Willie Nelson, Economics, Germany, Bitcoin, Atticus Finch, David Mamet

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Willie And The Weed Factory

Chris Heath | GQ | 31st August 2015

What Paul Newman did for pasta sauce, Willie Nelson plans to do for pot with his new brand, Willie's Reserve: "I’ve bought a lot of pot in my life, and now I’m selling it back”. A lovely interview, in which Nelson argues that marijuana is good for the character: “I can be a real asshole when I’m straight”. His wife, Annie, adds a nuance: “He’s not an asshole sober. Only when he’s drinking. Then he’s an asshole” (6,050 words)

Blanchard: Looking Forward, Looking Back

IMF Survey | 31st August 2015

Exit interview with Olivier Blanchard, IMF chief economist. Interesting throughout, especially on the effects of the 2008 banking crisis. "There is a clear swing of the pendulum away from markets towards government intervention. Most macroeconomists are now solidly in a second-best world. But this shift is happening with a twist — that is, with much skepticism about the efficiency of government intervention" (1,850 words)

Ex-Schröder Aide On 9/11

Gordon Repinski & René Pfister | Der Spiegel | 31st August 2015

Tantalisingly short interview in which Michael Steiner spills a few choice beans from his days as Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's foreign policy advisor. On 9/11: "We thought that the Americans would overreact"; the Bush administration seriously considered a nuclear attack on Afghanistan. Another cameo features Schröder and Tony Blair: "It was two or three in the morning and the two were, let us say, in an advanced social state" (1,900 words)

Bitcoin Zero-Ville

Izabella Kaminska | Dizzynomics | 31st August 2015

Non-technical argument that Bitcoin is failing because more competition among miners is producing lower returns — "a race to zero". It made sense to be in on the early stages of Bitcoin and riding the curve upward; but nobody was costing in the eventual need to maintain the mature system. Limiting abuse will require at least some of the structures of conventional finance; and nobody will do that for free (1,480 words)

Past Perfect

Richard McAdams | New Rambler | 28th August 2015

To call this another review of Go Set a Watchman is to risk drastically underselling an original and perceptive essay on the politics of the American South and the strategies adopted by Harper Lee when turning those politics into fiction. It is not so much that Lee gives us a different Atticus Finch in Watchman; she gives us a different narrator, a grown-up Scout, who understands much more about her father and his world (4,600 words)

Thank You For Calling Mamet’s Appliance Centre

Peter McCleery | McSweeney's | 28th August 2015

Strong language is more or less the point of David Mamet, so to say that this brief and brilliant spoof is full of f-words is merely to say that it captures joyfully the great man's vocabulary around the time of American Buffalo. Five stars each for the repetition and the constantly threatening undertones. "Technician: Thank you for calling Mamet’s Appliance Center, today. The fuck you want?" (480 words)

Video of the day: Bicycle Gymnastics

What to expect: Performance by Nicole Frýbortová in the 2015 EMS Cup (5'40")

Thought for the day

Some things need to be believed to be seen
Guy Kawasaki

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