Gideon Rachman, Danger Signs, Free Will, English Nationalism, General Medicine

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The Shrinking Of The West

Gideon Rachman | Financial Times | 18th May 2015 | | Read with 1Pass

Western military dominance is declining because governments are cutting back on troop numbers while blowing money on extravagant weaponry: America's B2 bomber costs more than its weight in solid gold. Increased spending on domestic security and espionage may not compensate. "As the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant shows, the line between the threats posed by terrorism and by conventional warfare is increasingly blurred" (750 words)

Will Art Save Our Descendants From Radioactive Waste?

Matt Langione | JSTOR Daily | 13th May 2015

America turns to its artists for help in devising signs which will still be understood 24,000 years from now, warning future generations away from a nuclear waste dump in New Mexico. But how do you attract attention while also deterring investigation? The chosen design features "a 16-mile perimeter dotted with 32-foot-tall granite pillars" on each of which is engraved the ghostly face from Munch’s The Scream (2,150 words)

Freedom Regained

Julian Baggini | Scientia Salon | 14th May 2015

Notes on the relationship between mind and brain. "Brains provide the material means by which conscious life is sustained. Without brains there can be no human consciousness. But it does not follow from this that we can explain all human behavior in neurological terms alone and that conscious thoughts contribute nothing to our actions. That is a much stronger claim, which goes against the evidence of experience" (3,100 words)

I Do Not Want To Be English

Paul Mason | Guardian | 10th May 2015

The English will always have trouble identifying as English, save in sporting events, because the divisions within the country far outweigh the commonalities. "What it means to be English is completely subordinate to class, region, ethnicity and local culture". Most nations can look to a national language as a unifying force; but the English cannot, for good reason, because theirs is already a world language (970 words)

On Caring For The Elderly

Karen Hitchcock | Monthly | 17th March 2015 | Metered paywall

If you are old and ill, you are probably a "multi-morbid" patient with several conditions competing to kill you, such that each hospital specialist will insist that you are another specialist's problem, until you end up with the "physician of last resort", the general medicine unit, where expectations are low. “If you fuck up, it’s not such a big deal ... so I guess the thinking goes that a lesser physician can do the job.” (2,240 words)

Video of the day: Démontable

What to expect: War breaks out on the kitchen table (0'51")

Thought for the day

Never contend with a man who has nothing to lose
Baltasar Gracian

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