Harold McGee | Slate | 4 March 2013
Ignore the sell-by date: Even the humblest canned foods may improve with storage. And why wait? Heating the can will speed the ageing process. "At 120 degrees, you get a year's worth of change in six weeks." Sardines and cheese mature well. "Can-braised Spam takes on a softness that’s especially nice when you fry the surface to a crunchy crust"
Larissa MacFarquhar | New Yorker | 4 March 2013
Portrait of Aaron Swartz, much of it in the form of long quotes from his friends and from his blogs. He could inspire those around him; he could also confuse and exasperate them. "The people closest to him believe that he would not have killed himself without the prosecutors, but they feel that there is something missing from this account"
Elliott Abrams | Foreign Policy | 4 March 2013
How the President can take charge of national security and foreign policy, and not get sandbagged by the bureaucrats. By a veteran of the Reagan and the Bush 41 administrations. in brief: Sack everybody from the previous administration on day one, appoint loyalists all the way down, and hold them close. Illuminating if not encouraging
Benn Steil | Foreign Affairs | 1 March 2013
Harry Dexter White, the architect — with John Maynard Keynes — of the Bretton Woods monetary system, was a Soviet mole, more valuable than Alger Hiss, passing information to Moscow about the Roosevelt administration for 11 years. Why did he do it? Newly discovered memo shows him as a misdirected idealist, who believed in the Soviet economic model
John Lanchester | Guardian | 2 March 2013
On the sociology and psychology of commuting. "I've never seen a film or television programme about the importance of commuting in Londoners' lives; come to that, I've never read a novel that captures it either. The centrality of London's underground to Londoners is strangely underrepresented in fiction about the city, and especially in drama"
Peter Harling | Le Monde Diplomatique | 1 March 2013
Portrait of political life in Iraq. Not as bad as in Saddam's time, but not a lot better, either. "Pluralism, decentralisation, even federalism are inevitable in the present phase. So we need a parliamentary system, but at the moment we have no particular system at all. Institutions don’t function and the constitution is not really applied"
Thought for the day:
"Criticism serves a lower end than art does, and has little effect on it, but by conveying value it serves a civilizing end" — Adam Gopnick