Slang, Europe & Russia, Scrabble, Iceland, HSBC, Pauline Kael

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The Slang Of Irvine Welsh

Jonathon Green | The Dabbler | 23rd April 2015

In praise of Irvine Welsh, whose novels and stories contain "some of the densest slang writing one can encounter outside a glossary". They are a gold-mine for the lexicographer. Welsh is "good for 1300 unique slang terms", among them keelie, cludgie, pagger, jammy, pish, stoat-the-baw, schemie, ganting, Jambo and swedge — though it is not always clear which words are slang, which are dialect, and which are Welsh's invention (1,120 words)

Europe’s Shattered Dream Of Order

Ivan Krastev & Mark Leonard | Foreign Affairs | 22nd April 2015 | | Read with 1Pass

As the Ukraine crisis drags on, Europeans must abandon their dreams of exporting their liberal model, and focus instead on protecting their increasingly endangered Union. This will require new accommodations with Moscow and calculated compromises. Acknowledging limits to the European model is better than testing the model to destruction in unwinnable confrontations which create new opportunities for Russia (3,900 words)

Scrabble And The Nature Of Expertise

David Hambrick | Scientific American | 21st April 2015

A study of Scrabble champions show that the necessary skills are mostly acquired, not inherited. Good working memory is important; so is the ability to visualise patterns; but the main requirement is to know at least two hundred thousand words from the Scrabble dictionary — not the meanings, just the words. "Competitive Scrabble players devote an average of nearly 5 hours a week to memorizing words" (1,200 words)

Dispatches From Iceland: Hofn To Reykjavik

Kurt Caswell | McSweeney's | 21st April 2015

Notes from a bus-ride along the southern coast of Iceland in the company of a retired sea-captain: "And how did you gentlemen sleep last night? Soundly? Or were you disturbed by the echo of the sea? When the temperature is right, about one degree Celsius as it was last night, with clear skies as it is right now, we get the echo of the sea from the mountains. It is as the sound of machinery at work all night. Nature’s machinery!" (2,570 words)

HSBC: Shrink And Simplify

Martin Arnold & Patrick Jenkins | Financial Times | 23rd April 2015 | | Read with 1Pass

HSBC's strategy to expand into a global bank appears to have failed; the original Hong Kong business still thrives, but almost everything else in the vast group is a drag on earnings and reputation. HSBC has decided to shrink and simplify. But for a bank which is already too big to manage, a managed retreat is even more of a challenge. Can HSBC consolidate, without turning itself into a burning platform? (2,100 words)

The Perils Of Pauline

Renata Adler | New York Review Of Books | 14th August 1980

One of the most celebrated hatchet-jobs of modern times. One New Yorker writer, Renata Adler, savages another, Pauline Kael: "When the Lights Go Down, a collection of her reviews over the past five years, is out; and it is, to my surprise and without Kael-like exaggeration, not simply, jarringly, piece by piece, line by line, and without interruption, worthless. It turns out to embody something appalling and widespread in the culture" (7,700 words)

Video of the day: The Animator's Survival Kit

What to expect: An exercise in Disney-style cartoon animation, with stock characters (2'30")

Thought for the day

How can we be sure that we are not impostors?
Jacques Lacan

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