Ulaanbaatar, 1946, David Brooks, Mapping, Chaebols, Brexit

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Know Before You Go: Ulaanbaatar

Mark Hay | Roads And Kingdoms | 12th January 2016

Maps are "worthless" in the Mongolian capital. The population has tripled in the past 15 years thanks to a mining boom; half the residents live in tents. First called Örgöö and later Urga, the entire city was a nomadic encampment until its location was fixed to facilitate trade in 1778. Yak meat is delicious. Neo-Nazis are a problem. Winter temperatures of -40C are routine. You will need to speak Mongol (2,300 words)

1946: The Worst Year In Modern History

The Economist | 9th January 2016

Britain is broke. Corpses pollute the German water supply. Japan has lost 80% of its merchant marine. Large areas of Europe and Asia lie in ruins. Sectarian riots kill thousands in India. Full-scale civil war resumes in China, and continues in Syria. Anything else? Ah yes, the Cold War begins. And America is testing H-bombs in the Pacific. A review of Victor Sebestyen's book, 1946: The Making of the Modern World (578 words)

The Evolution Of David Brooks

Marc Fisher | Moment | 12th January 2016

Interview. New York Times columnist discusses his shift of focus away from political writing towards philosophical and spiritual themes. "Some people pray at shul or at church or mosque, or in the woods. I pray by writing ... I believe in God. But I decided not to be a religious writer. I’m just not qualified. But that doesn’t mean you can’t learn from theologians. There’s a lot of wisdom in the Bible" (3,400 words)

Addressing The World

Frédéric Filloux | Monday Note | 25th November 2015

Four billion people, mostly in the slums and favelas of mega-cities, have no useful street address. Even in Japan the system of street addresses is barely logical. True, everywhere has GPS co-ordinates, but who can remember those? Here's a better idea: Divide the world into three-metre squares and assign each square a three-word tag. Just 40,000 words would be enough to give every spot on Earth a unique name (960 words)

The Corporate Takeover Of Korea

Bong-hyun Lee | PERC | 6th January 2016

Korea's industrial conglomerates — chaebols — monopolise the domestic economy and "have a greater say over economic policy than the state itself". They "abhor" government regulation and social policy. They are "fairly modern economic institutions", but with an "oddly pre-modern corporate governance system" and an "authoritarian organisational ethos" enforced by the founding families to maintain their control (2,530 words)

Formal British Influence In The EU

Conor James McKinney | LSE | 12th January 2016

Cut out and keep. Short paper on Britain's power within the European Union. When governments make policy decisions in the Council of Ministers, Britain has 13% of the votes, in line with its population; up from just 8% before a reform in 2013. Some areas — tax, justice, budget, foreign policy — require unanimous voting. Others require a majority of 21 out of 28 countries representing at least 65% of the EU population (940 words)

Video of the day: London Bus Tour

What to expect: Scenes from a London bus ride, captured on a handheld camera (4'12")

Thought for the day

Victorious warriors win first, and then go to war
Sun Tzu

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