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Antonia Malchik

Writer, Self-employed

Antonia Malchik writes essays and articles on science, travel and other topics for a variety of publications. Her first book is A Walking Life (2019). She lives in northwest Montana.

Written by Antonia Malchik



Recent Comments

A place of silence

Antonia Malchik

What a beautiful essay. Jane Brox’s book Silence has been on my to-be-read shelf for a while. Seems like it’s time to take it out and follow it with yours. I often find criticism of people in cities walking around or sitting on the metro with headphones or ear buds confusing. They’re usually criticized for creating their own bubble and not interacting with the life of the city, but personally I find the constant noise of traffic exhausting and would far rather listen to a podcast or music. I suppose part of the problem is that so many equate “car traffic” (or jackhammers, leaf blowers, etc.) with “life.” It doesn’t have to be that way.

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Solving chronic pain via the kitchen, not the medicine cabinet

Antonia Malchik

While I have personally found a keto/paleo way of eating improved my health in a variety of ways, I know at least two people for whom chronic pain seems to be intractable, people who eat even “cleaner” than I do and have long since removed all inflammatory foods. They are still in chronic pain. I’m curious if the author knows about Central Sensitization Syndrome or any similar theories and has thoughts on that, and treatment for it. For many, food is an excellent and accessible answer. But it doesn’t seem to be sufficient for all.

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What is global history now?

Antonia Malchik

I’m not sure what historians should write more about, but wanted to say that I really loved this piece. It points to what many of us all over the world have been trying to get back to, which is community. Activists have many admirable goals, but it often surprises me how many of them in the U.S. concentrate all their energies on national issues, and neglect ones at the state, county, or truly local level. There was a lovely line in Robert Moor’s book On Trails, which articulates why this becomes a problem: “[D]eep human connection still cannot move faster than the (comparatively, lichenous) rate at which trust can grow.”

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Big space

Antonia Malchik

Dr. Mack, I think I followed you when I was still on Twitter and always enjoyed your insights and ideas. I’ve been trying to understand these concepts for decades (hoping that my attempts at understanding get me incrementally closer to actually doing so, like finding the area under a curve through integrals), and recently re-read Cosmos. I really enjoyed this and am looking forward to reading your book!

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How to enjoy coffee

Antonia Malchik

Cup of Excellence can be a good certification to look for – COE rewards coffee farmers for high-quality coffee at rates higher than Fair Trade designation, from what I understand. The goal is to help farmers get paid fairly for high-quality beans: https://cupofexcellence.org

(Caveat: my father, who runs a speciality coffee roaster in Russia, was a COE juror for several years.)

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Trying to simulate the human brain is a waste of energy

Antonia Malchik

I really enjoyed Hankins’s opinion piece, although technology at this level is a little over my head. I’ve been immersed recently in reading about projects that teach robots to walk, and it seems related only because it so often strikes me that we aren’t necessarily trying to invent something new or simulate something in the “real” world, but simply to understand our whole, complex human selves through the lens of something else. Understanding ourselves through ourselves takes a lot more time, and building technology that simulates “us” seems more efficient and faster. By which I mean that I think we throw ourselves into these kinds of huge projects in part because we’re impati...

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The harms of gentrification

Antonia Malchik

A very thought-provoking essay. I live in Montana, in a town that has long relied on tourism–and, increasingly, vacation homeowners–for income. It’s constantly interesting to me how this town, which is my hometown, has for decades dedicated itself to negotiating the balance between attracting people and money, and maintaining a living, thriving, resilient community. It’s taught me a lot about how to values and philosophy migrate into urban planning and the boring work of civics. We’ve been facing an affordable housing crisis for a few years now, and I don’t know that philosophy was at play in how we are addressing it, but the value of community certainly has been. Maybe it’s the same thin...

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How Aztecs told history

Antonia Malchik

This was a wonderful read. It relates to so many of the conversations in our societies about hearing from a wider variety of voices, especially from traditionally marginalized voices, and my own interest in seeing history take on a more multi-layered and multi-perspective shape. There are many who rebel against history that teaches a variety of perspectives and stories, but I think we are all better for cracking it open and seeing ourselves and our pasts as richly varied and complex.

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Zoom and gloom

Antonia Malchik

This was an insightful essay in ways I didn’t expect. I am fully of the view that our technologies should serve our humanity rather than the other way around, but what that looks like with regards to videoconferencing I have no idea. I’m inclined to partly agree with Lauren Dove’s comment about teachers using recordings instead, but that’s based solely on my own kids’ experiences with remote learning. It seems natural for the teachers to want to “gather” the students in a virtual classroom, to connect and show the kids they’re still there and caring and attentive, but it never really worked, at least for my kids. It just wore them out. What worked better was the Spanish teacher’s dynamic ...

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Depressive realism

Antonia Malchik

Brandon Hidaka’s study “Depression as a disease of modernity” looks at many of elements of modern life that are, basically, a poor fit for human evolution – social isolation, lack of movement/exercise, lack of sunlight, poor diet, etc. Johann Hari’s book about depression, Lost Connections, expands significantly on those ideas; both are a good pairing for this essay. What if some (not necessarily all) depression is a deeply sane response to social and cultural structures that are an ill fit for the human species? This is an important question particularly with regards to c...

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On the same wavelength

Antonia Malchik

This was such a beautiful essay, the story of the lost aviator a vivid and gripping example of the thesis. It reminds me of something I was wondering about recently – decades of individual-focused neoliberalism seem to have begun creating a society (at least in the U.S.) where these values truly are the way to succeed or thrive, albeit in what feels to be stunted ways, as they often seem to damage relationship(s). Society at large seems to keep repeating to itself that humans are selfish and self-interested and believing anything else is naive, and then making it true. Yet overall I think that more people believe in our capacities for compassion and connection, even if they believe that t...

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Ghosts and tiny treasures

Antonia Malchik

Slowness has to be a factor to make the cultivation successful. The phrase “instant gratification” has become so overused that we’ve forgotten what it means, and why it’s so attractive to humans, but that is what we’re up against. The lure of gadgets, screens, consumerism, and speed becomes stronger as our lives become more pressured and stressful. To consciously move away from that lifestyle is both difficult and, for many, expensive. As many have mentioned in the conversation, children seem to have a natural attraction to nature - it’s certainly true of my own kids, and even my Minecraft-loving son will eagerly go for an offered walk over sitting with an iPad - which means we n...

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