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Loch Lomond

Appreciation and explanation of Scotland’s favourite song. “There’s a low road leading through the valley and a higher one cut up across Ben Lomond? Hey, what’s the big deal? But, according to legend, there’s more to it than that. The ‘low road’ is the road of death, the road that begins six feet under, and the words were supposedly composed by a Scottish soldier captured in the the Second Jacobite Rebellion of 1745″ (2,180 words)

The Libertarian Case For European Union

A Eurosceptic recants. The European Union is a “deeply flawed” organisation which contributes to the over-regulation of European life and business — but it also keeps markets and frontiers open, at least within Europe. If the EU were to collapse, the consequence would probably be a rise in nationalism and protectionism across Europe, driven by populist politicians of left and right and by local business lobbies (1,630 words)

Germany Wins The Philosophy World Cup

Germans are the world champions of philosophy, beating the Ancient Greeks into second place. But the squad is notorious for its “fractious lack of cohesion”, which makes choosing the first eleven a perilous affair. Kant is captain, of course; Marx, Hegel and Leibniz always make the cut; Frege and Husserl are more arguable choices, especially when Adorno and Habermas are relegated to the substitutes’ bench (4,400 words)

Scotland’s Trauma

The Scottish independence vote offers a playbook for British campaigners against the European Union, who also want a referendum. Lesson one: Plenty of people want change for its own sake; anything will do. Lesson two: Class warfare works. “The Out campaign’s playbook will be a close replica of the one developed by the Yes team in Scotland. It will be deliberately divisive, creating rancour and resentment” (1,180 words)

The Human Factor

Air France Flight 447 crashed into the Atlantic five years ago because a transient technical glitch sent the two junior pilots into a panic. They were trained to fly automated planes. They couldn’t cope when the automation faltered. “The mental makeup of airline pilots has changed. A different crowd is flying now, and though excellent pilots still work the job, on average the knowledge base has become very thin” (12,300 words)

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