Lee Billings | Nautilus | 26th December 2013
Can we design better human habitats, by studying those of animals and insects? Perhaps; but only if we are smart enough to understand them. “We look to nature to validate our own solutions. If the natural world has settled on something similar, that makes us feel good. But you can’t make great explicit leaps between the societies of humans and social insects like termites. There are different value systems at play”
John Spong | Texas Monthly | 28th December 2013
Portrait of Guy Clark, "Godfather of Nashville Songwriters", peer of Townes Van Zandt and Jerry Jeff Walker, forefather of Lyle Lovett and Steve Earle. Fading. "In November Guy turned 72, but it must be noted that songwriter years, like dog years, aren’t the same as people years." The title track to his most recent album, My Favorite Picture of You, may be his finest song yet. Bob Dylan loves him, Nashville too
James Thurber | New Yorker | 18th March 1939
Ungated, to celebrate the release of Ben Stiller's film. One of the great surprises of this James Thurber short story is just how short it is, given its reputation and afterlife. Enjoy also the keywords chosen by the New Yorker libriarians for indexing: "daydreams; books; middle age; marriage; wives; heroism; men"
Adrian Marston | New Statesman | 12th December 2013
An eminent surgeon and two-time cancer survivor writes: "Cancer is not a diagnosis. It is a label – and a misleading one at that, given the wide range of conditions that it covers. We need to demystify the problem. Cancer is ordinary; it is normal; it affects all of us indirectly and one in three of us will get it. To treat it as a sort of fairy-tale giant to be fought and conquered is to fuel unnecessary fear"
Suzy Hansen | The New Republic | 26th December 2013
Shrewd republication of interview-profile from 2010. Fethullal Gülen, "a 69-year-old Turkish bachelor with a white moustache, wide nose, and gentle, sad expression", leads "arguably the world’s most successful Islamic movement" from "a tiny Pennsylvania town called Saylorsburg". Turkey's prime minister, Tayyip Erdogan, blames Gülen for a corruption scandal that may bring down his government
Thought for the day:
"The trouble with lying and deceiving is that their efficiency depends upon a clear notion of the truth" — Hannah Arendt
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