Ownership, Arsène Wenger, Religious Discrimination, Assange On Snowden, Sodor, Antibiotics, Peter H

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The End Of Private Property

Kyle Wiens | Wired | 21st April 2015

The greatest current threat to private property comes not from communist revolution, but from American patent law. You can buy a tractor or a car, only to find that the manufacturer claims continued ownership of the software that makes the vehicle run. According to John Deere, when you think you are buying a John Deere tractor, what you are actually buying is merely “an implied license for the life of the vehicle to operate the vehicle” (1,440 words)

The Martyr Of Islington

Corley Miller | Eight By Eight | 21st April 2015

A marvellous profile. Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger as the Pope of English football. "It’s not just his age, 65, nor the opulent fiefdom or the whispered politics, nor that Arsenal fans in equal parts consider him infallibly anointed or inoperably deluded. It’s his faith—his belief that there’s a code of rightness other than success; his Catholic claim that virtue, magic, and beauty might be more important than the trophy case" (3,230 words)

Why Can Religions Discriminate Against Women?

Amanda Bennett | Washington Post | 19th April 2015

It is considered socially acceptable for an Orthodox Jewish male to refuse to shake hands with a woman outside his family, for religious reasons. But imagine if a non-Jewish woman refused to shake hands with any Jew, or if a Jewish male refused to shake hands with any black man. Either would be considered offensive behaviour, even with a religious excuse. What makes discrimination against women any less offensive? (836 words)

How The Guardian Milked Edward Snowden

Julian Assange | Newsweek | 20th April 2015

Julian Assange reveals himself to be a seriously good writer. This hatchet-job — on Luke Harding's Snowden Files, and on The Guardian — is deft and funny throughout. "Since I've started praising the book, I might as well continue. As hack jobs by Luke Harding go, a lot of work has gone into this one. Mr. Harding has gone to uncharacteristic lengths in rewriting his source material, although it remains in large part unattributed" (3,100 words)

The Political Economy Of Thomas The Tank Engine

Duncan Weldon | Bull Market | 21st April 2015

"The place to start is with the railway company itself. It’s pretty clear that it is not a listed entity. The company engages in all manner of pursuits but few of them seem focussed on shareholder value. It could be state owned; I can’t rule that out but it raises bigger questions as to the nature of the state on Sodor. It’s most likely that the company is privately held, but closely entwined with the political forces of Sodor" (1,206 words)

Antibiotics Against Superbugs

Philip Ball | Prospect | 26th March 2015

Current antibiotics are fast losing their effectiveness, as new strains of bacteria emerge. This is evolution at work among bacteria; but why is the drug industry not at work developing newer and better antibiotics? Because new antibiotics are very difficult and very expensive to make; and any new antibiotic will become ineffective in proportion to its popularity. Antibiotic resistance ranks as "a much scarier crisis than Ebola" (2,160 words)

Peter Hessler: American Hero In China

Ian Johnson | New York Review Of Books | 20th April 2015

For Americans, Peter Hessler of the New Yorker is "the most influential popular writer on China in decades". In China he is "a full-blown celebrity, eclipsing any other foreign writer on China". His readers admire his non-judgemental approach: He writes about ordinary people and small-town life, skirting larger and more divisive political issues. "Hessler’s portraits help explain a rising China, through gentle and often optimistic stories" (3,890 words)

Video of the day: High-Diving Giraffes

What to expect: High-diving giraffes. As to how much of this is real, your guess is as good as mine. (5'24")

Thought for the day

Every decision is liberating, even if it leads to disaster
Elias Canetti (https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/6517.Elias_Canetti)

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