Mars, Longevity, Population, James Risen


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Donald Trump Didn’t Want To Be President

Michael Wolff | New York | 3rd January 2018

Highly entertaining account of the Trump election victory and the early days of the new administration. The contention here is that Trump did not want or expect to win, but ran to boost his fame and his television career. “Once he lost, Trump would be both insanely famous and a martyr to Crooked Hillary. Steve Bannon would become the de facto head of the tea-party movement. Kellyanne Conway would be a cable-news star. Losing would work out for everybody. Losing was winning” (7,200 words)

My Year On ‘Mars’

Christiane Heinicke | Scientific American | 2nd January 2018

Physicist spends a year sequestered with five others in a geodesic dome on the side of a Hawaiian volcano to test what isolation might do to the psyches of a crew on a Mars mission. “I found it hard not to be able to walk in a straight line for more than 36 feet or sleep with the window open. And I missed eating fresh raspberries. One thing that all six of us agreed on was that the endless stretch of volcanic rock made us miss the vibrant colors of living nature all the more” (2,400 words)

A Beginner’s Guide To Longevity Research

Laura Deming | 2nd January 2018

In brief: Eating less can make you live longer. Genetic pathways related to growth and insulin are linked to aging. Young blood makes old mice healthier. Removing the ability to reproduce can increase lifespan. Mitochondrial mutations impact lifespan in counterintuitive ways. Some cells get old in a way that is much worse than the others. Sirtuins can increase lifespan. See also the tables of 95 things that make mice live longer and 70 drugs that might help people do the same (10,500 words)

The Book That Scared The World

Charles Mann | Smithsonian | 2nd January 2018

Paul Ehrlich’s ‘Population Bomb’ revived for the 1960s generation the early-19C arguments of Malthus: Population growth was exhausting supplies of food and other resources. Humanity faced “mass starvation” on “a dying planet”. Fifty years on, we can see that Ehrlich was wrong, just as Malthus was wrong. But still, at 85, Ehrlich believes he will yet be proved right. “Today’s reduction in hunger is but a temporary reprieve, a generation-long lucky break, but no indication of a better future” (2,090 words)

The Biggest Secret

James Risen | Intercept | 3rd January 2018

Memoirs of a veteran national-security reporter. Before 9/11 there was an informal understanding that the US government would go through the motions of protesting about intelligence leaks, but would not actually prosecute. After 9/11 the Bush and Obama administrations upped the intimidation, and editors repeatedly caved. The hardest part of the job was no longer getting stories out of the CIA and the NSA; it was persuading the timorous New York Times to publish them (16,500 words)

Video of the day Dunkirk As A Silent Film

What to expect:

Tom van der Linden recuts Christopher Nolan’s ‘Dunkirk’ as a silent film (8’00”)

Thought for the day

We do things not because they are easy, but because we thought they were going to be easy
Maciej Ceglowski

Podcast of the day Bad Liar | Switched On Pop

Nate Sloan and Charlie Harding analyse the unconventional charms of ‘Bad Liar’, by Selena Gomez
(39'30")

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