Sweden, Catalonia, Trucking, True Crime, Prudence, Science Fiction


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Trollhättan

Andrew Brown | Granta | 21st September 2017

Intelligent and sensitive exploration of Sweden’s transit from model society to problem society. “The generation coming into adulthood in the middle of the twentieth century went from extreme poverty to being citizens of one of the wealthiest countries in the world. One of the certainties in this tumble into the future was the belief that change was inevitable and must always lead to better times. Since those days, almost everything has fallen away. The old securities and certainties have gone” (6,500 words)

Evolution Or Revolution In Catalonia

Jose Miguel Calatayud | New Statesman | 21st September 2017

Letter from Catalonia in the run-up to the independence referendum set for October 1st. The question, if asked, will be: “Do you want Catalonia to become an independent state with the form of a republic?” The Spanish government “remains focused on preventing the vote from happening” — but how far will it go to do so? So far it has seized control of Catalan public finances and ordered police to confiscate ballot papers. Will army tanks roll down the avenues of Barcelona? (1,800 words)

Beauties And Burdens Of The Long Haul

Finn Murphy | Longreads | 17th June 2017

An American trucker specialising in long-distance removals explains his trade. “A mover waits longer for coffee, longer in the service bays, longer for showers, longer at the fuel desk, longer everywhere in the world of trucks than the freighthauler. It’s because we’re unknown. We don’t have standard routes, so we can’t be relied on for the pie slice and the big tip every Tuesday at ten thirty. We’re OK with being outside the fellowship because we know we’re at the apex of the pyramid” (5,883 words)

The Unimaginable, Infamous Case Of Pam Hupp

Jeannette Cooperman | St Louis | 19th January 2017

Enthralling piece of classic crime reporting. Three murders in St Louis; and, eventually, one suspect. “The only possible motive connecting all three cases was money. Hupp, who’d held several jobs in the insurance industry, was the beneficiary of both her friend’s and mother’s policies. But would somebody really stab a sick friend and shove her own mother off a balcony to get cash she’d receive in a few years anyway, then shoot a perfect stranger just to twist the plot?” (12,600 words)

Military Command As Moral Prudence

Reed Bonadonna | The Strategy Bridge | 22nd September 2017

Short, elegant account of Thomas Aquinas’s argument for moral prudence in military leadership. “Art is concerned with things to be made, prudence with things to be done. Art — and also science, craft, business, or sport — do not require complete virtue in a person, but prudence does. Prudence is a thick conception of virtue that calls for character plus skill. The truly prudential commander would not seek victory alone, nor a narrow national interest, but a common good” (1,500 words)

What We Didn’t Get (1770)

Noah Smith | Noahpinion | 21st September 2017

Cyberpunk sci-fi of the late 20th century did a pretty good job of predicting our current gadgets. We have private rockets, mass surveillance, genetic engineering, brain-computer interfaces, AI that can trade stocks and win at Go, private crypto-money for criminals and libertarians. What we don’t have is interplanetary, let alone interstellar, travel. No Star Trek, no Jetsons. What went wrong? “First, we ran out of theoretical physics. Second, we ran out of energy” (1,770 words)

Video of the day: Isle Of Dogs

What to expect:

Trailer for Wes Anderson’s forthcoming animated adventure film about dogs in Japan (2’35”)

Thought for the day

Time is money – so give me some money to think
Raymond Queneau

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