Best of the Moment
Paul Graham | 18th September 2013
As with almost everything Paul Graham writes, a model of directness and clarity. "Treat investors as saying no till they unequivocally say yes, in the form of a definite offer with no contingencies. Investors prefer to wait if they can. What's particularly dangerous for founders is the way they wait. Essentially, they lead you on. They seem like they're about to invest right up till the moment they say no"
James Davidson | London Review Of Books | 18th September 2013
Review of Nijinsky, a biography by Lucy Moore. "I still don’t know what to think about Nijinsky, his violence and stupidity, his vanity and sublimity. But then I remember that he was only 29 when he publicly lost his marbles in the Suvretta House Hotel, only 24 when he premiered Jeux and The Rite of Spring in the same season, only 23 when he performed as the faun, and only 20 when he was first hailed as the god of the dance in Paris"
Kenneth Anderson | Lawfare | 17th September 2013
On the strategic value of chemical weapons; lessons from their use by Saddam Hussein. "Saddam showed that gas can be a fantastically effective terror weapon specifically against an insurgency and the population that supports it, if integrated as one prong of a fully articulated strategy. Chemical weapons were not an end in themselves, but rather a method for terrorizing populations out of their homes and into the mountains"
Peter Gray | Aeon | 18th September 2013
"The rise in mental disorders among children is largely the result of the decline in children’s freedom. If we love our children and want them to thrive, we must allow them more time and opportunity to play, not less. Yet policy makers and powerful philanthropists are continuing to push us in the opposite direction — toward more schooling, more testing, more adult direction of children, and less opportunity for free play"
Wait But Why | 16th September 2013
Infographics. A cube containing all the world's water would have sides 693 miles long; the base would stretch roughly from Indianapolis to Denver. A cube containing all the world's fresh water would have sides 202 miles long and sit nicely on top of Iowa. A cube containing all the world's drinkable water would have sides just 29 miles long, and would fit into Rhode Island. Bonus fact: two-thirds of the world's fresh water is in icecaps and glaciers
Ian Leslie | New Statesman | 17th September 2013
"When a jury is trying to come to a decision, they need to take all sorts of information into account. What a witness is doing with their face while talking is, to a large extent, noise in the data, a hindrance to the search for truth. In their study, Bond and DePaulo found that 'people are more accurate in judging audible than visible lies'. If niqab-wearing women make us pay attention to this flaw in the system for the first time, isn’t that a good thing?
Thought for the day:
"The surest sign that a man has a genuine taste of his own is that he is uncertain of it" — W.H. Auden