Damascus, Miracles, Surveillance, Native Americans, Krugman


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The Road To Damascus

Sonia Smith | Texas Monthly | 18th September 2015

Austin Tice, law-school dropout and former Marine, infiltrated Syria in 2012 as a war correspondent. He embedded with Syrian rebels and entered Damascus in "a long black gown [and] full-face veil." "Sometime between when our granddads licked the Nazis and when we started putting warnings on our coffee cups," the U.S. became "complacent" and "coddled," he wrote. He wanted to break that (9,020 words)

Splitting The Moon

Alan Lightman | Guernica | 15th September 2015

72% of Americans believe in miracles, surely "incompatible with a rational picture of the physical world." Alan Lightman, a professor of physics and creative writing, suggests "belief in a spiritual universe" comes from a "desire for meaning, meaning both in our individual lives and in the cosmos as a whole. While science provides the psychological comfort of order, rationality, and control, it does not provide meaning" (3,270 words)

What Happens Next Will Amaze You

Maciej Cegłowski | Idle Words | 14th September 2015

Ad-clicking robots make up 10-50% of online advertising clicks. "Advertisers end up right back where they started, still not knowing which half of their advertising budget is being wasted. Except in the process they've destroyed our privacy." Ubiquitous surveillance now is like cigarette smoke was in the 1970s: it seemed unavoidable, with a seemingly invincible lobby, but it was ultimately eradicable (6,440 words)

Genocide Against Native Americans In California

Cutcha Risling Baldy | 8th September 2015

Argues against the common story that Native Americans died en masse from flu only because "Native peoples immune systems were so weak," while "super strong Europeans ... had the antibodies they needed"; Native Americans died of flu because restrictive laws and impoverished living conditions made it fatal. Meanwhile, the State and Federal Government paid "$5 per head and .25 per scalp ... for the killing of Native people" (3,190 words)

A Country Is Not A Company

Paul Krugman | Harvard Business Review | 1st February 1996

Paul Krugman explains why businesspeople make poor economists (and politicians). Covers free trade, interest rates, unemployment, closed versus open systems, and very much more. One tidbit: The limit on "job creation" in the U.S. "is not the U.S. economy’s ability to generate demand, from exports or any other source, but the level of unemployment that the Fed thinks the economy needs in order to keep inflation under control" (5,780 words)

Video of the day: Michael Bay - What Is Bayhem?

What to expect: Detailed analysis of Michael Bay's spectacles (8'41")

Thought for the day

Saints live in flames; wise men, next to them
Emil Cioran

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