Newsletter 1010


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Best of the Moment

Song Of The Week: ‘Waterloo’

Mark Steyn | Steyn Online | 19th May 2013

Unmoved by Saturday's songs in Malmö? Then travel back almost 30 years to the peak of Swedish greatness. "After winning Eurovision in 1974 Abba bestrode the world like a colossus — if you can imagine any self-respecting colossus going out in public in velveteen knickerbockers, silver boots, pearl kimono and tricorn hat. And that was just the boys". Trivia bonus: "Abba was also the name of Sweden's largest tuna-canning company"

Dante: What The Hell

Joan Acocella | New Yorker | 20th May 2013

Dante's 14C Divine Comedy continues to inspire. After perhaps 100 extant translations into English, this year brings two more from poets Clive James and Mary Jo Bang. Plus a novel from Dan Brown, Inferno, which uses Dante's themes and imagery. "For all its absurdities, Brown’s book is a comfort, because it proves that the Divine Comedy is still alive in our culture". As do the new translations, which are not great, but honourable

Paul Otellini’s Intel: Can the Company That Built The Future Survive It?

The Atlantic | 16th May 2013

Intel boss retires, looks back, he did OK, but missed the deal of his lifetime: the iPhone contract. "There was a chip that they were interested in that they wanted to pay a certain price for and not a nickel more and that price was below our forecasted cost. I couldn't see it. It wasn't one of these things you can make up on volume. And in hindsight, the forecasted cost was wrong and the volume was 100x what anyone thought"

Innovation Lessons From Tesla Motors

Tim Kastelle | Innovation For Growth | 15th May 2013

Remember when Toyota's Prius hybrid was launched? It was "too expensive", "elitist", "only for greenies". Now it’s the third best-selling car in the world. Looks like the same story for Tesla's all-electric cars. Remember: new ideas take time to spread. Skeptics laugh, rivals get complacent. Then the idea finds its business model, breaks out of its niche, demand soars. It's an S-curve, and Tesla has hit the first bend

Wine Drinkers Of The World, Unite

Christopher Hitchens | Slate | 18th May 2013

Reprint of classic column from 2008. Waiters should not pour your wine. "The vile practice of butting in and pouring wine without being asked is the very height of the second kind of bad manners. Not only is it a breathtaking act of rudeness in itself, but it conveys a none-too-subtle and mercenary message: Hurry up and order another bottle. Imagine this same tactic being applied to the food"

An Exercise In Intimidation

John MacArthur | Harper's | 16th May 2013

President Kennedy's assassin was caught without locking down Dallas. Why the over-reaction in Boston? "Governor Patrick has signaled future terrorists that when they attack American targets they will likely get twice the bang for their buck. Not only will they kill and maim innocents in the immediate vicinity of the bombs; they’ll have the added satisfaction of seeing millions of free people cowering far from the scene of the crime"

Video of the day: 85 Seconds

Thought for the day:

"People tend to be extremely similar in their vulgar and prurient and dumb interests, and wildly different in their refined and aesthetic and noble interests"— David Foster Wallace

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