Best of the Moment
Ken Auletta | New Yorker | 19th August 2013
Profile of the New York mayor in his final days. "At dinner parties, while drinking copious amounts of wine, he makes plain his contempt for the New York Times, and for President Obama, who occupies the office he craves but will never achieve". "Bloomberg is having a hard time reconciling himself to the inevitability of a successor — he believes that the current candidates lack stature, gravitas, and independence"
National Security Archive | 19th August 2013
Newly released CIA documents tell more about America's part in the coup. National Security Archive — an academic site, not a government one — provides introduction, background, links. "American and British involvement in Mosaddeq's ouster has long been public knowledge, but today's posting includes what is believed to be the CIA's first formal acknowledgement that the agency helped to plan and execute the coup"
Robert Sapolsky | Wall Street Journal | 16th August 2013
Trolley problems with dogs. "Everyone would save a sibling, grandparent or close friend rather than a strange dog. But when people considered their own dog versus people less connected with them — a distant cousin or a hometown stranger — votes in favor of saving the dog came rolling in. And an astonishing 40% of respondents, including 46% of women, voted to save their dog over a foreign tourist"
Alex Ross | New Yorker | 19th August 2013
Reflections on the composer, and on the many productions of the Ring around the world in his bicentenary year. His stature has diminished: "Discussion of Wagner is stuck in a Nazi rut. His multifarious influence on artistic, intellectual, and political life has been largely forgotten". The music continues to provoke: Bayreuth's Ring this year is filled with "slapstick and absurdism". Barenboim's London Ring was a masterpiece
Kevin Williamson | National Review | 10th August 2013
It can be good to waste your own time. It's always bad to waste someone else's. "I am a puritan on the issue of punctuality: 15 minutes before the movies, 20 minutes before theater, two hours or more before a flight, 30 minutes before an intercity train, etc. I suspect that my libertarian sympathies have something to do with this. Libertarians tend to be very rule-oriented people, which is only a paradox if you do not think about it very much"
Thought for the day:
"My practice as a scientist is atheistic. When I set up an experiment I assume that no god, angel, or devil is going to interfere with its course" — J.B.S. Haldane