Newsletter 991


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Best of the Moment

The Mind Of A Con Man

Yudhijit Bhattacharjee | New York Times | 26th April 2013

Admired Dutch psychologist admits to faking a whole career's worth of academic research. "I always checked that the experiment was reasonable, that it followed from the research that had come before. Everybody wants you to be novel and creative, but you also need to be truthful and likely. You need to be able to say that this is completely new and exciting, but it’s very likely given what we know so far" (Metered paywall)

What If The Tsarnaevs Had Been The “Boston Shooters”?

John Cassidy | New Yorker | 25th April 2013

With assault rifles, they'd have killed a lot more people than with homemade bombs. But they wouldn't have been charged with using weapons of mass destruction. They would, on the other hand, have pretty much ensured the passage of post-Newtown gun-control bills which, instead, perished in Congress a couple of days later. Use a bomb, and you are public enemy number one; use a gun and you're a nutcase with no policy implications

Obituary: Fred “Nosher” Powell

Anonymous | Telegraph | 26th April 2013

Sparring partner for Joe Louis, market porter, film extra, stunt double for Roger Moore as James Bond, minder for Sammy Davis Jr, friend of the Great Train Robbers, chauffeur to J Paul Getty, bouncer in Soho nightclubs where "he once had to apologise to customers affronted by Orson Welles’s malodorous farts after the great director had gorged himself on the house speciality, potato soup" (Metered paywall)

My Juventus

Financial Times | Simon Kuper | 26th April 2013

Juventus versus Milan used to be one of the greatest games in global football. Now it's a local derby. Italian football has shared its country's moral, political and economic decline. Andrea Agnelli, president of Italy's leading club, Juventus, catches the general pessimism: "Half the stadiums are empty, there is violence. It’s not the best product ... Italian football, as much as Italy, needs structural reforms" (Metered paywall)

Why Your Supermarket Sells Only Five Kinds Of Apple

Rowan Jacobson | Mother Jones | 26th April 2013

Meet John Bunker, "apple whisperer" of Maine. America had thousands of varieties in the 1800s before industrial agriculture crushed diversity. But apple trees live for 200 years: the old ones are still there to be rediscovered by new enthusiasts. "These centenarians hang on, flickering on the edge of existence, their identity often a mystery to the present homeowners. Bunker is determined to save as many as he can before they, and he, are gone"

White And Inexpressibly Horrid Land

Richard Hamblyn | Times Literary Supplement | 24th April 2013

Highly readable review-essay discussing recent books about Antarctica, which, for James Cook, was an "inexpressibly horrid" land "not worth the discovery". Scott might have come to agree. But times have changed. "The century since the death of Scott has seen such views of Antarctica transformed, from a howling wilderness to an ice-bound utopia, a kind of transnational Eden devoted to the pleasures of research"

Video of the day: Sundae Stroll

Thought for the day:

"Skepticism is the elegance of anxiety"— Emil Cioran

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