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Hi there, and welcome back to the Monthly Missive. You can save anything in here to read later in Pocket, and email me at sophie@sophiebenjamin.com. You can also see what I'm listening to here, and see what books I am reading here

OK, LET'S GET INTO IT

First up - it turns out nearly everything on the internet is fake, or at least Not Human. This article explains how between 40-60% of internet traffic is actually bots and the flow-on effects of that. For starters, it means all the advertising/engagement metrics touted by Google, Facebook etc etc are not to be trusted. It seems like a pretty big call, but this article makes a convincing case on how Google's dominance will be brought down by Amazon, and this one shows how Facebook could well be brought down by its own internal toxicity.

The idea of "cool" is all marketing, and I liked these long reads on how Diet Coke and the Harley-Davidson motorbike respectively fell out of favour. 

For years, women have been excluded from trials of various psych drugs because their monthly hormonal cycles kept throwing off the control groups. New research shows that hormones may well explain a lot about women's mental health - and no, not in a jokey 'lol women are so emotional, must be that time of the month way'. 

DIY cultural spaces were an important part of my teens and early 20s. This long read about a young guy who is likely to spend decades in jail due to a horrible fire that killed people in a space he was responsible for was gripping and tragic. 

The Quartz Daily Obsession newsletter is one of my favorites, and I loved this (admittedly old) one on the history of price tags. I had no idea they were such a recent invention. 

MORE

LISTENING

  • My mum got me onto this podcast called Behind The Bastards, which profiles a terrible person every episode (or if you are especially terrible like Paul Manafort, over a three-episode arc)
  • How to deal with the asshole in your office (or the multiple assholes if you are in a particularly terrible industry or workplace)
  • I am OBSESSED with the song Nothing Breaks Like A Heart by Mark Ronson and Miley Cyrus and its film clip.  This video interview with Cyrus and Ronson is a little long, but they are both intelligent and thoughtful people who speak really beautifully about collaboration and the message behind the song. 

GOOD INTENTIONS FOR 2019


It's a new year and it's tempting to see it as an opportunity to start fresh. I mean, come on - it's no coincidence that Netflix launched Tidying Up With Marie Kondo to capitalize on all those New Years Resolutions. Like every silver lining has a cloud, so every new year's resolution has a few hard questions for you to ask yourself. Maybe you don't actually want a promotion?  Maybe you have actually unwittingly been a shitty friend and you might need to up your game? Maybe you think you want a partner but your reasons for wanting one aren't honorable? 

Of course, the Gregorian calendar is merely a construct of Western civilization and the northern hemisphere - here's how Aboriginal Australians marked the passage of time.  
Copyright © 2019 Sophie Benjamin, All rights reserved.


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