Best of the Moment
We Are Squatters In The Ruins Of Democracy
Henry Farrell | Aeon | 25th April 2013
Reflections on Western government inspired by Colin Crouch's book, Post-Democracy. Political parties and business have fused into a self-serving ruling class. "People still vote. Political parties vie in elections, circulate in and out of government. Yet these acts of apparent choice have had their meaning hollowed out. The real decisions are taken elsewhere. We have become squatters in the ruins of the great democratic societies of the past"
China’s Flu Pandemic: The Big One?
Laurie Garrett | Foreign Policy | 24th April 2013
Ten years after SARS, a new virus strikes China, perhaps more deadly, and certainly harder to contain. "The H7N9 flu now evolving before Humanity's eyes in China has killed 18 percent of the 108 people with lab-confirmed infections as of April 22. That's a lethality about nine times the mortality rate of the Great Influenza of 1918-19, which claimed at least 50 million lives". It's not a bird flu, but what is it, and where does it hide?
Sam Harris On Martial Arts And Atheism
Graeme Wood | The Atlantic | 24th April 2013
Interview. The advocate of atheism is also an expert on self-defence — martial arts, knife-fighting, guns — and happy to share some tips: "A knife attack is always a disaster for an unarmed person. A person who is seriously intent upon killing you with a knife is not going to attack in the way you've learned to expect from martial-arts class. Getting cut with a knife of any size is physiologically horrible in a way that few people realize"
Cooked: A DIY Manifesto
Michael Pollan | Medium | 17th April 2013
Book extract. Why we should take the trouble to cook, at least occasionally, at home. It keeps us alert, independent, informed; in touch with our food and the way it is produced. "In a world where so few of us are obliged to cook at all anymore, to choose to do so is to lodge a protest against specialization — against the total rationalization of life. Against the infiltration of commercial interests into every last cranny of our lives"
The Polish Model
Gideon Rose | Foreign Affairs | 24th April 2013
Conversation With Radek Sikorski, Polish foreign minister. Interesting throughout. "We Poles, like you Americans, are a revolutionary people. So when others get rid of their tyrants, our initial reaction is one of solidarity. But we also know that crises are usually taken advantage of not by the best people but by the best-organized people. There is very little that we as outsiders can do to affect events, except to set a good example"
Video of the day: Cherie 25
Thought for the day:
"Unlike every other other nation in the world, the United States defines itself as a hypothesis and constitutes itself as an argument"— Lewis Lapham