Stars, Briefs, Apps, Memory, Style

All Stars

Jessica Flack & Cade Massey | Aeon | 27th September 2020

How do you build the best sports team? "Hire the best players" is the simple part; individual players' strengths and weaknesses are easy to track. The hard part is "collective dynamics" — knowing how well a given set of players will interact as a team. This is far more complex; it calls for a "more mechanistic understanding of collective behaviour" than we possess in sport or anywhere else (3,700 words)


Briefing Memorandum: US-Soviet Relations

Richard Burt | Department Of State | 5th April 1985

"Briefing note" for US Deputy Secretary Of State Michael Armacost ahead of a meeting with Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko. "Nature of man: He’s a commie. Also, suspected Trilateralist. To watch: Has lied to nine Secretaries of State. Wife: Short, lovely, high boots. Young by old Sov standards, old by new Sov standards. Avocations: Dissembling, repressing Eastern Europe" (680 words)


Anxiety and stress rates are skyrocketing across the world - and there is no better time to be proactive about your mental health. Mind Ease stands out amongst other mental health apps for its personalised approach, thoughtful design, and calming exercises that actually work - with users reporting a 66% reduction in negative feelings after using the app.

Ovia Pregnancy Tracker

Kea Krause | Believer | 1st December 2020

An expectant mother reviews a pregnancy-tracking app. "In the beginning, there was a blueberry. The following week, a strawberry. After that, a green olive. The fruits were offered to signify the growing size of my baby. At twenty-seven weeks, my baby was a sweet potato — and also a croissant, a slingshot, and a sugar glider. At thirty-one weeks, she was a head of romaine lettuce" (1,006 words)


Redemption And Catastrophe

Jonathon Catlin | JHI | 2nd December 2020

Admiring appreciation of Ruth Kluger — Auschwitz survivor, Princeton professor, and critic of Holocaust remembrance culture. She feared that "brutal historical reality" was being turned into "redemptive kitsch". "She was a bit too hard on those who visited Holocaust memorials and Holocaust museums, because she said that they were trying to admire themselves for hating the Nazis” (2,600 words)


By Their Epithets Shall Ye Know Them

Michael Maar | New Left Review | 2nd December 2020

In defence of adjectives. Voltaire considered them "the enemies of nouns"; as did Hemingway, who carried the habits of good journalism — brevity, clarity — into his books. But in the right hands — Nabokov was a modern master — adjectives have a power and beauty all their own. "Cut out the adjectives in Stifter or Keller, Proust or Woolf, Rudolf Borchardt or Thomas Mann, and the work is dead" (2,300 words)


Video: If Trees Could Speak | Elif Shafak. What trees might say about us if they could learn to talk — or, perhaps if we humans could learn to listen  (3m 58s)

Audio: Zachary Carter | Conversations With Tyler. Biographer of John Maynard Keynes discusses Keynes's life and work with Tyler Cowen (54m 57s)

Afterthought:
"If your contribution has been vital, there will always be somebody to pick up where you left off"
Walter Gropius


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