Best of the Moment
David Samuels | Tablet | 13th November 2013
Interesting and provocative throughout. Spiegelman says his cartoon masterpiece has become something of a burden: it's all that anyone wants to talk about. "I’ve now drawn it 15 different ways — the giant 500-pound mouse chasing me through a cave, the monument to my father that casts a shadow over my life right now. I’ve made something that clearly became a touchstone for people. And the Holocaust trumps art every time"
Alex Harrowell | A Fistful Of Euros | 17th November 2013
Highly entertaining review of Anglo Republic by Simon Carswell, on the collapse of Anglo-Irish Bank. "Golf plays a special role in the book. Anglo was dedicated to the belief that nothing built relationships like golf. Very often, the business discussed on the golf course was the creation of further golf courses. Not rarely, the clients who golfed their way to a giant loan to build a golf course got the loan because they also played golf with Bertie Ahern"
Billy Baker | Boston Globe | 17th November 2013
Marty Walsh, mayor-elect of Boston, is "the source of some excitement in linguistic circles". He possesses "the strongest Boston dialect in the city’s mayoral history". "What makes Walsh’s dialect so authentic, and what separates him from the endless parade of actors who have tried — and failed — to capture the local inflection, is the variability in his speech. He does not exclude all Rs, which is what actors tend to get wrong"
Burkhard Bilger | New Yorker | 18th November 2013
Why Google is leading the race towards a driverless car, and the car companies are following reluctantly. For a car company, the driving experience is the main selling point of the car; the driver is the customer. For Google, the point of the car is to get from A to B; the driver is the weak link, the prime cause of accidents. Sample quote from Anthony Levandowski, engineer at Google X: “My fiancée is a dancer in her soul, I’m a robot”
Max Chafkin | Fast Company | 14th November 2013
Sebastian Thrun, Google scientist who pioneered massive open online online courses (MOOCs) by webcasting his Stanford artificial intelligence course, then founded Udacity to commercialise online education, is having second thoughts. "The sort of simplistic suggestion that MOOCs are going to disrupt the entire education system is very premature". Lots take the courses, very few — typically 7% — finish them
Venkatesh Rao | Aeon | 18th November 2013
Thoughts on a new mom-and-pop template for economic development. Sustainable growth requires responsible institutions which constrain behaviour and look to the long-term — the "martinet moms". But it also requires flashy adventurers focused on short-term gains, who drive innovation — the "deadbeat dads". The best results come when both parents work together to manage the cycles of disruption and consolidation
Thought for the day:
"I can forgive Alfred Nobel for inventing dynamite, but only a fiend in human form could have invented the Nobel Prize" — George Bernard Shaw