Giacometti, MS DOS, Mad Bomber, Yiwu, Eno

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Alberto Giacometti

Jeremy Harding | London Review Of Books | 3rd August 2017

Marvellous essay on Giacometti at Tate Modern. “In every minuscule crater and promontory of his post-Surrealist surfaces an anxious damage is visited on the material. Yesterday’s wounding is followed by this morning’s rapid, post-violence repair, and then undone as Giacometti begins a new round of injuries on the convalescent clay, or takes a knife to the plaster, not yet fully cured. All this is performed in long spells of over-attentiveness, with brief bouts of respite” (2,700 words)

The DOS Empire Strikes

Jimmy Maher | Ars Technica | 31st July 2017

History of the IBM PC and its part in the rise of Microsoft. Bill Gates’s early manoeuvres are all the more dazzling with hindsight. He persuaded IBM to rely on Microsoft for the IBM PC’s operating system; found a third-party operating system called 86-DOS and customised it as MS-DOS; persuaded IBM to pay royalties for using MS-DOS; then bought 86-DOS from its author for peanuts. “MS-DOS, purchased for $50,000, was earning Microsoft more than $200 million per year by 1991” (4,500 words)

Ghoulish Acts And Dastardly Deeds

Alan Bellows | Damn Interesting | 5th August 2017

Gripping true-crime story of the search for the “Mad Bomber” who planted at least 30 increasingly sophisticated pipe-bombs across New York from 1940 to 1956. “At each of the bomb sites — among the scattered detritus of pipe fragments, shell casings, broken plaster, glass, nuts, and bolts — police kept encountering one thing that was not like the others: a partially consumed throat lozenge. The point or purpose of the lozenge was as mysterious as the bomb-maker’s motives” (7,500 words)

To Catch A Counterfeiter

Joshua Hunt | California Sunday | 3rd August 2017

On the economy of fake goods in China, seen through the eyes of a private detective charged with protecting foreign brands. “Counterfeiting is a $400 billion industry in China. There are real car dealerships selling knockoff cars and fake Apple Stores where the employees aren’t in on the scam. China sends millions of pairs of counterfeit shoes to the EU and billions of dollars’ worth of counterfeit pharmaceuticals to Africa and Southeast Asia” (3,900 words)

Here Come The Warm Jets

Douglas Wolk | Pitchfork | 3rd August 2017

Discussion of Brian Eno’s early solo albums. “His primary instrument was the tape recorder. He had a particular fondness for setting up systems complicated enough that they could take him somewhere unpredictable; he never wrote down his synthesizers’ settings, in order to avoid falling into habits with them. Eno often sang his songs before he figured out what their lyrics were, composing them sound-first and word-second so his subconscious concerns could bubble up” (1,300 words)

Video of the day: Awaken

What to expect:

Natural and man-made beauty around the world. Spectacular trailer for a documentary by Tom Lowe (2’58”)

Thought for the day

Nothing in life is as important as you think it is while you are thinking about it
Daniel Kahneman

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