Best of the Moment
Felix Bohr et al | Spiegel | 11th November 2013
The story of those 1,400 "degenerate" masterpieces found in an apartment. It's complicated. Hildebrand Gurlitt, who put the collection together, was purged from his job as a museum director in Hamburg in 1933 because he had a Jewish grandmother; a decade later he was buying paintings for Hitler. His son, Cornelius, in whose flat the paintings were found, has disappeared; he may well be the legal owner of most of them
Morgan Meis | n+1 | 11th November 2013
Arthur Danto, the art critic for the Nation who died last month in New York, was a man with a big idea. "Art, he believed, had ended." Not that there would be no more art, but that art had lost its narrative. There would be no more Art, only works of art. His epiphany came in 1964 when he saw Andy Warhol's Brillo Boxes: "If the Brillo Boxes can look just like Brillo boxes and still be art, then anything can be art. Art isn’t special anymore"
Nicholas Valéry | The Economist | 11th November 2013
Despite Fukushima, nuclear power is coming back. China is adding 32 reactors, Russia 10, India seven. Nuclear stations generate large blocks of power without producing carbon dioxide — and they don't have to be dangerous. The current industry standard, the light-water reactor using solid uranium fuel, is a "terrible mistake" in engineering terms. Liquid thorium fuel is cheap, plentiful, and far less toxic (Metered paywall)
Stephen Kosslyn & Wayne Miller | The Atlantic | 11th November 2013
The upper and lower parts of the brain have different functions. The upper formulates and executes plans; the lower classifies and interprets incoming information. In some situations we can choose whether to rely on the upper or lower brain system. The four possible combinations — upper, lower, both, neither — give rise to four cognitive modes: Mover, Perceiver, Stimulator, Adaptor. The cognitive mode determines personality
Todd Purdum | Vanity Fair | 8th November 2013
"It is Obama’s unwavering discipline to keep his cool when others are losing theirs, and it seems likely that no black man who behaved otherwise could ever have won the presidency." But in office his aloofness has become his greatest weakness. He is a reserved and distant figure even towards his own administration — the more so to Congress, and to the rest of Washington. Nobody loves him; nobody fears him.
Matthew Amster-Burton | The Magazine On Medium | 12th November 2013
Lyrical account of eating in a Tokyo tempura restaurant. "Over-mixing is the enemy of good tempura, because it makes the coating tough and chewy, and a confident tempura chef finishes mixing the batter by dragging your shrimp or eggplant through it. By the time the food is cooked, you’d never guess that its crisp and even exterior came from a batter that looks like boarding-school cafeteria oatmeal"
Thought for the day:
"People are bad at looking at seeds and guessing what size tree will grow out of them" — Paul Graham