Ancient Greece, Forecasting, Pathology, Bessie Smith


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A Warrior’s Tomb

Jo Marchant | Smithsonian | 4th January 2017

A newly excavated bronze-age warrior’s tomb provides evidence that the early Mycenaeans of southern Greece — the heroes of Homer’s epic poems — developed a culture equal to that of the Minoans on Crete, and should rank jointly with the Minoans as the ancestors of Western civilization. “The grave shows these are not just knuckle-scraping, Neanderthal Mycenaeans who were completely bowled over by the very existence of Minoan culture. They know what these objects are” (5,170 words)

The Bank And The Met Office

Tim Johnson | Magic Maths Money | 7th January 2017

The Bank of England compares the state of economic forecasting with that of weather forecasting, and notes that weather forecasting has improved greatly in recent years thanks to more data and more computing power. Could economic forecasting follow suit? Probably not — because the economy is man-made. “Both Aristotle and Cicero recognised that it was feasible to predict natural phenomena, like the weather, but events subject to human agency were impossible to foresee” (2,500 words)

The Detective Of Northern Oddities

Christopher Solomon | Outside | 4th January 2017

Kathy Burek cuts up “the wildest, largest, smallest, most charismatic, and most ferocious creatures in Alaska, looking for what killed them”. As a veterinary pathologist her crime scenes are “the discolored and distended organs of tide-washed seals and emaciated wood bison”. Her rule of thumb in the field is never to sink below her ankles. “Not long ago, while taking samples from a deceased beluga, she kept slipping deeper. Exasperated, she finally climbed inside the whale and resumed cutting” (6,080 words)

Everybody Knows You When You’re Down And Out

Amanda Petrusich | Oxford American | 1st December 2013

Put a face on the Blues, and it is likely to be a “portrait of alienation” taking after Robert Johnson — “dark and downtrodden, slumped, itinerant, devastated, male”. But there was also a Blues that was female and fun; and the face of it was Bessie Smith. She was “phenomenally successful — a stout, outspoken black woman in a fur coat and pearls, stuffing theaters”. Smith’s story “so directly contradicts the more romantic saga of blues as marginalized cry that she’s been nearly excised from its telling” (3,900 words)

A Night At The Facebook Hotel

Jason Gilbert | Content Strategist | 1st December 2016

Satire. “I knew something was wrong as soon as I entered the hotel. I signed in at the front desk and the clerk assumed a huge, cheerful smile. ‘Welcome to the Facebook Hotel!’ he said. ‘Your dog died six years ago today!’ After forcing me to look at four photos of my departed dog as a puppy, he handed over my room key. I stepped onto the elevator with a familiar face — a friend from high school jazz band? I couldn’t be sure. ‘I don’t normally talk about politics’, he said, as my heart sank” (720 words)

Video of the day: Dubai Flow Motion

What to expect:

One long breathtaking time-lapsed swoosh through Dubai (3’06”)

Thought for the day

Irony is just honesty with the volume cranked up
George Saunders

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