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Walter Biggins at The Quarterly Conversation:  Because our lives move in straight lines but our perceptions do not, we are forever trying to squeeze the latter’s unruliness into the former’s rigor.


Francesca Wade at The Financial Times: In a central scene in David Means’s debut novel, a dead Vietnam veteran delivers a powerful stream of consciousness directly into the mind of his former girlfriend.

eulogy for Mikhail Kalashnikov

Stefany Anne Golberg at Misfit Press: Among the displays of assault rifles at the Mikhail Kalashnikov Museum in Izhevsk is a small lawnmower Kalashnikov designed to push about the grounds of his summer cottage.

Saturday Poem

The Chase They say the chase ends where the earth is put together by two halves, but no matter —because that is you at thirty, perhaps forty: corpus callosum of the brain, two loaves opening and closing like a book.

A New Biography Says George W. Bush Really Was the Decider

Jason Zengerle in The New York Times: It’s an axiom of American politics that presidents become more popular once they are ex-presidents.

Do Government Incentives Make Us Bad Citizens?

John McMahon reviews Samuel Bowles's The Moral Economy: Why Good Incentives Are No Substitute for Good Citizens, in The Boston Review: From sin taxes to the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, from tax rebates for buying an electric car to performance-based school funding, governments extensively deploy material incentives to regulate citizens’ behaviors.

Money: The Brave New Uncertainty of Mervyn King

Paul Krugman reviews Mervyn King's The End of Alchemy: Money, Banking, and the Future of the Global Economy, in the NYRB: These days, of course, the pound sterling is much less widely used than the dollar, the euro, or even the yen or the yuan, and the Bank of England is correspondingly overshadowed in many ways by its much younger counterparts abroad.

Ending the Violence

Cedric Johnson in Jacobin: Former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani, the supreme booster of “broken windows” policing, was quick to attack Black Lives Matter activists, claiming that BLM is “inherently racist because, number one, it divides us.” He also chastised activists for allegedly ignoring violence within black communities and suggested that they were responsible for civilian-police conflicts because their criticism “puts a target on the backs of” police officers.

Triangle of Power

[H/t: Aeon]: ;

On the march to the robot apocalypse

Kevin Hartnett at The Boston Globe: Here’s a fun game: Tap your finger against a surface, but before you do, predict the sound it will make.

the moral quandries of eating meat

Julian Baggini at the Times Literary Supplement: Indifference, however, appears to be the norm. Most of us live in “carninormative” societies where meat eating is so normal that no matter how many qualms we might have about it, it just doesn’t feel wrong to most of us.

The Heroic Art of Agnes Martin

Hilton Als at the London Review of Books: Walking through the show, one can see how ultimately unsuited Martin was to be a hard-core Abstract Expressionist; the movement was too noisy, and what did she have to do with bop, the Beats, that wall of sound and bodies that wanted to shout the squares down in favor of “kicks”?

In these heartless times, The Little Prince reminds us what it is to be human

Azar Nafisi in The Guardian: Do you remember the fox? Not just any fox, this one is a sage; the one that reveals the truth to the Little Prince, who reveals it to the pilot, who reveals it to us, the readers.

Friday Poem

Letter from My Ancestors . We wouldn’t write this, wouldn’t even think of it. We are working people without time on our hands.

How the Brain Builds Memory Chains

Sara Chodosh in Scientific American: Think about the first time you met your college roommate. You were probably nervous, talking a little too loudly and laughing a little too heartily.

How food became a matter of morals

Julian Baggini in The Guardian: The way these cream cakes flaunt themselves,” says saucy Carry On star Barbara Windsor, glaring disapprovingly at a chocolate eclair bursting with whipped cream, “it’s enough to lead a girl astray.” Her frown turns into a giggle.

How a Guy From a Montana Trailer Park Overturned 150 Years of Biology

Ed Yong in The Atlantic: In 1995, if you had told Toby Spribille that he’d eventually overthrow a scientific idea that’s been the stuff of textbooks for 150 years, he would have laughed at you.

Liberalism after Brexit

Will Davies at the Political Economy Research Center: Given that Brexit was an event imagined and delivered from within the Conservative Party, one of the most important analyses of it is Matthew d’Ancona’s examination of how the idea shifted from the party’s margins to its mainstream over the post-Thatcher era.

Mark Blyth: Are the Populists Threatening Democracy?

Minds turned to ash

Josh Cohen in 1843 Magazine: When Steve first came to my consulting room, it was hard to square the shambling figure slumped low in the chair opposite with the young dynamo who, so he told me, had only recently been putting in 90-hour weeks at an investment bank.