1. Every year the Oxford English Dictionary selects the word of the year. The word they feel encapsulates that year. 2020, they felt could not be reduced to one word. Instead, they’ve released a 38 page report titled Words of an Unprecedented Year, to expand on the phenomenal breadth of language change and development over the year. In it they detailed words that became commonplace like Covid-19, lockdown, social distancing, Zoom, BLM, super spreader and more. The most lexical innovation, the report details, happened this year as a reaction to the Covid-19 pandemic, and we quickly added more and more words to our vocabulary.  You can download the full report here and they’re also doing a webinar on December 10th. [OED]


2. “A violinist plays in a concentration camp. A refugee carries a book of poetry. Art sustains us when survival is uncertain”. I enjoyed reading this article on the importance of art, humanities and creativity in our lives, particularly during difficult times. [Aeon]


3. 11 Sugar substitutes and how to substitute them for times you run out of sugar. [Food52]


4. “The shows are functionally screen savers, never demanding your attention; they do draw it, but only as much as a tabletop bouquet of flowers.” A good read on the rise of Ambient TV starring Emily in Paris. A random bit of trivia I picked up is that soap operas were named because of the soap brands that bought ads on the shows to target the housewives who would watch soapies while doing housework – Ambient TV. [The New Yorker]


5. How long Covid forced me to confront my past and my identity – an incredibly moving personal essay on identity and representation. [The Guardian]


6. What happens to your brain when you hold your breath? [Outside Online]


7. “Everyone is insecure about their bodies at some point or another, yet no one has the same set insecurities. Being insecure with your body comes with growing up. But that doesn’t mean you should always feel that way.” An essay on learning to love your body for what it could do that I particularly liked, as when I am swimming I rarely think about how I look, but rather how good I feel. [Swimming World Magazine]


8. This is a horrific investigative report on the reports of rape and abuse on some of the biggest palm oil plantations in Malaysia and Indonesia which are linked to some of the biggest beauty brands. Palm oil is found in millions of food, home and beauty items and is known to be an enormous sustainability issue. Reading this reminded me of this list started by Dr Nechama Brodie that lists palm oil free South African products, although I am unsure when it was last updated.


9. Anhedonia describes a loss or decrease in ability to feel pleasure from things we once enjoyed. Here’s what to know about it and how to overcome a state of joylessness. [Real Simple]

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