Consciousness, Edgar Allan Poe, Kabul, China, Heroin, Blackouts

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The Hardening Of Consciousness

Riccardo Manzotti & Tim Parks | New York Review Of Books | 12th September 2017

A writer and a psychologist discuss the nature of consciousness. “No one has more admiration than myself for the extraordinary research done to explore the brain and its immensely complex activities. Extremely sophisticated tools have been developed and used with great ingenuity and patience. However, the essential underlying idea here is simply that neurons produce consciousness. It’s as crude as that. We are simply asking the brain to do what the soul once did” (2,950 words)

Edgar Allan Poe Was A Broke Freelancer

Catherine Baab-Muguira | The Millions | 12th September 2017

Egar Allan Poe earned just $9 for writing The Raven. In his entire life, from his entire oeuvre — fiction, poetry, criticism, lectures — he earned a total of $6,200, “or approximately $191,087 adjusted for inflation”. It wasn’t that Poe spurned money. On the contrary, as a broke freelancer, he was forever trying to write a best seller. He never got there in his lifetime, but the struggle to do so “arguably pushed Poe in the direction that saw him write some of the most lasting work in American history” (2,550 words)

The Oldest Restaurant In Kabul

Maija Liuhto | Longreads | 12th September 2017

The Bacha Broot restaurant in the Old City of Kabul has been serving goat stew in teapots for 70 years through Soviet occupation, civil war, and Taliban rule (the Taliban liked to have music when they ate there, in private). “Take a right by the man selling roosters the size of a four-year-old child and step into a narrow lane. After the carpet shops there is a tiny blue doorway. This is where you enter Bacha Broot. Upstairs there are two rooms: one for women and one for men” (2,875 words)

Catching Up On The Chinese Economy

Christopher Balding | Balding's World | 11th September 2017

Bullet points. The Chinese economy is growing strongly again, thanks to the postponing of structural reforms. “For all the rhetoric of deleveraging and reining in credit, it has simply accelerated from 2016. What is driving the Chinese economy are all the sectors that they have said for years, that they wanted to move away from: Infrastructure investment, real estate, credit, and exports driven by an engineered currency. There is no change in the Chinese economic model. It simply is not happening” (720 words)

Seven Days Of Heroin

Dan Horn & Terry DeMio | Cincinnati | 10th September 2017

Real-time account from reporters’ notebooks of the heroin epidemic in Cincinnati, where a “normal week” brings 18 deaths, 180 reported overdoses, and 15 babies born to drug-addicted mothers. “Rikki Asher and Derrick Stewart step into Courtroom A. They were arrested two days earlier after running a red light on Gilbert Avenue. Police say they admitted to shooting heroin while Asher was driving. A used needle was on the floor of the car. Their 3-year-old daughter was in the back seat” (9,300 words)

Traffic In The Blackout

Archive | Guardian | 12th September 2017

From the Guardian of 1939, after the start of wartime blackouts in Britain. “It appears to have been overlooked that since the last war, traffic conditions in the streets have changed immensely. The motor-car has become everyman’s vehicle and traffic speed in most restricted areas is thirty miles an hour. How to reduce the number of road accidents had become a serious problem even before it became necessary to darken the streets after sunset; it is clearly becoming much more urgent now” (1,060 words)

Video of the day: Analogue Loaders

What to expect:

A homage to all the time we spend waiting for something to happen on our computer screens

Thought for the day

In baiting a mousetrap with cheese, always leave room for the mouse

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