Brits, Spies, Guns, Sports, Warriors

The Impossibility Of Refusal

Hasko Von Kriegstein | Daily Nous | 6th September 2019

Delicious conceit. It is logically impossible for an immigrant to Britain not to integrate. The immigrant can adopt British values and attitudes; the immigrant is thus perfectly British. Or, the immigrant can reject British values and attitudes; but moving to another country, and then spurning the host country’s values and attitudes, is the most British of all behaviours; the immigrant is thus perfectly British (780 words)


From Mind Control To Murder

Stephen Kinzer | Guardian | 6th September 2019

Frank Olson was CIA’s chief expert in the airborne distribution of biological germs. He made miniature aerosols that hissed lethal bacteria, cosmetics that killed on contact with skin, and sprays for asthma sufferers that induced pneumonia. But after seeing his handiwork used on prisoners in CIA safe houses in Germany in 1953, he lost heart and talked of leaving the service. So his colleagues dosed him with LSD, concussed him, and threw him to his death from a hotel window, it says here (4,900 words)


The Rights Of Guns

Garry Wills | New York Review Of Books | 5th September 2019

“Gun rights” has generally meant the right of people to own guns. But perhaps it should mean the rights of guns themselves, since guns seem to have more rights in America nowadays than people do. Any person who showed up at so many crime scenes, who had a hand in so many violent deaths, would soon be in jail and probably on death row. Guns enjoy a perpetually successful plea of diminished responsibility. They didn’t do it; they never do it; they just happen to be around when it gets done (820 words)


The Big Show Never Ends

Bryan Curtis | Ringer | 4th September 2019

Keith Olbermann and Dan Patrick turned ESPN’s SportsCenter into one of the great sports shows of all time. They pioneered the merger of news and satire which went mainstream later in the 1990s with Jon Stewart’s Daily Show. Olbermann’s writing was closer to a sports column than a script: It had a beginning, a middle, and an end. He led with a fearsome hook. “It’s official,” he said in a 1997 report on Mike Tyson’s ear-biting. “Boxing is no longer a sport. Now it’s a parody of the life of Vincent van Gogh” (5,300 words)


Cyber Warriors Are Not Warriors

Mark Cancian | War On The Rocks | 5th September 2019

If wars henceforth include cyber-wars and hybrid wars, should military coders and hackers have the same status as fighting soldiers? Should “cyber warriors” wear the insignia of the US Marine Corps without ever training for physical combat? No. Combat fitness will always be the ultimate decider, and should be prized accordingly. “I have this image of cyber warriors in their offices in a future war frantically punching keyboards as enemy infantry break through the door and gun them down” (1,600 words)


Video: Bitcoin Rap Battle. Alexander Hamilton and Satoshi Nakamoto debate the relative merits of central banking and cryptocurrency, with help from Reid Hoffman (6m 01s)

Audio: Sports Gambling | Freakonomics Radio. Stephen Dubner and guests look at the prospects for US sports betting following court decisions favouring legalisation (56m 56s)

Afterthought:
”It is more urgent to restrain others than to be free oneself”
— George Santayana