Chickens, Taxes, Oil, Riots, Bags

What Is It Like To Be A Chicken?

Deb Olin Unferth | Literary Hub | 3rd March 2020

A novelist explains how she tried to think herself into the mind of a chicken in order to write about factory farming. “I visited chickens. I went to small farms and animal sanctuaries. I sat in backyards. I spent many, many hours just sitting in hen houses, watching them peck and chatter. I recorded hen voices and listened to them at night on my headphones, the cooing, the squawks. I thought about their feathery fluff. Their friendly, jaunty style. Who are you, chicken? Am I seeing you?”  (1,740 words)


The Second Career Of Michael Riegels

Oliver Bullough | Granta | 13th February 2020

Meet the lawyer who came to the British Virgin Islands in 1973 and single-handedly devised the modern tax haven — first by exploiting a double-tax treaty between Britain and the US, then by abolishing taxes and disclosure requirements for companies incorporated on the islands. “By 1999, the BVI had more than two-fifths of the world’s entire market for offshore companies. These islands had gone from being barely a backwater to a key hub in the globalised economy in a single generation” (8,090 words)


Shell Is Looking Forward

Malcolm Harris | New York | 2nd March 2020

A sceptic sits in on a conference at Royal Dutch Shell where executives and experts discuss how to manage the oil giant’s transition from fossil fuels to renewables. “In the corporate sector, there’s still faith at the top that economic incentives and profit-seeking behaviour can manage the crisis that capitalism has wrought. In such thinking, climate change is like a redux of the hole in the ozone layer: Potentially bad, but solvable with the tools on hand and without real changes to our lifestyles” (5,200 words)


Five Hours In Delhi

Parijat | Caravan | 27th February 2020

Eye-witness account of conflict in India’s capital between supporters and opponents of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act. “An acquaintance expressed concern over the ‘Muslim beard’ on my chin. I had never thought of my beard in this vein, but I suddenly began to see it as something that marked me as seemingly Muslim. The mob on the other side of the road now seemed even more frightening. If my beard appearing Muslim alone was so horrifying, what if I was actually Muslim?” (2,530 words)


The Go Bag

Chris P. And Brady M. | Why Is This Interesting? | 3rd March 2020

Two special forces veterans compare notes on how to pack a “go-bag” — a backpack pre-loaded with everything you might need for sudden flight. You want a regular, inconspicuous, battered backpack. Gorilla tape. Multitool. Knife. Water bottle. Purification tabs. Headband flashlight. Maps. Phone. Charger. Batteries. Spare shoes. Woollen socks. Cash. First-aid kit. Lighter. Energy bars. Hat. Thermal vest. Raincoat. “Once you’ve got all this together, try out at least two routes out of town as a rehearsal” (1,570 words)


Video: How To Optimise Your Life | New York Times. Gently ironic guide to filling every minute of your waking and sleeping life with time-saving hacks, until you have no time left for living (5m 45s)

Audio: Joseph Nye | Ask A Harvard Professor. Absorbing discussion of how far American presidents from FDR to Trump have incorporated moral considerations into their foreign policy decisions (24m 01s)

Afterthought:
”If people offer many remedies for an illness, you may be sure it is incurable”
— Anton Chekhov

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