Giraffe Edition 14


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Man Versus Machine

Brian Phillips | Grantland | 11th July 2014

Reflections on Germany's victory over Brazil. Even recollected in tranquility, emotions run high: "It’s at least not crazy to argue that it was the worst defeat in the history of sports. Here’s what Germany did to Brazil. They produced something so staggering that it still feels irreducible. They left the soccer world functionally speechless. They broke metaphor. They stunned hundreds of millions of people" (2,000 words)

The New Baby Boom

John McDermott | Financial Times | 11th July 2014

Lifted by immigration, live births in Britain are up 22% since 2001. The new generation inherits Britain's changing demographics. Half the babies born in London have a foreign mother. An east London singing class for one-year-olds attracts "one white Briton, two black Britons, four east Europeans, one west African and one Iraqi". By the time these babies grow up, the notion of ethnic minorities may have disappeared (5,100 words)

Complexity, Prediction, And Politics

Dominic Cummings | 11th July 2014

An odd piece of writing somewhere between a fugue and a rant. The first three-quarters is a collage of observations and anecdotes about probability, mathematical logic and chaos theory. The final quarter is a cry of despair that politicians, charged with making a country's most momentous decisions, typically have no knowledge of these fields and little experience of well-managed complex organisations (3,930 words)

Art In The Future

Carter Cleveland | Wall Street Journal | 7th July 2014

The fine-art industry today is roughly where the music industry was in the 19C, serving an elite audience. 20C music transcended limitations of class and scale by exploiting technology and developing new genres. 21C fine art will do the same. The market will expand massively; digital technologies will be co-opted; a new tier of "upper-middle-brow" art — think HBO in television — will refine popular taste (980 words)

The Long Shadow Of Hillsborough

Bill Buford | Hazlitt | 11th July 2014

Excerpt from Buford's classic soccer book, Among The Thugs, recounting the 1989 Hillsborough tragedy in Sheffield where 96 fans were crushed. "I have mentioned that the experience of standing in the terraces is a herd experience, but I had not known, until watching this police video, that the accepted language used to describe the supporters’ arrangements — pen, pit — is borrowed from livestock farming" (3,300 words)

Video of the day: Some Infinities Are Bigger Than Others

What to expect: Vi Hart jeu d'esprit

Thought for the day

"I would rather have questions that can't be answered than answers that can't be questioned"
—  Richard Feynman

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