Roger Stone, Haggling, Robot Warfare, Oxen, JMW Turner, Las Vegas


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Stoned In Cleveland

Matt Labash | Weekly Standard | 19th July 2016

“There are worse fates than covering a Republican convention, but damned if I can think of any. The traffic is ungodly. The frumpy delegates look like they were tailored by Betsy Ross. The protesters smell like old cheese stored in a used sweat sock. In the unlikely event you stumble upon a story it will have been tweeted six ways to Sunday before you can turn on your laptop .. It all seemed a lot funnier when there were a million impediments to Trump becoming Leader of the Free World” (1,500 words)

Why Do We Haggle For Cars?

Ben Christopher | Priceonomics | 14th July 2016

“You stroll onto the car lot feigning indifference. The salesman asks what you’re looking for. You point to a red sedan. And then the dance begins … While most of our day-to-day transactions revolve around fixed prices, purchasing a car remains a glaring exception.  Irritating though it may be, the process of buying a car is also a genuine economic curiosity. What makes the car sale unique? And why, in the age of online retail, won’t this economic anachronism go away?” (2,500 words)

Defense And Japan

David Kotok | Big Picture | 18th July 2016

Prime minister Shinzō Abe has the parliamentary votes to change the constitution, raise defence spending, and restore Japan’s military power. How should the money be spent, given Japan’s ageing population? “We expect a change in the character of war fighting with the development and deployment of the first modern Star Wars army in Japan. Japan is the world leader in the development of robots. We can expect Japan to be in the forefront as the world enters the era of robotic warfare” (1,290 words)

A Goring Ox

Adam Kirsch | Tablet | 19th July 2016

Jurisprudence. The goring ox. “According to Exodus, an ox that kills a human being is to be stoned to death immediately; yet it is only after goring three times that the ox earns the designation ‘forewarned’. How, then, could any ox ever be forewarned, when it wouldn’t live long enough to kill three times? One answer would be that the Bible is incoherent on this point. But such an answer is unavailable to the rabbis, who are fairly free in elaborating the Bible, but never simply repudiate it” (1,370 words)

A Portrait Of The Artist

Frances Wilson | New Statesman | 18th July 2016

As a painter Joseph Turner enjoyed prodigious critical and financial success. In person he was “mischievous and manipulative, a man on the make and on the take, selfish and sexual”. He hoarded his wealth while living in squalor. He “secreted himself in his final years in a Chelsea hovel where he was known as Admiral Booth”. His mother went mad and died at Bedlam in 1804. “While Turner was being lauded by fellow academicians, his mother was chained to a wall” (1,200 words)

Fear And Trembling In Las Vegas

Tara Isabella Burton | Hazlitt | 18th July 2016

Conversations with street preachers in Las Vegas. “We’re not shoving it down everybody’s throat, but everybody knows who we are and what we’re doing. It’s a warning. If there’s a judgment, if they end up in hell, God will say to them: there was my man, he was available for you, you had questions, he spent his life studying these things to be able to give you the answer — but you thought he was a nut! You treated him the same way people treated Jesus! You see kinda the thinking?” (1,020 words)

Video of the day: Ai Weiwei In Athens

What to expect:

Martin Abildgaard documents conceptual artist Ai Weiwei’s exhibition at the Museum of Cycladic Art (5’08”)

Thought for the day

It takes a very deep-rooted opinion to survive unexpressed
Jean Rostand

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