Schubert, Warfare, Sport, Altruism, Alain Badiou, Glen Campbell

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Schubert Everlasting

Sudip Bose | American Scholar | 17th August 2017

“Nobody played Schubert like Richter. I could bring up any number of felicities — his sense of narrative and structure, his exquisite touch, the attention he paid to the most innocuous detail, the way his interpretations of the standard repertoire seemed at once controlled and improvisatory — but when I think of Richter’s Schubert, one thing comes to mind first: tempo. Slow tempos, glacial tempos, tempos that make no sense on paper, but that, when heard, transport the interpretations into visionary terrain” (830 words)

Future Wars

Jim Greer | The Bridge | 17th August 2017

It is thinkable now, as it was not even twenty years ago, that the next generation of American soldiers might have to go to war against a stronger foe. That means recovering lost skills: Cunning, risk-taking, problem-generating, and asymmetrical operations. “Because we have thought, acted, prepared, and resourced as the superpower that we are, those attributes have gradually atrophied out of our organizations, individuals, and culture. Still, all is not lost, and it is not too late to change” (3,100 words)

The Limits Of Athletic Performance

Stephen Hsu | Nautilus | 17th August 2017

Sporting greats are genetic outliers who have connected through luck and grit with the sport in which they can excel. “The whole enterprise of competitive athletics has been, in effect, a search algorithm for genetic outliers, but it’s been running for less than a century, and it hasn’t been particularly efficient”. Science is catching up. Genetic engineering will produce new records and new sports. “The most popular spectator sport of 2100 might be cage fights between 8-foot-tall ballet dancers” (2,200 words)

Effective Altruism Global 2017

Scott Alexander | Slate Star Codex | 16th August 2017

Effective altruists say that each of us should work out how to do the most good in the World, and then do it. But applying formal logic to morality produces strange results. If you would curb animal suffering, then a trillion reptiles, ten quintillion insects and a sextillion zooplankton cry out for your concern. And what of fundamental physical particles? Do those suffer too? The more you think logically about altruism, the more you survey “dark eldritch vistas of infinities and contradictions” (3,800 words)

Ask A Revolutionary

Jean Birnbuam | Verso | 16th August 2017

French philosopher Alain Badiou reflects on 80 years of life and 50 years of teaching; and defends his support for revolutionaries in France and elsewhere. “There has been a marked preference for national betrayal when the common people has struck fear into the Establishment — from the restorations of 1815 to the capitulation of 1871, and Pétain in 1940. Seeing this continuity of reaction, it is rather the France of 1792 and 1794 that makes me love this violently contradictory country” (1,600 words)

If Tattoos Could Talk

Kate Mossman | New Statesman | 17th August 2017

Remembering Glen Campbell. “There was the lost Glen of the late 1970s, blank of eye and huge of beard, freebasing cocaine. There was the middle-aged golf-playing Republican, tanned and born again. There was the lapsed Glen who hit the whiskey as a pensioner, drove drunk, got snapped for a famously bad mugshot and spent ten days in prison. But at any point along the way, amid the personal dramas and lapses of musical taste, he’d open his mouth and what came out was deeply serious” (970 words)

Video of the day: The Bald Eagle Next Door

What to expect:

Residents of Unalaska Island tell what it’s like to live in the constant company of Bald Eagles; exhilarating, but also a bit scary (2’56”)

Thought for the day

Writing is like paying myself a formal visit
Fernando Pessoa

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