China & Greece, Autism, Genghis Khan, Paul McCartney, Emma Sky, Ethics, German Debt

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A Chinese Puzzle, A Greek Solution

David McWilliams | Irish Independent | 9th July 2015

Greece should follow the Irish model: Optimise the economy for a big foreign investor. Ireland targeted America, Greece should target China and adopt the renminbi. "The Chinese get a foothold into Europe. They invest billions into Greece, where they reassemble Chinese goods into Europe with no tariffs or hassle. They gradually move up the value curve, making ever more sophisticated goods in Greece" (1,230 words)

The Age Of Unreason: Autism

John Prideaux | Economist | 9th July 2015

Recorded rates of autism have risen sharply in the past decade, perhaps because changing patterns in human mating are causing more autism, but also because doctors are more ready to diagnose the condition and parents are more ready to accept the diagnosis. The stigma has gone. "A modest dose of autism may even be a good thing". The roots of autism remain mysterious, but they appear to include hormonal and genetic factors (1,738 words)

The Legacy Of Genghis Khan

Jack Weatherford | Delancey Place | 6th July 2015

"Genghis Khan redrew the boundaries of the world. His architecture was not in stone but in nations. The Mongols united a dozen Slavic principalities and cities into one Russian state. They created China by weaving together the remnants of the Sung dynasty in the south with the lands of the Jurched in Manchuria. Korea and India have survived to modern times in the borders fashioned by their Mongol conquerors" (1,137 words)

Paul McCartney Opens Up

Alex Bilmes | Esquire | 6th July 2015

Interview. McCartney manages both to recognise his genius and to keep it in perspective. "Bob Dylan was asked why didn't he write another Tambourine Man and he goes, 'Because I'm not that guy any more'. I think that's the truth. Some of it is also to do with the circumstances. Those songs were launched by The Beatles, the biggest band ever. If I had Let it Be now, it just might not get as much attention" (8,400 words)

The Woman Who Tamed The Generals

John Simpson | New Statesman | 9th July 2015

Candid review of Emma Sky's Iraq memoir. "I have seen people burned to death in front of my eyes. I have seen the piled-up bodies of people tortured to death with electric drills. So when I am faced with a book that is subtitled High Hopes and Missed Opportunities, it inclines me to wonder whether the killing of hundreds of thousands of innocent people has not turned out to be a tad worse than merely missed opportunities" (1,280 words)

The Copenhagen Interpretation Of Ethics

Jaibot | 25th June 2015

The Copenhagen Interpretation of quantum mechanics says that observing reality fundamentally changes it. The Copenhagen Interpretation of ethics says that you when you observe or interact with a problem in any way, you can be blamed for it. For example: If you see a child drowning, and walk on by, you have killed that child. If you know that children are starving in a distant country, but do nothing, you are blameless (1,470 words)

Thomas Piketty: Germany Has Never Repaid

Georg Blume | The Wire / Die Zeit | 27th June 2015

Interview. Germany is "the single best example of a country that, throughout its history, has never repaid its external debt. Neither after the First nor the Second World War". It has "no standing to lecture other nations". Germany's post-war economic miracle was a product of the 1953 London Debt Agreement which cancelled 60% of German foreign debt. Without that agreement Germany "would still be repaying [its] debts" (1,820 words)

Video of the day: One-Minute Time Machine

What to expect: Short film about time travel. Like Groundhog Day, but darker. Some adult language (5'40")

Thought for the day

Wars do not simply go away, they are only postponed to someone else’s advantage

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