Dogs, Equality, Evolution, Symbols, Paris


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Like A Dog

Jacob Bacharach | New Inquiry | 9th April 2018

“What is it, a dog’s life? We tend to think of our relationships with them in parental terms, but they are closer to siblings, younger brothers and sisters caught up in an unshakeable infancy, idolatrous of us, overeager, annoying and solicitous. We think of them as stupidly happy, but J.R. Ackerley is closer to the truth: The profundity of their love for us makes them helplessly sorrowful, which is why even in her moments of the utmost, unmediated joy, a dog’s eyes remain achingly sad” (3,650 words)

More Equal Than Others

Amia Srinivasan | New York Review Of Books | 13th April 2018

Critical discussion of Jeremy Waldron’s new book, “One Another’s Equals: The Basis of Human Equality”. Waldron is content simply to assert the equality of all humans; he does not attempt a proof; his concern is what this equality should mean in practice, how it should condition other values and principles. His idea of basic equality “neither presupposes that all humans are identical nor requires that we receive identical treatment. Equality is consistent with tremendous individual difference” (4,000 words)

For The Good Of The Species

Peter Turchin | Cliodynamica | 13th April 2018

A “bombshell” article in Nature may resolve a central argument in evolutionary theory — whether natural selection works primarily at the level of the individual, or of the group. The paper finds that “individual level selection forces each male to invest into sexual competition as much as possible”; but at the species level, excessive competition between males greatly increases the chance of extinction. Successful species “find themselves at an intermediate level of male sexual investment” (1,350 words)

The Secret Language Of Ships

Erin Van Rheenen | Hakai | 10th April 2018

How to decode a Plimsoll Line, and other markings on the hulls of big ships. The original 19C Plimsoll Line was a circle with a horizontal line through it; if the line sank below sea-level, the ship was overloaded. Marks were added in later years for maximum loads under particular climatic conditions: W the maximum in winter temperate seawater, S in summer temperate seawater, T in tropical seawater, F in fresh water, and TF in tropical fresh water, like that of the Amazon River (1,700 words)

Paris At Night

Matthew Beaumont | Verso | 12th April 2018

A nocturnal walk reveals the dark side of the City of Light. “The pavements of central Paris are home to several hundred Roma, their features distinctive among the white and black homeless that populate the streets. A hundred feet from where Roma families squatted I came across six or seven prostitutes. Five minutes later, escaping from the downpour in a doorway, I watched two men fighting. Innumerable other destitute or desperate people became visible in the city after dark” (1,800 words)

Video of the day Winter Time

What to expect:

Beautiful. Two months of deep Slovakian winter caught in three minutes of hyperlapsed film (3’30”)

Thought for the day

Everything has been said, we are more than seven thousand years too late
Jean de La Bruyère

Podcast Lessons From Las Vegas | 99% Invisible

How Denise Scott Brown and Robert Venturi found architectural inspiration in the Las Vegas of the 1960s
(36m 05s)

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