Star Trek, Camille Paglia, Hunting Big Game, Jeremy Corbyn, Smartphones, Cooch Behar


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The Economics Of Star Trek

Noah Smith | Bloomberg | 3rd August 2015

There aren't any. "No one is doing business. There is almost no one buying and selling, except for a few species for whom commerce is a form of traditional religion. Food and luxuries are free. Recreation, provided by virtual reality, is infinite in scope. Scarcity — the central defining concept of economics — seems to have been eliminated." A utopian vision. But without scarcity, what happens to desire and motivation? (900 words)

Ted Cruz Gives Me The Willies

David Daley | Salon | 30th July 2015

Camilla Paglia takes a shiv to the presidential hopefuls. Ted Cruz is "a smart-alecky horse’s ass". Rand Paul "has obviously had his eye on the presidency for years, so it’s astonishing that he has never given any thought to how he should dress or cut his hair". Hillary Clinton "has accomplished nothing substantial in her life ... The ability to communicate with millions of people is a special talent, and Hillary pretty obviously lacks it" (3,660 words)

Hunting Rebecca Francis

Kerry Howley | New York | 2nd August 2015

Published shortly before the affair of Cecil the Lion, an account of hunting in South Africa with Rebecca Francis, "a peppy, ever-smiling 41-year-old mother of three, stepmother of five, and grandmother of nine". Her past victims include a lion and a giraffe. Now she wants a sable antelope. "You pay by the kill, which you select from a price list: warthog, $350; hippo, $9,400; elephant, $42,000". The antelope costs $6,000 (6,400 words)

Jeremy Corbyn: Shambling Towards Victory

George Parker | Financial Times | 1st August 2015 | | Read with 1Pass

A bearded jam-making left-wing radical vegetarian is on course to lead Britain's Labour Party, shocking fellow MPs who nominated him only to give the leadership election more diversity. Jeremy Corbyn favours renationalisation, higher taxes on the rich, and abolition of Britain's nuclear deterrent. He is a one-man Syriza. “How would he impose discipline on the party when he votes against the whip just about every week?” (930 words)

The Smartphone Is The Sun

Benedict Evans | 2nd August 2015

Five billion adults on Earth use about four billion mobile phones, of which half are smartphones. Soon everybody will have a smartphone and replace it every two to three years. The smartphone will be a "universal product for humanity - the first the tech industry has ever had". Our gadgets will surround us like a solar system, with "the smartphone as the Sun and everything else orbiting around it" (670 words)

The Weirdest Border In The World

Adam Taylor | Washington Post | 1st August 2015

India and Bangladesh rationalise 160 enclaves around Cooch Behar, ending 70 years of border disputes. Good news for local residents, who gain access to schools and health care. Bad news for geographers, since the exchange abolishes the only third-order enclave in the world. Dahala Khagrabari was a fragment of India, surrounded by a patch of Bangladesh, surrounded by a bigger patch of India, all within Bangladesh (700 words)

Video of the day: Rebuilding A Car Engine

What to expect: Stop-motion account of rebuilding a Triumph Spitfire engine bought second-hand from eBay (2'11")

Thought for the day

Science and technology are what we can do; morality is what we agree we should not do
Edward O. Wilson

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