Wolfgang Streeck, Chinese Poetry, Psephology, Marc Andreessen, Drowning, Napoleon


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A Caravaggio Moment

Aditya Chakrabortty | Guardian | 9th December 2016

Lively conversation with Wolfgang Streeck, a German economist who foresees the collapse of capitalism — as did Marx, but Streeck’s timing is better. “Streeck has been hanging around this crash scene for years, long before the plane came hurtling down. Many of the themes that will define this year, this decade, are in his work. The breakup of Europe, the rise of plutocrat-populists such as Trump, the failures of Mark Carney and the technocratic elite: he has anatomised all of them” (3,323 words)

A Magician Of Chinese Poetry

Much of the pleasure of classical Chinese poetry is necessarily lost in translation — the internal structure of the characters, the power of the calligraphy, the harmony of the spoken tones. What remains, the meaning of the characters, is often so impressionistic that a literal translation will make no logical sense. The translator must bring his or her own poetry; which is why it can be argued that Ezra Pound was a great translator of Chinese poetry even when he knew no Chinese (3,400 words)

19 Things We Learned From The Election

Andrew Gelman | Statistical Modeling | 8th December 2016

Goldman Sachs rules the world. The ground game is over-rated. The Electoral College is a ticking time bomb. A significant segment of the American electorate has always been waiting for an authoritarian champion and finally one came along. “Whenever it starts to seem like there’s no more room for Americans to polarize, something new comes up — in this case saturation of social media by fake news, along with a decline of the traditional TV networks and continuing distrust of the press” (3,100 words)

Lunch With Marc Andreessen

Caroline Daniel | Financial Times | 7th December 2016

As a venture capitalist he gets 2,000 pitches a year and backs about 15. He grew up in a small town with a strong work-ethic: “Deferral of gratification is a huge thing. Calvinism runs very deep. It sets you up pretty well for engineering.” Tech, TV and reading are his life: “My wife and I have no social life. We don’t travel. We don’t go on vacation. We don’t go out”. And he talks fast: “The transcript of our two-hour conversation comes to 20,000 words. Some of his answers are close to 1,000 words long” (2,500 words)

The Forgotten Shipwreck

Amina Ismail & Stephen Grey | Reuters | 6th December 2016

Five hundred would-be migrants drowned when their boat sank off Egypt in April, heading for Italy. And nobody cares enough to ask why. “In the seven months since the mass drowning, no official body, national or multinational, has held anyone to account for the deaths or even opened an inquiry”. Compare and contrast with the response to an EgyptAir plane crash in May which killed 66. Four countries searched for survivors and wreckage; an international investigation continues (6,100 words)

At The Movies: Napoléon

Michael Wood | London Review Of Books | 9th December 2016

Abel Gance planned to make “six massive films” about Napoleon, but spent all his money on one, which was shown briefly to indifferent audiences in 1927 and then forgotten — except by Kevin Brownlow, a British film-maker who found some of Gance’s footage in a Paris flea-market and was inspired to hunt down and restore the rest. Brownlow’s 20 years of work has produced a five-hour epic critically acclaimed as a masterpiece — “by turns rapturous and tedious” (1,545 words)

Video of the day: Makeba / Jain

What to expect:

Exhilarating music video by Greg & Lio; South African setting (3’40”)

Thought for the day

I do not teach truth as such; I settle accounts on a certain number of problems
Jacques Derrida

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