2001, Complements, Byron, Soccer, Death

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Technology In 2001

Tyler Cowen | Marginal Revolution | 17th June 2018

Re-watching Stanley Kubrick’s 2001. “There is not only no love story, the film arguably has no characters, Hal aside. Kubrick expects ballet music to keep you interested, and various movements in space are stretched out to interminable length, yet almost always with striking aesthetic success. Hardly anything happens in the movie, and yet at the same time it encapsulates the entire history of humanity with extra material on both sides, beginning and end, and a nod in the Hegelian direction” (660 words)

Commoditise Your Complement

Gwern Branwen | 14th June 2018

“Every product in the marketplace has substitutes and complements. Chicken is a substitute for beef. If the price of beef goes up, the people will want more chicken. A complement is a product that you usually buy together with another product. Gas and cars are complements. All else being equal, demand for a product increases when the prices of its complements decrease. In general, a company’s strategic interest is going to be to get the price of their complements as low as possible” (4,900 words)

Gobblebook: Byron’s Wife And Daughter

Rosemary Hill | LRB | 14th June 2018

Lord Byron married Annabelle Milbanke to gain money and conceal scandal. “Byron had fallen in love with his married half-sister, Augusta Leigh. They now had a daughter, Medora. Augusta wanted Byron to marry so that her relations with him would have a respectable front. Exactly what happened in the 12 months before Annabella left Byron, taking their baby daughter, Ada, is impossible now to know. The protagonists set about reconstructing events in self-serving ways” (3,700 words)

Understanding The Beautiful Game

Alan Jacobs | Weekly Standard | 15th June 2018

On the logic of soccer. “The offside rule decrees that a player may not pass the ball to a teammate unless two members of the opposing side are closer to the goal than that teammate. Almost all of the wonderful patterns and geometries of soccer are generated by this one rule, which also generates something that many non-fans greatly dislike: a paucity of goals. But soccer fans get exasperated when goals flow too freely. Scoring should not be easy. There’s a link between rarity and value” (975 words)

Have We Forgotten How To Die?

Julie-Marie Strange | TLS | 5th June 2018

Until the early twentieth century, death was part of daily household life. “High death rates and low expectations of medicine meant that families commonly experienced death within their home”. From the 1950s death became more avoidable, thanks to smaller families and better medicine — and, somehow, completely undiscussable. “We duck awkward conversations with the dying, hand our corpses to corporate professionals and, worst of all, treat grief with embarrassment and shame” (3,080 words)

Video of the day DIY — Behind The Scenes

What to expect:

How an animated film gets made (1’42”)

Thought for the day

Boredom is the feeling that everything is a waste of time; serenity, that nothing is
Thomas Szasz

Podcast The Sicilian Mafia | Vox Talks

Tim Williams talks to Giuseppe De Feo about the rise of the Sicilian Mafia in the mid-1890s
(12m 40s)

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