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In this issue
This week’s issue focuses on both literal and metaphorical listening: to sound, published voices, boring things, and a virtual cattle call.
April Kilcrease visited a unique institution in San Francisco — not just for that city, but seemingly in the world. An audio visionary (yes, an oxymoron) started building his soundscape in 1960 and created a permanent home with twice-weekly public performances that began in 1975. In pitch blackness, you can Listen Carefully to the sounds of Stan Shaff’s Audium. (Our cover image includes a piece of Audium’s ceiling.)
Elly Blue has appeared in our pages before (penning Hub and Spoke a year ago), and she’s back as the subject of Matthew Amster-Burton’s look into her publishing operations. Elly is a master of using Kickstarter to fund publications that further her advocacy, as Matthew explains in A Bicycle Built for 18.
We’ve run two stories so far about boring things: Scott Simpson’s well-regarded essay You Are Boring (which appears in the book of our first year’s work) and Mark Harris’s The Most Boring Machine, which explains the difficulties with Seattle’s deep-tunnel operation. (Since the article ran in January 2014, the machine in question has became immovably wedged, and it will cost many millions and take many months to send it farther on its way.)
And now Chris Stokel-Walker goes to the heart of boredom to find The Neverending Story: a conference devoted to boring stuff that reveals how interesting (and unironic) obsession to minutiae can be.
Finally, Renee Brincks discovers that farm auctions — for livestock and machinery — are Herd around the Net: farmers and ranchers no longer need travel distances to buy what they need, and the ready availability of pricing information has pumped up the value of used equipment. Renee’s family are farmers, and she’s attended live auctions since she was a kid.
The news we’d hoped to have this week has been pushed back slightly. Read next week’s note, follow us on Twitter, or sign up for our weekly-or-less-often email announcement newsletter for the details when we unveil them.
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