Quote of the day

"Never speak ill of yourself, your friends will say enough on that subject"
— Prince de Talleyrand

The Stakes Behind The FIFA Scandal

FIFA and the geopolitics of football. The founders were “aristocratic European white men” who ran football on colonial lines. With Havelange came decolonisation, the rise of non-European countries. Blatter’s FIFA wallowed in a resource boom from broadcasting rights. “The clean FIFA will get rid of African and Asian influence, host World Cups in impeccable stadiums in Germany and the US, and ignore three-quarters of the poor world” (1,050 words)

The Pride Of U2

Portrait of U2 in late middle-age. Songs Of Innocence tanked, but that has scarcely dented their power as a live act. “They can play Estonia or eastern Australia, it doesn’t matter.” And they deliver: “In case there’s any doubt: U2 remains an incredibly effective arena-rock band. Put them in a cage match with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, and I’d still put my money on U2 as the best there ever was” (5,400 words)

Manhood: Men Adrift Pick of the day

Men are falling behind in the economy, in education and in society, because there is less demand for their physical labour and because their history of dominance over women makes them slow to adjust. “Their ideas of the world and their place in it are shaped by old assumptions about the status due to men in the workplace and in the family, but they live in circumstances where those assumptions no longer apply” (5,600 words)

Players With More Time

The greatest players in sport always have time. Zinedine Zidane, Roger Federer, Barry John: They make their own time. “Having time is about moving fast, and yet also about slowing the drama to a manageable pace. Sometimes it is simply about moving faster so as to be in position earlier. Pelé had time, to an eerie degree”. Great captains make time for everyone: “Captaincy is the art of slowing time — or not allowing it to speed up” (930 words)

The Cunning Minds Of Fish

Close study shows fish to be much cleverer than previously imagined. They appear to co-operate, cheat, console, punish — overturning long-standing assumptions that intelligent social behaviours are limited to primates because only primates have big enough brains. If fish can master them, then clearly the “extra computing power of big brains” is not essential; complex social skills can be mastered by simple association (2,500 words)

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