Spencer Ackerman | Wired | 12 February 2013
Reconstructing the decisive battle at the beginning of The Empire Strikes Back. It should have been a total debacle for the Rebel Alliance. But Vader and the Empire forgot two rules: "Don’t place unaccountable religious fanatics in wartime command, and never underestimate a hegemonic power’s ability to miscalculate against an insurgency"
Hilary Mantel | London Review Of Books | 12 February 2013
Discursive lecture on women and monarchy, with particular reference to Anne Boleyn, Marie Antoinette, Princess Diana, Queen Elizabeth and Kate Middleton. Much here to delight admirers of Mantel's "Wolf Hall" novels, including a new theory of Henry VIII's difficulties in fathering a son: he may have had a rare blood type, Kells positive
Christopher Carroll | New York Review Blog | 12 February 2013
Short, action-packed appreciation, with audio samples from newly released live recordings. "He did everything in his power to push his players beyond their limits: While a musician was soloing, he might double the tempo, cut it in half, or drop the accompaniment." Sometimes the band buckled under the pressure; sometimes it rose to the challenge
Maria Farrell | Crooked Timber | 12 February 2013
On the historic ill-treatment of poor Irish women, whether kept at home in orphanages, prisons, convents, and laundries, or — a relatively benign scenario — transported to Australia. "My heart ached for those cheerful, ignorant, doughty girls who pitched up on a then-despised shore to find out even the people there thought they were lazy sluts"
Thought for the day:
"If you are not annoying someone, you are not doing anything new" — Penelope Trunk