Neoliberalism, Gravity, Russian Cooking, Propaganda, Psychiatry

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The Market Police

J.W. Mason | Boston Review | 1st June 2018

Interesting throughout. Review of Quinn Slobodian’s history of neoliberalism. Early-20C neoliberals worried mainly about securing property rights, which implied a strong and impartial state. This priority made them opponents of absolute laissez-faire. “If we desire a free market, the framework of conditions, rules and institutions must be all the stronger and more inflexible. Laissez-faire yes, but within a framework laid down by a permanent and clear-sighted market police” (4,821 words)

Spacetime And Gravity

Ethan Siegel | Forbes | 9th June 2018

Information-packed post explaining in relatively simple terms why gravity is so hard to understand. Newton claimed that any two masses in the Universe, no matter how far apart, would instantaneously attract one another via a mutual force known as gravity. Einstein corrected Newton: Gravity travels at the speed of light. If the Sun were to disappear, the Earth’s orbit would react eight minutes later. But how and why otherwise unconnected objects can act on one another remains a mystery (2,100 words)

Cooking With Fydor Dostoyevsky

Valerie Stivers | Paris Review | 8th June 2018

Discussion with recipes. A “simple summery Russian menu” for the “evil characters” of The Brothers Karamazov, comprising onion dumplings, fish soup, and pear tart. The soup is for Smerdyakov, the least admirable figure in all Dostoyevsky’s work: “When the fish has cooled, pick the flesh from the skin and bones, and set aside”. The dumplings and tart salute Grushenka, whose name means “little pear”, and who tells the tale of an old woman saved from the fires of hell by clutching an onion (2,400 words)

Something In The Air

Geremie Barmé | China Channel | 4th June 2018

Notes on a life spent listening to Radio Peking. “As students in a late-Cultural Revolution university, our lives were marshalled by the radio. News programs were shouted into the canteens while we ate; morning classes were interrupted by broadcast callisthenics; lunch was midday news and warnings about the shifting tide in class struggle; afternoon broadcasts replaced tea time and the evening meal was ushered in by further news and updates on the state of the revolution” (4,400 words)

This Place Is Crazy

John J. Lennon | Esquire | 5th June 2018

Drug dealer, serving a life sentence for murder, reports on conditions for the mentally ill in American prisons. States shuttered mental institutions in the 1950s when it seemed drugs would soon alleviate mental illness. By the time the limitations of psychiatric drugs became clear, only prisons were left to cope. Now psychiatric patients are ten times more likely to end up in prison than in care. In New York State 20 percent of prisoners have mental illness. “Jails and prisons are our asylums” (5,400 words)

Video of the day Ziplining To Freedom

What to expect:

The tale of a young Czech’s escape from communism in the 1980s, vaguely in the style of Wes Anderson

Thought for the day

There are few reasons for telling the truth, but for lying the number is infinite
Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Podcast Bikram Choudhury | 30 For 30

Bikram Choudhury captivates 1970s Los Angeles with a yoga based on suffering, and builds a global empire
(42m 00s)

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