Games, Guides, Scandals, Christo, Russia

Wargaming In A Pandemic

Thomas Gordon | War On The Rocks | 1st June 2020

Much to think about here. Wargaming works better when forced into remote mode by a pandemic. The US Marine Corps’ Staff College reports happily on this year’s “capstone exercise”, Pacific Challenge X, set in the South China Sea, with 250 players: “The natural friction created by the distributed online format, to our pleasant surprise, increased realism. Students playing the role of headquarters staff officers could not simply walk next door to discuss targeting or collection with colleagues” (2,400 words)


SARS-CoV-2 By The Numbers

Yinon M Bar-On et al | eLife | 31st March 2020

Complete coronavirus primer. A bit late for this pandemic — the owl of Minerva takes flight only at dusk — but cut out and keep for the next time round. “In this article we provide a one-stop, curated graphical source for the key numbers (based mostly on the peer-reviewed literature) about the SARS-CoV-2 virus that is responsible for the pandemic. The discussion is framed around two broad themes: The biology of the virus itself, and the characteristics of the infection of a single human host” (2,100 words)


Hidden Agendas

Ron Rosenbaum | Lapham‘s Quarterly | 1st June 2020

First-hand overview of twentieth-century American scandals, large and small. Narrators and protagonists include W.H. Sheldon, Burt Reynolds, Richard Nixon, Danny Casolaro, The Octopus, Henry Lee Lucas, Pat Doyle, John Milton, God. Sample paragraph: “The death was later ruled an overdose. Because of things I learned after writing my report on the case, I came to believe Reynolds’ masseuse’s alibi. But as is often the case with the most interesting scandals, you never learn the whole truth” (3,170 words)


How Christo Changed The World

Josh Jones | Open Culture | 1st June 2020

Remembering the artist of public places, Christo, who, with his wife, Jeanne-Claude, “seemed to savour the controversy and bewilderment that met his incredibly labour-intensive outdoor sculptures”. They created “temporary monuments to the very idea of hugeness”, viewable from space and impossible to ignore on the ground; among them “entire islands wrapped in pink fabric; gargantuan yellow and blue umbrellas up and down the coasts of California and Japan; the Reichstag bundled up in white fabric” (893 words)


Social Distancing In Russia

Andrey Korbut | Meduza | 29th May 2020

In Russia, social distancing is difficult, because it contradicts the distinction, essential in Soviet times, between private and public spheres. “Maintaining a large distance between people in a line would constitute a strange demonstration of the private in public. From a Russian perspective, a public space does not call for such behaviour, and, therefore, does not require the same measure of public scrupulousness with regard to other people’s privacy that occurs in other countries” (1,390 words)


Video: ki no kuni | AUJIK. Forest and buildings. Computer graphics. Described here as a “vast amount of complex trees” with “architectural junk influenced by Lebbeus Woods” (3m 33s)

Audio: The Culture Of Silence In Animal Research | Undark. Scientists who experiment on animals explain why they feel that their work is justified. With Lydia Chain and Bradley van Paridon (26m 02s)

Afterthought:
“It distresses me, this failure to keep pace with the leaders of thought, as they pass into oblivion”
— Max Beerbohm