Colour, Hungary, Bill Browder, America, Shoplifting


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The Sea Was Never Blue

Maria Michela Sassi | Aeon | 31st July 2017

How the ancient Greeks saw colour. “In trying to see the world through Greek eyes, the Newtonian view is only somewhat useful. We need to supplement it with the Greeks’ own colour theories, and to examine the way in which they actually tried to describe their world. Without this, the crucial role of light and brightness in their chromatic vision would be lost, as would any chance to make sense of the mobility and fluidity of their chromatic vocabulary” (3,100 words)

Hungary As Rogue State

Martin Fletcher | New Statesman | 1st August 2017

If Hungary were to apply for membership of the European Union today, it would be rejected. How did Viktor Orbán, who entered politics as a student activist fighting Hungary’s communist regime, a champion of Western-style liberal democracy, end up as a Soviet-style autocrat? “Orbán has sought to rebuild his country’s national pride, whether it is based on truth or not. Hungary is a captured state. It is captured by a clique of business oligarchs and the political elite” (4,200 words)

Bill Browder’s Testimony

Bill Browder | Atlantic | 25th July 2017

Financier’s testimony to the US Senate about state-backed crime and corruption in Russia under President Putin. “After Khodorkovsky’s conviction, the other oligarchs went to Putin and asked him what they needed to do to avoid sitting in the same cage as Khodorkovsky. Putin’s answer was, ‘Fifty percent’. Not for the Russian government, but for Vladimir Putin personally. From that moment on, Putin became the biggest oligarch in Russia and the richest man in the world” (3,700 words)

American Sickness

Justin Fox | Bloomberg | 31st July 2017

The IMF’s latest discussion paper on the US economy reads politely enough, but makes clear that America is no longer a world leader. Other countries are overtqking it in most measures of living standards. “And in the areas where the U.S. hasn’t lost ground (poverty rates, high school graduation rates), it was at or near the bottom of the heap to begin with. The US is increasingly becoming the developed world’s poor relation as far as the actual living standards of most of its population go”

Potter-Pinching

Alison Flood & Sian Cain | Guardian | 24th July 2017

Which authors’ books are stolen most often from British bookshops? The London Review Bookshop reports a fondness for philosophers: ‘Our most-stolen authors, in order, are Baudrillard, Freud, Nietzsche, Graham Greene, Lacan, Camus, and whoever puts together the Wisden Almanack”. Waterstones reports that its shoplifters “have always had a penchant for Kierkegaard”. At City Books in Hove, “We are now forced to keep Asterix, Tintin, Beatrix Potter and Dr Seuss behind the counter” (1,500 words)

Video of the day: Lost In Time

What to expect:

Time-lapse Austrian landscape (1’37”)

Thought for the day

Why should you mind being wrong if someone can show you that you are?
A.J. Ayer

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