Storytelling, Bad Sex, Jonathan Littell, Wolves, Ad-Tech

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Stories Belong In The Bible

Lucy Kellaway | Financial Times | 6th December 2015 | | Read with 1Pass

The corporate fad for "storytelling" is ridiculous and distracting. Mohsin Hamid has been appointed "chief storytelling officer" at Wolff Olins, for heaven's sake. The mere introduction of "stories" into the corporate vocabulary is a bad sign. The more interesting a story, the less likely it is to be true. Companies would do better concentrating on the job in hand instead of making up stories about themselves (830 words)

The Hunting Of The Kundalini

Jonathan Beckman | Literary Review | 1st December 2015

Round-up of the finalists for the Literary Review's 2015 Bad Sex Award, won in the event by Morrissey. Adult themes (obviously). "Richard Bausch is the kind of writer, frequently found in this round-up, who wants to describe sex but seems too coy to admit that there are names for the reproductive parts of the human anatomy. The scenes become muddy with abashed pronouns" (1,230 words)

The Da’esh Obsession

Jonathan Littell | Verso | 3rd December 2015

Extract from Littell's Syrian Notebooks, arguing that Assad's régime helped ISIS gain ground in 2012 in the hope that the extremists would crush the more moderate Syrian rebels and could then be crushed in their turn. "Having little or no social base, radical forces will be easy to eliminate once they have helped with the far harder job of crushing a main opponent deeply rooted in society" (4,800 words)

Trump County, USA

Adam Wren | Politico | 4th December 2015

Indiana's Vigo County has backed the winner in every US presidential election for more than 60 years. Vigo's voters cleave to the centre — or at least they did until now; either Vigo has changed, or the centre has moved drastically, since local Republicans are solidly behind Donald Trump for 2016. "I haven’t heard him say one word that I don’t agree with. I don’t think he can do a lot of the things he said, but by God, he’s saying it” (2,520 words)

Specious Species

Ben Crair | New Republic | 6th December 2015

Science may have to rewrite the species table, as DNA analysis reveals new patterns of breeding and interbreeding among animals down history. Indeed, the very idea of 'species' as a robust category may collapse, in favour of perceiving a more graduated web of relationships among living things. But how can the law protect 'endangered species', such as the Red Wolf, if they are not species at all? (5,200 words)

Stick A Pin In It

Paul Ford | Postlight | 7th December 2015

Wonk alert: It may help to have a strong interest in ad-blocking technologies if you want to get the most out of this piece, a glimpse of the arms race under way inside ad-tech as rival platforms vie to place and block ads. "Then we thought: if Pinterest can insert ads into our pages without permission, well, we can counter-insert some text into their ads. It only took a few minutes to figure out how" (1,690 words)

Video of the day: The Holy Quran Experiment

What to expect: Vox pop. What happens when you read the Bible to strangers and tell them it's the Quran? (3'30")

Thought for the day

The solutions need to be simpler than the problems
Nicholas Nassim Taleb

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