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Writing Worth Reading
I Wuz Wrong
Megan McArdle | Atlantic | 27 August 2010
Lots of sharp insights about Iraq, financial crash, US policy. Writer looks
back at key predictions she got wrong. "I believed that the Fed and prudent
fiscal policy had, to a large extent, tamed the business cycle"
First Bank Of The Living Dead
Dan Drezner | National Interest | 24 August 2010
First-class review-essay covering big new books on finance from Mallaby,
Roubini, Reich, Quiggin. Tour d'horizon of current thinking on meltdown.
Conclusion: we need to update Keynes, but we don't know how
How Banks Rigged Mortage Markets
Jake Bernstein & Jesse Eisinger | Pro Publica | 26 August 2010
When market demand for mortgage-backed securities ebbed, banks sold them to
each other instead, booked profits, paid bonuses, issued more securities.
Until bubble burst
What We'll Miss About The Bill
Daniel Maier | Guardian | 26 August 2010
Savouring the clichés of an axed British detective series. Born as gritty
drama, it devolved into soap. With such lines as: "Juliet's just died, my
husband's left me and I'm carrying a dead man's baby!"
Dr Johnson's New Dictionary
Amy Oliver | Daily Mail | 27 August 2010
Extracts from a Dictionary of Modern Life, after Samuel Johnson. Defines
"Yummy Mummy" as "Hateful term of barb'd praise for a woman who has borne
children yet not become a crone"
Return Of Beggar-My-Neighbour
Samuel Brittan | FT | 26 August 2010
British government sliding into "mercantilism"—policies of soft
protectionism and industrial planning, which please business lobbies, but
frustrate competitive markets and free trade
What It Costs To Run Somalia
Elizabeth Dickinson | FP | 26 August 2010
Annual state budget: $11m—about equal to the budget for "High School Musical
3". Wages and salaries take $9.8m. Central bank governor gets $1,000 a year
Confessions Of A Facebook Stalker
Corrie Pikul | Elle | 19 August 2010
Author tracks down ex-boyfriend. And his wife. "It's fascinating, if
unsettling, to see the other forms that an ex-partner's desire can take."
But does it help, and what if you're caught?
Don't Just Sit There
Daniel Lametti | Slate | 26 August 2010
How defecation posture affects your health. For those not wanting to learn
about anorectal angles and bowel movement experiments, the summary is:
squatting beats sitting
I'm Not Sure I Will Die
Jane Miller | Guardian | 26 August 2010
Beautifully written piece on growing old, extracted from author's new book,
Crazy Age. Medical advances inflict complicated moral choices on us; we'll
need to work out how to get more control over the end of our lives
Secret World Of Trader Joe's
Beth Kowitt | Fortune | 23 August 2010
Get past the breathless beginning, and there's a fascinating piece here
about how US supermarket chain wins over customers by offering friendlier
service, less choice. People trust its judgment
Risks And Rewards Of Royal Incest
David Dobbs | National Geographic | 24 August 2010
Royal families since pharaohs have disregarded incest taboo. They consider
themselves a class apart. They want to protect assets. They can hedge bets
by siring illegitimate offspring
Turkey Is Too Much For Europe
Josef Joffe | FT | 25 August 2010
Argument against admitting Turkey to EU, based on claim that Turkey may
annex Kurdistan from Iraq, causing conflict with US, and that EU cannot
manage frontiers with Iran, Syria
Simon Tay | Foreign Affairs | 24 August 2010
Review-essay on new books about China and India, interesting throughout.
China and India fundamentally rivals, not co-operators. US to remain strong
in Asia, even if power there has peaked
Westerners vs. World
Adam McDowell | National Post | 21 August 2010
Western social science relies on behavioural studies using Western
participants. But in matters such as fairness, individualism, conformism,
Westerners are outliers by world standards
Swimming And Freedom
Matt Steinglass | Economist | 25 August 2010
Beautiful note on rise of American nanny-state, driven by fear of legal
liability. "Trying to establish social norms via lawsuits is part of what's
cramping liberty in everyday American life"
Chicken Butchering 101
Sofya | Guns And Butter | 24 August 2010
Absolutely everything you might ever want to know about the techniques of
chicken butchering, and the sensibility required for it. With pictures. If
you don't want to know, look elsewhere
Venezuela, More Deadly Than Iraq
Simon Romero | NYT | 22 August 2010
Amazing, though presumably not to Venezuelans. Homicide rate four times that
of Iraq. Twice that of drug-war Mexico. Has tripled under Chavez. 90% of
murders go unsolved
Today on FiveBooks - Israel.
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