Arnold Relman | New York Review Of Books | 19th January 2014
"I am a physician with over six decades of experience who has observed his share of critical illness — but only from the doctor’s perspective. That changed suddenly one morning in June, ten days after my ninetieth birthday, when I fell down the stairs in my home, broke my neck, and very nearly died. Since then, I have made an astonishing recovery, in the course of which I learned how it feels to be a helpless patient close to death"
Horace Dediu | Asymco | 17th January 2014
Google is strange. It has no business model. It sees itself more as a research laboratory than as a commercial entity. "The absence of a purpose rooted in profit makes Google resistant to analysis. There might be a purpose, known only to the founders, but it’s one that is potentially naive, amoral or too abstract to be useful. Shareholders are aware of this and have agreed to entrust control to only three individuals"
Ryan Avent | Economist | 18th January 2014
Automation has always led to more growth and more jobs — at least until now. But the rise of artificial intelligence and robotics promises huge disruption without the clear prospect of widely shared gains. "Society may find itself sorely tested if growth and innovation deliver handsome gains to the skilled, while the rest cling to dwindling employment opportunities at stagnant wages" (Metered paywall)
David Gibbons | Asymptote | 17th January 2014
Translator tells of four years' work on the first full English edition of Zibaldone, notebooks of the 19C Italian poet Giacomo Leopardi, hailed as "a major event in the history of ideas" when published last year. "As I lingered with the prose of the Zibaldone, I came to see it as writing that was trying to keep up, or catch up, with thought; thought followed by counter-thought, argument by counter-argument"
David Pilling | FT Magazine | 17th January 2014
The ageing of Japan "is invariably presented in wholly negative terms". One-quarter of the population is over 65. But men and women alike are staying healthy and productive well into old age — and the impression given here is that they are pretty happy about that. Those who could opt for retirement choose to go on working. Healthcare is good. "Older people tend to be treated as important members of society"
Thought for the day:
"Civilisation is the process of turning the incomprehensible into the arbitrary" — Venkatesh Rao
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