Buffalo, Smuggling, Automation, Whooping Cranes, Pete Wells


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Buffalo

Spencer Hall | Every Day Should Be Saturday | 2nd September 2016

Lyrical and scholarly by turns, a remarkable screed about violence in male American life, mainly on the football field — “football is the sport that asks you to believe that there is an acceptable and controllable amount of being on fire” — but with generous excursions concerning slavery, Civil War, Theodore Roosevelt, and buffalo-hunting. “Male buffalo are built for head-butting, carrying a shocking percentage of their mass in what you and I might call the t-shirt muscle territory” (4,500 words)

The Legend Of Elden Kidd

Kathy Dobie | GQ | 2nd September 2016

Action-packed profile of the “American Coyote”, Elden Kidd, retired smuggler of illegal immigrants from Mexico into the US. “In a business run by Mexicans he was this clean-cut Mormon from California. He shuttled people across the border dozens upon dozens of times, and always he was impressed by the bravery he saw: farmers and factory workers following him at a crouch along the ragged bottom of a gully, grandmas and children wading a cold river toward a night-shrouded shore” (5,080 words)

History And Theory Of Robot Economics

John Lewis | Bank Underground | 6th September 2016

Queen Elizabeth I denied a patent to a knitting machine, fearing it would create unemployment; David Ricardo argued that more technology led to lower wages; J.M. Keynes predicted a 15 hour working week. “Understanding why these beliefs proved to be wrong gives us important insights into why similar claims about robotisation might be incorrect. Technology can lead to workers being displaced in one particular industry, but this doesn’t hold for the economy as a whole” (1,500 words)

Ruffled Feathers

Sonia Smith | Texas Monthly | 5th September 2016

American naturalists have have rescued the Whooping Crane from the brink of extinction, “one of conservation’s great success stories”. But it would be even more of a success story if American hunters didn’t keep on killing the cranes returned to the wild. Of the 75 released in Louisiana since 2011, ten have been shot. When two were killed near Beaumont, Texas, the trail led back to a teenager called Trey Frederick. His Facebook page listed as his favourite quote: “If it flies, it dies!!” (8,400 words)

Pete Wells Has His Knives Out

Ian Parker | New Yorker | 5th September 2016

[Metered paywall] Profile of the New York Times restaurant critic who made waves by downgrading Per Se and ridiculing Guy Fieri. He has a weakness for “good-natured restaurants with inexact kitchen standards” — such as Sammy’s Roumanian Steakhouse on the Lower East Side: “At Sammy’s, the meat will be cooked. If you have something more specific in mind, then write your request on a sheet of paper, tear it into small pieces, and throw them into the air when the piano player sings Happy Birthday” (8,600 words)

Video of the day: The Waves

What to expect:

Lines from Virginia Woolf. Directed by Marta Di Francesco. Voice by Adele Orcajada. Best in HD (2’45”)

Thought for the day

Every spoken word evokes its contrary meaning
J.W. von Goethe

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