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"Some books are undeservedly forgotten, none is undeservedly remembered "
— W.H. Auden

What Porn Actors Don’t Talk About

The taboo subject is money. It should be at least $1,000 per scene. “Why do performers get paid this much? There’s a cost of doing business that includes transportation, an insane level of personal grooming, and STI testing fees, which range from $155 to $210. Having sex in front of cameras is still highly stigmatised work, and negatively ­affects employment options later in life. There is also that risk of mechanical injuries” (960 words)

Japanese Change Trays

A short history of Japanese change trays, always used in cash transactions, which spirals into a charming note on Japanese shopping culture. “Offering change in a tray feels more polite than simply placing money in a customer’s hand. Japanese prefer not to touch other people’s hands and the tray creates desirable distance. So you could say that using a tray is an expression of reserve as well as an extension of good customer service” (990 words)

After Lethal Injection

American states seek alternative execution methods if the Supreme Court bans Midazolam for lethal injections. Oklahoma, “the nation’s laboratory for capital punishment”, plans to suffocate prisoners with nitrogen. According to a state senator: “When they first proposed it, I said: I’ve never heard of such a thing, but I suppose that might work. Not that I’ve ever executed someone. But I assume somebody must have done some research” (5,200 words)

FIFA And Global Power

The move against FIFA is a test case of America’s capacity to control global institutions. The outcome will carry lessons for the balance of power in more systemically important global institutions such as the IMF and the UN. So far, American authority is holding up well, due mainly to America’s grip on the world financial system. That could change if China’s renminbi becomes a major international currency (910 words)

The Education Myth

More and better education may be desirable for all sorts of reasons. But education doesn’t guarantee economic growth — at least, not the sort of education that happens in schools. “Most of the skills that a labor force possesses are acquired on the job. At most modern firms, fewer than 15% of the positions are open for entry-level workers, meaning that employers demand something that the education system cannot provide” (930 words)

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