Nukes, Interruption, Iran, Frank Gehry, Malta, Britain

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Nuclear Arsenals Make Us Less Safe

Max Tegmark | Scientific American | 26th May 2017

The non-proliferation treaty has betrayed its non-nuclear signatories. So far from disarming, America and Russia are massively increasing their nuclear arsenals — prompting more states to seek nuclear weaponry. The nuclear arsenals of legitimate states once more pose a far greater threat to humanity than any rogue state or terrorist group. “A small group of countries with a minority of the world’s population insist on retaining the right to ruin life on Earth for everyone else” (1,200 words)

Women On The Supreme Court, Interrupted

Dylan Schweers & Tonja Jacobi | Aeon | 26th May 2017

How law works. “There are few more powerful positions than being a Supreme Court justice, yet the female justices are just like other women: talked over by their male colleagues. In the past 12 years, when women made up on average 24 per cent of the bench, 32 per cent of interruptions were of the female justices, only 4 per cent of interruptions were by the female justices. Male advocates account for approximately 10 per cent of all interruptions; female advocates for 0 per cent” (1,400 words)

Iran’s Support For Terrorist Groups

Daniel Byman | Lawfare | 25th May 2017

Meticulous analysis of Iranian foreign relations. Iran has downgraded its post-1979 hopes of exporting Islamist revolution to the rest of the world. Instead, as a “relatively weak state with hostile neighbors”, it must be primarily concerned with its own stability and survival. But alliances with terrorist and militant groups remain an integral part of Iran’s foreign policy, because they have proved to be a cost-effective way of intimidating and destabilising near and distant enemies (4,400 words)

Frank Gehry And The Walt Disney Concert Hall

Thomas Hines | The Iris | 25th May 2017

Oddly enthralling account of how Frank Gehry came to be chosen as architect of the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles despite the reservations of the Disney family. “I had a reputation that didn’t fit the profile of somebody that should do a concert hall. I think that was a reasonable anxiety. You always have to work against your past. It’s as though people expect you to blow one note all the time. But there are people who can blow two or three notes, and I guess I’m one of them” (3,400 words)

Malta: The Mediterranean Shell Game

Jürgen Dahlkamp et al | Der Spiegel | 24th May 2017

Malta “poses as a model member of the European Union”, but behaves more like a tax haven, allowing foreign companies to pay just 5% tax on profits routed through Maltese subsidiaries, a loophole exploited creatively by hundreds of big German firms. There is also a special deal for yacht-buying billionaires: the bigger the yacht, the lower the Maltese sales tax. “Larger yachts spend much of their time in international waters and are not subject to taxation during those periods” (6,080 words)

Of Course We Could Do More To Stop Terrorism

Laurie Penny | New Statesman | 24th May 2017

Liberty versus security. “If any country on earth has the infrastructure to make a police-state work right now, it’s Britain, a small island with extensive surveillance, a mostly urban population and no constitutional right to free speech. We can do it if we want to. The question is whether we should. Is it worth it, to prevent the loss of one more young life? Don’t answer that right now. Give it a few days, at least, because right now it makes a great deal of emotional sense to say Yes, yes, it’s worth it” (1,500 words)

Video of the day: A Brief History Of Dad Rock

What to expect:

Pitchfork animated short (3’02”)

Thought for the day

The more powerful the class, the more it claims not to exist
Guy Debord

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