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What a Cutie iPhone 4S Brighton, East Sussex, England Thursday, March 8th, 2012.

In the gospel of America, there are no permanent conflicts.

David Brooks

Bike Run!
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Bike Run! iPhone 6S Brighton, East Sussex, England Friday, February 17th, 2017.

Shapes
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Shapes iPhone 6S Brighton, East Sussex, England Monday, February 6th, 2017.

Heart of the Pantry
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Heart of the Pantry iPhone 6S Brighton, East Sussex, England Monday, February 6th, 2017.

Smile
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Smile iPhone 6S Brighton, East Sussex, England Friday, December 23rd, 2016.

Staggered
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Staggered iPhone 6S Tate Modern, London, England Saturday, December 17th, 2016.

Cityscape with Some Color
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Cityscape with Some Color iPhone 6S London, England Saturday, December 17th, 2016.

Angled Cityscape
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Angled Cityscape iPhone 6S Tate Modern, London, England Saturday, December 17th, 2016.

Light Slates
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Light Slates iPhone 6S Tate Modern, London, England Saturday, December 17th, 2016.

The Cathedral and the Merry-Go-Round
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The Cathedral and the Merry-Go-Round iPhone 6S London, England Saturday, December 17th, 2016.

Further (Better) Than You
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Further (Better) Than You iPhone 6S Tate Modern, London, England Saturday, December 17th, 2016.

Skeletal Hills
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Skeletal Hills iPhone 6S London, England Saturday, December 17th, 2016.

Bridge Gone
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Bridge Gone iPhone 6S London, England Saturday, December 17th, 2016.

OK?
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OK? iPhone 6S West Sussex, England Saturday, November 19th, 2016.

Parking in Pink
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Parking in Pink iPhone 6S Brighton, East Sussex, England Wednesday, November 9th, 2016.

Cream & Green
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Cream & Green iPhone 6S Brighton, East Sussex, England Tuesday, October 25th, 2016.

Foot
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Foot iPhone 6S Brighton, East Sussex, England Saturday, October 22nd, 2016.

The Rocker
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The Rocker iPhone 6S Brighton, East Sussex, England Saturday, October 22nd, 2016.

Minion If You Lose
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Minion If You Lose iPhone 6S Brighton, East Sussex, England Saturday, October 22nd, 2016.

Movie Poster on Wry
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Movie Poster on Wry iPhone 6S Brighton, East Sussex, England Monday, October 10th, 2016.

Swinging Clock
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Swinging Clock iPhone 6S Brighton, East Sussex, England Monday, October 10th, 2016.

I Love Lamp
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I Love Lamp iPhone 6S Brighton, East Sussex, England Monday, October 10th, 2016.

Brighton Station 2016
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Brighton Station 2016 iPhone 6S Brighton, East Sussex, England Monday, October 10th, 2016.

Trinity
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Trinity iPhone 6S Brighton, East Sussex, England Monday, October 10th, 2016.

P for Plenty
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P for Plenty iPhone 6S Brighton, East Sussex, England Thursday, October 6th, 2016.

Regular Man
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Regular Man iPhone 6S Brighton, East Sussex, England Wednesday, October 5th, 2016.

•••

Briefs

Tuesday, March 14th, 2017

Tuesday, January 31st, 2017

“Yesterday we had a fight about whether I’d been dismissive about him saying his feelings had been hurt by my dismissing his feelings during a previous fight…” From the amusing but very dark Narcissism: a reflection by Laura Kipnis in Spiked.

Monday, January 30th, 2017

It seems to be a deceptively hard song to cover, but here’s a good one with a man, a woman and a ukulele on a living-room sofa, deceptively casual, deceptively perfect. Nobody’s done it better, not even Radiohead. And for something completely different: a great ‘Nobody Does it Better’ series montage by Rik Moran.

Fast, clear, cogent, respectful, dominating — what a performance Hugh Hewitt recently gave on Charlie Rose. He even asked Charlie a couple of times what he thinks, and it quickly became two chummy top media guys sharing ideas, not a mainstream media star interviewing a right-wing kook.

Hewitt managed to work in his career in government — which was all very long ago — and the very many people he knows, but without the name-dropping being the point of his responses. He called Charlie Charlie often enough that Charlie finally called him Hugh. “Great to have you,” Charlie ended it. “Good [ie, maybe not so great] to be here,” the response.

I listen pretty regularly to The Hugh Hewitt Show and it would be nice if we could get this fast-talking, super-smart, reasonable and sophisticated guy instead of the dumbed-down base-cultivating borderline bully we sometimes get on his home turf.

Friday, January 27th, 2017

Smart liberal reporters are probably inclined to think that smart liberal experts are right when they say things the smart liberal reporters already agree with.

Jonah Goldberg, The Goldberg File, January 27, 2017

Spectreview

With the villain’s quasi-sibling bond to the hero, 2015’s 007 movie deflates to an incestuous Möbius Strip.

In Gaza, Israel Should Own its Terrible Tactic

Although such excoriating labels as “collective punishment” and “state terrorism” aren’t entirely wrong regarding Israel’s application of the Dahieh Doctrine in Gaza, history does suggest that the method is effective in fighting a fundamentally defensive war.

Go Deny Yourself

This four-letter little word undermines our modern values of tolerance and presumption of innocence.

Some Consumer Affairs

I’ve tried to enjoy schlepping water, thinking that it serves to keep us to some human roots.

From Nokia N95 to iPhone 4S

Annoyances and upsets with the iPhone 4S have been more than offset by its screen, the silkiness of its surfaces, the camera, and the third-party market for both software and hardware.

2001: A Space Odyssey: Dry, Juicy, Linear, Luminous

The dancers in the ape-suits; how they move is an incredibly energetic output for us. Contrast their physical reaction when witnessing the monolith to that of the astronauts in the newly-minted 21st century.

The Mouse and the Cantilever

Steve Jobs we lost at the age of 56; when Frank Lloyd Wright reached that age it was still only 1923, the time of merely his second comeback with Tokyo’s Imperial Hotel.

Friendship is for Weenies

It’s amazing, given the adulation he enjoyed elsewhere, that the Israeli public knew from the start not to trust US President Obama.

Before the Setup

It’s 1983: Go for the Apple IIe with 64k that could be opened up as a hobbyist machine? Or the smaller, sleeker and newer IIc with double the memory but a closed case?

A Spat About Anti-Semitism

On the Leon Wieseltier/Andrew Sullivan spat, Walter Russell Mead seems to want to have his strudel and eat it too.

At Modi’in Mall

There’s nothing else around here except empty desolate pretty hills. The Israel Trail passes by a bit to the west. The shops are mostly franchises, almost all homegrown: Super-Pharm, Aroma, Tzomet Sfarim, Cup O’ Joe’s, LaMetayel, Mega, Fox, Castro, H&O.

The Israel I Love, the Bad So Far

If the signage were a bit more effective, the staff’s diction and demeanor more professional, then we might have avoided this testy altercation.

Shanghai Europe

So, finally, we stopped yesterday; the Israeli assault on Gaza of late 2008/early 2009 is over. With it, Israel lost moral purity and made vital strategic gains.

Panning for MacBook Pro

Even if it did nothing, was just a prop in a futuristic movie, the MacBook Pro would be impressive; it’s like a sculpture of my previous computer, the MacBook, except it’s actually an improved computer!

Stop Yesterday

Is the goal of Israel’s current assault on Gaza to discourage Hamas from firing rockets or to render them incapable of doing so? These are two quite different projects.

Short-circuiting Place-based Longing

If there’s one tangible benefit to having lived in a variety of places it’s that it furnishes evidence of the futility of longing to be elsewhere.

A Crawl Across Crawley, Part 1

Irit, the Jam and I walk from Brighton to Gatwick Airport.

Clash of the Midgets

I was annoyed to have my sauna moments despoiled and dominated, reverberating with this old geezer’s most naff yap.

Israel’s Greatest Victory Since Osirak?

If Ariel Sharon’s withdrawal from Gaza was part of a masterplan to staunch the damage done by the victory of the Six Day War in 1967, then today we see another step in its unfolding.

The Small Adventures, Part 2

There in the empty restaurant by the water at Dieppe I had toast with foie gras, a carafe of red wine, a huge plate of mussels and chips, and finally a crème brûlée. Somehow, though I’ve eaten in restaurants hundreds of times, I felt grown up.

The Small Adventures

Of course we were late for the train. We enquired frantically among the taxis for one who’d accept the two dogs—mine and Davide’s—and take us to Termini Station so I could catch the 11pm train to Milan that would be one third of our journey to Britain.

Tony Blair and the Four-State Vision

Ariel Sharon’s disengagement policy reflected an understanding that ownership of the Palestinian issue is shared with Egypt and Jordan. If Tony Blair were to acquire this view, perhaps he really could help facilitate an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

A Restoration and Return

There she was, sitting outside the apartment block! How did she do it? Dogs—or at least Jam—must have some sort of navigational sense we don’t understand.

Curs to Fate

Yesterday I lost Jam in Villa Borghese, the central park here in Rome, some five miles from Talenti, the neighborhood where we’re staying. She has not turned up since.

Jam and Bread, Jam and Bread!

My dog Jam has spent over a third of her time here in Italy as her fixtures have fallen away—first Maddie, then me. But now I’m back!

This Trip’s Last Day

I went to Astor Place Haircutters. I crossed Manhattan Bridge on foot. I walked west along Canal St, seeking a bamboo steamer.

I, Thou and Pastor Bob

At the Calvary Church here in Fort Lauderdale the Biblical locations feel so far away that they can be abstracted and spiritualized. There is religious energy here.

The Big and Easy

The American stage is grand, as are the achievements and ambitions, but daily life seems lamed by a compulsive denaturing.

A Drop in Time

The camera hit the ground lens first, bashing it in so that it would no longer wind in and out, and couldn’t switch on. Without it, my perception of an important personal era was degraded.

A Ride to Gatwick Airport

Airports. They’re so charged, so symbolic, and so empty once you’re at one; I dream of them often.

Only the Rustle in the Trees

Grief, loss — these are the great teachers surely. What one has will pass.

A Cabaret, Old Chum

It’s a last bastion of civility, being allowed to drink at Penn Station, Brian mused ruefully as we carried our beers to his train home to Great Neck.

Fatahland and Hamastan

Now Israel has a dog in a real Palestinian fight: the nationalists rather than the Islamists.

Stars, Stripes & Superlatives

Here in Los Angeles I am bombarded with superlatives. Daniel’s record collection. The Bikram Yoga College of India world headquarters. Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm. All mixed in with the most ravaging mediocrity.

Shite on Brighton

“Like many provincial towns,” the Private Eye reviewer stabs, “Brighton, as depicted in this hacked-together tribute, defines itself more by what it isn’t than by what it is. It’s not London, for one thing.”

Daily Yin

For my first test of the day as day, I open the back door and step outside to the little patio to see the sky and feel the air. I realize not everybody does this, so if people tell me I’m a miserable bastard then perhaps this little habit will correct their impression.

Mind the Dream

Dreaming about our passed companions as if they are alive requires tricks to the dreaming mind to overcome what it believes and knows to be true.

The Dharma Tits

Buddhism is the philosophy and psychology closest to Cognitive Therapy and vice versa.

Still Got the Jam

Jam was one of Maddie’s nine puppies, the one who remained after the others were all taken. That was always my plan, to keep the runt.

Such a Tramp

Maddie, who died 18 months ago today, was a mangy mutt and stank, but she was also among the most beautiful dogs I’ve ever seen and for me the longest, richest, widest, deepest streak of feeling lucky.

So You Noticed

I have had something very flattering: a request. Juan Carlos has asked me for comments on Casino Royale.

Fly the Blag

Ryanair has brought wretchedness to the skies. Rather than existing on a privileged plane, you stew in a poisoned atmosphere.

Approaching Infinite Justice

Immediately after 9/11, the burgeoning war on terror was named “Operation Infinite Justice”. Within days it was renamed “Operation Enduring Freedom”, but is the new name a mere cloaking of the first?

On the Seventh Day

The Mrs is skeptical of David Allen’s Getting Things Done self-management system because it eschews the rigors of time management for what feels right. But GTD is about informed feeling.

Don’t Panic!

An academic romp through Jewish American comedy starts out as a veritable rollercoaster ride, but grinds to halt with its obsession with one Bob Dylan.

Photographing a Handsome Old Man

I want to get people in my pics, but it’s tougher when you’re no longer a wide-eyed teenager, because people generally don’t like to think they are a spectacle.

The Beauty of Rain

Rain makes the rocks shine. It puts in motion things that are otherwise static. It illustrates gravity most prettily.

Ode to Salame

It’s supposed to be the arsehole of Tel Aviv, Salame Street, running east-west at its southern tip, but it always does me darn good.

I Love Laundry

How pleasing it is to have my own washing machine. If all isn’t right with the world, not even in my world, at least the laundry cycle is functioning.

Lovely Scenery, But Walks Getting Boring

Unless I drive somewhere new, it’s not much fun to just step out the door and wander. But driving to go for a walk seems a tad ridiculous.

For Love of Economy

It disturbs me to be driving a car that gets fewer kilometers to the shekel than did my previous.

Shinui and the Seven-Year Itch

How refreshing to see Asian faces out shopping in Tel Aviv, or Africans riding the bus to Ra’anana. With them Israel is given fresh wellsprings of culture.

Allah Help the Jackals

While it’s obvious that overplaying your power can result in a downfall, it’s less obvious that underplaying it also leads to trouble. America did this in the 1970s under Carter. Israel seems to have done it almost perennially.

For Tel Aviv, Better a Skylift Than a Subway

Rather than copycatting a transportation system from the 19th century, Israel could inject into its civic planning the same audacity and resourcefulness that it has historically brought to agriculture and defence.

Canada Obscura

There’s not a patch of water to be seen—the most liquid thing is the word “Coffee” on one of the low-slung strip-mall buildings. It’s a scene more artful than art itself.

Tira Saunters

The one-lane road is empty; down below is the Sharon Plain, looking vast. Israel may be a small country but we’re still speaking here of land.

A Call to Thumbs

When you hitchhike it’s out of your hands, and that’s therapeutic. Paradoxically, you also see how much control you do have.

 

Wednesday, January 25th, 2017

George Friedman, founder of Stratfor, explicates the constituent parts of Trump’s foreign policy views — for instance, that multiple bilateral agreements are preferable to multilateral ones (something Israel has always stuck to). Someone recently noted that you can’t point to any particular Washington thinktank and say that this is where Trump gets his views. This might have been meant disparagingly, but it also suggests that the new President has actually been thinking. Indeed, Friedman writes elsewhere that this more general level of thought is the most salutary for a successful presidency.

Albeit behind Iran, Israel squeaks onto Walter Russell Mead’s list of the Great Eight Powers of 2017. It’s amazing that only one European country makes it here.

Friday, January 20th, 2017

Headlines say 2016 hottest year ever. Yes, 0.01°C hotter than 2015. But working from statistics that claim a margin of error of 0.1°C! Ah, truthiness.

Wednesday, January 18th, 2017

Good point, yes. If under Trump it’s between the symbol of a U.S. Embassy move to Jerusalem or the reality of continued building throughout the city—as it may well come down to—then the choice is clear, writes Nadav Shragai.

Friday, January 13th, 2017

Tuesday, January 10th, 2017

A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, cross-over feeding trial conducted for eight weeks at the University of New Mexico demonstrated that eating walnuts improves men’s mood (but interestingly not women’s). I announce here my love them with raisins, that’s 5 per half-walnut.

David Cripps, the London Symphony Orchestra’s horn soloist, on playing the Star Wars music, and particularly “Leia’s Theme”. Seems clear from this and an interview I read on “Rey’s Theme” that John Williams is inspired by charismatic actors.

The world’s most (only?) prescient columnist takes a step back to show us where Russia and China are similar and different to America. This article is one for these new times, to be sure.

Ian Buruma on Brussels. I found it a pretty exciting city so when I saw this article I jumped on it (plus I vaguely remember being impressed by something else this fellow wrote) and it’s pretty sweeping and fun.

Friday, January 6th, 2017

Thank you, Evelyn Gordon, for providing some clarity for those now afar over why so many Israelis are supporting Elor Azaria, convicted of manslaughter for killing subdued terrorist Abed al-Fattah al-Sharif.

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017

If we huff and chide them, they soon come not to mind it, and get a self-reliance; and if we indulge them to folly, they learn the limitation elsewhere.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, on children, in Representative Men

Monday, January 2nd, 2017

Flight of the Eagle: The Grand Strategies That Brought America from Colonial Dependence to World Leadership

Conrad Black

♦♦♦♦

The great virtue of this book is its steady track across the entirety of American history, treating each president equally under its own law and order. This completely democratic coverage, right up to the present day, is a marvelous homologue to the ideals of the society under discussion. And it lets us see recent presidents in no more living color than their black & white and even pre-photographic predecessors, helping us evaluate them and consider what the country most needs next.

Saturday, December 17th, 2016

At the Zapier Blog they note that AirTable, the online database builder, is the fastest-growing app. Competitors include Knack and Zoho Builder. Could be that the online database service might finally be entering public consciousness as a possibility, taking its rightful place alongside word processors and spreadsheets.

The New York Times attempts to embarrass Trump’s new appointment by linking to eight of incoming American Ambassador to Israel David Friedman’s columns in Arutz Sheva as if his words alone are enough to horrify. I for one though agree with everything he writes in these, except perhaps in “Time to Regroup on Iran” where he suggests hitting Hamas harder — not sure about that. I’m with him on J Street, and there’s great stuff on what he dubs the two-state narrative.

Wednesday, December 7th, 2016

The Wizard of Menlo Park: How Thomas Alva Edison Invented the Modern World

Randall E. Stross

♦♦♦

The book tells of the flip-side of the focus and concentration that enabled Edison’s inventiveness, namely stubbornness unto folly. One of his many mistakes was pooh-poohing AC current over his DC, although AC is clearly the more suitable for longer-distance power transfer, which is what he was after, and it’s not clear beyond bloody-mindedness if there was any reason for his preference.

Sunday, December 4th, 2016

Francis Fukuyama coins and explains vetocracy. The intricacies are bamboozling—which is the point. Seems to me that fixing this is the first domino.

Thursday, December 1st, 2016

Gut: the inside story of our body's most under-rated organ

Giulia Enders

♦♦♦♦

It’s arguably a profound and important book in that it can change our self-perception to one that’s closer to the truth.

Putting aside some questionable attempts at humor, the core of the book is an engaging, informed Fantastic Voyage from in the mouth all the way to out the bottom. I’ve seen so many images of our digestive system but never been presented with the process as a clear narrative, with emphasis on the differences between the organs involved and the inflection points between them.

Tuesday, November 29th, 2016

Niall Ferguson on Kissinger on the Obama legacy and Trump prospects. Long, juicy, probably somewhat prescient, also a bit nutty.

Saturday, November 19th, 2016

Friday, November 18th, 2016

Some tentative optimism from The American Interest: If the new Administration can both push infrastructure and simplify the regulatory process, “it will have proven that the Trumpian earthquake can in fact break certain decades-long patterns of bipartisan paralysis…

This article features a list by Dan McNichol of suggested public works projects throughout the USA. He is author of The Roads That Built America, a history of the Interstate highway system (of which I actually have a copy).

Wednesday, November 9th, 2016

“The press takes [Trump] literally, but not seriously; his supporters take him seriously, but not literally.’ Salena Zito in this September 23 article in The Atlantic. What a thing.

Also Democrats, Trump, and the Ongoing, Dangerous Refusal to Learn the Lesson of Brexit by Glenn Greenwald in The Intercept.

And What I learned after 100,000 miles on the road talking to Trump supporters by Chris Arnade in The Guardian.

Tuesday, November 8th, 2016

I’m thinking it’s the most awesome TV show ever, but I also thought the same about about the other back in the day until close to the end. This insightful piece by Lindsey Romain in Vulture points out the thematic similarities between Westworld and Lost. Let’s hope it all doesn’t degenerate into a flabby Manichaeism.

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016

Free-running amazingness may well become, like swimming, an increasingly common part of the human repertoire. Good monkey, good.

Tuesday, November 1st, 2016

Monday, October 24th, 2016

The New York Times sassily brings us up to speed on the revival at least in interest of Brutalist architecture.

Thursday, October 20th, 2016

Fascinating research into the five types of UK school heads — philosophers, surgeons, soldiers, architects, accountants — and that the wrong type is being rewarded.

Monday, October 17th, 2016

Tuesday, October 4th, 2016

New British prime minister Theresa May’s first major decision was the nuclear plant at Hinckley Point and it seems she took the easy way out.

Tuesday, September 27th, 2016

I’m wrestling with taking too many pictures these days, and why don’t I just stop, but not as well as does the author in “What We See When We Look at Travel Photography”.

Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

Monday, September 12th, 2016

Now that I’ve joined eyeem.com, I was attracted to this article on Instagram and art history. “Today, we look at Instagram feeds with the same level of scrutiny as the Renaissance merchants who converted their Madonnas into ducats.” He argues persuasively and enjoyably that we are being just like Amsterdam burghers.

Sunday, September 11th, 2016

Among the lessons from a 45-year study of super-smart children is to encourage effort rather than praise ability.

Monday, September 5th, 2016

This article explains — and demonstrates — all the advanced basics we need to know regarding photography with the iPhone. The aperture is fixed but everything else — shutter speed, focus, ISO, white balance — can be set. Only three apps are required: Camera+ (for the manual stuff), AfterFocus (to compensate for the lack of aperture control), and Slow Shutter Cam (because Camera+ doesn’t go slower than 1/4s).

In this report on Ryanair’s service between Budapest and Eilat, anna.aero lists the low-cost airlines flying to Israel. All the others fly to Ben-Gurion. So that’s Eilat to Budapest in February roundtrip for 85€!!!

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

Speed of Dark

Elizabeth Moon

♦♦♦

I was brought to this most non-sci-fi of sci-fi novels by the Brighton Science Fiction Discussion Group. Narrated in character by its autistic protagonist, Speed of Light initially reminded me of Mr Robot. Yes, I did like it, but wasn’t sure if the thinness of the other characters is due to our narrator’s limitations or those of the author; I don’t know her other work so can’t say. A mostly unsentimental decency permeates — actually it’s an exploration of decency — which gives it an appreciable pre-cyberpunk, almost square feel.

A developed country is not a place where the poor have cars; it’s where the rich use public transportation.

Petro Gustavo, Mayor of Bogota

Monday, August 29th, 2016

Ideas are the currency of life.

James Altucher

Friday, August 26th, 2016

Sports are the linchpin holding the entire post-war economic order together.

Ben Thompson, The Sports Linchpin

Wednesday, August 24th, 2016

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016

What sets you apart in high school at 17 makes you a cliché in Brooklyn at 27.

Christian Lorentzen , “Toward a Unified Theory of Joan Didion”

An inviting tour of the Hebrew writer’s oeuvre as Shai Agnon is translated into English. [via aldaily.com]

History’s in the eye of the guy.

ASK

Monday, August 22nd, 2016

Thinking, Fast and Slow

Daniel Kahneman

♦♦♦♦

The contents of Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow, though perhaps some are contestable, are surprising and mostly new to this layman, and we should all know these things about ourselves, therefore it’s an important book. Presumably this is a retrospective and a compilation so that all this knowledge is available in various books and articles elsewhere, but this is a fine and good way to get it.

Saturday, August 20th, 2016

Choose Yourself

James Altucher

If the author has anything to teach here it is self-promotion and then being engaging. How was he able to get then keep my sustained attention for this warmed-over pap? And even get me to pay for it (albeit not much)?

What we learn from the past is to maximize the qualities of our future memories, not necessarily of our future experience.

Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, Fast and Slow

Tuesday, August 16th, 2016

I wake up, read, write, exercise, eat, attend meetings (phone or live), then reverse the process: eat, write, read, and sleep.

James Altucher, Choose Yourself

The Guardian interviews Brunhilde Pomsel, Goebbels’ secretary, now 105, who retired in 1971 as executive secretary to the director of programmes at Germany state broadcaster.

 
 

•••