Leadership, Speeding Tickets, Alien Language, Philosophy, Kompromat, Roger Stone

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Unrecognised Simplicities Of Effective Action

Dominic Cummings | 13th January 2017

A fugue, with many points worth developing, on the need to find and mobilise smarter leaders capable of developing radically new ways to manage political and economic processes that overwhelm existing institutions. “If we carry on with normal human history – that is, international relations defined as out-groups competing violently – and combine this with modern technology, then it is extremely likely that we will have a disaster on the scale of billions of, or even all, humans” (3,300 words)

The Traffic Ticket Trial Of The Century

Adam MacLeod | Public Discourse | 13th January 2017

“The traffic-camera ticket: Like a parking ticket, it looks lawful enough. Most people simply write the check. But this is not a parking ticket. In legal terms, it is not a proceeding in rem against your car. It is a legal action against you personally. And before you pay the fine, you might want to hear my story. My story is not legal advice. I offer it only to show how our ruling elites have corrupted the rule of law and to suggest why this matters for the American experiment in self-governance” (1,800 words)

Emergency Dialect

Paco Salas Pérez | Real Life | 12th January 2017

Computational linguist discusses the alien languages depicted in the film Arrival, and the science on which they are based. Arrival aliens use two languages: “Heptapod A is a bit like cetacean song, but raspy and deeper. Heptapod B doesn’t play by the rules we’re used to. Its symbols are semasiographic, depicting meaning rather than sound, and don’t appear to follow any linear order. Each expression is rendered as features projecting from different segments of a semicircular backbone” (3,200 words)

Fashion Moves Philosophy

J Bradley Studemeyer | Aeon | 10th January 2017

Philosophy is a slave to fashion. Whereas science can dispose forever of wrong ideas and theories by disproving them, in philosophy all ideas and theories are eternally admissible. They come round again. To manage this plenitude of questions, philosophers tacitly group them into four general categories: The foundational, the prohibited, the fashionable, and the unfashionable. And the first question for any set of philosophers must always be: “Which questions can we ask?” (1,200 words)

How State-Sponsored Blackmail Works In Russia

Julia Ioffe | Atlantic | 11th January 2017

The “art” of successful blackmail, as practised by the Russian secret services, lies not in the technology but the timing. They film you before you are worth blackmailing. Just in case. “The FSB kompromat operation is akin to a trawler, gathering anything and everything in its path, just in case anything good is down there. Or it puts chum in the water, and gathers the baited fish, too. It then stores it away for when the Kremlin needs just a slightly more forceful argument” (1,600 words)

Lunch With Roger Stone

Edward Luce | Financial Times | 11th January 2017

Conversation with the veteran lobbyist who is “Trump’s longest-surviving confidant” and “chief informal adviser”, conducted in August, now ungated. Trump is the new Nixon: “Nixon talked about the silent majority, and the forgotten American — just like Trump is doing”. Evangelicals will turn a blind eye to Trump’s “Playboy Mansion lifestyle” because they need him as a leader. “The attitude of the evangelical Christians is: Who cares if you were for homosexuality 10 years ago. Now you are saved” (2,500 words)

Video of the day: My Child Is Dreaming

What to expect:

Scenes from remembered dreams. By Pask D’Amico, with music by Maurilio Cacciatore performed by Ensemble Aleph

Thought for the day

Analogies decide nothing, but they make one feel more at home
Sigmund Freud

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