Quote of the day

"I have yet to see a problem which, when looked at in the right way, did not become more complicated"
— Paul Alderson

China’s Fading Migrant Miracle

The great migration of rural workers into China’s cities has run its course, and with it the most dynamic phase of China’s economic growth. The rapid ageing of the population, the legacy of China’s one-child policy, is starting to squeeze the labour supply further, in cities and countryside alike. “If you go to the villages, I’m sure you won’t find any agricultural labourer under 30 years old. They’re just not there” (2,040 words)

Mass Incarceration: The Silence Of The Judges

“For too long, too many judges have been too quiet about an evil of which we are a part: mass incarceration. More than 2.2 million people are currently incarcerated in US jails and prisons. Most of the increase in imprisonment has been for nonviolent offenses, such as drug possession. If current rates hold, one-third of all black men will be imprisoned at some point in their lifetimes … Basically, we treat them like dirt” (3,460 words)

Test Drive Of A Petrol Car

Not only are they dirty and noisy, they are also extremely expensive to run: “How much does it cost to fill up at home, and how many free stations are there? The seller looked very puzzled at us and explained that it is not possible to refuel gasoline cars at home, and there are no free gas stations. Apparently you have to several times a month drive to the gas station to recharge your petrol car at extortionate prices” (1,860 words)

A Burnt-Out Fairground

Extracts from David Pryce-Jones’s memoir of a privileged early life taking him from Eton in 1948 through plum jobs in journalism to the book that made his name: Unity Mitford: An Enquiry into Her Life and the Frivolity of Evil. His account of pre-war fascist sympathies among the British upper classes “brought out into the open collaboration with Hitler and the outlines of a British Vichy regime in the event of a successful Nazi invasion” (5,400 words)

What Does Google Want?

Google is “a vast machine-learning engine that’s been stuffed with data for a decade and a half … Everything that Google does is about reach for that underlying engine – reach to get data in and reach to surface it out … Google tests new opportunities to see if they fit, in the same way that a shark bites a surfer to see if they’re a seal. If not, you don’t change Google to fit the opportunity – you spit out the surfer” (1,720 words)

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