Charisma, Medical Ethics, Voices, Antelope, Driving

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Charisma And Representation

Xavier Marquez | Abandoned Footnotes | 25th January 2018

“Leaders described as charismatic are sometimes very different demographically from their followers. And so people sometimes wonder how others can identify strongly with leaders who don’t look like them, or don’t share any of their life experiences. But by definition the charismatic leader has some extraordinary gift that exalts them above their followers; it is the recognition of this ‘gift’ that matters, not whatever apparent similarities there may be between leader and followers” (4,100 words)

I Cried In The Operating Room

Allan Goldstein | Spiegel | 25th January 2018

Surgeon reflects on the ethics of an operation to separate conjoined twins, only one of whom could survive. “Our intent was not to end the life of one girl, but rather to save the other’s. The difference is subtle, because the result would be the same: We would push two living children into the operating room and leave it with only one. Not all of us followed the argument. Three doctors — two surgeons and one anesthesiologist — stepped back. They said they could not participate in such a thing” (1,800 words)


Jordan Kisner | Guardian | 23rd January 2018

How technology creates synthetic voices for those who cannot speak. If you have cancer of the tongue, you can record a bank of words and syllables from which your artificial voice will be constructed, before your tongue is cut out. Or you can make use of a voice donated by another. “Donating your voice – unlike, say, a kidney – usually takes a few days, and you’re awake for all of it. There’s no screening process and no equipment involved except a laptop and an internet connection” (5,200 words)

Every Last Antelope Perished

Ed Yong | Atlantic | 17th January 2018

“The saiga is an endearing antelope whose bulbous nose gives it the comedic air of a Dr Seuss character. Every spring tens of thousands gather in the same place to give birth. These calving aggregations should be joyous events, but the gathering in May 2015 became something far more sinister when 200,000 saiga just dropped dead. They did so without warning, over a matter of days. Whatever killed them was thorough and merciless: Across a vast area, every last saiga perished” (1,200 words)

Who’s Afraid Of The Petextrian?

Jordan Fraade | Baffler | 23rd January 2018

When a car hits a careless pedestrian on the road, the law generally favours the car-driver. The American motor industry lobbied successfully in the 1920s for laws giving car-drivers first claim on the roads and requiring pedestrians to stay out of the way. But autonomous vehicles will require a new bargain, in which humans reclaim priority over machines. “Take an aggressive, entitled jerk driving a souped-up BMW and replace him with a law-abiding computer. What happens next?” (2,920 words)

Video of the day Garry Kasparov’s Most Memorable Games

What to expect:

All-time chess champion discusses the four most challenging games of his career. The trick is never to make a mistake

Thought for the day

Are we being good ancestors?
Jonas Salk

Podcast of the day The Man From Formosa | Futility Closet

Sharon and Greg Ross consider the curious case of the 18th-century Londoner who claimed to come from Formosa

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