- → How the White Working Class Is Being Destroyed "Faced with a coal miner suffering black lung disease, or a laid-off factory hand, liberals feel compassion. Faced, on the other hand, with a man in cowboy boots and red MAGA hat, arms defiantly folded, who dismisses climate science and insults overeducated “snowflakes,” many see — and hate — “the enemy.”
Yet what if these are one and the same man? Or almost the same man? What if the man in the red MAGA hat has a brother or high school classmate who died of a heroin overdose? What if his buddy on the road crew drove drunk off an embankment at night and no one called it suicide? What if he fears it’s too late or too expensive to go to college? If we could ask the men in this book, before they swallowed their last pill or swig of whiskey, or fired their last shot, whom it was they would have voted for in 2016, chances are it would have been for that dogged and aggressive great salesman of hope, Donald Trump."
- → Debt and Power: An Interview With Michael Hudson "Mesopotamian and other Near Eastern rulers were not idealistic utopians. They were simply being practical in realizing that debts grow faster than ability to be paid. All of their mathematics shown that. So their models 4000 years ago were more sophisticated than the models that are used today, which just assume that debts will remain a stable proportion of income and output."
- → Always Narrating: The Making and Unmaking of Umberto Eco "While doing all these things — creating worlds, populating them, and ruling over them — a novelist, Eco must have thought, feels what God himself would have felt as he was bringing this world into being though his act of divine narration. Eco may have lost his faith in God, but never in storytelling. “Writing a novel is a cosmological matter, like the story told by Genesis,” he observes. Yet playing God is not without drama, when the player is a mere mortal — nor without danger, when he is not a believer."
- → Books About Next to Nothing Maybe yes, maybe no: "The Hungarian novelist Laszlo Krasznahorkai is among the few interesting voices still working at the coalface, those who have waded through the postmodern cesspit and saturated themselves in its stink and illogic in the hope of accidentally breaking through to what's on the other side. I would mention also the American George Saunders and the Frenchman Michel Houellebecq—post-postmodernists in that they seek to think their way to the very end of postmodern evasiveness, with a view, perhaps, to building a new city on the far side."
- → The Haunted California Idyll of German Writers in Exile "You can visit all the addresses in the course of a long day. Bertolt Brecht lived in a two-story clapboard house on Twenty-sixth Street, in Santa Monica. The novelist Heinrich Mann resided a few blocks away, on Montana Avenue. The screenwriter Salka Viertel held gatherings on Mabery Road, near the Santa Monica beach. Alfred Döblin, the author of “Berlin Alexanderplatz,” had a place on Citrus Avenue, in Hollywood. His colleague Lion Feuchtwanger occupied the Villa Aurora, a Spanish-style mansion overlooking the Pacific; among its amusements was a Hitler dartboard. Vicki Baum, whose novel “Grand Hotel” brought her a screenwriting career, had a house on Amalfi Drive, near the leftist composer Hanns Eisler. Alma Mahler-Werfel, the widow of Gustav Mahler, lived with her third husband, the best-selling Austrian writer Franz Werfel, on North Bedford Drive, next door to the conductor Bruno Walter. Elisabeth Hauptmann, the co-author of “The Threepenny Opera,” lived in Mandeville Canyon, at the actor Peter Lorre’s ranch. The philosopher Theodor W. Adorno rented a duplex apartment on Kenter Avenue, meeting with Max Horkheimer, who lived nearby, to write the post-Marxist jeremiad “Dialectic of Enlightenment.” At a suitably lofty remove, on San Remo Drive, was Thomas Mann, Heinrich’s brother, the august author of “The Magic Mountain.”"
- → In Ancient Greek Thought, Plagues Follow on Bad Leadership
- → The most surprising Unix programs "Originators of nearly half the list--pascal, struct, parts, eqn--were
women, well beyond women's demographic share of computer science."
- → Vanishing New York: How a Great City Lost its Soul "The class remake of the city was minor, small scale, and symbolic in the beginning, but today we are seeing a total class retake of the central city. Almost without exception, the new housing, new restaurants, new artistic venues, new entertainment locales—not to mention new jobs on Wall Street—are all aimed at a social class quite different from those who populated the Lower East Side or the West Side, Harlem, or neighborhood Brooklyn in the 1960s. Bloomberg’s rezoning of, at latest count, 104 neighborhoods has been the central weapon in this assault."
- → No time to read? This app lets you digest best-selling books in just 10 minutes I think I remember Th. Adorno saying that any philosophy that can be summarized is not worth nothing. I probably remember wrong. But in that vein I would like to add that a book you can get the gist of in 10 minutes is not worth it. And if it was, it cannot be comprehended in 10 minutes. But we live in a no-attention-span world now. I shall pick up my copy of Les Temps Perdus and have another go. See you in a (long) while.
- → The paradox of an atheist soul I am not sure that I agree with Mr. Gray, but his is an argument that you need to consider.
- → Was this life’s first meal? "Studies of the origin of life are replete with paradoxes. Take this doozy: Every known organism on Earth uses a suite of proteins—and the DNA that helps build it—to construct the building blocks of our cells. But those very building blocks are also needed to make DNA and proteins.
The solution to this chicken-and-egg conundrum may lie at the site of hydrothermal vents, fissures in the sea floor that spew hot water and a wealth of other chemicals, researchers report today. Scientists say they have found that a trio of metal compounds abundant around the vents can cause hydrogen gas and carbon dioxide (CO2) to react to form a collection of energy-rich organic compounds critical to cell growth. And the high temperatures and pressures around the vents themselves may have jump-started life on Earth, the team argues."
- → Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas "So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high water mark – that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back."
- → List of stories set in a future now past
- → Disney India Blocks John Oliver Show Critical of Narendra Modi "An episode of John Oliver’s show that criticized Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been blocked in India by Hotstar, the local platform run by Walt Disney Co."
- → Uber and Lyft generate 70 percent more pollution than trips they displace: study "A more systemic effort to address climate pollution has yet to emerge from either Uber or Lyft. And the solutions they’ve proposed so far are unlikely to address the core problem with ride-hailing: it is often more convenient and less expensive than other, less-polluting transportation options."
- → Wikipedia Is the Last Best Place on the Internet "Yet in an era when Silicon Valley's promises look less gilded than before, Wikipedia shines by comparison. It is the only not-for-profit site in the top 10, and one of only a handful in the top 100. It does not plaster itself with advertising, intrude on privacy, or provide a breeding ground for neo-Nazi trolling. Like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, it broadcasts user-generated content. Unlike them, it makes its product de-personified, collaborative, and for the general good. More than an encyclopedia, Wikipedia has become a community, a library, a constitution, an experiment, a political manifesto—the closest thing there is to an online public square. It is one of the few remaining places that retains the faintly utopian glow of the early World Wide Web. A free encyclopedia encompassing the whole of human knowledge, written almost entirely by unpaid volunteers: Can you believe that was the one that worked?"
- → Rush Limbaugh Is Sure Coronavirus Is 'An Effort To Bring Down Trump' "It probably is a ChiCom laboratory experiment that is in the process of being weaponized," he said. "All superpower nations weaponize bioweapons. They experiment with them. The Russians, for example, have weaponized fentanyl. Now, fentanyl is also not what it is represented to be."
- → Today I Learned That Not Everyone Has An Internal Monologue And It Has Ruined My Day "My day was completely ruined yesterday when I stumbled upon a fun fact that absolutely obliterated my mind. I saw this tweet yesterday that said that not everyone has an internal monologue in their head. All my life, I could hear my voice in my head and speak in full sentences as if I was talking out loud. I thought everyone experienced this, so I did not believe that it could be true at that time."
- → Why Do Corporations Speak the Way They Do? “People used a sort of nonlanguage, which was neither beautiful nor especially efficient: a mash-up of business-speak with athletic and wartime metaphors, inflated with self-importance. Calls to action; front lines and trenches; blitzscaling. Companies didn’t fail, they died.” She describes a man who wheels around her office on a scooter barking into a wireless headset about growth hacking, proactive technology, parallelization, and the first-mover advantage. “It was garbage language,” Wiener writes, “but customers loved him.”
- → The American Health Care System Costs Four Times More Than Canada "The average American pays a whopping $2,497 per year in administrative costs — which fund insurer overhead and salaries of administrative workers as well as executive pay packages and growing profits — compared to $551 per person per year in Canada, according to a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine last month. The study estimated that cutting administrative costs to Canadian levels could save more than $600 billion per year."
- → The Oldest Company in Almost Every Country (That is Still in Business) "Located in the walls of St Peter’s Abbey in Salzburg, St. Peter Stifts Kulinarium opened in 803 and remains the oldest restaurant in Europe that you can still eat in. The inn is rumoured to have served Christopher Columbus, Johann Georg Faust, and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. A short leap forward in time and over the border to neighbouring Germany, you’ll find Staffelter Hof Winery, a winery established in 862."
- → Iowa’s ‘Denmark on the Prairie’ Creates Hygge Away From Home “We make frikadeller and aebleskiver”
- → America’s monopoly and antitrust problem, explained by your internet bill
- → How Private Equity Ruined Fairway "Tucked away in the IPO filing, though, was a paragraph detailing how Sterling would be able to use the proceeds to pay itself a dividend of nearly $80 million. PitchBook, a highly regarded source of data on private equity, reports that Sterling investors also paid themselves and their management team an additional $17 million from Fairway’s funds."
- → Ring misplaced in US 47 years ago found in forest in Finland A really strange story—and perhaps inspiration for some fiction?
- → The Map of Mathematics "If mathematics is the poetry of logic, as Albert Einstein once wrote, then through this we hope to provide an appreciation for all the beauty that it describes. Scroll down to begin."
- → A Canadian in Ossetia – Life in the central Caucasus
- → The Times of Bill Cunningham "In 1994, legendary street fashion photographer Bill Cunningham gave a six-hour interview about his life and work. This interview was recently rediscovered and made into a documentary called The Times of Bill Cunningham."
- → "Low class" Donald Trump and the Wasps: Reckoning with vulgarity, snobbery and the presidency "The whole point of being a Wasp, as best as I can conjure, is to get through life without embarrassing oneself in public. Trump's ancestors plainly failed to pass on this characteristic; otherwise, he would have known that — to use but one example of dozens — when someone flails his limbs in imitation of a disabled person, as Trump did at one of his rallies, it's not the disabled person who should be mortified."
- → Loosely belted. "Julius Caesar was criticized for his loosely belted toga. “Beware the badly belted boy,” said Sulla; Cicero sneered at Caesar’s habit of “trailing the fringe of the toga on the ground like an effeminate.” His political rival Cato the Younger made a point of wearing a short toga with no tunic underneath, as was considered masculine. But a decade later it was common for young Roman men to grow goatees, wear flowing togas, and use “loosely belted” as a catchphrase."
- → all links