Manchuria, Extortion, Manhunts, George Osborne, Richard Tuttle, Islam & Authority


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Manchuria And North Korea: Wonder And Terror

Ian Buruma | New York Review Of Books | 4th June 2015

Review of Michael Meyer's In Manchuria: A Village Called Wasteland; and Suki Kim's diary of a teaching stint in North Korea, Without You There Would Be No Us. Manchuria is "one of the bleakest places on earth", devastated by wars and polluted by heavy industry. A French priest travelling there in the 1920s wrote: “Although it is uncertain where God created paradise, we can be sure He chose some other place than this” (4,175 words)

The Zero-Armed Bandit

Alan Bellows | Damn Interesting | 16th June 2015

A metal chest topped with 23 toggle switches is left inside a Las Vegas casino. A note says the box contains a bomb big enough to level the building, which will explode unless a ransom is delivered by helicopter. The bomb squad arrives. "At first, they heard nothing. But then, just at the edge of hearing, someone thought they heard a whirring sound. After a lengthy delay they heard it again. Something inside was stirring" (8,500 words)

How To Catch An Escaped Prisoner

Carl Stoffers | Marshall Project | 15th June 2015

Expert advice from John Moriarty, who ran "dozens" of manhunts for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Dogs are best: "Texas is so successful because they have packs of dogs. Having seven dogs as opposed to one dog is a lot better." Failing which, families: "There is a tendency in law enforcement to get families upset. That’s not the way to handle them. So many times they’re the ones who have led us to escapees" (1,250 words)

George Osborne: The Chancellor Who Grew Up

Janan Ganesh | Financial Times | 16th June 2015 | | Read with 1Pass

Britain's finance minister is the "the mutant of Westminster". He came to office five years ago a notorious cynic; he has evolved into an idealist who wants to "change the common sense of his age". His model for Britain is a more permissive Singapore. "He envisions a country that is, like him, of the liberal right, with a smaller, looser state, perpetual surpluses and a profiteering openness to the world, especially Asia" (780 words)

Art / Not

Morgan Meis | Smart Set | 15th June 2015

Richard Tuttle's minimalist artworks — slight assemblies of wire and paper, wood and cloth — were widely derided in the 1970s when fine art, whether painting or sculpture, was expected to explore its medium, and Tuttle's works barely acknowledged a medium. But Tuttle has prevailed. Art no longer answers to physical criteria. "A person sitting alone in a room can be art." By current standards "Tuttle is practically a maximalist" (2,400 words)

Islamic State And Religious Authority

H.A. Hellyer & Nathan J. Brown | Foreign Affairs | 15th June 2015 | | Read with 1Pass

If Islamic State is perverting the teachings of Islam, where is the Islamic authority capable of denouncing it? There isn't one. Islam doesn't work that way. Communities of scholars scattered across the Muslim world issue doctrinal pronouncements and don't always agree. The senior institution was traditionally the Azhar in Cairo, but the Azhar has become so politicised and divided that Islamic State is finding recruits even there (1,680 words)

Video of the day: CNN Interviews Tom Harper

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Thought for the day

What really flatters a man is that you think him worth flattering
George Bernard Shaw

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