Illness, Economics, Guitar, Peter Thiel, Homeland Security


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The Perils Of Being Your Own Doctor

Mert Erogul | Guardian | 4th August 2016

A doctor becomes convinced that he is fatally ill. Does it help to be an expert, at such a time? “Our occupational disability as doctors is the awareness of the unlimited ways in which things can go wrong in the body. We study disease in medical school and manage most of the time to keep the knowledge at a distance. But when it’s our turn to be ill, our medical training can be an inconvenient asset. Combined with a proclivity to connect the dots, the suspicions can keep you up at night” (5,600 words)

Economics Is What Economists Do

J.W. Mason | Evonomics | 15th July 2016

“Economic theory is essentially a closed formal system; it’s an historical accident that there is some overlap between its technical vocabulary and the language used to describe concrete economic phenomena. Economics is to the economy as chess theory is to medieval history. The statement that ‘queens are most effective when supported by strong bishops’ might be reasonable in both domains, but studying its application in one case will not help when applying it in in the other” (1,400 words)

The End Of The Angry Guitar

Ted Gioia | Daily Beast | 7th August 2016

“What a surprise to hear so many outstanding guitar albums in recent months! This is turning into an exceptional year for guitar music — the best so far this decade. But it isn’t played by strutting rockers with big egos and bigger amps. In fact, most of these stellar releases come from the outskirts of the music industry, from labels and musicians you don’t read about in Rolling Stone or see on TV. The guitar has turned back into what it was ages ago: a personal instrument for intimate expression” (1,500 words)

Against Edenism

Peter Thiel | First Things | 1st June 2015

“There are many perils with the scientific and technological trajectory on which we find ourselves. But the alternatives to technological acceleration are far from ethically or politically neutral. In the absence of technological progress, we end up with a zero-sum world. It is not clear whether a capitalistic economic system could function without growth; and it is unlikely that a representative democracy, which requires the give-and-take of win-win compromise, would continue to function” (1,400 words)

Introducing Howlin’ Wolf

Josh Jones | Open Culture | 8th August 2016

Chester Burnett, better known as Howlin’ Wolf, “may well have been the greatest blues singer of the 20th century”. He was “phenomenal” on stage: “His six-foot-six frame and intense glowering stare belied some very smooth moves. His finesse enhanced his edginess. He seemed at any moment like he might turn into a wolf, letting the impulse give out in plaintive howls and prowls”. The Rolling Stones sat at his feet — “an act of humility in a band not known for that quality” (800 words)

Is America Any Safer?

Steve Brill | Atlantic | 9th August 2016

Fifteen years after 9/11, another “orchestrated attack” on America is far less likely. But there will always be gaps in national security, and the number of people determined to exploit those gaps is growing. “What we have to defend against has outpaced our progress.” Lone-wolf terrorist attacks on American soil are likely to become routine, dominating the headlines every few months, much like mass shootings. “We’re still a long way from adjusting — politically and psychically — to this new normal” (18,300 words)

Video of the day: Ferenc Snétberger In Concert

What to expect:

Hungarian master Snétberger fuses the freedom of jazz with the clarity of great classical guitar

Thought for the day

It is essential to the triumph of reform that it shall never succeed
William Hazlitt

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