researchers in china have found that by feeding carbon nanotubes to silkworms, the worms' bodies would process and reintegrate their feed into silk that is conductive, has increased tensile strength, and (other sorts of industrially-applicable properties which, not having read the papers, i cannot report here.) coming after reeling for the empire, that was pleasurably uncanny. s had thought i would like that story best, and i did -- in more ways perhaps that he'd probably imagined: i have several good friends who are historians of east asian science and technology --those are the very things they are knowledgeable about, write on: japanese modernisation and early industrialisation and the uneasy relationship with western science and technology, and the history of labour (female labour particularly) and of course in the japanese textile industry, and the rhetoric of nation building (which I know well as a singaporean too) -- and those are pleasurable if faint echos of such interest i take (vicariously) in their work.

but also because i've been thinking about factory farming (and lately have been talking to friends who are vegans or advocates for a cruelty-free lifestyle or teach food security and global food politics), and then of course there is the ethics of what i wear -- for a long time i've felt defensive (or defensive that i have to be defensive) about my liking for and unwillingness to give up silk, and now the oblique attack -- it's not facile, but one tries to live right, however one can, avoiding the worst or most blatant forms of cruelty, but cheating in all the small ways, and consoling oneself it is better than nothing (which it is, but not by much).

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