2001, Surgery, Bach, Charlie LeDuff, Henry Kissinger, America

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Interview: Christopher Nolan

Eric Hynes | Film Comment | 17th May 2018

Nolan explains why he has painstakingly “de-restored” Stanley Kubrick’s 2001, striking a new print from the original camera negative of the earliest screening version. “The medium of film in 1968 was vastly superior to what we have now. You have to put up a presentation like this for people to understand, they just don’t believe you otherwise. A lot of the information is thrown away when you digitize. In sound terms it’s overtones and subtones — things that you can’t consciously hear” (3,200 words)

Card-Carrying Precadavers

Aaron Kheriaty | First Things | 18th May 2018

A doctor reflects on medical school, dissection, transplant surgery and organ donation. “Putting scalpel to tissue, we began to cut. The knife drew no blood. It is strange, the things you find when you open up dead bodies. One man’s liver was rock-hard, cirrhotic, probably from years of alcohol abuse. We discovered tumors, remnants of old surgeries, food still in the stomach, stool still in the colon, a spleen six times the normal size. Eating lunch was sometimes difficult after anatomy lab” (5,200 words)

Bach At The Burger King

Theodore Gioia | LARB | 17th May 2018

Bad people cannot bear good music. When the London Underground started playing Bach in tube stations more than a decade ago, the crime rate plummeted. “Weaponised classical music” has since spread around the world as a means of dispersing delinquents. Fast food restaurants turn it up at nightfall. “Baroque music seems to make the most potent repellent. The music used to scatter hoodlums is pre-Romantic, by baroque or classical-era composers such as Vivaldi or Mozart” (2,450 words)

A Little Bit Of Real People

Matt Labash | Weekly Standard | 17th May 2018

Catching up with Charlie LeDuff, the Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter who left the New York Times for his hometown newspaper, the Detroit News, and has since quit journalism — “Too many bodies, too many broken hearts” — to work as a handyman in a diner. “One of Charlie’s brothers worked for a crack dealer named Death Cat. His sister became a part-time hooker. Charlie sat in a broken chair in a half-empty newsroom. As the Lost City correspondent, he wrote like he was avenging a death” (3,070 words)

How The Enlightenment Ends

Henry Kissinger | Atlantic | 16th May 2018

Thoughts on artificial intelligence. “AI may soon be able to optimize situations in ways that are marginally different, and probably significantly different, from how humans would optimize them. But will AI be able to explain, in a way that humans can understand, why its actions are optimal? What will become of human consciousness if its own explanatory power is surpassed by AI, and societies are no longer able to interpret the world they inhabit in terms that are meaningful to them?” (2,580 words)

Baby Boomers Broke America

Steven Brill | Time | 17th May 2018

Not a new argument by any means, but a well-expressed one. America has become a country of great poverty as well as great wealth, because so much of the wealth created in the 1960s and 1970s was captured by the brightest of the baby boomers. “Then, in a way unprecedented in history, they were able to consolidate their winnings, outsmart and co-opt the forces that might have reined them in, and pull up the ladder so more could not share in their success or challenge their primacy” (4,500 words)

Video of the day Understanding Africa

What to expect:

Musicologist explains the near-universal charm of Toto’s “Africa”. It’s the secondary tonic function (7’20”)

Thought for the day

Everything is an experiment until it has a deadline
Brian Eno

Podcast Divide And Conquer | Revisionist History

Malcolm Gladwell explains why the existence of the United States may turn on a single semi-colon
(41m 24s)

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