Paul Bremer, Errrol Flynn, Interstitium, Viagra, Sun Tzu


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Paul Bremer, Ski Instructor

Aaron Gell | Task And Purpose | 26th March 2018

Conversation with Paul Bremer, previously America’s viceroy in Iraq, where he signed the disastrous orders banning Baath party members from government and dissolving the Iraqi army. He is now a ski instructor in Vermont. “Though he had a long, admirable track record as a public servant, Bremer was hardly an obvious choice for the job. For one thing, he’d never set foot in Iraq before being tapped to oversee the place, had no military experience, and didn’t speak Arabic” (5,200 words)

The Big Love

Florence Aadland | Berfrois | 27th March 2018

Errol Flynn, seen through the eyes of the naive or calculating mother of a fifteen-year-old with whom Flynn was having an affair. “He put me at ease almost at once. I wore my gray nylon dress, nylon stockings, black pumps with medium heels and my harlequin-style glasses. I was forty-three years old then, and I know he noticed the similarities between Beverly and me. I’m smaller than she, five feet two, but my hair, which I wear upswept, is blonde and my complexion is fair, like hers” (1,270 words)

The Largest Organ We Never Knew We Had

Tanya Basu | Daily Beast | 27th March 2018

We think of an organ as a well-defined object within the body — heart, liver, kidney etc. Medicine recognises 79 organs. The contention here is that we have an 80th organ, an interstitium, extending in a thin layer around the body. “The new organ is a thin layer of dense connective tissue sandwiched just under our skin and within the middle layer of every visceral organ, a thin mesh of tissue separating every muscle and all the tissue around every vein and artery, from largest to smallest” (2,360 words)

Twenty Years Of Viagra

Megan Garber | Atlantic | 20th March 2018

Viagra changed expectations, and conversations, about sex. “Viagra doesn’t have a history so much as it has, at this point, a mythology. Pfizer was testing sildenafil citrate for its ability to lower blood pressure. Male participants in the study kept noting that the drug ‘raised something else’. Pfizer convened ethics panels to weigh the moral consequences of the pill it was unleashing on the world. It sent a delegation to the Vatican to test how the pill would be received among Catholic leaders” (2,360 words)

David Petraeus On ‘The Art Of War’

David Petraeus | Irish Times | 26th March 2018

“Sun Tzu appreciated the value of wars speedily undertaken and quickly concluded. He said: ‘I have heard of war being waged with foolish haste, but I have never seen a war skilfully prolonged. No state has ever gained from protracted war’. Those are wise words, though the experiences of Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan show how hard it is to operationalise them, in the contemporary struggle against extremism that appears to be generational in nature, not a fight to be won by taking a particular hill” (1,800 words)

Video of the day Everest

What to expect:

Time-lapse shot at 6000 meters

Thought for the day

If your upper and lower ranks want the same things, you will win
Sun Tzu

Podcast of the day Outliers | The Memory Palace

Nate DiMeo on the freak-show and carnival attractions of the late 19th century
(6m 51s)

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