Stuttering, Dogs, Humankind, Gorbachev, Mass

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Overcoming Your Demons

Morgan Housel | Collaborative Fund | 1st September 2017

On living with a stutter. “When I stutter, I can’t even say the word in my head, let alone with my mouth. I can see the word in my mind, and I know what the word means, but all auditory associations vanish. I know what a word is supposed to sound like, but the mental processing seizes up. Stuttering is usually viewed through the lens of someone having trouble speaking, but it’s the stuttering in your head that’s most frustrating. There are words – sounds, really – that get denied at the source” (2,600 words)

There’s No Such Thing As A Good Dog

Wes Siler | Outside | 25th April 2017

There are no good or bad dogs, only good or bad owners. Good owners are the ones who put in the work — including plenty of exercise; an exhausted dog is a happy dog. “People love to tell me how lucky I am to have a good dog like Wiley. But they’re dead wrong — there was no luck involved. Wiley’s good behavior and good temperament are products of four years of hard work, nothing else. The more people who understand this, the more people there will be who have ‘good’ dogs too” (2,200 words)

Deeper Than Deep

Ron Rosenbaum | Lapham's Quarterly | 23rd August 2017

In his lab at Harvard Medical School, geneticist David Reich reconstructs the emergence of modern humans by analysing ancient and inherited DNA. “This is deep, deep history, from tens of thousands of years ago, when vast tribes of variations of hominids — Homo sapiens, Neanderthals, Denisovans, mysterious ‘ghost populations’ — ranged, thronged, clashed, bred, interbred and probably exterminated large portions of each other across vast landscapes that were battlefields and graveyards” (4,900 words)

The Last Comrade

Robert Service | Literary Review | 1st September 2017

William Taubman’s “monumental biography” will become the standard work on Mikhail Gorbachev’s rise to power. But the question of why Gorbachev in office brought about the dissolution of the Soviet Union remains a mystery to Taubman — as it does, apparently, to Gorbachev himself, who saw that the Soviet system was broken, but failed to see that it could not be fixed. “The key to understanding Gorbachev can be found in his myopic comprehension of the chemistry of Soviet communism” (1,300 words)

The Conceptual Evolution Of Mass

Jim Baggott | OUP | 3rd September 2017

The standard model of particle physics appeared in the mid-20C to be bringing thousand of years of scientific conjecture to a conclusion by promising a complete theoretical description of the elementary particles and forces in the Universe. At which point, cosmologists pointed out that the standard model accounted for less than 5% of the energy in the Universe. As to the remaining 95%, which we call “dark matter” and “dark energy”, we are still as ignorant as the Greeks or Babylonians (2,300 words)

Video of the day: Lil Buck Swan

What to expect:

Charles Riley performs the Dying Swan at the Vail International Dance Festival (4’04”)

Thought for the day

We are all put to the test, but it never comes in the form we would prefer
David Mamet

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