Machine Guns, History, Beethoven, Liqueurs, Spain

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Machine Guns: A Practical Guide to Full Auto

Alec C | Firearms Blog | 21st May 2014

“I love machine guns. They don’t call the selectors on automatic firearms ‘fun switches’ for nothing, and I have yet to hand off a machine gun to someone and have it not bring a smile to their face. The machine gun was invented by American, Hiram Maxim, and the USA is one of the few countries on the planet where regular folks can own a fully automatic firearm. In fact, machine guns have never been illegal in the USA on a federal level. They are heavily regulated, but not illegal at all” (1,800 words)

Branko Milanovic On Inequality

Branko Milanovic | Five Books | 3rd October 2017

Discussion of ideas from classic books about economic history by Paul Bairoch, Angus Maddison and others. “Slavery was the key reason why ancient societies could not go past a certain level of economic development. They developed enough to know how to use slaves but didn’t develop sufficiently to make it profitable to replace them with machines. Slavery was an institution that was efficient, perhaps, in the short term, but in the long term it prevented development of efficiency” (3,200 words)

Interpreting Music

Gerald Elias | Future Symphony Institute | 2nd October 2017

Some purists seek authenticity in classical music — wanting to hear how the works of Beethoven or Mozart would have sounded in their day. But they pay a price in pleasure. Modern performance standards are much higher. “Do we really want to hear Beethoven’s Fifth as it was heard at its premiere? Do we want to listen to 50 unevenly trained musicians playing for four hours on weak instruments that are hard to play, in an unheated concert hall conducted by a deaf man on one rehearsal?” (2,800 words)

In 1973 I Invented Baileys

David Gluckman | Irish Times | 2nd October 2017

Branding consultant tells how he and his business partner invented Baileys Irish Cream, a liqueur which has since sold more than a billion bottles. “We bought a small bottle of Jamesons Irish Whiskey and a tub of single cream. We mixed the two in our kitchen, tasted the result and it was bloody awful. We went back to the store, found some Cadbury’s Powdered Drinking Chocolate, and added it to our formula. Hugh and I were taken by surprise. It tasted really good” (6,700 words)

Catalonia And The Overton Window

Eliezer Yudkowsky | Less Wrong | 2nd October 2017

A rationalist considers the Spanish dilemma. “Historically, populations have usually been the subjects of governments, owned and farmed by them. The Catalan population is the property of Spain. But you can’t say Catalans are the property of Spain. That goes against the myth of democratic self-determination, of governments deriving their power from the consent of the governed”. Instead, the State claims to be bound by the Law, as if Law were “this reified thing floating in the air above everyone” (920 words)

Video of the day: Catalunya 1 d’octubre de 2017

What to expect:

Pro-separatist video celebrating the Catalonian independence vote (1’13”)

Thought for the day

Sober civilisation is roughly synonymous with science
Bertrand Russell

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