Railways Stations, Thought, Famine, Short Stories, David Smith Terry

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Our Terminal Age

Aaron Betsky | de zeen | 17th May 2016

Railway stations are the great public buildings or our time, regaining the stature they enjoyed a century ago. Look at Arnhem and Rotterdam stations in the Netherlands; at the reborn King’s Cross and at Birmingham New Street in Britain; at Calatrava’s PATH extravaganza in New York and at Andrew Bromberg’s designs for Hong Kong. Airports are just out-of-town sheds by comparison. Railway stations are for everyone and everything, “open to the city with all its enticements and dangers” (1,400 words)

The Empty Brain

Robert Epstein | Aeon | 18th May 2016

Comparisons between brains and computers are almost always misleading, and very much so as far as the brain is concerned. “Computers operate on symbolic representations of the world. They store and retrieve. They process. They have physical memories. They are guided in everything they do by algorithms.” None of these things is true of the human brain. It is because we understand so little about how brains work that we reach for whatever analogy is current (4,200 words)

The Cause Of Great Famines

Alex De Waal | Reinventing Peace | 9th May 2016

The worst drought in three decades has left almost 20 million Ethiopians desperately short of food — but they are not starving to death. Imported wheat and clean water are reaching remote villages. Consider the contrast with 1984, when drought and starvation killed 600,000. The difference is peace; and, with peace, the chance to foresee and prepare. “Famine isn’t caused by overpopulation, and it’s not a necessary consequence of drought. Politics creates famine, and politics can stop it” (1,080 words)

Every Short Story Published Last Year

Kelly Luce | Electric Lit | 19th May 2016

Conclusions reached from having read thousands of short stories as a first cut for this year’s O. Henry Prize. Literary magazines are not merely flourishing online and in print, they are having “a goddamn blast”. Extremely long titles that are sentences are still very much a thing. Too many white male writers set stories at family lake houses where somebody drowns. Younger people: Be advised that it impossible to write compelling fiction about your experiences doing drugs with friends (848 words)

The Judge Who Shot A Senator

Zach Dorfman | The Awl | 17th May 2016

Rollicking profile of Judge David Smith Terry, a “bowie-wielding Texan with a volcanic temper” who came to California with the Gold Rush, joined the state Supreme Court as a member of the Know-Nothing party in 1855, and became Chief Justice in 1857. While serving on the Court he stabbed a kidnapper in the neck and shot a Senator dead. He fought for the South in the Civil War and returned to San Francisco a mellowed man — but not for long. He assaulted a judge and was killed by a marshal (1,500 words)

Video of the day: Lego Martha Argerich

What to expect:

Perhaps a touch more detail than most of us will need; but if you have a sudden urge to see Martha Argerich in Lego …

Thought for the day

When we are tired, we are attacked by ideas we conquered long ago
Friedrich Nietzsche

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