Best of the Week
Margalit Fox | New York Times | 24 January 2013
He was a lawyer. She was his lover. She ditched him. He hired men to throw acid in her face, blinding her. He was declared insane three times and imprisoned for 14 years. He wrote from jail promising to buy her a seeing-eye dog. When he got parole, she married him. They stayed married for 38 years. "Ours was a storybook romance”, he said this week
Brian Phiips | Grantland | 24 January 2013
On the physical beauty of sports stars. "Sharapova brings the plane of sports almost as close to the plane of pure culture as Beckham does. She has the same gift for taking our fantasies about the sexuality of famous athletes and nudging them toward something else, something glamorous or witty, so that we can indulge them without being too overt"
Max Boot | Volokh Conspiracy | 22 January 2013
Fantastic short read. Extract from book about unconventional warfare. Profile of 19C Chechen warrior Shamil. "With the spring of a wild beast, he leapt clean over the heads of the very line of soldiers about to fire on him, and, landing behind them, whirling his sword in his left hand, he cut down three of them, but was bayoneted by the fourth"
Vivienne Walt | Fortune | 8 January 2013
You knew Zara was a big clothing chain. Did you know it opened a new shop every day? Or that its founder and boss, Amancio Ortega, is worth $56bn? He never gives interviews, but this profile does a good job of explaining his success: He gives people what they want to wear, and fast. Zara is a logistics business with a clothes factory attached
Tim Morgan | City AM | 22 January 2013
The horsemen are: debt, globalisation, dodgy statistics and rising energy costs. "We are nearing the end of a period of 250 years in which growth has been the assumed normal. And, without action, this will have stark implications for the economies of the West". Extract from deeply bearish broker's report, with link to full text
Michael Finkel | National Geographic | 19 January 2013
Life among the Kyrgyz nomads of the Wakhan Corridor in north-east Afghanistan. "Their land consists of two long, glacier-carved valleys, called pamirs, stashed deep within the great mountains. The wind is furious. Crops are impossible to grow. The temperature can drop below freezing 340 days a year. Many Kyrgyz have never seen a tree"
Philip Bethge and Johann Grolle | Spiegel | 18 January 2013
Jaw-dropping interview with George Church, professor of genetics at Harvard. His answer: "That depends on a hell of a lot of things, but I think so ... You would certainly have to create a cohort, so they would have some sense of identity. They could maybe even create a new neo-Neanderthal culture and become a political force"
John Gapper | Financial Times | 18 January 2013
Lawyer for Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu; and for Steve Biko's family, at the inquest. "When you’re doing one of these ANC terrorism cases, you can be certain of three things. First, the witnesses have all been assaulted or threatened. Second, any statement made to the police has been obtained by torture. Third, your client is guilty."
Thought for the week:
"The greatest pleasure in science comes from theories that derive the solution to some deep puzzle from a small set of simple principles in a surprising way" — John Brockman