Quote of the day

"Leadership is the art of getting people to follow you when they don't have to"
Chris Dillow

On Amish Time

Admiring notes on Amish culture, which is more pragmatic than you might think. There is no blanket ban on modernity; rules are constantly updated; the question is whether a technology will be good or bad for the Amish way of life. Video games are out. Debt is out. Automated farm machinery is usually out. Old-fashioned fun is in. “They have a fondness for trampolines, rollerblades, and board games” (2,100 words)

The Crash Of EgyptAir 990

James Fallows calls this “the most useful work of journalism to consider today” when trying to understand the recent Germanwings air crash. Langewiesche tells how EgyptAir Flight 990 was brought down in the Atlantic by a suicidal first officer in 1999, killing 217 passengers. Egypt denied the facts. “One of the world’s really important divides lies between nations that react well to accidents and nations that do not” (10,900 words)

Interview With A Murderer

The interview begins in paragraph nine, and is astonishing throughout. Here, Valya quarrels with her sister-in-law: “I hit her over the head, but it didn’t finish her off, just left her brain damaged. She lost her wits, turned into an idiot. So I got done for attempted murder with aggravating circumstances, plus GBH, plus I was a repeat offender – 10 years altogether! There you go, Katyusha! But I’ll get her some day!’ (2,900 words)

Defending Darwin

Lessons learned from teaching evolution at the University of Kentucky, where Darwinism is almost “synonymous with atheism”. Evolution comes at the start of the biology course for non-majors; “most semesters, a significant number of students abruptly leave as soon as they realise the topic is human evolution”. The confusion begins with the words theory of evolution. Students assume “theory” means “guesswork” (2,200 words)

The Decline Of Marriage

It’s the wrong thing for the right reason. “To explain a social crisis, you first have to establish that a crisis is occurring. There is no major dimension on which American children are doing worse in 2015 than they were in 1975. That should be a huge giveaway that the decline of marriage is a consequence of something good — prosperity, especially for women — rather than a cause or a consequence of something bad” (1,260 words)

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