Airlines, David Byrne, Cancer, Raymond Radiguet, GDP

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Does Your Airline Still Cross Seatbelts?

Alex Dichter et al | McKinsey | 3rd August 2018

Those quirks of airline behaviour that baffle frequent flyers — they baffle management consultants too. “Cabins where all the belts are lined up across the seats have a look of uniform neatness, but the price is high: at perhaps two seconds a belt, an airline with 100 aircraft can expect to spend quite a lot of money on this routine. Only the first few people boarding aircraft observe the neatness your product team admires, and even then only if they are really tall” (2,300 words)

A Conversation With David Byrne

Olivia Judson | Believer | 1st February 2007

Musician David Byrne talks to biologist Olivia Judson talk about sex, death, bacteria, Bach, morality, snakes, dinosaurs, smell, war. Byrne on Bach: “Bach was a bit of a doodler. His composing is too interesting for something that doesn’t go anywhere. You have to devote a certain percentage of your conscious mind to it”. Judson on nature: “I don’t think we should ever look to nature to excuse our behavior. To explain it — perhaps. Nature is full of unspeakable depravity” (3,900 words)

Cancer Progress

Scott Alexander | Slate Star Codex | 1st August 2018

President Nixon declared “war on cancer” in 1971. For a war of attrition, it has been going quite well. The overall incidence of cancer, and death rates from cancer, have been declining in America since 1990, after rising until that time. Why the improvement? Is it because science has been finding new cures for cancers? Or are we seeing the effects of better diagnostic techniques that catch cancer earlier, and of social policies — smoking bans, notably — that make cancer less likely? (1,950 words)

Monsieur Bébé

Emma Garman | Paris Review | 10th April 2018

The brief and eventful life of Raymond Radiguet. At 16 he became Jean Cocteau’s lover. At 19 he published his scandalous first novel, “Le Diable Au Corps”, which was an immediate best-seller. He moved into a grand hotel, spent extravagantly on clothes, drank heavily, and smoked opium. He had affairs with Picasso’s mistress, Irène Lagut, and Modigliani’s muse, Beatrice Hastings, while continuing to wear Cocteau’s ring, made by Cartier. At 20 he was killed by typhus contracted from an oyster (2,200 words)

The Physics Of GDP

Chris Lee | Ars Technica | 2nd August 2018

A World Bank research paper proposes a drastically simplified method for forecasting GDP which seems to beat current models. It relies on just two measures: Actual GDP, and the diversity of the given country’s exports. “The larger the variety of exported products, the fitter the economy. Economic fitness drives changes in economic growth.” If a relatively poor country is producing a relatively wide variety of competitive exports, as China was doing in the mid-1990s, then its GDP will rise (1,250 words)

Video of the day The Sound Of Strong

What to expect:

At work with voice actor Tara Strong, star of “Rugrats” and “The Fairly Odd Parents” (3’30”)

Thought for the day

The seed is waiting to flourish, while the tree is waiting to die
Hope Jahren

Podcast Let It Beep | Twenty Thousand Herz

Mark Bramhill talks to sound designer Jim Reekes about the distinctive sounds of the Apple Mac
(17m 27s)

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