Quote of the day

"Television is not an art but an appliance, through which reviewable material is sometimes played"
Renata Adler

The Flying Car Takes Off

They promised us flying cars — and they kept the promise; here is the first true flying car, built by two Slovaks who came up with the idea in communist times as a means for escaping to the West. “No longer or wider than a standard five-door Bentley, it drives along the road like a space-age roadster. It flies through the skies like a private jet. And if everything goes to plan, it could be in customers’ garages within two years” (2,025 words)

Gone Girl

The story of Hoda, a 20-year-old American student brought up in suburban Alabama who was radicalised over the internet, got on a plane, and is now a fighter’s widow with Isis in Syria. Her bewildered father says she was brainwashed. She says not. “Everyone’s parents or family members says that about those who have come here. To that I say: Fear Allah, fear Allah with what you accuse us of” (4,595 words)

Libraries of the Future

The “undeniably magical and complex” qualities of libraries have always fascinated writers. Imagined libraries are one of fiction’s recurrent themes: vast, mysterious and sometimes thrilling, sometimes bleak. Fiction has shared the worry of the real world that libraries and librarians may suffer and fall into ruin in the digital era. But in the winter of 2014, the Moscow metro began handing free e-books to travellers, suggesting that libraries may change shape once again. (1,250 words)

States Re-Adopt “Gruesome” Execution Methods

The shortage of lethal injection doses which can be obtained by states in the US which use the death penalty has forced prison authorities to search the grisly alternatives. This has brought back a method of execution long thought to have been consigned to history books: the firing squad. The state of Utah executed one prisoner who chose a firing squad over other possible ways to die. Other states don’t offer choices. (962 words)

Should 16-Year-Olds Vote?

A discussion. Election campaigns oblige middle-aged (mostly male) politicians to bid for the confidence of younger voters who tend to view established authority with suspicion and derision. In Britain the minimum voting age is 18 — but for last year’s Scottish independence referendum the voting age was lowered to 16. What would be the political and social effects of lowering the voting age to 16 in general elections also? (1,876 words)

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