Fire, Nationalism, Baseball, Frying, Hume

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California Burning

William Finnegan | New York Review Of Books | 16th August 2018

The world is getting “hotter and more flammable”. Nine of the ten worst years for forest fires in America have occurred since 2000. Early last month there were 29 “large uncontained fires” burning across the United States. The right course is usually to let a forest burn, as Nature’s way of thinning out trees. But doing so upsets locals and politicians, who want fires put out. The result is a “build-up of dangerous, unhealthy forests, fueling more terrible fires, many of which will need to be fought” (3,800 words)

Questioning Diversity

Christian Kjelstrup | Eurozone | 6th July 2018

Interview with David Goodhart about nationalism, populism, immigration. “The value of citizenship in a rich country has continued to rise. The cost of transport from poor countries to rich ones has fallen. It is not surprising, given those things, that more people from poor countries try to get into rich ones, and hence the bureaucracy of immigration and border control has had to grow. Why should poor people in rich countries make themselves poorer by allowing more open borders?” (4,400 words)

No But I Saw The Game

Roger Angell | Criterion | 16th July 2018

Why movies about baseball almost never work. “Movies have to keep moving, and thus can’t wait around for the slow, hourglass slippage of baseball time. Baseball is mostly lowlights, but baseball movies must suggest otherwise. On-screen baseball leans toward the grotesque: swinging strikes that miss by a mile; wild pitches that hit the screen on the fly or nail some bystander on the noggin. Movie baseball is inexorably entertaining, while real baseball is too serious, most of the time, to be fun at all” (2,400 words)

I Believe I Can Fry

Katy Vine | Texas Monthly | 1st September 2010

In the kitchen with Abel Gonzales Jr, “high priest of frying at the State Fair of Texas, which is to say, the world”. His creations include deep-fried beer, deep-fried Coca-Cola, and — his signature dish — deep-fried butter, which tastes, apparently, better than you might expect: “It was the most majestic breadstuff I’d ever eaten, sweet, then doughy, then warm, with a twist at the end: a tiny pat of butter, just starting to melt, like an opiate at the center of the world’s most scandalous doughnut” (4,800 words)

Hume The Humane

Julian Baggini | Aeon | 14th August 2018

Of all the great philosophers in history, David Hume appeals most directly to the modern liberal sensibility. He speaks for modesty, moderation, scepticism, secularism. “The problem for fans of Hume is how we can be enthusiastic advocates of someone so opposed to enthusiasm. If the case for Hume is to be made in Humean terms, it has to be gently but eloquently argued for. Hume modelled a way of life that was gentle, reasonable, amiable: all the things public life now so rarely is” (3,600 words)

Video of the day Jeff Bezos In 1997

What to expect:

From the days when Jeff Bezos still had to explain who he was and what Amazon did (5m 40s)

Thought for the day

The last thing one knows when writing a book is what to put first
Blaise Pascal

Podcast Trash | Planet Money

Stacey Vanek Smith and David Kestenbaum look at what we recycle, and why, and how
(15m 56s)

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