Walking, Philosophy, Wages, John McCain, Wole Soyinka


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The Man Who Walked Backward

Ben Montgomery | Texas Monthly | 26th August 2018

“On April 15, 1931, the sun climbing up over Fort Worth, Plennie Wingo pulled on his best pair of pinstripe pants, one leg at a time. He buttoned his white Oxford over his lean frame, tied his necktie snug, slipped into his shiny black Sunday shoes, and slid into a suit coat that matched his trousers. Finally, he pulled a white Stetson Panama down on his ears, a good-guy hat for a guy trying. If a man aimed to walk backward around the world, best to leave no doubt in the minds of passersby that he was doing so with purpose” (7,100 words)

Causal Machines

Richard Marshall | 3AM | 10th April 2012

Interview with “kick-ass naturalist philosopher” Patricia Churchland. Interesting throughout. “So far as I can tell moral philosophers do not possess special moral expertise — they are not, as philosophers, more morally wise than regular people in other trades and professions. By and large, the philosophers who say we must maximize aggregate utility end up with all the usual problems every undergraduate can list at a moment’s notice. So if moral philosophy is a normative business, perhaps some new strategies might be worth considering” (4,500 words)

Garbagemen Should Earn More Than Bankers

Rutger Bregman | Economics | 21st April 2016

A new way to measure the value of a given line of work: By subtraction. What happens if the whole profession goes on strike? “If all Washington’s lobbyists were to go on strike tomorrow, or every tax accountant in Manhattan decided to stay home, it seems unlikely the mayor would announce a state of emergency. A strike by social media consultants, telemarketers or high-frequency traders might never make the news at all. When it comes to garbage collectors, though, it’s different. Any way you look at it, they do a job we can’t do without” (4,000 words)

The Weasel, Twelve Monkeys, And The Shrub

David Foster Wallace | Rolling Stone | 13th April 2000

A week on the campaign trail with John McCain, seeking the Republican presidential nomination in 2000. “One reason the media like John McCain is simply that he’s a cool guy. At 63, he’s witty, and smart, and he’ll make fun of himself and his wife and staff and other pols, and he’ll tease the press and give them sh*t in a way they don’t ever mind. Sometimes he’ll wink at you for no reason. If all that doesn’t sound like a big deal, you have to remember that these pro reporters have to spend a lot of time around politicians, and most politicians are painful to be around” (25,300 words)

A House For Mr. Soyinka

Kola Tubosun | Popula | 24th August 2018

A visit to Wole Ṣoyinka at his rural retreat north of Lagos. “The adjoining areas used to be bush but were turning into urban sprawl. The house sits tucked away behind a thick forest. From the road you would never know a house lay behind it. There is no visible fence, just a thicket disguising the entrance. A boldly-lettered sign at the entrance reads: ‘Trespassing vehicles will be shot and eaten’. If its location deep in the bush inconvenienced his visitors, he clearly delighted in their discomfort” (3,400 words)

Video of the day Small Grey Ball

What to expect:

Adventures of a sphere, in a style midway between Magritte and David Lynch

Thought for the day

Imagination and fiction make up more than three quarters of our real life
Simone Weil

Podcast Bones Of Witch Hill | Sidedoor

Archaeologists reconstruct the life and death of a human skeleton found in an ancient trash heap in Panama
(23m 14s)

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