Tim Harford, Learning, News, election, Parkour, Vietnam


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A Radical Conservative Agenda

Tim Harford | Financial Times | 2nd May 2015 | | Read with 1Pass

If the Conservatives win the coming election they should replace Britain's benefits system with a more libertarian form of redistribution. "Scrap all mainstream benefit payments - for example, child benefit, jobseeker’s allowance, housing benefit, even the state pension. Scrap the income tax allowance too. Give all long-term UK residents a taxable basic income of £8,000 a year and charge a flat 40 per cent income tax rate on every penny" (840 words)

The Liberal Arts vs Neoliberalism

Jackson Lears | Commonweal | 20th April 2015

A review of Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life by William Deresiewicz. We need, argues the reviewer, a defence of the humanities which claims more for the liberal arts than the promotion of “critical thinking” and “people skills”; which insists on the importance of the humanities for their own sake. Deresiewicz has written this defence, not before time (4,043 words)

The King Of Bullshit News

Alan White & Craig Silverman & Tom Phillips | Buzzfeed | 24th April 2015

Internet news travels fast and loose. Websites are desperate for "too good to check" stories which send page-views spiking. The current king of clickbait is a small outfit in south-east England called Central European News which confects 500 stories a month about two-headed goats and human tapeworms. "If you’ve read a story about someone in a strange country cutting off their own penis, the chances are it came from CEN" (6,856 words)

The British Are About To Make An Unfathomable Mistake

Matthew Parris | Spectator | 2nd May 2015

The conservative political commentator Matthew Parris says he now knows how it felt to someone on the left during Margaret Thatcher's governments - "how it must have felt to be a convinced socialist in Britain these past 36 years since 1979: to live in and love a country whose people had got it completely wrong." The odds now seem to favour a government after the election of May 8 led by Labour. It's perverse and it's a mystery (1,002 words)

The Women Obsessed With Parkour

Christopher McDougall | BBC Magazine | 30th April 2015

Parkour is a sport which sends people scrambling, climbing, jumping and balancing over the obstacles of the urban landscape. Its roots are in military training and it takes its name from parcours du combattant, but a leading London Parkour group is based around a different idea: that Parkour is best done in a group and by women. Because the biggest threat to Parkour - as even Parkour's all-male founders would agree - is testosterone (1,808 words)

New Spy Tale Sheds Light On US Defeat in Vietnam

Jeff Stein | Newsweek | 30th April 2015

Vietnam recently marked the end of its long war with America 40 years ago. Last November a little-known spy called Pham Chuyen died in his home near Hanoi, a veteran of that era's intelligence war. Layers of secrecy have gradually been removed to reveal that Pham was an extraordinarily successful double agent working for North Vietnam. Because of his skill in deceiving the CIA, scores of American agents were killed or captured (1,727 words)

Video of the day: Berlin & Potsdam 1945

What to expect: Raw footage of Berlin and Potsdam under Allied occupation (30'13")

Thought for the day

All knowledge degenerates into probability
David Hume

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