Giraffe Edition 13


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The Great Philosophers: Epicurus

Alain de Botton | School Of Life | 10th July 2014

Epicurus, born in 341BC, was famed for his "skilful and relentless focus" on one subject: happiness. "Previously, philosophers had wanted to know how to be good; Epicurus insisted he wanted to focus on how to be happy". His advice: Don't worry about pursuing love, status and luxury. Better to have a community of good friends, work for yourself, and spend part of each day thinking (1,200 words)

Rise Of The Sea Urchin

Franz Lidz | Smithsonian | 3rd July 2014

At work with Norway's only full-time sea-urchin diver — an émigré Scot called Roderick Sloan who lives 88 miles north of the Arctic Circle where “Summer is everyone’s favourite day of the year”. He sells to Europe's grandest restaurants, including Noma in Copenhagen which buys 100 pounds a week. “You start with sea salt, then you get a big iodine hit, and, at the end, a distinctive sweetness that sits in your mouth for hours.” (3,030 words)

Life Beyond Earth

Michael Lemonick | National Geographic | 1st July 2014

In the past 20 years astronomers have found two thousand planets orbiting sun-like stars outside our solar system. The question is not so much whether other life is out there, but what kind of life it might be. If it is not even carbon-based, for example, how can we hope to recognise it? Astrobiologists are studying the most extreme life-forms on Earth, from Antarctic ice sheets to Mexican caves, looking for clues (4,116 words)

Germany’s Choice: America Or Russia?

Christiane Hoffmann & Markus Feldenkirchen & René Pfister | Spiegel | 10th July 2014

Germans divide evenly in their sympathies for Russia and America. After the Bush presidency and the Snowden revelations, America is "an erstwhile friend whom many now see as sinister". German distrust of Russia has grown with the Ukraine crisis, but Germany is "grateful for unification", cannot imagine ever going to war with Russia again, and sees Russia as a primary focus of German foreign policy (4,630 words)

Pinboard Turns Five

Maciej Cegłowski | Pinboard | 9th July 2014

Founder of "anti-social bookmarking" site Pinboard reflects on lessons learned from five years in business. "My job is to project an aura of calm, solvency, and permanence in an industry where none of those adjectives applies. People are justifiably risk-averse when it comes to their bookmarks, and they are looking for stability ... The money part turns out to be easy. People will pay for a decent service" (1,110 words)

The Man Who Groomed A Nation

David Hare | Guardian | 9th July 2014

Jimmy Savile "does not belong among the amoral heroes of Patricia Highsmith, disposing of people without remorse in a meaningless universe. Rather, he inhabits the driven world of Graham Greene, where the protagonist is in a lurid and sweaty argument with his maker, trying to pile up credit points to balance the final ledger against what he knows full well to be his sins". Review of Dan Davies's biography, In Plain Sight (2,000 words)

What to expect: Cartoon and cute song. Sentimental, but what the heck

Thought for the day

"If trouble comes when you least expect it then maybe the thing to do is to always expect it"
—  Cormac McCarthy

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