Somaliland, Spinal Tap, John Gray, Addiction, Climate Change

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Fight Terror The Somaliland Way

Bruno Maçães | Politico | 11th April 2018

In Somalia the terror group al-Shabbab wreaks violence and anarchy. But neighbouring Somaliland, which broke away from Somalia thirty years ago, is a haven of peace and commerce. “In Somaliland, al-Shabab has no presence — even though part of its leadership originally came from Hargeisa. So how has this small, impoverished, internationally unrecognized state on the Gulf of Aden succeeded where everyone else has failed? What does it know that everyone else is unable to understand?” (1,100 words)

The Spinal Tap That Changed My Life

When a spinal tap won’t heal, your spine leaks, and you have to get it patched. “I ended up needing four rounds of blood and glue patching at Duke. This involved injecting the blood and glue into my epidural space, spread along twenty-two targeted patches total. Round four veered far off-script when I had an allergic reaction to the fibrin glue and went into anaphylaxis. Fuchsia from head to toe, eyes swollen shut and throat beginning to constrict, I received IV steroids and an epinephrine jab” (5,030 words)

Seven Types Of Atheism

Terry Eagleton | Guardian | 11th April 2018

Critique of John Gray’s new book about religion and atheism: He is “a card-carrying misanthrope for whom human life has no unique importance”; he sees humanism as another form of religion, elevating humanity in place of God and reason in place of virtue. “Gray is right that there can be no perfect society, but wrong to imagine that things could not feasibly be a good deal better than they are. He relishes the folly of humankind while discreetly skating over its stupendous virtues” (1,200 words)

How People With Addiction Think

Brendan de Kenessey | Vox | 16th March 2018

Addiction is a regular human weakness, not a deep moral failing. Our failure to treat it properly kills tens of thousands of people each year. “The messy truth is that addiction lies somewhere in between choice and compulsion. Addictive cravings work in much the same way as the cravings that everyone experiences — for Netflix or chips, say. They do not take over one’s muscles like an internal puppeteer. They pull one’s choices toward the craved object, like a psychological kind of gravity” (2,900 words)

What If The Hoaxers Are Right?

William Vollmann | Literary Hub | 11th April 2018

An attempt to explain to future generations our indifference to climate-change. The science is complicated, the anecdotal evidence is confusing, the politicians who should give leadership disagree. “I who send this letter to the future hereby plead that we were no more evil or even selfish than anyone else. Our educational systems failed to impart the minimum knowledge which a citizen would have needed to judge coal, nuclear power and other methods of keeping on the lights” (2,260 words)

Video of the day Building The World’s Largest Telescope

What to expect:

Short documentary set in Arizona. The action starts about 40 seconds in (2’40”)

Thought for the day

All theories are legitimate, no matter. What matters is what you do with them
Jorge Luis Borges

Podcast Sam Harris | The Ezra Klein Show

Sam and Ezra address their public differences over race, genetics, IQ and Charles Murray
(2h 9m 15s)

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