Muhammad Ali, TED, Going Feral, Rule 40, Abundance

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Why The Literati Love Muhammad Ali

Janan Ganesh | Financial Times | 19th February 2016

"The first rule of fight club is that you write about fight club, a lot." No sport has been chronicled in greater depth or quality than boxing; no fighter has been chronicled more extensive or intimately than Muhammad Ali. It is not his heroism that fascinates, but his ambiguity. "Christopher Booker argued that all stories in all literature conform to at least one of seven basic plots. Ali’s life conforms to them all" (2,000 words)

Doing A TED Talk

Tim Urban | Wait But Why | 2nd March 2016

Have your talk perfectly memorised, and the rest will come (fairly) easily. "The people at TED refer to two tests you need to pass to qualify as memorised: If you record yourself saying the talk and play it back at 2x speed, can you say it out loud while it’s playing and stay ahead of the recording? Can you recite the talk while simultaneously doing an unrelated task like following a recipe and measuring out the ingredients into a bowl?" (4,500 words)

The Barrister Who Became A Badger

Anoosh Chakelian | New Statesman | 3rd March 2016

Being A Beast tells of Charles Foster's attempts to live as a wild animal. He spent six weeks as a badger in a Welsh wood, "eating earthworms, licking slugs and scuffling around on all fours". As an otter in the East Lyn river he tried to catch fish in his mouth. He was hunted as a red deer on Exmoor. "He had more luck as an urban fox in London’s East End, where he slept in backyards and rooted around people’s bins" (1,090 words)

The (Rule) 40 Horsemen Of The GOP Apocalypse

Jeff Berkowitz | Delve | 2nd March 2016

With Donald Trump so far ahead in the popular vote, those in the Republican Party who want to block his nomination may well have to rely on technicalities. So here are the technicalities. In brief, if Trump wins a first-round majority at the convention he is home and dry. If he falls short of an absolute majority, everything is up in the air. Delegates are no longer bound by the results of their state's primary or caucus (1,170 words)


Gavin Jackson | 2nd March 2016

The two fundamental forces in economics are scarcity and surplus. For most of human history we have feared scarcity: The crop fails, food prices rise, people starve. But modern recessions are more often the product of surplus. There is too much labour and capital relative to demand. In this scenario the farmer arrives at the market to find it overserved, prices fall, the crop is worthless, the farmer goes bankrupt (1,430 words)

Video of the day: Seventy Years In Four Minutes

What to expect: The ageing of a human face (4'57")

Thought for the day

Large offers and sturdy rejections are among the most common topics of falsehood
Dr Johnson

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