Joel Johnson | 18th April 2013
Motorcycling. "Wind sucks when you're riding in the rain, but on dry pavement with the sun shining it was like I could feel every part of the landscape telegraphed to me through the variance in the wind. It could have made me feel like the country was trying to throw me off the bike — and it was, I guess — but it also was like the terrain itself was able to send a literal push instead of just hanging out there over on either side of the road looking pretty"
Mac McClelland | Modern Farmer | 17th April 2013
If you're going to eat beef, you should watch a cow die first. So: A visit to Prather Ranch Meat Company of California and its abattoir. Perhaps against expectations, the news from here — and from most American farms — is relatively good. "Prather doesn’t just give cows the best life possible, but the best death possible. There is hardly an animal in nature — humans included — that dies as quickly and painlessly as Prather’s herd"
Dwight Garner | New York Times | 18th April 2013
Interview and profile. Spy novelist enjoys late-career boom, sparked by Gary Oldman's film of Tinker, Tailor; book sold a million copies last year, three more films coming soon, new novel out next month. "At his best, he’s among the finest writers alive." Has a pact with his family: “They are under strict orders to speak up if they think I am not writing well any longer, because at this point I could write the telephone directory and get money for it.”
Andrew Simms | Guardian | 17th April 2013
British retailer, once viewed as a model business, struggles at home, retrenches abroad. Has it reached the limits of an extractive business model? "It leaves us all poorer, and the economy less resilient, by sucking spending and social contact out of communities, by hollowing out supply chains ... Supermarkets offer a distorted map of a flat, unchanging world, where an already over-consuming population is encouraged to purchase ever more"
David Johnson | Boston Review | 17th April 2013
Writer Larissa McFarquhar talks about her current work on cases of extreme moral virtue — for example, a person who donates a kidney to a stranger; a Boston couple who give away almost all their money. "To me, the compelling question here was not extremity as such, but whether there is any limit to what can be morally required of us, and whether there’s anything wrong with a life that’s lived according to extreme moral principles"
Gabrielle Giffords | New York Times | 17th April 2013
"The senators who voted against background checks for online and gun-show sales, and against checks to screen out would-be gun buyers with mental illness, failed to do their job. They looked at these most benign and practical of solutions, offered by moderates from each party, and then they looked over their shoulder at the powerful, shadowy gun lobby — and brought shame on themselves and our government by choosing to do nothing"
Thought for the day:
"The digital revolution reduces everybody to the state of musicians" — Bruce Sterling