Today I finished reading (read: skimming) The Little Ice Age by Brian Fagan. The first few chapters of the book are genuinely fascinating. The rest of the book could have been condensed down to fifty pages or so. I feel like this was a great starting point to understand the dawn of modernity — the literal environment in which the Middle Ages ended and the Renaissance began. You can read my full review.

I call the internet company to get wifi installed. I get a woman in Italian. Posso parlare inglese? I ask in fumbling Italian. Si she answers, indicating that yes I can speak English. Except, no, she doesn’t understand any of it. We arrive at a shared understanding that I want wifi, and she gradually takes my address. Terrified that this is going to be a very long and arduous process with great risk of miscommunication, I ask again if I can speak to someone in English. Si. Due minuti. She disappears.

Two minutes later, a man picks up the phone speaking English with a suave Italian accent. His name is Antonio. He graciously guides me through the questions for an internet installation. When I spell my name, he confirms every letter with an Italian place name. T like Torino? L like Livorno? E like Empoli?

After taking all of my details, Antonio hesitates before explaining the next step. He seems unsure that I’ll understand. I’m going to give you a number, okay? He explains: he will give me a number to write down. I will hang up and call that number. A machine will answer. I will press one. I will be put on hold. Then the phone will disconnect. Okay?

Italy is a country of faith. Faith in god. And faith that if you hang up and call another number and press one and disconnect and then wait, eventually you will get a wifi installation. And so I did — hang up, call, press one, disconnect, and then wait in silence for eight minutes. Until my phone rang. It’s me, said Antonio.

In seven to ten days, I should have my wifi installed. Now I just have to wait for a call from a technician.

For many years, Atlantic News was just the place wear I bought sour gumballs after school. When I was ten, I bought my first magazine there. My best friend and I stole money from my dad’s change jar to buy a copy of Mad magazine. I think the Bush–Gore election was on the cover. Dogged by guilt, I told my friend to hide the magazine at his house.

I realized Atlantic News’ significance when I was in journalism school. For a young journalist, the store was a wonderland of rare and interesting publishing. “I love magazines,” Michelle, the owner of Atlantic News says — and her enthusiasm is infectious. Standing in Atlantic News, you feel an appreciation for the art of magazine publishing seep into your bones. These bundles of paper, full of obscure knowledge, beautiful art, unique textures. I think that passion will carry the shop for another fifty years.

In the wake of Meta banning Canadian news organizations in retaliation against Canadian government policy, the Tyee makes the case for RSS — the ingenious proto-social network that fueled the rise of blogging in the ’00s.

When I was seventeen, I got a lesson in RSS from a blogger. At the time, you had to send out a “ping” to let the internet know you had published a new blog post. I thought it was so cool.

A decade and a half later, RSS is still a really excellent option for web publishing. You can subscribe to this blog via RSS (or rather, a variant called ATOM that works the same way).