William T. Vollmann, Prison, Colour

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William T. Vollmann: By The Book

Sunday Book Review | New York Times | 23rd July 2015

Author discusses his current reading and reading habits. "Although I have found some books unspeakably dreary, there is no book I wish I’d never read." "I try to avoid any book that praises instantaneous electronic communication, although I might make an exception for something pornographic." Favourite books: Tale Of Genji and The Bible. "The parables of Jesus are haunting in the fashion of certain Zen koans" (2,020 words)

Long Prison Sentences Cause Crime

Allison Schrager | Quartz | 22nd July 2015

Long-term imprisonment causes more crime than it deters, by destroying an inmate's chances of leading an ordinary life afterwards. Each year in prison "reduces the odds of post-release employment by 24%", degrades lifetime skills and teaches criminal skills. Prison turns first-time offenders into repeat offenders and small-time criminals into big ones. Certainty of punishment is a far more effective deterrent than severity (1,111 words)

The Reality Of Colour Is Perception

Mazviita Chirimuuta | Nautilus | 23rd July 2015

We need a new theory of colour. Is colour part of the thing that we see, or is it created in our minds? We have yet to advance beyond Galileo's 17C conjecture that things have primary properties — size, shape, motion — which are intrinsic, and secondary properties such as colour and taste which rely upon an observer. If Galileo is right, then understanding colour may bring us closer to understanding consciousness (1,990 words)

Video of the day: What Islam Says About Women

What to expect: Powerful TED talk by Alaa Murabit about religion and feminism

Thought for the day

I am banging my head against the walls. But the walls are giving way
Gustav Mahler

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