Daily Newsletter

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My Own Personal Nothingness

Alan Lightman | Nautilus | 28th August 2014

Reflection on the part played by nothingness in science and philosophy. Physics tells us there is no nothingness in the material world. All space is filled with electrical and gravitational and magnetic fields. Philosophically, we are not so sure. "Our minds are a collection of atoms, fated to disassemble and dissolve. And in that sense, we and our institutions are always approaching Nothingness" (3,200 words)

Does It Help To Know History?

Adam Gopnick | New Yorker | 28th August 2014

Yes. Not for specific lessons; the same year never comes around twice; but for more philosophical truths. "What history actually shows is that everything has unintentional consequences. History doesn’t show that we should never go to war — sometimes there’s no better alternative. But it does show that the results are entirely uncontrollable, and that we are far more likely to be made by history than to make it" (1,230 words)

What Happened To Motorola?

Ted Fishman | Chicago | 27th August 2014

Motorola was one of the great tech companies of the 20th century. It invented the mobile phone. It launched a private satellite network. And now it's a dog, bought for peanuts by Google and sold on to Lenovo. What went wrong? Lots, including the satellites, but probably Motorola's worst move ever was to build a phone jointly with Apple in 2005. Motorola learned nothing much. Apple learned how to make phones (6,400 words)

If You Want To Be A Millionaire …

Malgozhata Lozovskaya | Open Democracy | 27th August 2014

... Go to Belarus, where the methods and institutions of the Soviet Union survive under President Aleksandr Lukashenka. A kilo of sausages costs 100,000 Roubles (about $10) and you will need a million roubles to buy a winter coat. Vodka is cheap and plentiful, making Belarusians the world's heaviest drinkers. The KGB punishes dissenters. Farm workers earn $100-$200 a month. The young dream of moving to Poland (2,528 words)

The Menace Of Beatlism

Paul Johnson | New Statesman | 28th August 2014

The New Statesman reaches into its archives and pulls out a plum from 1964, which should serve as a caution to cultural critics for all time. Paul Johnson, later the NS editor, denounces The Beatles: "At 16, I and my friends heard our first performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. We would not have wasted 30 seconds of our precious time on The Beatles". This was apparently, the "most complained-about piece" in the paper's history (940 words)

Video of the day: Making A Case For Books

What to expect: Animated film (7 minutes) showing how book-cases are made

Thought for the day

A writer must always tell the truth (unless he's a journalist)
Gore Vidal (https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/5657.Gore_Vidal?page=2)

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