Hasidism, Gunshots, William Vollmann, Dreams, Time Travel


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The Opposite Of Modern

Shalom Auslander | TLS | 28th February 2018

An apostate’s account of Hasidism. “Hasidism began in eighteenth-century Eastern Europe as a spiritual revival movement, staunchly opposed to the more rational observance of mainstream Judaism (rational being relative, of course). Hasidism prides itself on irrationality, and indeed it often ends up resembling Christianity, which neither many Christians nor most Hasidim particularly like to acknowledge: both feature men who walk on water, possessions, exorcisms, miracles and martyrdom” (2,980 words)

What I Saw Treating Parkland Victims

Heather Sher | Atlantic | 22nd February 2018

Florida radiologist details the particular horrors of high-velocity rifle injuries. “With an AR-15, the shooter does not have to be particularly accurate. If a victim takes a direct hit to the liver the damage is far graver than that of a simple handgun-shot injury. Handgun injuries to the liver are generally survivable. An AR-15 bullet wound to the middle of the liver would cause so much bleeding that the patient would likely never make it to the trauma center to receive our care” (1,600 words)

We Can Learn Things When We’re Out There

Hannah Jakobsen | LARB | 26th February 2018

Conversation with writer and adventurer William Vollmann, much of it about human nature. “Suppose that you woke up tomorrow and you were in the body of a German boy who was 18 years old and it was 1939, and all you’d ever learned in your education was from Hitler Youth, and then suddenly it was war, and the radio said, ‘Oh, the British and the Polish and the Jews, they’ve all attacked’. What are you going to do? Is it your fault? You wouldn’t know better” (2,590 words)

Night Vision

Nicholson Baker | New Republic | 21st February 2018

John W. Dunne “set the literary world on fire” with his mystical book, “An Experiment With Time” published in 1927, arguing that dreams could predict the future. T.S. Eliot, W.B. Yeats, James Joyce, J.R.R. Tolkien, Vladimir Nabokov, Agatha Christie and Graham Greene all fell under his influence. They recorded their dreams in notebooks, which in turn informed their writing. Dunne’s book “seems to have become one of the secret wellsprings, or wormholes, of twentieth-century literature” (2,600 words)

Time Travellers

Alasdair Richmond | Inference | 28th February 2018

“Kurt Godel was, by common consent, the greatest logician since Aristotle. His two incompleteness theorems broke ground in logic, mathematics, and philosophy. He also published extraordinary results in cosmology, demonstrating that a rotating universe was among the solutions to the field equations of general relativity. What made these results extraordinary is just that they permit time travel. Within a rotating universe, a traveler can journey into the future but arrive in the past” (2,490 words)

Video of the day Intensity Versus Consistency

What to expect:

Motivational speaker Simon Sinek argues for self-improvement through small, repetitive, consistent actions (3’28”)

Thought for the day

A story worth reading only in childhood is not worth reading even then
C.S. Lewis

Podcast of the day Golden Age Of Audio | Goldman Sachs

Alex Blumberg and Jacob Weisberg talk to Jake Siewert about the booming market for podcasts
(22m 52s)

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