UKIP, Hong Kong, Art Prices,, Life & The Universe, Steve Cohen, Podcasting

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The Myth Of Anti-Politics In Britain

Anthony Painter | Policy Network | 9th October 2014

To categorise UKIP voters and Scots separatists as "anti-political" is to put the cart before the horse. They are the new mainstream. Greater individualism, encouraged by social media, encourages new, smaller and more purposeful public formations. The remarkable fact is that established political parties have survived so well — a reflection of the closed nature of political power, which will not remain so indefinitely (1,800 words)

Ten Days That Shook Hong Kong

David Pilling | Financial Times | 10th October 2014

Reports from the polite barricades. Hongkongers "feel their way of life is under threat". They "complain of being swamped by the menacing influence of China". The protest has served mainly to demonstrate its own limits: "Real democracy is a red line that only the most romantic in the city now believe can ever be crossed while China remains under Communist party rule". But still, it's an investment in the future (2,300 words)

Christopher Wool’s Masterpiece

James Tarmy & Vernon Silver | Business Week | 9th October 2014

On the seemingly outlandish prices paid for contemporary artworks, epitomised by the bidding for Christopher Wolf's Apocalypse Now, which sold at Christie's in 2013 for $26.4 million. "It isn’t much of a painting at all—just black letters on a seven-foot white background spelling out in all caps, a line from Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now: SELL THE HOUSE SELL THE CAR SELL THE KIDS" (3,100 words)

A Couple Of Drinks, A Thousand Nerds

Paul Ford | Medium | 9th October 2014

How to start a social network that kind of takes off despite itself. Rule one: Be an interesting person. Rule two: Don't try too hard. Paul Ford ticks both boxes, and the result is It's already too late to join. "All I can say is — is one cheap, unmodified Unix computer on the Internet. That’s it. That’s all it is. It is no more than that. If you look for more for it to be you will find nothing" (3,350 words)

Questions For A Philosophy Of Cosmology

Sean Carroll | Preposterous Universe | 3rd October 2014

If the metaphysics of the world in which we live and die is not enough to keep you awake at night, give some thought to the rest of the universe. Are space and time emergent or fundamental? What part should unobservable realms play in cosmological models? How is the arrow of time related to the special state of the early universe? What is the quantum state of the universe? With a guest appearance by Stephen Hawking (1,080 words)

Empire Of Edge

Patrick Radden Keefe | New Yorker | 7th October 2014

Hedge-fund tycoon Steve Cohen had an enviable business model: Employees took most of the risks while his fund, SAC, took most of the profits. When a doctor told an SAC analyst about a drug test failure, SAC shorted the stock and made $275m. The analyst went to jail — one of eight employees charged with insider trading when prosecutors eventually took SAC apart. How did Cohen walk away almost unscathed? (12,800 words)

“Serial”: The Podcast We’ve Been Waiting For

Sarah Larson | New Yorker | 9th October 2014

The podcast comes of age. The team from "This American Life" is launching "Serial", a weekly podcast with original content and high production values. Each season tells a single story unfolding over a series of episodes. The first is a real-life murder mystery set in Baltimore. The story is narrated in patient, conversational tone: "It sounds like your smart friend is investigating a murder and telling you about it" (1,870 words)

Video of the day: Ben Affleck, Bill Maher, Sam Harris

What to expect: Talk-show argument about Islam. Somewhere in here your view is represented

Thought for the day

One should be light like a bird, and not like a feather
Paul Valéry (

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