Norman Bel Geddes, Judges, London, Whales, India

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Colossal in Scale, Appalling In Complexity

B. Alexandra Szerlip | Believer | 1st May 2012

Before he created the Futurama for General Motors at the 1939 World’s Fair, Norman Bel Geddes was building “meticulous, insanely detailed private games” to play with his friends in Prohibition-era New York, including a 28-foot electric race-track with tiny cast-iron horses. “Each contender had a motor controlled by a rheostat dial set at a winding speed based on the horse’s past performance. Randomness was provided by the Chance Machine, a mechanism that worked against the individual motors” (4,320 words)

Tipping The Scales

Noah Berlatsky | New York Review Of Books | 1st July 2018

America’s Supreme Court may soon have a stable conservative majority for the first time since the 1930s. What then? “A conservative jurisprudence, aggressively applied, would reshape American law and politics. It would reinterpret fundamental issues of individual and privacy rights, health care, employment, national security, environment. The range of conservative legislation that could survive judicial review would expand, while the range of progressive legislation that could do so would narrow” (3,450 words)

Did The Blitz Help London’s Economy?

Gerard Dericks & Hans Koster | LSE Spatial Economics | 14th June 2018

Yes, if at great human cost. Buildings erected on bomb sites after the war were generally exempted from London’s historically restrictive planning regulations. “Based on back-of-the-envelope calculations, we estimate that the value of the Blitz to London, in having reduced the restrictiveness of its planning regime, is £4.5bn annually, equivalent to 1.2% of London’s GDP — assuming that, without the Blitz, London’s density would have been constrained to what it is in non-bombed areas of the city” (564 words)

When Whales Die

Nick Pyenson | Literary Hub | 29th June 2018

“Thinking like a paleontologist makes you something of a connoisseur of dead things. My pursuit of dead whales has led to the rich record of strandings since antiquity. Strandings are a timeless motif—an immobilized, beach-cast leviathan, angrily tail-slapping against the surf. The image shocks us because we imagine whales to be fully a part of the aquatic realm. How would a whale end up landlocked in our world, a creature so large and strange suddenly so uniquely vulnerable?” (3,500 words)

In What Language Does Rain Fall?

Arundhati Roy | Raiot | 5th June 2018

On the politics of language in India, a country with 780 of them. Hindi was meant to replace English as the state language in 1965. “However, any serious move toward making Hindi the national language has been met with riots in non-Hindi speaking regions of the country. English has continued, guiltily, unofficially, and by default, to consolidate its base. Writing or speaking in English is not a tribute to the British Empire, it is a practical solution to the circumstances created by it” (10,600 words)

Video of the day Gucci Hallucination Animations

What to expect:

Gucci meets Dali meets Bosch. Paintings by Ignasi Monreal, animation by Bjorn-Erik Aschim (3’19”)

Thought for the day

History would be an excellent thing if only it were true
Leo Tolstoy

Podcast Bikram | 30 For 30

Investigation into the rise and fall Bikram Choudhury’s yoga empire. Part 1 of 5. PG-13
(41m 24s)

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