Kingsley Martin | New Statesman | 7th January 2014
Churchill talks about war, democracy, privacy and freedom, eight months before WW2 and 15 months before his appointment as prime minister. "It may be that greater efficiency in secret military preparations can be achieved in a country with autocratic institutions than by the democratic system. But this advantage is not necessarily great, and it is far outweighed by the strength of a democratic country in a long war"
Mike Jay | Aeon | 9th January 2014
Moving. Amazing. Geel, an "otherwise unremarkable Belgian market town", has a unique vocation: "For more than 700 years its inhabitants have taken the mentally ill and disabled into their homes as guests." Odd behaviour is "ignored where possible, and when necessary dealt with discreetly". The system is non-medical. "When boarders meet their new families, they do so without a backstory or clinical diagnosis"
Mark Slouka | New Yorker | 7th January 2014
Essay on the death of a father. "It needs to be said: in some strange way, my father’s death has made the thought of dying easier. The door opened, and he walked through it successfully; the land of the dead is a peopled place for me now because he’s there, somewhere. And, because he’s done it, because he’s pulled this thing off, it’s become conceivable for me as well. Hell, if the old man can do it, I can do it"
J.J. Colao | Forbes | 6th January 2014
Profile of the 23-year-old Snapchat founder Evan Spiegel, who turned down $3bn from Facebook, and aims to be the next Mark Zuckerberg himself. He thinks Snapchat has found a strategy for beating Facebook, at least among younger people: Posts to Snapchat disappear after a while, whereas Facebook content haunts you for ever. The median Snapchat user is aged 18; the median Facebook user, 40
D.G. Myers | A Commonplace Blog | 8th January 2014
Reflections on getting laid off. "After twenty-four years of patiently acquiring literary knowledge I have been informed that my knowledge is no longer needed. I fill no gap in the department, because there is no shimmering and comprehensive surface of knowledge in which any gaps might appear. Like everyone else in English, I am an extra, and the offloading of an extra is never reported or experienced as a loss" "
Thought for the day:
"Find out what you like doing best, then get someone to pay you for it" — Katherine Whitehorn
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