Listened How ultra-processed food took over your shopping basket from the Guardian

An ultra-processed food can be reformulated in countless ways, but the one thing it can’t be transformed into is an unprocessed food. Hall remains hopeful that there may turn out to be some way to adjust the manufacture of ultra-processed foods to make them less harmful to health. A huge number of people on low incomes, he notes, are relying on these “relatively inexpensive tasty things” for daily sustenance. But he is keenly aware that the problems of nutrition cannot be cured by ever more sophisticated processing. “How do you take an Oreo and make it non-ultra-processed?” he asks. “You can’t!”

I am not sure I realised how much of my diet is made up of processed food. I actually feel that the Thermomix has changed that and provided an entry point to cooking more foods.
Listened Athleisure, barre and kale: the tyranny of the ideal woman – podcast from the Guardian

Women are genuinely trapped at the intersection of capitalism and patriarchy – two systems that, at their extremes, ensure that individual success comes at the expense of collective morality. And yet there is enormous pleasure in individual success. It can feel like license and agency to approach an ideal, to find yourself – in a good picture, on your wedding day, in a flash of identical movement – exemplifying a prototype. There are rewards for succeeding under capitalism and patriarchy; there are rewards even for being willing to work on its terms. There are nothing but rewards, at the surface level. The trap looks beautiful. It’s well-lit. It welcomes you in.

Listened Boar wars: how wild hogs are trashing European cities – podcast from the Guardian

They have become a menace in European cities. In Barcelona, where wild boar are jostling tourists and raiding rubbish bins, the fightback has begun

I remember going on a field trip once when some of my students decided to chase a heard of wild pigs. They soon returned puffed out, thank goodness.


Before Italian politics turned overtly anti-immigrant, it was anti-boar.(source)

Listened El Chapo: what the rise and fall of the kingpin reveals about the war on drugs – podcast from the Guardian

As the capture and conviction of Mexico’s notorious drug lord has shown, taking down the boss doesn’t mean taking down the organisation

Listened China’s hi-tech war on its Muslim minority – podcast from the Guardian

Some of the technologies pioneered in Xinjiang have already found customers in authoritarian states as far away as sub-Saharan Africa. In 2018, CloudWalk, a Guangzhou-based tech startup that has received more than $301m in state funding, finalised an agreement with Zimbabwe’s government to build a national “mass facial recognition programme” in order to address “social security issues”. (CloudWalk has not revealed how much the agreement is worth.) Freedom of movement through airports, railways and bus stations throughout Zimbabwe will now be managed through a facial database integrated with other kinds of biometric data. In effect, the Uighur homeland has become an incubator for China’s “terror capitalism”.

Darren Byler explains how smartphones and the internet gave the Uighurs a sense of their own identity – but now the Chinese state is using technology to strip them of it.

This provides another perspective to the report from Chris Buckley, Paul Moz and Austin Ramzy. This is another piece exploring the rise of surveillance capital and social credit in China.

Listened The plastic backlash: what’s behind our sudden rage – and will it make a difference? – podcast by an author from the Guardian

Decades after it became part of the fabric of our lives, a worldwide revolt against plastic is under way

It is intriguing to think about plastic as being a part of the wider discussion of global warming. James Bridle refers to the notion of ‘hyperobjects’:

The philosopher Timothy Morton calls global warming a ‘hyperobject’: a thing that surrounds us, envelops and entangles us, but that is literally too big to see in its entirety.

Whether it be in the drinking water or the ocean tip, rubbish has become a part of our imaginary.