Robotics, Money, Xinhua, Brains, Jane Austen


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Back To Nature: The Future Of Military Robotics

Gregory Allen | War On The Rocks | 21st July 2017

How nature documentaries should inspire military planners. “Imagine a low-cost drone with the range of a Canada goose, a bird that can cover 1,500 miles in a single day at an average speed of 60 miles per hour. Planet Earth profiled a single flock of snow geese so large it formed a sky-darkening cloud twelve miles long. How would an aircraft carrier battlegroup respond to an attack from millions of aerial kamikaze explosive drones that, like geese, can fly hundreds of miles?” (1,100 words)

Dictionary Money

J.P. Koning | Moneyness | 21st July 2017

Medieval monarchies could conduct monetary policy by simple proclamation. Transactions were dominated in the national currency, but it was up to the monarch to declare how much the currency unit was worth in terms of silver coins; coins were not stamped with a value, but with the monarch’s head. The monarch need only declare that the Mark, worth ten silver coins yesterday, was worth nine today. One could do the same now for a currency defined in terms of something else (1,100 words)

Style Guide Update For Chinese Media

Jiayun Feng | Supchina | 20th July 2017

Short but revealing. China updates official media style-guide. “Boss: Never use ‘boss’ (老板 lǎobǎn) to describe leading cadres of the Party or people in charge of state-owned enterprises”. “Soviet Union: Never use ‘former Soviet Union’ (前苏联 qiánsūlián), just use ‘Soviet Union’ (苏联 sūlián)”. “Belt and Road: Do not use ‘strategy’ (战略 zhànlüè) to describe One Belt, One Road. Use ‘initiative’ (倡议 chàngyì)”. “For coverage on Islam (伊斯兰教 yīsīlán jiào), never bring up any content related to pigs” (450 words)

Two Minds

Bruce Goldman | Stanford Medicine | 17th July 2017

The advance of neuroscience is uncovering differences between the brains of men and of women sufficient to challenge modern orthodoxy that differences in behaviour between genders are the product of culture, not of hard-wiring. “Data from animal research, cross-​cultural surveys, natural experiments and brain-imaging studies demonstrate real, if not always earthshaking, brain differences, and that these differences may contribute to differences in behaviour and cognition” (2,600 words)

Jane Austen On The Money

Ian Sansom | TLS | 18th July 2017

The Jane Austen industrial complex embraces good and bad films, mugs, quilts, TV, parodies, biography, criticism, and now banknotes. To read the original novels has become something of a lost art. But when you do go back to them, as here, you find that she was obsessed with money. The banknote is an apt tribute. “Austen’s fans often remark that reading the novels feels like meeting an old friend. But it also feels like meeting a financial adviser. You are constantly bombarded with figures” (3,900 words)

Video of the day: Bejla

What to expect:

A child who has just learned to walk toddles out to explore New York. By Jacob Krupnick (1’58”)

Thought for the day

Distance is nothing when one has a motive
Jane Austen

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