Jackie Wullschlager | Financial Times | 3rd January 2014
Interesting and intelligent conversation with the director of London's National Gallery, "the leading art historian of his generation". Topics include scholarship, contemporary art, blockbuster exhibitions. “If you said to someone 20 years ago that you were going to the National Gallery this weekend, they would have assumed you meant you were going to see the permanent collection. Today, it will elicit the question: What’s on?"
Joshua Yaffa | Bloomberg Business Week | 2nd January 2014
Tales of "ambition, hubris, and greed leading to fabulous extravagance on the shores of the Black Sea", where the Russian government is spending $51bn on the 2014 Winter Olympic Games at Sochi. A single road and rail link has cost more than the entire 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver. "It can be hard to determine at which point inefficient and repeated work becomes outright theft, but there seems to have been plenty of that"
Nicholas Dawidoff | New Yorker | 3rd January 2014
American football depends on layers of sophisticated tactics. Winning means out-thinking the opposition. Players need to be smart in special ways. They have to think clearly, and fast, under pressure. They need be good at pattern recognition. "When people see the game, they think we’re meatheads, they think of the way jocks acted in high school. But we spend more time studying than we do on the field”
Alexander Nazaryan | Newsweek | 3rd January 2014
Sizzling review of an "occasionally insane, but far more frequently brilliant" short book, Hyperobjects: Philosophy and Ecology after the End of the World, by Timothy Morton. Hyperobjects are "the very big things that have come to dominate human existence: cancer, global warming, radionuclides, petrochemicals". By Morton's reckoning, the end of our world is nigh, but we cannot or will not think about it
Bruce Barcott | Rolling Stone | 3rd January 2014
On the economics and social-policy dimensions of marijuana liberalisation in America. Colorado opened its first legal pot shops this week. Washington State will follow soon. Legal pot sales will probably top $2.4bn this year — but watch where you shop. "If you drop a gram of Sour Diesel on the sidewalk in Seattle, a police officer may help you sweep it up. Do that in New Orleans and you could face 20 years hard labor"
Thought for the day:
"There's a quick and easy way to test whether an activity involves skill; ask whether you can lose on purpose" — Michael Mauboussin
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