Medicine, Paul Collier, Malthus, Infrastructure, Max Beckmann

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Bias In The ER

Michael Lewis | Nautilus | 9th February 2017

Profile of “medical detective” Don Redelmeier, a disciple of Amos Tversky, who strives to identify and prevent common errors of judgment among doctors. Doctors have cognitive biases just like everybody else, but they are peculiarly reluctant to acknowledge as much because so much certainty is expected of them, and because the cost of an error in medicine can be so high. “Most physicians try to maintain this facade of being rational and scientific and logical and it’s a great lie” (7,300 words)

How To Save Capitalism From Itself

Paul Collier | Times Literary Supplement | 25th January 2017

Capitalism is collapsing into rent-seeking; right-left politics is dead; time for a new programme, called here “social maternalism”: “The state would be active in both the economic and social spheres. Its tax policies would restrain the powerful from appropriating rents. Its regulations would empower those who suffer from creative destruction to claim compensation. Its inclusive nationalism would be a force for binding together, replacing the emphasis on the fragmented identities of grievances” (4,300 words)

Who Are You Calling Malthusian?

Dietrich Vollrath | 8th February 2017

In partial defence of Malthus. He was right to say that, where resources are limited, then a larger population means a lower standard of living, because there is less to go round. He was probably also right to say that higher living standards encourage larger populations: People have more children, and live longer, when they are better able to look after themselves. But it doesn’t necessarily follow that populations will always grow to the point of starvation and collapse (2,050 words)

Fascism And Infrastructure

Ingrid Burrington | Melville House | 10th February 2017

“Authoritarians tend to have really comprehensive infrastructure plans, which usually contributes to their appeal. Anyone seeking the legitimacy afforded a state understands that maintaining infrastructure not only builds goodwill (or at least subservience), it’s also a tremendous display of power. It’s telling that the term that’s gaining more and more traction here is ‘infrastructure’ and not ‘public works’. The noble sentiments of the latter are often implied by the former, but they’re far from guaranteed” (1,150 words)

Max Beckmann At The Met

Michael Hofmann | London Review Of Books | 7th February 2017

“I take Beckmann to be one of the great painters of the 20th century, his life one of the great artists’ lives, and his diaries, the Tagebücher 1940-50 (he destroyed earlier years, lest they fell into the hands of the Nazis), one of the great autobiographical records. His work, life, career and personality fully manage to span the unimaginable cultural shifts from the stiff collars of Wilhelmine Germany to our epoch of the artist as awkward little public client and university appendage” (2,100 words)

Video of the day: How Scientology Works

What to expect:

Introduction to the “auditing” process in Scientology, using scenes from P.T. Anderson’s film The Master (8’37”)

Thought for the day

Poetry: aviation! Prose: infantry
Joseph Brodsky

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