Jonathan Rauch, Smart Kids, Fish, Europe, Apple Man


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How American Politics Went Insane

Jonathan Rauch | Atlantic | 21st June 2016

Imagine the 2020 race after one “wretched” term of President Trump. Kanye West is the Democrats’ best hope, running against Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty for the GOP. “I could continue, but you get the gist”. This absurdist scenario “is a linear extrapolation of trends on vivid display right now.” Political parties are collapsing into chaos. “Trump, however, didn’t cause the chaos. The chaos caused Trump. What we are seeing is not a temporary spasm of chaos but a chaos syndrome” (8,300 words)

Genetically Enhanced Economics

James Miller | Business Insider | 19th June 2016

Within ten years top fertility clinics will offer to “significantly increase” the expected intelligence of clients’ children by embryo selection or gene editing. Once the technology is proven, liberals will demand similar treatment for the poor in the name of equality. Conservatives will agree, to preserve national competitiveness. Governments will borrow more “in anticipation of future riches”. Households will save less. Investment takeaway: genetic engineering means higher interest rates (840 words)

Fish Have Feelings, Too

Terry Gross | The Salt | 20th June 2016

Conversation with Jonathan Balcombe, director of animal sentience for the Humane Society, about the inner life of fish. We can show experimentally that fish feel pain; they choose to avoid it. Reef fish recognise divers’ faces and come to be stroked, “almost like a dog”. Herrings communicate by farting. And yet we kill upwards of 150 billion fish each year, generally in horrible ways. “There’s a lot of change that would be needed to reflect an improvement in our relationship with fishes” (1,400 words)

Europhobia: A Very British Problem

Geoffrey Wheatcroft | Guardian | 21st June 2016

The history and psychology of Britain’s reluctant relationship with Europe. “The referendum is a form of displacement activity. It’s about something other – or much more – than what it is supposed to be about. Those forces, for which Euroscepticism is a wholly inadequate word, range from crude racism and nativist dislike of immigrants, to humble patriotism and yearning for a maybe imaginary lost age. The referendum turns not so much on the national interest as on a national idea” (4,050 words)

Apple Man

Katie Notopoulos | Buzzfeed | 14th June 2016

“Apple Man is a fortysomething dad who wants to FaceTime his adorable children while he’s on a business trip. Apple Man has an Apple Watch (obvious). Apple Man is very fit for his age. Apple Man has a great head of hair. Apple Man owns his home and wants to be able to open his garage door from his phone to park his family-sensible-yet-sporty-crossover. He’s on the Tesla Model 3 preorder list.”

Video of the day: That vs Which

What to expect:

Mary Norris explains the relative pronoun, as the New Yorker practises it (2’45”)

Thought for the day

Ultimately it is the desire, not the desired, that we love
Friedrich Nietzsche

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