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How I Would Vote in the Greek Referendum

Joseph Stiglitz in The Guardian (Photograph: Sotiris Barbarousis/Sotiris Barbarousis/epa/Corbis): Why are European Union leaders resisting the referendum and refusing even to extend by a few days the June 30 deadline for Greece’s next payment to the IMF?

Independently Drawn Districts Have Proved to Be More Competitive

Kim Soffen in the NYT: Buoyed by a Supreme Court ruling, opponents of gerrymandering want to get more state legislatures out of the business of drawing congressional districts.

Dancing in Your Head

Adam Shatz remembers Ornette Coleman in the LRB: ‘One of the most baffling things about America,’ Amiri Baraka wrote in 1963, ‘is that despite its essentially vile profile, so much beauty continues to exist here.’ Perhaps, he wondered, ‘it is because of the vileness, or call it adversity, that such beauty does exist.’ Baraka made the observation in his liner notes to John Coltrane’s album Live at Birdland, which includes ‘Alabama’, an elegy for the four girls murdered in the 1963 Birmingham Church bombing.

The last Americans in Palmyra

Matthew Stevenson in The Critical Flame: My son Charles and I may have been the last Americans to walk among the Roman ruins at Palmyra.


From Noisey: Rafay Rashid was born in Islambad, Pakistanin but it was in Providence, Rhode Island where he formed Ravi Shavi, a garage pop doo-wop/new wave/ quartet who recently released their debut album on Brooklyn based Almost Ready records.

Happiness is.... what?

Arifa Akbar in The Independent: Earlier this year, a terminally ill cancer patient requested a last visit to the Amsterdam Rijksmuseum to see a Rembrandt exhibition.

Obama’s Eulogy, Which Found Its Place in History

Michiko Kakutani in The New York Times: Barack Obama’s eulogy for the Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., was remarkable not only because the president sang the opening refrain of “Amazing Grace” on live television, and not only because of his eloquence in memorializing the pastor and eight other parishioners killed by a white gunman.

Gary Snyder, 'Poet Laureate of Our Continent,' Lives in the Present

Sean Elder in Newsweek: An odd blend of old and new San Francisco turned out to see Gary Snyder at the Nourse Theater one evening in May.

Amartya Sen: The economic consequences of austerity

Amartya Sen in the New Statesman: On 5 June 1919, John Maynard Keynes wrote to the prime minister of Britain, David Lloyd George, “I ought to let you know that on Saturday I am slipping away from this scene of nightmare.

Revisiting the forgotten stories of childhood

Abigail Deutsch at Harper's Magazine: Last Boxing Day, in my annual attempt to figure out what Boxing Day is, I embarked on an Internet expedition from the confines of my chilly bedroom in New York City.

the rise of normcore

Eugenia Williamson at The Baffler: The adventure began in 2013, and picked up steam early last year with Fiona Duncan’s “Normcore: Fashion for Those Who Realize They’re One in 7 Billion,” a blowout exploration of the anti-individualist Normcore creed forNew York magazine.

Pieces of porcelain history

Anne Gerritsen at the Times Literary Supplement: In 1938, Japanese forces advanced inland from China’s coastal regions.

Friday Poem

Bicycles in the Sixties Early morning, free of clothes I stay indoors, coolness like a fine silk covers my skin.

Guns and Butter in Pakistan

Ahsan Butt in Foreign Policy: Earlier this year, retired Lt. Gen. Khalid Kidwai, who was in charge of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons for 15 years, delivered a message to policymakers in the United States.

Fear gets you nowhere, and other things I wish I'd known at 17

Tim Lott in The Telegraph: If I were to list the things I knew when I was 17, it would be a very short list and most of those things would be wrong.

How what we eat is destroying our livers

Mitch Leslie in Science: The patient who walked into Joel Lavine's office at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), medical center one day in the mid-1990s didn't know how sick he really was.

70,000 Years of Human History in 400 Pages

Michael Saler in The Nation: In Sapiens, Yuval Noah Harari recounts how humans have developed from brutes to demigods in the course of their evolutionary history: a grand narrative, one would think, but he perceives it as a comic-tragedy, and details it with mordant humor.

Why men fight wars—and what could make them stop

David Berreby in Psychology Today: In a sparsely appointed trailer in northern Iraq, close to the sandbagged front line where Kurds faced the advancing forces of the Islamic State, fighters sat on the floor last spring and talked to Lydia Wilson about war.

The Backwards Brain Bicycle