Korea, Cabals, Film, Kodak, Bodies

How To Negotiate With North Korea

Robert Carlin | 38 North | 19th February 2019

North Korean negotiators “pay a lot of attention to atmospherics”. However heated the exchanges in public, they will expect the atmosphere at the negotiating table to be “civil and professional”. As an opening position they will declare everything asked of them to be “impossible”. Movement will come only when (and if) they think they can glimpse the outlines of an overall deal. The key phrase to listen out for from the Korean side is “changed circumstances”. This signals room for eventual manoeuvre on a given point, even if the stated Korean position remains, for the moment, unchanged (1,350 words)


Lyndon LaRouche’s Long March To Nowhere

Scott McLemee | Jacobin | 16th February 2019

Remembering the bizarre self-publicist and conspiracy theorist Lyndon LaRouche, who has died at the age of 96 after troubling the fringes of American politics for decades, starting out as a thuggish Trotskyist and ending life somewhere to the right of the Ku Klux Klan. LaRouche claimed that world history was produced by two secret elites vying for power — an Aristotelian cabal that wanted to restore feudalism, and a Platonic cabal that loved technology and classical music. He alleged that the Queen of England was the current leader of the Aristoteleans, whom she funded by smuggling drugs (1,880 words)


An Interview With Fritz Lang

Michael Gould & Lloyd Chesley | Mubi | 24th December 2018

Rediscovered transcript of a late interview that the great director gave to two student journalists in 1972. Rambling in parts, but filled with glimpses of Hollywood’s Golden Age, and of Lang’s part in it as an escapee from Europe’s Dark Age. “When Goebbels offered me the leadership of the German film industry, I left Berlin the same evening. Otherwise I would end up in a concentration camp, right? I looked out the window and it was already too late to get my money — that is another story” (10,500 words)


When Kodak Discovered The Atom Bomb

Matt Blitz | Popular Mechanics | 20th June 2016

The summer of 1945 brought a surge of complaints from users of Kodak’s X-ray films: Prints were coming back fogged. Kodak traced the problem to cardboard film packaging sourced from paper-mills in the mid-West. The mills were using river water tainted with by-products of nuclear fission. Kodak had accidentally stumbled on to America’s deepest wartime secret: Nuclear weapons were being tested. After the war, with the nuclear programme continuing, Kodak negotiated a secret deal. The US government would give Kodak advance notice of tests, in time for Kodak to take the precautions needed to protect its stock (1,930 words)


The Maimed And The Healing

Stefanos Geroulanos | Aeon | 13th December 2018

The battlefields of World War One supplied every possible combination of physical and mental suffering. The War became a “giant laboratory” that changed basic thinking about medicine. Doctors had tended to approach the human body as a collection of standard parts, each of which could be treated separately. The war encouraged a new paradigm: The body was a complex whole whose main parts reacted (and failed) together. A man might die of shock unless you covered him with a blanket. Pain was recognised as a central fact of medicine, not merely an inconvenience for the surgeon (2,900 words)


Video: Sogni Di Segni. Precise, elegant, delightful tribute to Giorgio De Chirico and other great Italian artists of the 20th century (1m 15s)

Audio: Where Do Good Ideas Come From? | Freakonomics Radio. Stephen Dubner looks for the secrets of creativity. How do the people who change the world come up with their ideas? (1h 02m 36s)

Afterthought:
“If you can tell me precisely what it is that a machine cannot do, I can make a machine to do precisely that”
— John von Neumann