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It’s For Your Own Good

It’s attractive to think that nudging — making the virtuous choice into the easy choice, the default choice — offers a painless way of steering people towards better lives. What’s the problem? The problem is that we can’t trust any authority — public or private — to offer a disinterested nudge. The offerers have their own agenda. Their agenda will never be the same as ours. And by manipulating us, they demean us (3,860 words)

Justin Timberlake Has A Cold

How the music industry is adjusting to the disappearance of the manufactured rock star and the manufactured hit. There’s still money to be made, but much less predictability about who is going to make it. “The brute fact of the music business is that, in this day and age, not even a genius like Clive Davis has any idea how many records Justin Timberlake will sell. The number could be 100,000 or 5 million” (10,000 words)

Loch Lomond

It’s a lovely song; but it has a dark history. Avoid that low road. “There’s a low road leading through the valley and a higher one cut up across Ben Lomond? Hey, what’s the big deal? 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 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)

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