Mafia Movies, Jamestown, Spain, China, Facebook, Menopause

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Mafia At The Movies

Federico Varese | TLS | 23rd October 2017

How life imitates art in the world of organised crime, and has done so for more than a century. Al Capone copied his wardrobe from the first-ever gangster movie, The Musketeers of Pig Alley, directed by D.W. Griffith in 1912. The Godfather and The Sopranos have been similarly influential: Louie Milito, a New York mafioso killed in 1988, was said to have watched The Godfather six thousand times. Japanese Yakuza gangs get previews from studios so they can approve their presentation on-screen (1,850 words)

An Icy Conquest

Susan Dunn | New York Review Of Books | 26th October 2017

The condensed version of American history moves briskly from the arrival of Columbus in 1492 to the Pilgrims’ landing at Plymouth Rock in 1620. But between these two triumphs came many tragedies, as straggling groups of ill-prepared European settlers landed and promptly perished from disease and starvation. Half of the hundred or so English who settled Jamestown in 1607 were dead within four months, while the rest were eating rats, boots, and one another (2,700 words)

Trapped In The Clichés Of Spain

Andrea Aguilar | El Pais | 29th October 2017

Spanish writer wonders why foreign media seem generally sympathetic to the Catalan separatists, taking their side against the central government. Yes, the police violence on referendum day was a big factor, but the causes go deeper. Independence movements in general appeal easily on an emotional level to liberal foreigners. They have the narrative of freedom on their side. Secessionism looks very different, however, when it is your own country that is being torn apart (2,700 words)

Destined For War

Brett Wessley | Strategy Bridge | 30th October 2017

Interview with Graham Allison, updating his “Thucydides trap” thesis that China as rising power and America as incumbent power are doomed to conflict. “The Chinese believe the contest in the South China Sea is basically over, and that they won. All the governments in the region now ask first what will China do. China’s naval budget will soon exceed our own, especially with regards to regional competition, and it’s unlikely we can buy our way out of this problem” (2,800 words)

Fashion, Maslow And Facebook

Benedict Evans | 27th October 2017

The power of Facebook is overstated. It doesn’t compel users to do things; what it does do is try to work out what people want next, and stay one step ahead — like a fashion house, which survives by anticipating changes in taste, but cannot force anybody to wear its clothes. “You might not like this fashion or that product, but the alternative equilibrium might have been worse, might not exist, or might have needed quite different people to find. And it might still be coming” (1,300 words)

Beautiful As A Kaleidoscope

Rachel Hurn | A Women's Thing | 1st September 2016

Extracts from a correspondence in which the poet Mary Ruefle offers advice to the young about menopause. “Many women go through some kind of ‘traumatic change’ in middle age, but never associate it with menopause. Menopause becomes just one more thing that is happening to them, as if it were part of a list, but I think menopause should perhaps be written in bold letters at the head of the list, as the cause of all that is listed beneath” (1,900 words)

Video of the day Jim Karol At MIT

What to expect:

Expert on memory enhancement enthralls students at MIT. Display begins at 0’40” (4’00”)

Thought for the day

When you believe everything is finished, that is the beginning
Louis L’Amour

Podcast of the day The Death Of Sergei Magnitsky | Stay Tuned With Preet

Former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara talks to financier Bill Browder about crime and corruption in Russia

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