Enemies, Lessons, Crime, Podcasts, Children

How To Get On With Your Enemies

Brian Weatherson | New Statesman | 27th May 2019

Is it good to admire and praise an enemy for “sticking to their principles”? Basically, no, even though this might sound like a decent and generous thing to do. If somebody is doing wrong, it should not be a point in their favour that they are doing wrong as a matter of principle; it would be better all round if they did not have the principles that cause them to do wrong in the first place. “What matters is not whether someone is principled, but whether they have been promoting genuinely good things” (1,240 words)

Five Lessons From History

Morgan Housel | Collaborative Fund | 29th May 2019

Grab-bag of ideas for making better sense of the world, backed up by examples from history. Rule number four: “Progress happens too slowly for people to notice; setbacks happen too fast for people to ignore”. Example: The aeroplane. When the Wright brothers made a first successful manned flight in December 1903, nobody much noticed or cared, even locally. It was only when Orville Wright crashed in 1908, killing his passenger, that the invention of the aeroplane attracted any serious press notice (4,100 words)

Walter Mosley: The Art Of Fiction

Thomas Gebremedhin | Paris Review | 1st March 2017

Interview. The writer’s life. Interesting throughout, after a terse beginning. “There was this notion at the time, in the late eighties, that white people didn’t read about black people, black women didn’t like black men, and black men didn’t read. So who’s going to read my book about two young black men coming of age in the Deep South? Then I wrote Devil In A Blue Dress, which I didn’t expect to be a mystery, but it turned out to be. They said: ‘Wow, that’s new. A black detective’” (7,020 words)

The Podcast Ecosystem

Li Jin & Avery Segal | Andreessen Horowitz | 23rd May 2019

Overview of the history, structure and economics of podcasting from an investor’s perspective. Ten years ago podcast creators and consumers were “a niche community”. Now one-quarter of Americans listen to podcasts; they do so mostly at home; they listen to an average of six hours of podcasts each week; they are typically affluent and educated. Apple used to own the market through iTunes; now there are lots of competing apps and channels, including Spotify. Monetisation is still in its infancy (8,030 words)

Speak, Memories

Luc Santé | Bookforum | 28th May 2019

Svetlana Alexievich’s Last Witnesses, recounting the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union as seen through the eyes of children at the time, is “guaranteed to leave any reader a sodden mess”. The “inhuman savagery of the Germans” is a constant; their laughter as they carry out atrocities is “nearly as monstrous as the crimes themselves”. Decisions made regarding beloved animals are “invariably wrenching”. A nine-year-old boy “stops soldiers about to shoot a cow, so that he can first relieve its swollen udders” (1,630 words)

Video: The Eclipse That Made Einstein Famous. How the astronomer Arthur Eddington’s observations of a solar eclipse in 1919 confirmed Einstein’s theory of relativity (2m 19s)

Audio: An Economist Goes To Hospital | The Indicator. Jared Bernstein survives a life-threatening brain haemorrhage, and starts thinking afresh about the economics of hospitals and health care (9m 55s)

“There is nothing I can state that I cannot also contradict”
— Johannes Kepler

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