David Brooks, Ancient India, Segregation, Evolution, Etiquette, Martin Wolf


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David Brooks: The Nature Of Poverty

David Brooks | New York Times | 1st May 2015

"In 2013 the federal government spent nearly $14,000 per poor person. If you simply took that money and handed it to the poor, a family of four would have a household income roughly twice the poverty rate. Yet over the last 30 years the poverty rate has scarcely changed ... The real barriers to mobility are matters of social psychology, the quality of relationships in a home and in a neighborhood" (770 words)

India: The Great And Beautiful Kingdoms

William Dalrymple | New York Review Of Books | 1st May 2015

As India rises, so it reconnects with a rich history largely neglected. India was Asia's Ancient Greece. "From about 400 AD to 1200 AD, India was a large-scale and confident exporter of its own diverse civilization in all its forms, and the rest of Asia was the willing and eager recipient of a startlingly comprehensive mass transfer of Indian culture, religion, art, music, technology, astronomy, mythology, language, and literature" (4,100 words)

Baltimore: Government-Sponsored Segregation

Richard Rothstein | Economic Policy Institute | 29th April 2015

"Black family incomes are now about 60 percent of white family incomes, but black household wealth is only about 5 percent of white household wealth. The distressed condition of African American working-class families is almost entirely attributable to federal policy that prohibited black families from accumulating housing equity during the suburban boom from the mid-1930s to the mid-1960s" (2,100 words)

My Vision Of Life

Richard Dawkins | Edge | 29th April 2015

A discussion of evolution. The word 'God' does not occur throughout. "When and if we ever discover life elsewhere in the universe it will be based upon something like DNA, in the sense of an ultra-high fidelity, self-replicating coding system with the capability of producing great variety, which is what DNA does. So what I call universal Darwinism is the doctrine, the one thing we know about life everywhere. It's Darwinian life" (9,860 words)

How To Act In Public Spaces

Philip Kennicott | Washington Post | 29th April 2015

Notes on etiquette for public spaces — theatres, concert halls, restaurants, cinemas — in the digital age. This is an introduction, with links to contributions from the Post's critics. "A few themes emerge". Audiences behave well at dance performances because the experience is so rareified. The reverse for cinema. "We are better at practicing [etiquette] than enforcing it, and confrontation is almost always counterproductive" (1,200 words)

Britain Is Badly Governed

Martin Wolf | Financial Times | 1st May 2015 | | Read with 1Pass

Unless the polls prove to be sensationally wrong, British voters will deny both the Conservatives and the Labour party a clear mandate to form a government in next week's general election — and the voters will be right. Each of the party manifestos amounts to "a list of bribes that conceals an even lengthier list of evasions". Democracy deserves better. "Neither party deserves to win. Neither will do so. Good" (797 words)

Video of the day: Sky News General Affection Song

What to expect: Mashup of British election-campaign footage with music from Marvin Gay (1'10")

Thought for the day

What could an entirely rational being speak of, with another entirely rational being?
Emmanuel Levinas

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