Laurie Penny, Germany, Paradoxes, Russia, Chibok

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We Are All Mad Here

Laurie Penny | Longreads | 23rd October 2017

On the Weinstein affair as a sign of progress towards a better world. “We’re through the looking glass now. As women come forward to talk about their experiences of sexual violence, all our old certainties about what was and was not normal are peeling away like dead skin. Women are speaking out in numbers too big to shove aside. The world is changing. The safety and sanity of survivors is not about to be sacrificed so that a few more unreconstructed bastards can sleep at night” (3,700 words)

The Battle That Created Germany

David Crossland | Handelsblatt | 20th October 2017

Excavations in northern Germany shed new light on the legendary battle of Teutoburg Forest in 9AD, at which Germanic tribes defeated three Roman legions, curtailing Roman control of Germany and creating the foundation myth of German nationalism. “The battle changed history, its impact visible to this day. It stopped the Romans from colonizing the wild lands east of the Rhine – Germany even now is divided between a wine-loving south and west and a beer-swilling north and east” (2,700 words)

Zeno’s Paradoxes

Nick Huggett | Stanford Encyclopedia Of Philosophy | 20th October 2017

Considering how often Zeno’s paradoxes are cited in conversation — notably “the dichotomy”, or the arrow that never reaches its target — it may be profitable to take note of what Zeno is reported — by Plato, Aristotle, and Simplicius — to have said and written; of which this is an efficient and largely non-technical account. Zeno itemised 40 “paradoxes of plurality”, arguing in effect that the Universe is one thing and not many things; four paradoxes of motion, and two others (12,000 words)

Russia’s Turbulent Century

David Reynolds | New Statesman | 23rd October 2017

Informative overview of Russian history since 1917. “The first revolution in 1917 came as a relief for the British government. It eliminated the embarrassment of fighting for the freedom of France and Belgium hand in hand with the world’s leading autocracy. Britain recognised the provisional government little more than a week after Tsar Nicholas II’s abdication and welcomed the project of Prince Lvov to reduce the coercive power of the state. This all sounded agreeably Gladstonian” (4,400 words)

Chibok Diaries

Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani | BBC | 23rd October 2017

Survivors recount their kidnapping by Boko Haram in 2014. The militants came to Chibok village school hoping to steal construction equipment. When instead they found 200 girls, mostly Christian, they thought of burning them, then decided to abduct them. “The girls were told that they would be allowed to go home to their families if they all, with no exception, agreed to convert to Islam. Those who agreed to convert then blamed the girls who refused for their continued captivity” (2,300 words)

Video of the day I Ain’t Got Nobody

What to expect:

The only known footage of Louis Armstrong in a recording studio, making the 1959 album “Satchmo Plays King Oliver”

Thought for the day

Happiness cannot be pursued; it must ensue
Viktor Frankl

Podcast of the day Hidden Networks | Intelligence Squared

Niall Ferguson argues that the historical change is driven by hidden networks of relationships, ideas and influence
(1 hour 50 seconds)

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