Migraine, Ezra Klein, Aphasia, John Cage, Vietnam


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Every Body Goes Haywire

Anna Altman | n+1 | 6th October 2016

On migraine, an illness consisting entirely of symptoms — and what symptoms they are. “From the Greek hemi (half) and kranion (skull), migraine is associated with severe, throbbing, unilateral pain; an aversion to light and sound; and nausea and vomiting, all of which is aggravated by movement. An attack may be announced by sudden exhaustion, food cravings, a foul mood, or what is called an aura, a neurological phenomenon that disrupts a sufferer’s vision with silvery squiggles and zigzags” (5,500 words)

Ezra Klein On Media And Politics

Tyler Cowen | Conversations with Tyler | 6th October 2016

Wide-ranging interview. Interesting throughout. Topics include: Management, politics, Donald Trump, media, shaming, race, single mothers, animal rights. On management: “You can teach a lot of skills, but you can’t teach obsession. There’s a real difference between somebody who is obsessed with the work they’re doing and someone who is simply skilled at the work they’re doing. I will take the obsession and teach the skills over getting the skills and having to teach the obsession” (14,200 words)

How Aphasic Patients Understood The Presidential Debate

Susie Neilson | Nautilus | 9th October 2016

People with aphasia have difficulty managing speech, but they have a compensatingly fine grasp of tone and body language. Here is what Pat, an aphasic, made of the first Trump-Clinton debate: “In 1960 Nixon was hot and sweat and Kennedy just looked fine, he looked great, and he ended up winning the presidency. And that’s what I think Hillary is trying to do because she’s from Congress. Trump, he’s never been in politics. That’s why it’s harder for him to be a president, to look good” (1,100 words)

John Cage’s Gift To Us

Tim Page | New York Review of Books | 7th October 2016

John Cage’s Selected Letters confirm the impression that his ideas were more interesting and influential than his compositions. He changed what was admissible as music: “We live in a world where there are things as well as people. Trees, stones, water, everything is expressive. I attempt to let sounds be themselves in a space of time. I do not object to being engaged in a purposeless activity. On a spring day I would prefer walking in the country’s fields and woods to going to a concert” (2,400 words)

The History Of Modern Vietnam

Joshua Kurlantzick | Guardian | 8th October 2016

Christopher Goscha has written “quite simply the finest, most readable single-volume history of Vietnam in English”. He portrays a land “long coveted by major powers – a narrow spit of coast with fertile deltas, astride one of the most important trade routes in the world”, where history has repeated itself as tragedy. “Virtually all of the policy mistakes made by the US during the Vietnam war had been made, in almost all the same ways, by France in its Indochina war between 1946 and 1954” (1,300 words)

Video of the day: Feral Cats Of New York

What to expect:

New Yorker short film. Seventy million feral cats roam the streets of America (10’55”)

Thought for the day

The clearest indication of character is what people find laughable
J.W. von Goethe

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