Murder, War, Science, Fraud, Property

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Who Poisoned Zhu Ling?

Robert Foyle Hunwick | Supchina | 20th June 2018

“It’s perhaps the most infamous case in the annals of modern Chinese crime. The tale begins in March 1995, as a nervous Zhu walked on stage to begin a recital at Tsinghua University. Her performance was flawless if a touch rote. No one in the room, least of all Zhu, had any idea of the reason: there was a rare poison working through her system, a toxic heavy metal that would soon render the young scholar incapable of again recognizing a zither melody again, let alone play one” (1,200 words)

Predicting War

Michael Neiberg | Lawfare | 19th June 2018

Review of Lawrence Freedman’s “The Future of War”, which divides the history of war into three phases. The first runs from pre-history into the late 1980s and conceives of war as a quest for the decisive battle. The second extends for another 20 years with liberal internationalism as the ideal of global governance. In the third phase, after 9/11, “armed action against transnational terrorists and non-state armed groups became the primary security concern of the western democracies” (2,700 words)

One Funeral At A Time

Joshua Graff Zivin & Pierre Azoulay | Pro-Market | 19th June 2018

Max Planck quipped that science advances one funeral at a time. Only when the great authority is dead can his or her ideas be challenged successfully. Quantitative analysis bears Planck out. “The loss of an elite scientist signals to outsiders that the cost-benefit calculations on the ideas they might bring to the table have changed, encouraging them to engage. But this occurs only when the star’s network of close collaborators is insufficiently robust to stave off threats from intellectual outsiders” (964 words)

Theranos Lessons

Morgan Housel | Collaborative Fund | 19th June 2018

From time to time you will get duped. Everybody gets duped. Even Warren Buffett gets duped. And necessarily so. It is in the nature of risk-taking. “Optimism requires a degree of believing in things you can not or have not verified”. Especially where new technology is concerned. So be ready to bet, but never bet the ranch. “The key is an intentional focus on diversification, room for error, and avoiding single points of failure, particularly for big, non-insurable risks” (760 words)

Freud And Property Rights

Bill Rein | Notes On Liberty | 17th August 2016

Do the rights of an individual over his or her property fall into roughly the same category as the rights of an individual over his or her body? Is a false leg any less yours than a grown leg? This argument in favour, relying mainly on the theories of Sigmund Freud, is inconclusive but worth hearing. “Technology is fundamentally an extension of human attributes. What is a record, but an upgrade of human auditory memory; what is a video, but an upgrade of human visual memory or imagination” (740 words)

Video of the day 48 Hours In Volgograd

What to expect:

The Calvert Journal explores Volgograd, formerly Stalingrad, a cultural capital for young Russians (8’22”)

Thought for the day

Those who do not move do not notice their chains
Rosa Luxemburg

Podcast Poison Control | Radiolab

What do you do when your baby swallows a jar of diaper ointment? The Poison Help Hotline can help
(38m 15s)

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