Ivan Krastev | Open Democracy | 12 March 2013
Russia has assumed the outward appearance of a democracy, but none of the substance. Opposition is allowed but ignored. Policy is dictated. China is more classically authoritarian in structure, but much more inclusive in the process of policy formation. The leadership is constantly experimenting with political and economic models
Anonymous | Telegraph | 12 March 2013
Inventor of Diplomacy board game. Harvard scholar. Contemporary of Kissinger. Later park ranger at the Statue of Liberty, postman in Illinois, "an amiably eccentric man who enjoyed working out the prime factors of car number plates he passed on his rounds". Never much good at his own game, because he was "too nice"
V.S. Pritchett et al | New Statesman | 12 March 2013
Includes V.S. Pritchett on 1984, V.S. Naipaul on Memento Mori. From Pritchett: "The faults of Orwell as a writer - monotony, nagging, the lonely schoolboy shambling down the one dispiriting track - are transformed now he rises to a large subject. He is the most devastating pamphleteer alive because he is the plainest"
Massimo Gatto | New York Review Of Books | 12 March 2013
Notes on the history and iconography of the Papal costume. "When red shoes were the height of fashion in Etruscan Rome, that is, five hundred years before the birth of Jesus, they designated the wearer as an aristocrat, someone who could afford leather that had been colored with the most expensive dye in the Mediterranean"
Jude Gomila | Jude Gomila | 12 March 2013
Grab-bag of ideas to make flying less bothersome. "Having to watch the simple safety instructions every flight is a waste of time and energy for the passenger. No one even watches it anyway. We need to take this online and out of the cabin, making it a test that people hold a license for, rather like a driving license"
Rachel Aviv | n+1 | 11 March 2013
Reflections on the work of Julian Jaynes, Princeton psychologist who strove to explain how man learned to think. His book, The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, drew on archaeology, art history, theology, and Greek poetry. "Critics described it as a bizarre and reckless masterpiece ... As startling as Freud"
Thought for the day:
"My best advice for promoting a book is to get in a time machine, go back half a decade, and start blogging" — Austin Kleon