Strategy, Dictionaries, Malta, Papua New Guinea, Stephen Pinker


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Antulio Echevarria On Military Strategy

Sophie Roell | Five Books | 23rd February 2018

Interview. Editor of the US Army War College Quarterly discusses works on strategy by Clausewitz, Sun Tzu, and others. “We’ve lost our sense of what war is, partly because the assumptions of the Cold War experience are still with us. Under today’s political conditions we’ve also over-legalised war. In so doing, we have steadily eroded war’s utility as a legitimate instrument of policy. We rationalize our use of war by calling it an instrument of policy, but it has actually many more dimensions to it” (6,700 words)

Inside The OED

Andrew Dickson | Guardian | 23rd February 2018

The heroic past and doubtful future of the Oxford English Dictionary. “The first part was published in 1884, ‘A to Ant’, and installments emerged at regular intervals for the next 40-odd years. Although Murray died in 1915 – somewhere between ‘Turndun’ and ‘Tzirid’ – the machine churned on. In 1928, the finished dictionary was eventually published: some 414,800 headwords and phrases in 10 volumes, each with a definition, etymology and 1.8m quotations tracking usage over time” (5,080 words)

Malta: Island Of Secrets And Lies

Matthew Engel | New Statesman | 27th February 2018

Unflattering portrait of Malta as black sheep of the European Union, “sunny place for shady people” — dodgy bankers, oil racketeers, Italian mafiosi. Growth industries include tax avoidance, online gambling, sales of EU passports, flag-of-convenience ship registration. “Lies are routine currency. The bus company recently announced that its punctuality rate had reached 94 per cent: I think there may be a decimal point missing. Whatever comes after boom, it is unlikely to be bus” (2,300 words)

The Reckoning

Sean Flynn | Smithsonian | 20th February 2018

Australian film-maker returns to the uplands of Papua New Guinea seeking offspring of three Irish brothers who found gold there in the 1930s, befriending, intimidating and filming local tribes along the way. “A reconstruction of an archetypal story like this one — among the last encounters between two different cultures who had no knowledge of the other — must usually be dredged from diaries and ships’ logs. In this case, though, they all looked into a camera and spoke for themselves” (6,900 words)

Solutions Exist

J.P. O'Malley | New Humanist | 27th February 2018

Interview with Stephen Pinker. A counter-intuitive idea in every paragraph. On inequality: “For all the obsession with inequality over the last decade or so, it really is not a fundamental dimension of human well-being. If Bill Gates has a house that is 30 times the size of mine, it still doesn’t affect how I live my life. What matters morally is not inequality but poverty”. On environmentalism: “Economies adjust to the availability and depletion of resources. Which is why resources don’t get depleted” (1,100 words)

Video of the day Peace For Triple Piano

What to expect:

Henry Segerman and Vi Hart explain How to make a spherical video in triplified space with symmetry in space-time (13’52”)

Thought for the day

I can’t imagine really enjoying a book and reading it only once
C.S. Lewis

Podcast of the day Peter Thiel | Masters Of Scale

Reid Hoffman talks to Peter Thiel about how successful start-ups don’t just beat the competition — they escape it entirely
(41m 39s)

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