Atonement, Altruism, Sabotage, Georgia, Innovation, Smoked Fish


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German Atonement, American Indifference

Jane Yager | Narratively | 1st December 2015

A conversation with an elderly grandparent stirs some thoughts about American history. Germans accept a permanent duty to uncover, confront and atone for the evils of the Holocaust. They are admired for their sense of responsibility towards the past. The more one thinks about America's refusal to take responsibility for slavery, and for the genocide of Native Americans, the stranger America's behaviour seems (2,900 words)

Grace Notes

Rowan Williams | Literary Review | 2nd December 2015

Review of Strangers Drowning, Larissa MacFarquhar's book about extreme altruists. "Does a thirty-year-old mother of four have more claim on me than my own ageing parent? ... Part of the discomfort generated by some of MacFarquhar’s case studies is to do with a sense that some people are looking almost obsessively for a scheme of ideas that will assure them beyond doubt that they are doing what is right" (1,240 words)

Simple Sabotage Field Manual

CIA | 17th January 1944

Declassified OSS manual advises civilians in occupied Europe how to sabotage the Axis war effort. From page 28, for factory managers: "Insist on perfect work in relatively unimportant products. Be pleasant to inefficient workers and give them undeserved promotions. Hold conferences when there is more critical work to be done. See that three people have to approve everything where one would do" (PDF)

The Music Of Georgia

Oxford American | 1st December 2015

Sleeve notes from Oxford American's anthology of Georgia music. First up: Cold Sweat (False Start). "The precise origins of new genres are generally matters of debate. When jazz emerged in New Orleans, Buddy Bolden was the most innovative cornet player in town, but it’s generous to give him sole credit for creating the form. There is, however, one clean exception to the rule: James Brown invented funk" (4,980 words)

Eyes On The Prizes

Tim Harford | Undercover Economist | 1st December 2015

Patents encourage new ideas, but discourage their rapid spread. Would prizes work better — rewarding innovators, but making their discoveries free to all, as with the 18C Longitude Prize, which spurred the invention of the chronometer? Perhaps; but it's probably a bad idea to run prizes and patents in parallel. The best ideas would be patented, and the duds would be entered for prizes (880 words)

The Russ & Daughters Guide To Smoked & Cured Fish

Niki Russ Federman | Lucky Peach | 1st December 2015

The options for salmon are cold-smoked, hot-smoked, cured or pickled. The professional's pick: Cold-smoked from Nova Scotia. "It’s what you think of when you think of New York–style smoked salmon. We’re talking big, fatty salmon. A side is normally about six pounds. You have a marbling and fattiness that give the salmon a silky quality". Or splurge on sturgeon, "the most luxurious, regal smoked fish" (1,370 words)

Video of the day: Key Ideas In Therapy

What to expect: Animation. What matters is the relationship with the therapist, not the school of therapy (2'30")

Thought for the day

Let us find what risks we can measure, and these are the risks we should be taking
Nassim Nicholas Taleb

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