Queens, George Osborne, Depression, Frege, Jeff Koons

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Donald Trump Slept Here — And So Did I

Alexander Nazaryan | Newsweek | 8th September 2017

For $816 a night with taxes you can sleep in the Donald Trump birthplace — the house on Jamaica Estates in Queens where the future president spent the first four years of his life. One of the things you learn there is that Donald’s father, Fred, had good taste. “Trump the son is all about gold, but Trump the father was apparently all about wood. The house is full of the kind of original details design geeks geek on: folding wooden shutters, wooden molding, dark trim in the parquet floors” (4,400 words)

George Osborne’s Revenge

Ed Caesar | Esquire | 13th September 2017

Entertaining profile of the former British finance minister in his new career as a newspaper editor. “A little after 6.30 nearly every weekday morning, George Osborne — 46 years old, tall, rich, boyish, tieless — takes the bus from Notting Hill, where he lives, to Kensington High Street, where he works, arrives at the marbled and airy headquarters of the London Evening Standard, takes the lift to the second floor, enters his corner office, and sets about destroying his political enemies” (6,100 words)

A Theory Of Depression

Scott Alexander | Slate Star Codex | 12th September 2017

Conjectures about the nature of depression, and how to model it. “Depression has to be about something more than just beliefs; it has to be something fundamental to the nervous system. And low confidence in neural predictions would do it. Since neural predictions are the basic unit of thought, encoding not just perception but also motivation, reward, and even movement, globally low confidence levels would have devastating effects on a whole host of processes” (1,830 words)

The Machine In The Ghost

Ray Monk | Prospect | 12th September 2017

Remembering Gottlob Frege, founder of modern analytical philosophy, forerunner of Russell and Wittgenstein, and probably the greatest of the three. “It is scarcely an exaggeration to say that he invented modern logic. He developed the basic ideas of predicate logic, an essential tool of the trade”. But outside academia he is unknown, which is perhaps all to the good. His diary shows him to be a proto-Nazi. If he were discussed today, it would be as a monster, not a genius (3,500 words)

Jeff Koons: Who Liberates Whom?

Morgan Meis | The Easel | 5th September 2017

In defence of Jeff Koons. The art is greater and more complex than the artist. “The work wouldn’t be so weird, so troubling, and so uncanny without its surface sheen of naive sincerity, without its bland insistence that our desires would be simple and uncomplicated if we just gave in to them. Everything that is compelling, everything that is, frankly, hateful in Koons’ work hinges on that attitude, an attitude Koons inherited from the late phase of Andy Warhol” (3,060 words)

Video of the day: The Secret Meaning Of It

What to expect:

Video essay on the symbolic use of water in Stephen King’s It, and in horror films in general (5’18”)

Thought for the day

The easiest way to solve a problem is to deny it exists
Isaac Asimov

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