Music Reader: Vinyl, Kanye West, FKA twigs, Bob Dylan, more

Me at TheVine linking to music writing. It’s monthly rather than weekly now, because of reasons. This means that everything in it is amazing, of course.

Science Reader: Womb Wars, Pokies Science, Space Drugs, more

Featuring stuff on the drugs astronauts take in space, the war of the womb (between the mother and the child), the US government killing 10,000 people with poison, the science of how they extract money out of you using poker machines, why scientists can never quite rule out Bigfoot, the fascinating life of the African wild dog, the effect of the Cretaceous extinction on the plants, and the genes behind an artistic family.

There is a new Nickelback single.

[Scene: Australian treasurer JOE HOCKEY sits back in his comfy chair in his office, an unlit cigar in his hand. A BUTLER hovers unobtrusively. There is a knock on the door. An UNDERLING enters the room, carrying a smartphone]

UNDERLING: Mister Hockey, there is some important news.

HOCKEY: Oh yes? Is it as surprising as the news that the underclasses still have cars these days?

UNDERLING: Um…no, Mister Hockey. But I was here because—

HOCKEY: Out with it, underling!

UNDERLING: Well, you said you wanted to know when there was a new Nickelback single

HOCKEY: Phew, I thought this was going to be about how badly we were polling. Good news for a change! 

UNDERLING: I have the song here on my phone.

HOCKEY: Even better! Put it on the stereo, Jeeves.

[The UNDERLING gives the portable music device to the BUTLER, who connects it to the stereo, while Hockey lights a cigar]

HOCKEY: Underling, leave me.

[The song plays, as HOCKEY smokes a cigar and the UNDERLING leaves]

HOCKEY: Why are people so down on Nickelback? Surely with Foo Fighters they are the closest modern rival to AC/DC for a sing a long rock!

[HOCKEY gets a happy faraway look on his face as he hears Kroeger’s voice howl]

HOCKEY [to BUTLER]: You know, I was worrying about how things were polling before, but this music nourishes my soul…you know, now I feel like slashing more funding again.

BUTLER [mildly reproaching]: Very good, sir.

Number Ones: Meghan Trainor 'All About That Bass'

Me at TheVine on the current #1 single in Australia; I also discuss the post-Freudian personality theories of Alfred Adler, and use about a dozen euphemisms for ‘bum’.

Science Reader: Ebola, shrinking dinosaurs, teen brains, more

The second of my new column where I link to science writing, about stuff like ebola, sinkholes spewing methane in Siberia, how a dinosaur that looked like T. Rex evolved into your pet budgie, the colourful history of the asteroid Vesta, the effects of the not-fully-grown frontal cortex on teen behaviour, childhood amnesia, and why you have five fingers, and the hows and whys of procrastination. (And cheers to Jake for editing it good).

A song written by Diane Warren is at the top of the charts in Australia at the moment (Paloma Faith’s ‘Only Love Can Hurt Like This’) for the first time in a decade, and so my Number Ones column on the song for TheVine focused on this, explaining Ms Warren’s status as queen of the power ballad and where Paloma Faith’s substitute-Adele schtick fits into it all. Me being a fairly stereotypical white male music nerd, her power ballads are definitely not aimed at me, and so I concocted a “Diane Warren as coldhearted supervillain” metaphor to explain her powers/skills in my column. And it turns out that she has minions monitoring mentions of her name on Twitter (and a sense of humour)…

A song written by Diane Warren is at the top of the charts in Australia at the moment (Paloma Faith’s ‘Only Love Can Hurt Like This’) for the first time in a decade, and so my Number Ones column on the song for TheVine focused on this, explaining Ms Warren’s status as queen of the power ballad and where Paloma Faith’s substitute-Adele schtick fits into it all. Me being a fairly stereotypical white male music nerd, her power ballads are definitely not aimed at me, and so I concocted a “Diane Warren as coldhearted supervillain” metaphor to explain her powers/skills in my column. And it turns out that she has minions monitoring mentions of her name on Twitter (and a sense of humour)…

Science Reader: The 10% brains myth, blood types, dinosaurs, more

I am trying a new thing for TheVine, which (if you’re reading this and have been for years) probably looks a lot like the old thing I used to do where I linked to interesting writing about science and health and psychology and things like that. This week’s column has pieces debunking Myers Briggs and the You Only Use 10% Of Your Brain myth, a fairly amazing piece about what happens when your kid has a one-of-a-kind disease, the links between the concept of stress and cigarette manufacturers, fruits and vegetables trying to kill you, microbes with mind control, the reasons why we might have different blood types, and the discovery that archaeopteryx had hipster feather pants.

Number Ones: The Madden Brothers' 'We Are Done'

This week I talk about the single by Joel and Benji Madden of Good Charlotte, who are both judges on The Voice Kids in Australia, and, well, because the song itself isn’t incredibly interesting, I wonder about the ecosystem of pop, and how brutally Darwinian it all gets, and where something like the Madden Brothers, with not one but two popular TV shows behind it, fits into that kind of ecosystem.

Music Reader: Prince, Madonna, Iggy Azalea, Nick Cave, more

Exceptional bunch of articles this week in my collation of music writing for the Vine - the ‘Ain’t No More Cane’ piece by Dave Byrne and Eric Harvey’s one on Michael McDonald are both exceptional, and most of the rest of these would comfortably be the best article, most other weeks.

Music Reader: Lana Del Rey, Led Zep, 50 Cent, Johnny Cash, more

Me at the Vine linking to the awesome music writing.