Babies, Kashmir, CEOs, Smell, Darwin

The Secret In The Freezer

Ryan Krull | Riverfront Times | 25th September 2019

It would be an exaggeration to say that all human life is here; but there is more than the average amount of life, perhaps even more than a tolerable amount. The baby in the box in the freezer is just the jumping-off point, really. “In the wake of her death, the family compared notes about Barbara. How many times had she been married? How many times did she give birth? Different relatives came up with different numbers. Siblings who previously had been unknown to each other met for the first time” (3,720 words)


Silence Is The Loudest Sound

Arundhati Roy | Caravan | 26th August 2019

The tragedy of Kashmir. “What is unfolding today on both sides of the border of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir is the unfinished business of assimilation. A half-million soldiers counter what the army itself admits is now just a handful of ‘terrorists’. Their real enemy is the Kashmiri people. What India has done in Kashmir over the last 30 years is unforgivable. An estimated seventy thousand people — civilians, militants and security forces — have been killed in the conflict” (3,970 words)


What Do Executives Do, Anyway?

Avery Pennarun | Apenwarr | 26th September 2019

The formula for the perfect CEO has been hiding in plain sight for the past 35 years, ever since Andy Grove wrote High Output Management, and it is this: “The job of an executive is to define and enforce culture and values for their whole organisation, and to ratify good decisions”. That's it. Not to decide. Not to break ties. Not to set strategy. Not to be the expert on each and every topic. Just to sit in the room while the right people make good decisions. And, if they don't, send them back to try again (2,200 words)


How To Smell

Brienne Yudkowsky | Agenty Duck | 7th August 2019

Smell is the most under-used and under-rated of the senses. We don’t spend enough time with our noses close to the ground where most of the smells are. If you ask someone about their day they will will tell you what they saw and heard, but almost never what they smelled, unless the smell was something repellent. Humans have much better noses than they know. If you make more of a systematic effort to smell things, you will soon be able to tell when you are close to home by sense of smell alone (1,020 words)


Natural Selection

Peter Gildenhuys | Stanford Encyclopedia Of Philosophy | 25th September 2019

A pity about the algebra, but that aside, this is as comprehensive an explainer as any reasonable person might ever require of one of the greatest scientific theories of all time. In brief: “Natural selection requires variation in a population of organisms. At least some of that variation must be heritable and passed on to organisms’ descendants. That variation is acted upon by the struggle for existence, a process that, in effect, selects variations conducive to the survival and reproduction of their bearers” (11,320 words)


Video: The Law Of Gravitation. Why Newton’s Universal Law Of Gravitation is neither universal, nor, ipso facto, a law: It does not apply to very strong interactions, and very weak ones cannot be measured (5m 38s)

Audio: The Whistleblower Complaint | Penguin Random House. Saskia Maarleveld reads the letter received by the House Intelligence Committee concerning the Trump-Zelensky telephone call (29m 37s)

Afterthought:
“If nobody learns from the past, then there’s no point in raking it up”
— Billie Holiday

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