Texas, Hospitals, Neuroscience, Agincourt, Gavin Stamp

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Talk Like a Texan

John Nova Lomax | Texas Monthly | 6th February 2018

The subject of today’s lesson is prepositions of place and direction. “In Houston, where I’m from, you go out to Katy, up to Conroe, down to Galveston, and over to Baytown or Beaumont. In the Texan dialect, there are different prepositions for every ordinal direction on a map: ‘up’ and ‘down’ are north and south, and ‘out’ and ‘over’ are west and east, respectively. In my use of them, these Texan prepositions expire once you get a certain distance from your point of origin, about 100 miles” (890 words)

Dying In A Hospital Setting

Marian Krawczyk | Discover Society | 6th February 2018

Hospitals are designed for keeping people alive, not for helping people to die, yet, for obvious reasons, they have to do both, and they manage the contradictions badly. “Whilst suspecting you might be in the last weeks or days of life, palliative clinicians may yet suggest aggressive interventions to alleviate your symptoms. Behind the scenes they may be asking one another if they are extending your dying process or causing you to suffer – and they may not agree on the answers” (1,700 words)

Andrew Lees On Neuroscience

Zoe Greaves | Five Books | 1st February 2018

Elegant and informative interview about the brain in literature and medicine. “In my hands it felt like a rubbery blancmange. It was only after our brain cutting sessions, where thin slivers of stained tissue were examined under the light microscope, that its true beauty appeared. The dendrites of the nerve cell resemble winter trees. All around them are mossy fibres, scarlet rivulets and delicate lianas. Alzheimer’s is like a forest fire raging through the hippocampus” (5,230 words)

Is Brexit The Maddest Thing England Has Ever Done?

Fintan O'Toole | Irish Times | 3rd February 2018

No, but for something madder than Brexit you have to go back 700 years to the Hundred Years’ War, “one of the great criminal follies of European history”, which included English victories at Crecy and Agincourt, but otherwise consisted mainly of “English invasions of France that unleashed on innocent civilians mass murder, mass rape, theft on a staggering scale and an orgy of destruction, all in the failed pursuit of a mad idea” — the idea being that the King of England was also King of France (1,420 words)

Gavin Stamp 1948-2017

Jonathan Meades | LRB | 7th February 2018

One architectural critic’s eulogy to another. Polemical throughout; you can disagree with the argument, and still, I hope, admire the writing. “Whatever the doxa, Gavin questioned it because it signified lazy acceptance – even if it was correct. He sought to vex rather than divert. As a young man he was conservative, even briefly Conservative, before it became apparent that Mrs Thatcher’s conservatism was mutant Manchester liberalism. He considered the rule of the market demeaning” (1,180 words)

Video of the day States Of Matter

What to expect:

Technical tour de force merging shapes, colours and textures — and delightful in a fairy-tale way (0’44”)

Thought for the day

Those who are easily shocked should be shocked more often
Mae West

Podcast of the day A Human In Bronx Zoo | Futility Closet

The sad tale of Ota Benga and his life in early 20th-century America

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