Best of the Moment
Elizabeth Murphy | Fast Company | 14th October 2013
Genetics firm 23andMe reaches out to the mass market, dropping the price of DNA analysis to $99. It aims to grow from a testing business into a data business — the "Google of personalized health care" — able to spot population groups most at risk for serious diseases. "You can target them with preventative messages, make sure they're examined more frequently, and in the end live healthier lives"
David Barash | Chronicle Review | 14th October 2013
Discussion of recent books on evolution and reproduction, including Grazyna Jasienska's The Fragile Wisdom, which "explains why it has been so difficult to prevent certain aspects of disease in women". Women are victims of competing evolutionary pressures between their lifetime reproductive success and their lifelong health. Their physiology has evolved to maximize successful reproduction, not health or happiness
Richard Brody | New Yorker | 16th October 2013
Norman Mailer was a great novelist who never wrote a great novel. "The late nineteen-fifties should have been Mailer’s time. Instead, he frittered it away on a sort of bender of masculinity: bullfighting and boxing and street-brawling, drinking and marijuana and amphetamines, journalistic dustups and sexual adventures, a mad pursuit of so-called experience to take the place of where his life actually was"
Andrew Sullivan | Daily Dish | 16th October 2013
The cultural panic of the American right. "The beleaguered citizens of this new modern order want a pristine variety of America that feels like the one they grew up in. They want truths that ring without any timbre of doubt. They want root-and-branch reform to the days of the American Revolution. They want all of this as a theater of comfort and nostalgia. They want their presidents white and their budget balanced now"
Simon Hoggart | The Guardian | 16th October 2013
Savagely funny review of Jonathan Aitken's "alarmingly candid" study, Margaret Thatcher: Power and Personality, in which the subject is described variously as "phoney, bullying, obnoxious, hypocritical, deplorable, unpleasant, alienating, opportunistic, confrontational, monomaniacal, disloyal, dysfunctional, snarky, pedestrian, hesitant, insufferably rude, foolish, arrogant, grudge-bearing and an anachronistic bigot"
Laura Jacobs | London Review Of Books | 16th October 2013
Isadora Duncan hated film, and wasn't too fond of photography; as a result, only four seconds of her dancing are preserved on film. But her "ecstatic presence and concrete power" are on display throughout her autobiography, My Life, which she finished a fortnight before her death in 1927. Dorothy Parker called it a "mess of prose"; which was wrong. It is "an inspiring book, doors and windows and eyes and arms wide open to the world"
Timothy Noah | Washington Monthly | 16th October 2013
Labour mobility used to be a powerful source of economic efficiency in America. No more. Americans are moving to different states only half as often as they did in the 1950s. And when they do move, it's usually because they need to find cheaper housing — which often means, perversely, moving away from where the work is. Since 2009 the median house price has risen 13%, while the median income has fallen 4%
Thought for the day:
"Male writers get asked what they think, women what they feel"— Eleanor Catton