Weekly newsletter 37
A selection of our best article links of the week, plus featured
FiveBooks interviews, videos, quotations and more.
Best of the Week
The Failure Of The Euro
Martin Feldstein | Foreign Affairs | 15 December 2011
Outstanding essay on history of euro crisis, way forwards for single
currency: "The eurozone is likely to continue with almost all its current
members. The challenge now will be to change the economic behavior of those
Bashar al-Assad, His Father's Son
Jerrold Post | Foreign Policy | 20 December 2011
Ex-CIA analyst discusses Syrian leader's trajectory from moderniser to
mass-murderer. Parallels with Gaddafi's son, Saif al-Islam. Both spent time
in the West, enough to learn new ideas, but not enough for deep change
The Girl With The Father Tattoo
Michele Pridmore-Brown | LA Review of Books | 15 December 2011
How fathers shape their daughters. "The girlish power to redeem men has a
long tradition. But the bar on committed or 'good-enough' fatherhood has
risen radically in recent years, and especially so with respect to girls"
The Wisdom Of Crowds
Anonymous | Economist | 17 December 2011
Super piece on science of pedestrian behaviour, how we negotiate space as we
walk down busy pavements. “At low densities, behaviour is cognitive and
strategic. At high density, it’s about mass movement and physical pressures"
Breakthroughs In Faith
Olivier Roy | World Policy Institute | 19 December 2011
Fine essay on religion, democracy. "It does not make sense to demand
religious liberalism or theological reform or a preliminary secularization
as a requirement for making religion compatible with democracy." Here's why
On Being The Right Size
J.B.S. Haldane | Farnam Street | 20 December 2011
Republished, and still well worth a read. "For every type of animal there is
an optimum size. The same is true for every human institution. The English
invention of representative government made a democratic nation possible"
Charles Mann | Vanity Fair | 20 December 2011
Writer tests out US airport security. With a bit of help from expert Bruce
Schneier. And a fake boarding pass. The verdict? Damning: "Not only is it
not done right, but even if it was done right it would be the wrong thing to
Christopher Hitchens: 'The Consummate Writer, The Brilliant Friend'
Ian McEwan | Guardian | 16 December 2011
Wonderful, touching piece from McEwan remembering last weeks of his great
friend. A writer, to the last: "His head would droop, his eyes close, then
with superhuman effort he would drag himself awake to type another line"
Bruce Forbes on Christmas History
Did you know that Santa Claus was a 4th century bishop in what is now
Turkey? That Puritans tried to outlaw Christmas? Or Tiny Tim was originally
Little Fred? We shed light on Christmas’s pagan past and consumerist present
In the aftermath of Kim Jong-il's death, we look back at the legacy of his
tyrannical rule over North Korea Read on
@polit2k Simon Johnson: No One Is Above the Law, Even
Megabanks: t.co/QK2EAD0b #browsings #gfc2 More like this
Book of the Week
Book of the Day
Father Christmas Goes on Holiday by Raymond Briggs
Father Christmas says: I don’t know how that Briggs character got a good
look at me, but a look he’s had and that’s a fact. FiveBooks Archive
Video of the Week
Seconds Of Beauty
Compilation of entries for The Beauty Of A Second short film contest.
Quote of the Week
Highdeas, on film
"If you watch 'Jaws' backwards, it's a movie about a shark that keeps
throwing up people until they have to open a beach"
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