Best of the Moment
Kenan Malik | Pandaemonium | 21st August 2013
History repeats itself. Nasser repressed the Muslim Brotherhood, but found it useful as a counterweight to more radical opposition; Sadat and Mubarak followed suit. "No doubt, some time in the future, Sisi or one of his successors will, like Sadat and Mubarak before them, come to a hardnosed reconciliation of sorts with the Brotherhood, and exploit it as a weapon against what they regard as a greater threat to their rule"
Ed West & Fraser Nelson | Spectator | 22nd August 2013
On the changing composition of British society: the rich are taking over, the middle classes are losing out. "The middle classes who can afford to pay for school fees for their children often do so at the expense of all their own luxuries — yet they know it will be money well spent. Nothing defines the life chances of a British teenager more than whether their parents managed to afford fees"
Akbar Ganji | Foreign Affairs | 21st August 2013
Impressive full-length portrait of Iran's Supreme Leader, who heads the country's religious and military establishments, and outranks President Rouhani. Khameini has "always been critical of liberal democracy". He thinks that "capitalism and the West are in inevitable long-term decline". He sees America as "inherently Islamophobic", if decreasingly dangerous. He values Western science and literature: his favourite author is Victor Hugo
Anthony Lane | New Yorker | 21st August 2013
"Elmore Leonard, who died on Monday, at the age of eighty-seven, was hailed as one of the best crime writers in the land. High praise, but not quite high enough, and some way off the mark. He was one of the best writers, and he happened to write about crime. As Leonard delighted in showing us, crime — more than anything, even politics — allows men of all ages to disport themselves across the full range of human ineptitude"
Ann Finkbeiner | Last Word On Nothing | 21st August 2013
How Robert Oppenheimer did the breakthrough work on black holes, and John Archibald Wheeler got the credit. "In 1939, Oppenheimer explained how a giant star runs on thermonuclear fusion until it’s out of fuel, then implodes and cuts itself off from the rest of the universe. He published this on September 1; the same day, Wheeler published with Niels Bohr the explanation of atomic fission. Also that day, Hitler invaded Poland"
Thought for the day:
"I leave out the parts that people skip" — Elmore Leonard