old and I watched him change some diapers, and I realized, babies are completely bendy. You can wave them around like chicken. But to be totally clear, I am totally fine with baby hatha yoga, but very mixed on ashtanga and iyengar for babies." —Some thoughts on parenting from a new father.
Choire Sicha: Dear Paul Ford: Why did you quit Harper's this week?
Paul Ford: I am leaving to pursue other opportunities. Not a euphemism! I'm working primarily with Activate, which is the amazing new-media/technology convergence consulting micro-megacorporation that sprung fully formed from the heads of Anil Dash and Michael Wolf, and also with Predicate, which is a powerhouse content strategy consultancy operated by Jeffrey MacIntyre. Both are working with me so that I can mention them in the Awl, so now I can invoice.