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The Weekender: phone sex, David Lynch, and the Great Chicago Fire

Everything to do, see, and read this weekend

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Good morning, and welcome back to the Weekender. Our weekend journey is just now starting, so thank you for choosing us for your travels. As you may recall, this was the 40th week of the year 2014 on the planet known colloquially as Earth, otherwise known as Terra in other inhabited star systems. It was not a quiet week, as you might imagine. Below you'll find your itinerary, carefully crafted for your pleasure; stories from the week passed and recommendations for the days ahead. Now. Please sit back and relax as we take you on a journey through time and space. You might hear a slight buzzing in your ears as we get started.

Do this

The Great Chicago Fire Festival

The Great Chicago Fire of 1871 was a tragedy. After it burned for two full October days, it left up 300 people dead, 100,000 more homeless, and much of the city destroyed. That the city was able to rebuild itself in the wake of a calamity has become a point of pride among its residents. This year, the first annual Great Chicago Fire Festival is going big to commemorate the occasion, with Victorian-era steamboats pulling flaming 1870s-style homes, all followed by a massive pyrotechnics show. It's gonna be incredible.

Chicago Fire

Photo Credit: Kevin Dooley / Flickr

Markthal Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Nevermind for a minute that this is a food market and apartment building. The newly-opened in Markthal in Rotterdam is a massive work of art. Designed by Dutch architects MVRDV, the 12-story archway took five years to build and features an incredible, almost psychedelic mural of fresh produce, flowers, and insects. Go see it.

Markthal Rotterdam

Photo Credit: JanvanHelleman / Flickr

Read this

My friend, the phone sex worker

Even in the internet age, phone sex lines are still alive and well. In fact, their simplicity might be part of the appeal: with no visuals, there's more room for fantasy.

A real stand against antibiotic resistance starts at the farm, not the hospital

The Obama administration is beginning a historic initiative to fight the growing issue of antibiotic resistance, but many scientists think it won't be enough. The problem? The government is focusing on humans, when animals are the biggest users of these drugs.

I am woman, hear me Thor

A woman picked up the mantle of Thor this week, and she's actually here to stay. We spoke with the writer behind this huge new Thor series about why the hero is changing, what kind of response Marvel has seen, and where the series is headed down the road.

A Danish company is building a $335 million seawall around New York

How do you protect New York City from flooding? We spoke with designers who have been working on ambitious projects that'll use art and elements of the city itself to protect it when storm waves come in the future.

We are all Hongkongers

Protesters flooded the streets of Hong Kong this week in a demonstration calling for democracy. But, as a Hong Kong expat of over three years writes, their protests don't live solely in Hong Kong: it's all online for the world to follow.



Etsy’s Trying to Fix Tech’s Women Problem. Why Aren’t You?

Matter
Ann Friedman writes about the challenges of tackling gender diversity in the tech workforce.

Rather than highlighting the appalling nature of Titstare or CodeBabes, perhaps we should be talking about tech success stories — the companies and training programs that have managed to correct the gender imbalance while keeping their innovative, disruptive values intact.



The NSA and me

The Intercept
James Bamford returns to the 1980s and recounts his history as the first NSA whistleblower.

I soon learned that there was one major advantage to being first: The NSA had grown so confident that no one would ever dare to write about it that it had let its guard down. I would occasionally drive up to the agency, park in the executive parking lot, walk in the front door to the lobby, get some coffee and have a seat. All around me were employees from the CIA and foreign intelligence agencies, all waiting to be processed for their NSA visitor’s badge. As I read my paper and sipped my coffee, I quietly listened to them chat away about signals intelligence operations, new listening posts, cooperative agreements, and a host of other topics. No one ever asked who I was or why I was there.



The Unrepentant Bootlegger

The New York Times
Jenna Wortham profiles Hana Beshara, one of the founders of online bootlegging and video sharing site NinjaVideo.

Ms. Beshara spent her early years in Brooklyn, the child of Egyptian immigrants. When she wasn’t studying, she helped out at her parents’ car service company, dispatching rides. “I didn’t have much of a childhood,” she said, sitting on the edge of her mattress and dressed in a burnt-orange wrap, smoking a clove cigarette. She remembers clearly the day she came across a man selling copies of “The Lion King” on the street for $10. Watching it, she realized that it had been made by someone covertly filming it in theaters.

“I remember thinking that they were a hero,” she said. “That was my first bootleg moment.”



There is much to learn from the paper towel

Medium
Craig Mod considers single-purpose devices and designing products in a way that help minimize distraction.

I know there are post-only Twitter apps, but our smartphones are generally input-only antagonistic. They are push, not pull optimized. They are designed to ensnare you. They are sticky things, smartphones. To quickly Google a fact, tweet a thought, or respond to an email, is to run the cognitively exhausting gauntlet of whatever notifications may be waiting for you on the lock screen.

Paper Towel

Photo Credit: Maggie Osterberg / Flickr



The Machine is a Garden

Foreign Policy
Amanda Kolson Hurley reports on the revival of the garden city, an urban planning concept from the 19th and early 20th century that's being implemented in countries worldwide.

After a few decades in the limelight, garden cities fell out of fashion. But recently, they've been making a comeback. A small but growing number of architects, urban planners, and policymakers are holding up garden cities as potential antidotes to everything that ails the modern city, from substandard housing to environmental degradation to the segregation of rich and poor.

Garden City

Photo Credit: Doc Searls / Flickr

Listen to this

Childish Gambino - STN MTN

Childish Gambino's latest effort is already on heavy rotation at the Verge offices this weekend. Consider this his love letter to southern rap, where he offers up his clever wordplay and acrobatic flow to his hometown of Stone Mountain, Georgia. A little less introspective and a little more fun than Because the Internet, this is a must-listen for Donald Glover fans.

Prince - Art Official Age

Purple Rain this is not, but it'll do. Prince's classic funk sound always seemed a little sci-fi, and it works well here, especially on tracks like "The Gold Standard" and "Breakfast Can Wait" — the single with Dave Chappelle on the cover, if you recall. Give this a listen.

Play this

Super Smash Bros., 3DS

Longtime Nintendo fans — especially those who started playing Smash back in the N64 days — can expect everything they already love here. They can just put it in their pockets now. Everything, from the characters to the stages, is here and just as enjoyable as ever. And while hardcore players might miss the Gamecube controller, the game is incredibly accessible to the average gamer. You need this in your collection.

Watch this


Twin Peaks

David Lynch took to Twitter yesterday to tease... something about his seminal series Twin Peaks. Rumors have been bubbling up for a little while now about a possible continuation of the series, but not much in the way of concrete evidence. For now, if you haven't seen this gem of a series — beloved for its weird storytelling and even cinematography — you should start catching up as soon as possible.