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Inside The Ebola Wars Pick of the day

Gripping, close-up account of the outbreak of Ebola in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, focusing on the first deaths and the medical and scientific response. The West Africa epidemic is out of control: “Health workers have lost track of the chains. Too many people are sick”. America and Europe can still hope to keep Ebola in check by diagnosing and quarantining sufferers. A vaccine is at least a year away (10,300 words)

Bill Clinton In Bubbaland

Letter from Little Rock, where Bill Clinton “dips in and out of town quite a bit”, staying in an apartment on top of his Presidential Library equipped with a replica of the Oval Office. “He has more friends than a dog has ticks”. But Hillary is “in some sense, an in-law, judged and critiqued, not real family”. Arkansas has still not forgiven her for failing to take her husband’s name when they married 35 years ago (3,350 words)

Marc Andreessen In Conversation

Interview with venture capitalist about investment, innovation, tech culture, government. “If you’re a businessperson, especially a CEO, you run a dictatorship. But businesses and governments are different. They have very little to do with each other. When it comes to government, I am pro-gridlock. Three branches, two parties, representation, Electoral College, all good. Love it, fantastic, let’s do that again” (6,770 words)

Klinghoffer In Brooklyn Heights

Expert essay on John Adams’s opera, Death Of Klinghoffer, looking back to the 1991 New York première at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the “epicentre of a controversy that continues to this day”. New York audiences showed themselves “uniquely hostile” to Klinghoffer, angered less by the inferred ideological content than by “specific nuances in the satirical portrayal of American Jewish character” (PDF) (15,000 words)

Interview: Atheism And Belief

Francis Spufford defends religious belief. “People think belief means entering a kingdom of fixed answers. It really means living with more and more questions. People imagine that religion must shrink as science grows bigger, but they don’t do the same thing. There is plenty of thinking room for both. Marilynne Robinson says there is nothing like a subscription to Scientific American to fill you with wonder at Creation” (2,000 words)

The Grand Illusion

A short history of time in science and philosophy. Einstein showed that time was subjective, even illusory. The best you could say was that things did or did not happen at the same time — and this judgement would vary with the position of the observer. In effect, Einstein rehabilitated the belief held by pre-Socratic and later religious philosophers, that time belonged to the realm of appearances, not of reality (2,575 words)

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