Hospital, Pigments, Dissent, Estonia, Ray Dalio

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This Is Your Life Now

Katherine Heiny | Guardian | 24th October 2017

When a pregnancy goes wrong. “One second, I was a happy woman of 32, walking across my bedroom to my desk. Then warm fluid gushed out of me, soaking my clothing and leaving a little wet spot on the carpet. It was very likely that my waters had broken, but I was barely 26 weeks pregnant. It didn’t seem possible. I went to the top of the stairs to call my husband. We discussed it for a surprisingly long time. How much fluid? Was there blood? Was the baby still kicking? Should I call my doctor?” (5,100 words)

A History Of Colour

Kassia St Clair | Signature | 24th October 2017

For centuries painters competed with alchemists and jewellers for the precious substances from which their pigments were made. Ultramarine required lapis lazuli, sourced from one mine in Afghanistan. Mummy Brown was made of human remains excavated from ancient Egyptian tombs. “One art manufacturer complained to Time magazine in 1964 that while they ‘might have a few odd limbs lying around’, they could no longer source enough mummy to make this color” (780 words)

Kolmogorov Complicity

Scott Alexander | Slate Star Codex | 23rd October 2017

How do good scientists survive under totalitarian rule, when the continued pursuit of truth is almost sure to collide with existing dogma? They focus on work, don’t mount public challenges, build trust in one another, and hope that times will change. “A really good scientist is like a heat-seeking missile programmed to seek out failures in existing epistemic paradigms. God help them if they find one before they get enough political sophistication to determine which targets are safe” (3,570 words)

Slow Train To Tallinn

Matthew Engel | New Statesman | 24th October 2017

Portrait of Estonia, Baltic home of “the coolest, most untheatrical people on the planet”. It feels like Scandinavia, with one big difference: Vulnerability. “Estonia is as due for an invasion as California is for an earthquake. Nowhere has had so much geopolitics dumped on it. Of the past 750 years Estonia has been independent for just 49: 1918 to 1940 and again since 1991. Otherwise, it has been sat on by the Danes, the Teutonic Knights, the Swedes, the tsars, the Nazis and the communists” (2,500 words)

America’s Two Economies

Ray Dalio | LinkedIn | 23rd October 2017

Great disparities of income and wealth make broad statistical averages of little use when looking at the American economy. The top 0.1% is richer than the bottom 90% put together. For a better general idea of how Americans are doing, start by slicing the economy in two — between a top 40% and a bottom 60%. Households in the top 40% are basically OK. They earn decent wages, save and invest. Households in the bottom 60% are basically not OK. They earn little, save little, and run up debt (2,600 words)

Video of the day Persistence Of Vision

What to expect:

Ingenious animation of the facade at Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim, Norway (1’42”)

Thought for the day

A great artist leaves us with the feeling that something is right in the world
Leonard Bernstein

Podcast of the day The King Of Tears | Revisionist History

Malcolm Gladwell talks to Nashville songwriter Bobby Braddock about why country music is so often sad

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