Quote of the day

"Wealth, in even the most improbable cases, manages to convey the aspect of intelligence"
J.K. Galbraith

Death Is Optional

Enthralling conversation about the future between Harari, a historian of human life, and Kahneman, the father of behavioural economics. Begins with an exchange of pleasantries, then takes off: “The basic process is the decoupling of intelligence from consciousness. The military and economic and political system doesn’t really need consciousness. It needs intelligence. And intelligence is a far easier thing than consciousness” (5,950 words)

The Nuclear Addiction

The worldwide stock of nuclear weapons has gone down since the end of the Cold War but the possibility of a nuclear strike has gone up. Nuclear weapons are scattered ever more widely. Some of the holders — North Korea, Pakistan, Russia — have little interest in the global status quo. If there was ever a moment for nuclear disarmament it has long since passed; the trend is towards nuclear re-armament (2,800 words)

Delhi Rapists Blame Dead Victim

The gang-rape and murder of an Indian student on a Delhi bus in 2012 shocked the world. Prepare to be shocked again by this film-maker’s account of her meetings with the “apparently normal” rapists. They blame the victim; they show no remorse; they seemingly cannot accept that they have done wrong. “A decent girl won’t roam around at nine o’clock at night. A girl is far more responsible for rape than a boy” (1,580 words)

Year Zero: Our Timelines Begin

“In 10 years, every human connected to the Internet will have a timeline. It will contain everything we’ve done since we started recording, and it will be the primary tool with which we administer our lives. This will fundamentally change how we live. We’ll look back at the time before our feed started as a huge, unknowable black hole”. We already have the tech, and the data; it’s a matter of knitting it all together (2,330 words)

The Thousand-Dollar White-Hot Stampers

At the top end of the vintage record market you don’t just want a classic album, you want the best pressing of the album. Aficionados will pay $1,000 for a “white-hot stamper”, such as the very first 1969 pressing of Led Zeppelin II, mastered by Bob Ludwig, which had “such energy and dynamic range” that the cheap record players of the day couldn’t cope, causing Atlantic Records to dull down the sound on later masters (2,750 words)

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