Quote of the day

"Science is the most complete presentment of facts with the least expenditure of thought"
— Ernst Mach

The Asshole Factory

I had great trouble resisting a suitable photograph to go with this fine rant. “Our world is now full of Asshole Factories. That’s what the stores, offices, industrial parks, skyscrapers, malls, low-rise blocks, gleaming headquarters, whimsically designed corporate campuses, really are. It’s the grand endeavor of today. We don’t make stuff anymore. We make assholes. The Great Enterprise of this age is the Asshole Industry” (1,580 words)

The Great Unraveling Of Globalization

Everybody said globalization was the future of industry. Everybody was wrong. Globalization “is proving to a barely profitable and perplexing strategy for most companies.” Markets are closing, profit margins are falling, cost-savings are being competed away. “What was until recently a taboo topic inside multinationals — to wit, should we reconsider, even rein in, our global growth strategy? — has become an urgent, if still hushed, discussion” (2,530 words)

The Flying Car Takes Off

They promised us flying cars — and they kept the promise; a flying car comes to market, built by two Slovaks who hatched 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: An American In ISIS

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 “deeply religious” Muslim 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)

Imagined Libraries Of The Future

The library is one of fiction’s favourite tropes. “Silent stretches of volumes ready to offer up innumerable secrets” have inspired Umberto Eco and J.R.R. Tolkien, Terry Pratchett and Jorge Luis Borges. But what of centuries to come when knowledge is digital? Will the imagined libraries of the future be ruins, like the “ancient monument of an intellectual age” which baffles the traveller in H.G. Wells’s Time Machine? (1,250 words)

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