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Two Roads for the New French Right | by Mark Lilla | The New York Review of Books

Unlike her hotheaded grandfather and aunt, Marion is always calm and collected, sounds sincere, and is intellectually inclined.

In countries as diverse as France, Poland, Hungary, Austria, Germany, and Italy, efforts are underway to develop a coherent ideology that would mobilize Europeans angry about immigration, economic dislocation, the European Union, and social liberalization, and then use that ideology to govern.

a new legal status, dubbed a pacte civil de solidarité (civil solidarity pact, or PACS), for long-term couples who required legal protections regarding inheritance and other end-of-life issues but did not want to get married.

While it’s true that fewer and fewer French people baptize their children and attend mass, nearly two thirds still identify as Catholic, and roughly 40 percent of those declare themselves to be practicing, whatever that means. More importantly, as a Pew study found last year, those French who do identify as Catholic—especially those who attend Mass regularly—are significantly more right-wing in their political views than those who do not.

The National Front is nearly as secular and even less ideologically coherent, having served more as a refuge for history’s detritus—Vichy collaborators, resentful pieds noirs driven out of Algeria, Joan of Arc romantics, Jew- and Muslim-haters, skinheads—than as a party with a positive program for France’s future. A mayor once close to it now aptly calls it the Dien Bien Phu right.

They share two convictions: that a robust conservatism is the only coherent alternative to what they call the neoliberal cosmopolitanism of our time, and that resources for such a conservatism can be found on both sides of the traditional left–right divide. More surprising still, they are all fans of Bernie Sanders.

Three months later her Institute of Social, Economic, and Political Sciences (ISSEP) opened in Lyon, with the aim, Marion said, of displacing the culture that dominates our nomadic, globalized, deracinated liberal system. It is basically a business school but will supposedly offer great books courses in philosophy, literature, history, and rhetoric, as well as practical ones on management and political and cultural combat.
reportage  politics  interview  france  conservatism  culture  ideology  conflict  globalization  crisis  morality  family  value  debate  instapaper_favs 
december 2018 by aries1988
World War I Relived Day by Day
Sometimes, it led to intriguing surprises, like photographs of dragon dances performed by some of the 140,000 Chinese laborers brought over to France to lend muscle to the Allied war effort.
ww1  experience  online  history  memory  instapaper_favs  daily  now 
november 2018 by aries1988








西方的思想界是开放的,种种不同的史观都出现过,其中还有反“进步”的史观大行其道的,如斯宾格勒(Oswald Spengler 1880-1936)的《西方的没落》(The Decline of the West)和汤因比(Arnold J Toynbee 1889-1975)的《历史研究》(A Study of History)

confucianism  chinese  tradition  culture  crisis  evolution  west  book  leader  intelligentsia  taiwan  dissident  instapaper_favs 
october 2018 by aries1988
The Clash of Ignorance

Samuel Huntington’s article "The Clash of Civilizations?" appeared in the Summer 1993 issue of Foreign Affairs, where it immediately attracted a surprising amount of attention and reaction
to supply Americans with an original thesis about "a new phase" in world politics after the end of the cold war,

Certainly neither Huntington nor Lewis has much time to spare for the internal dynamics and plurality of every civilization, or for the fact that the major contest in most modern cultures concerns the definition or interpretation of each culture, or for the unattractive possibility that a great deal of demagogy and downright ignorance is involved in presuming to speak for a whole religion or civilization. No, the West is the West, and Islam Islam.

Instead of seeing it for what it is–the capture of big ideas (I use the word loosely) by a tiny band of crazed fanatics for criminal purposes–

what is so threatening about that presence? Buried in the collective culture are memories of the first great Arab-Islamic conquests, which began in the seventh century and which, as the celebrated Belgian historian Henri Pirenne wrote in his landmark book Mohammed and Charlemagne (1939), shattered once and for all the ancient unity of the Mediterranean, destroyed the Christian-Roman synthesis and gave rise to a new civilization dominated by northern powers (Germany and Carolingian France) whose mission, he seemed to be saying, is to resume defense of the "West" against its historical-cultural enemies.

These are tense times, but it is better to think in terms of powerful and powerless communities, the secular politics of reason and ignorance, and universal principles of justice and injustice, than to wander off in search of vast abstractions that may give momentary satisfaction but little self-knowledge or informed analysis
muslim  debate  islam  terrorism  power  community  civ  conflict  europe  population  theory  leader  instapaper_favs 
october 2018 by aries1988
Letter of Recommendation Recently Returned Books
They were not chosen to signal anyone’s intellect or righteousness or in-the-know-ness. They are often old and very often ugly. I’ve come to think of this shelf as an escape from hype, a kind of anti-curation.
library  idea  moi  serendipity  choice  reading  book  instapaper_favs 
september 2018 by aries1988
Hearing Poland’s Ghosts

The enormity of these events, combined with the suppression of basic truths about them, meant that their legacies were preserved covertly by their various inheritors, all with their own adamant loyalties and wrenching recollections, and that Poland in the postwar period became a place of often conflicting and fervently defended forms of collective memory.

a declaration that Polish history should be as much a part of the European historical imagination as, say, French or German history has been for educated citizens of the advanced world.

What had almost entirely vanished from collective memory was the fact that before World War II, Jewish and non-Jewish communities had coexisted in Poland for ten centuries, in a relationship that included phases of tension and benign indifference, of spiritual separateness and mutually advantageous commerce, of ideological anti-Semitism and what might be called multiculturalism avant la lettre.

more than 154,000 people, most of them civilians, lost their lives

His well-informed answer is given in a tone of almost trembling emotion, difficult to imagine among adolescent visitors to, say, the Imperial War Museum in London.

to insert the experiences of Poland and east-central Europe into Europe’s and the world’s historical memory.

As for the future of Poland’s cultural institutions, Kerski says that much depends on what might be called the civic courage of individuals in opposing repressive policies, as well as on the credibility of the European Union.
jew  poland  museum  history  today  ww2  memory  instapaper_favs  debate 
march 2018 by aries1988
Why did we start farming?
What if the origin of farming wasn’t a moment of liberation but of entrapment? Scott offers an alternative to the conventional narrative that is altogether more fascinating, not least in the way it omits any self-congratulation about human achievement.

The perfectly formed city-state is the ideal, deeply ingrained in the Western psyche, on which our notion of the nation-state is founded, ultimately inspiring Donald Trump’s notion of a ‘city’ wall to keep out the barbarian Mexican horde, and Brexiters’ desire to ‘take back control’ from insurgent European bureaucrats.
CPR 都市帝国 宫崎市定

His account of the deep past doesn’t purport to be definitive, but it is surely more accurate than the one we’re used to, and it implicitly exposes the flaws in contemporary political ideas that ultimately rest on a narrative of human progress and on the ideal of the city/nation-state.

domesticated goats had begun to eat up the local vegetation – the first step to today’s barren landscape.

although farming would have significantly increased mortality rates in both infants and adults, sedentism would have increased fertility. Mobile hunter-gatherers were effectively limited by the demands of travel to having one child every four years. An increase in fertility that just about outpaced the increase in mortality would account for the slow, steady increase in population in the villages.

Collapse could mean nothing more than the abandonment of the centre and the redistribution of the population into independent settlements, to be followed by the next cycle of annexation.

According to Scott, the period of early states was the Golden Age for the barbarians.
book  agriculture  human  debate  evolution  question  civ  idea  invention  destiny  whatif  history  origin  state  read  instapaper_favs 
february 2018 by aries1988


reading  opinion  debate  nonfiction  book  instapaper_favs 
november 2017 by aries1988
The school beneath the wave: the unimaginable tragedy of Japan’s tsunami
The trick is to preserve compassion without bearing each individual tragedy as your own;

In ancient times, this region of Japan, known as Tōhoku, was a notorious frontier realm of barbarians, goblins and bitter cold. Even today, it remains a remote, marginal, faintly melancholy place, the symbol of a rural tradition that, for city-dwellers, is no more than a folk memory.

Then darkness overcame him. Everyone who experienced the tsunami saw, heard and smelled something subtly different. Much depended upon where you were, and the obstacles that the water had to overcome to reach you. Some described a waterfall, cascading over sea wall and embankment. For others, it was a fast-rising flood between houses, deceptively slight at first, tugging trippingly at the feet and ankles, but quickly sucking and battering at legs and chests and shoulders. In colour, it was described as brown, grey, black, white.

A clock in a second-floor classroom at Okawa elementary school, which stopped at 3.36pm, about 50 minutes after the earthquake.
japan  earthquake  tsunami  school  human  error  children  death  japanese  2011  instapaper_favs  management  fail  2011/3/11 
october 2017 by aries1988
The Sucker, the Sucker!
Other Minds: The Octopus and the Evolution of Intelligent Life by Peter Godfrey-Smith Collins

octopuses – and to some extent their cephalopod cousins, cuttlefish and squid – frustrate the neat evolutionary division between clever vertebrates and simple-minded invertebrates. They are sophisticated problem solvers; they learn, and can use tools; and they show a capacity for mimicry, deception and, some think, humour.

Consciousness – the possession of an ‘inner’ model of the ‘outer’ world, or the sense of having an integrated, subjective perspective on the world – is, on his view, just a highly evolved form of what he calls ‘subjective experience’.

the Medawar effect: natural selection tends to weed out mutations whose harmful effects appear early in an animal’s life, but it is less likely to weed out mutations whose harmful effects manifest later on.
instapaper_favs  animal  ocean  intelligence  human  sea  biology  nature  book 
october 2017 by aries1988
What Ever Happened to the Russian Revolution?

Now I’ve traveled enough in Russia that my affections are more complicated. I know that almost no conclusion I ever draw about it is likely to be right. The way to think about Russia is without thinking about it. I just try to love it and yield to it and go with it, while also paying vigilant attention—if that makes sense.

My way to travel is to go to a specific place and try to absorb what it is now and look closer, for what it was.

The Decembrists were young officers in the czar’s army who fought in the Napoleonic wars and found out about the Enlightenment and came home wanting to reform Russia.

Lenin informed his listeners that they had pioneered the international Socialist revolution, and would go forth into the world and proselytize the masses. It was an amazing vision, Marxist and deeply Russian simultaneously, and it helped sustain the despotic Bolsheviks, just as building St. Petersburg, no matter how brutal the cost, drove Peter the Great 200 years before. After Lenin, Russia would involve itself aggressively in the affairs of countries all over the world. That sense of global mission, soon corrupted to strategic meddling and plain troublemaking, is why America still worries about Russia today.

Rumor and street culture—jokes, postcards, sayings, bawdy plays performed in saloons—changed the image of the czar and the czarina, desacralized them, before and during the war. Empress Alexandra’s dependence on Rasputin, the so-called crazed monk, had catastrophic consequences. Tales of the czarina’s debauchery with Rasputin (completely untrue), and rumors of the czar’s impotence, and her supposed sabotage of the war effort because she was born in Germany, all undermined the Romanovs, until finally nobody could be too sad when the monarchy went away. People sent each other erotic postcards of the czarina with Rasputin, audiences howled laughing at plays about his supposed sexual power. It resembled modern defamation by social media, and it did great damage. I call it the ‘tragic erotics’ of Nicholas’ reign. If you loved Russia you were obliged to love your czar. People were saying, ‘I know I must love my czar, but I cannot.’

Tourists came through in a constant stream. Nearly all were holding up their phones and taking videos or photographs. Sometimes a tourist would stop in the middle of the room, hold the phone up with both hands in the air, and slowly turn in a circle so the video could pan the entire room. This slow, unself-conscious video-making rotation in the room’s center with arms upstretched happened over and over, a new century’s new dance.

In 1967, a New York Times editorial titled “Russia’s Next Half-Century” congratulated the Soviet Union for becoming “one of the world’s foremost economic, scientific, and military powers.” The Times said it looked forward to a prosperous future for the country, but added, “Russia’s leaders, surveying the changes of fifty hectic years, surely understand that the vision of a monolithic, uniform world—whether Communist or capitalist—is a fantasy.”

Whoever wrote it must have known that as an adjective to describe the Soviet half-century, “hec­tic” did not suffice. But you can also see the problem the editorial writer faced. What could be said about such horrors? The United States had never known what to make of its cruel, sly, opaque World War II ally turned Cold War enemy. America even tried to like Stalin for a while. He appeared on the cover of Time magazine 12 times.

Russia, the country itself, inhabits a spirit as well. The visible location of this spirit’s existence in the world used to be the czar. The United States is a concept; Russia is an animate being. I think Nicholas II understood this, and it’s why he believed so strongly that his countrymen needed the autocracy. Nicholas not only ruled Russia, he not only signified Russia, he was Russia.

Today, on Victory Day, marchers show up in the hundreds of thousands in every major Russian city bearing portraits of their relatives who served. These portraits, typically black-and-white photographs, keep to a single size and are attached to identical wooden handles like those used for picket signs. As a group the photos are called Bezsmertnii Polk, the Deathless Regiment.

The portraits in their endless numbers evoke powerful emotions as they stream by, especially when you glimpse a young marcher who looks exactly like the young soldier in the faded photograph he or she is carrying.

Individuals change history. There would be no St. Petersburg without Peter the Great and no United States of America without George Washington. There would have been no Soviet Union without Lenin. Today he might feel discouraged to see the failure of his Marxist utopia—a failure so thorough that no country is likely to try it again soon. But his political methods may be his real legacy.

Lenin showed the world how well not compromising can work. A response to that revolutionary innovation of his has yet to be figured out.
russia  travel  interview  city  tourist  history  today  revolution  communism  instapaper_favs 
october 2017 by aries1988
The Anglo-Saxon is not American or British but a French alter-ego – Emile Chabal | Aeon Essays

when the French refer to ‘the Anglo-Saxon’ or use the term as an adjective, they are usually talking about themselves. The Anglo-Saxon is a mirror on Frenchness; it is France’s alter-ego and often its most feared enemy.

It was only in the 1860s that a new meaning began to appear in the wake of Napoleon III’s abortive attempts to extend the French empire into Latin America. In learned publications such as the Revue des races latines, founded in 1857, ‘Anglo-Saxonism’ was juxtaposed with ‘Latinity’ in an attempt to place France at the heart of a global Latin world that stretched from South America and the Caribbean to Madrid and Paris.

As has been the case ever since, the French both feared and admired the Anglo-Saxon at the turn of the 19th-century – and they used it as a vehicle for discussing their own national anxieties.

At times, English speakers can even fall into the same trap as their French counterparts when they lazily describe an idea or a way of thinking as ‘Anglo-American’ or ‘Atlantic’.
français  concept  uk  american  english  culture  identity  history  origin  instapaper_favs 
september 2017 by aries1988
A Murderous History of Korea

Kim’s reputation was inadvertently enhanced by the Japanese, whose newspapers made a splash of the battle between him and the Korean quislings whom the Japanese employed to track down and kill him, all operating under the command of General Nozoe Shotoku, who ran the Imperial Army’s ‘Special Kim Division’.

A vital figure in the long Japanese counterinsurgency effort was Kishi Nobusuke, who made a name for himself running munitions factories. Labelled a Class A war criminal during the US occupation, Kishi avoided incarceration and became one of the founding fathers of postwar Japan and its longtime ruling organ, the Liberal Democratic Party; he was prime minister twice between 1957 and 1960.

Kim Il-sung and Kishi are meeting again through their grandsons. Eight decades have passed, and the baleful, irreconcilable hostility between North Korea and Japan still hangs in the air.

The demonisation of North Korea transcends party lines, drawing on a host of subliminal racist and Orientalist imagery; no one is willing to accept that North Koreans may have valid reasons for not accepting the American definition of reality.

Congress and the American people knew nothing about this. Several of the planners were Japanophiles who had never challenged Japan’s colonial claims in Korea and now hoped to reconstruct a peaceable and amenable postwar Japan.

They worried that a Soviet occupation of Korea would thwart that goal and harm the postwar security of the Pacific.

it was no surprise that after a series of South Korean incursions into the North, full-scale civil war broke out on 25 June 1950.

South Korea’s stable democracy and vibrant economy from 1988 onwards seem to have overridden any need to acknowledge the previous forty years of history, during which the North could reasonably claim that its own autocracy was necessary to counter military rule in Seoul. It’s only in the present context that the North looks at best like a walking anachronism, at worst like a vicious tyranny.
war  korea  origin  disaster  nuclear  usa  explained  instapaper_favs 
september 2017 by aries1988
'You should consider our feelings': for Chinese students the state is an extension of family | Merriden Varrall

What is immediately notable is that while the student is not satisfied with his teacher’s position, he does not even attempt to deploy what he may consider to be relevant facts or rational counter-arguments to support his own case. He is not trying to draw on his understanding of history, or setting out what he might see to be the relevant details of the arrangements that currently influence the relationship between the mainland and the island.

This tendency to be easily offended taps into the narrative of “national humiliation” which many Chinese subscribe to – the idea that the outside world deliberately carved China up during the opium wars of the mid-1800s, leaving it weak and vulnerable. President Xi Jinping’s “China Dream” of rejuvenation is a direct response to this view.

Some Chinese people have explained to me that the tendency to take offence when an outsider comments on China in a way they perceive as a criticism stems from the idea the country and the family are conceptually conflated such that they are understood as deserving equal loyalty.

Officially, the status of Taiwan is a “core interest” for China. That is to say, most Chinese consider the idea that Taiwan is an indisputable part of China is sacrosanct. They learn it at school, and in almost everything they see and hear as they grow up. To them, Taiwan is a family member; that is why discussions about its sovereignty tend to be emotional. Many Chinese students find it difficult to articulate why they feel the way they do about Taiwan – particularly because they have not had much training in debating or critically arguing a point. And they find it impossible to fathom that foreigners cannot understand their position on Taiwan.
chinese  young  uk  student  gaijin  conflict  emotion  explained  education  taiwan  reflex  university  mentality  instapaper_favs 
september 2017 by aries1988
How to Disagree

Counterargument is contradiction plus reasoning and/or evidence. When aimed squarely at the original argument, it can be convincing. But unfortunately it's common for counterarguments to be aimed at something slightly different. More often than not, two people arguing passionately about something are actually arguing about two different things. Sometimes they even agree with one another, but are so caught up in their squabble they don't realize it.

There could be a legitimate reason for arguing against something slightly different from what the original author said: when you feel they missed the heart of the matter. But when you do that, you should say explicitly you're doing it.

To refute someone you probably have to quote them. You have to find a "smoking gun," a passage in whatever you disagree with that you feel is mistaken, and then explain why it's mistaken. If you can't find an actual quote to disagree with, you may be arguing with a straw man.

The most obvious advantage of classifying the forms of disagreement is that it will help people to evaluate what they read. In particular, it will help them to see through intellectually dishonest arguments. An eloquent speaker or writer can give the impression of vanquishing an opponent merely by using forceful words. In fact that is probably the defining quality of a demagogue. By giving names to the different forms of disagreement, we give critical readers a pin for popping such balloons.

If moving up the disagreement hierarchy makes people less mean, that will make most of them happier. Most people don't really enjoy being mean; they do it because they can't help it.
discussion  analysis  communication  argument  debate  howto  instapaper_favs 
september 2017 by aries1988
Travels in Siberia—II
INSECTS Eleven days from St. Petersburg, Sergei Lunev, Volodya Chumak, and I were well into the swampy flatlands of western Siberia. It was the summer of 2001,…
instapaper_favs  russia  siberia  travel  life  nature 
june 2017 by aries1988
Why are schools in China looking west for lessons in creativity?

Asia is the fastest-growing market in the global private tuition industry, which is forecast by Global Industry Analysts to be worth nearly $200bn by 2020. Students in Shanghai also spend almost 14 hours a week on homework, close to three times the average given by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Initially, the class was very shy: silent unless instructed to be otherwise, they were especially anxious when they had to perform individually.

one of the mainstays of drama classes in the west is the notion that mistakes are OK, as long as you are trying things out — an idea about as far away as you can get from Chinese educational principles.

One teacher was astonished to learn that in the UK studying history might involve assessing the rule of various monarchs; here, where history teaching means imparting facts, such evaluations are all but unimaginable, if not dangerously dissident.
comparison  chinese  education  uk  art  creativity  pisa  numbers  instapaper_favs 
february 2017 by aries1988
Sometimes the People Need to Call the Experts

The government about to take over in Washington has more billionaires than the Boston of Buckley’s time, but it seems willing to test the theory that academics can be dispensed with for the most part.

experts. They understand the importance of applying expertise to complex problems, and they realize many issues do not respond well to common-sense fixes. The citizenry usually cannot make good decisions, or for that matter expert appointments, when technocracy is required.

Very few citizens understand such basic concepts as how inflation rates are calculated, the differences between real and nominal rates of interest, or how the shadow banking system is supposed to work, much less tripartite repurchase agreements or the Basel capital standards. The complexities increase every year, and it is no accident that the last two Fed chairs have been drawn from the highest ranks of academic economists.

each stands a chance of being right in some particular circumstances, and the populist approach doesn’t have any way to differentiate. For that you have to call in someone who specializes in monetary economics, a field with many counterintuitive conclusions.

There is a time and place for populist sentiment, but an excess can be counterproductive on its own terms. As expertise is pushed out the door, the citizenry itself gets a bad name, precisely when we most need it to step up to the plate and demand some excellence.
intelligentsia  mao  government  usa  public  opinion  expert  choice  populism  instapaper_favs 
january 2017 by aries1988
Lunch with M.

Conceived in France at the beginning of the last century, the Michelin guide today has editions in twenty-three countries and is one of the best-selling restaurant guides in the world. It operates on the principle that only reviews by anonymous, professionally trained experts can be trusted for accurate assessments of a restaurant’s food and service.

Only twenty-six three-star restaurants exist in France, and only eighty-one in the world.

Since coming to America, Michelin has learned that its brand of Gallic opacity and unapologetic gastronomic élitism has been a tougher sell here than it was in Europe or Asia.

I asked Maxime how she chooses what to order.

You’re looking for something that really tests a number of quality ingredients and then something that’s a little complex, because you want to see what the kitchen can do, she said. We would never order something like a salad. We rarely order soup.

Automobiles were still a rarity on roads in France. The brothers had the idea that a guidebook to hotels in the French countryside would encourage people to climb into a car (equipped with Michelin tires) and hit the open road.

the star system for ranking food, with one star denoting a very good restaurant in its class; two stars excellent cooking, worth a detour; and three stars exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey.

The French chef Paul Bocuse, who helped create nouvelle cuisine in the nineteen-sixties, and whose restaurant near Lyons has held a three-star Michelin ranking for a record forty-five years, has said, Michelin is the only guide that counts.

criticisms often levelled against Michelin: that its approach to restaurants and food is too wedded to an ideal of formal, technical accuracy that is not applicable to restaurants outside France.

For a restaurant like Jean Georges, filling out the reports would take two to three hours. A Chinese restaurant might take an hour.
story  français  cuisine  guide  michelin  usa  american  comparison  secrecy  gastronomy  future  expert  instapaper_favs 
january 2017 by aries1988
Age of Anger by Pankaj Mishra — in the danger zone

mass murder and totalitarianism have been generally presented as aberrant departures from an essentially benign western liberal tradition that brought millions out of feudal servitude, emancipated women and gave dignity to the poor — and which has kept the European peace since 1945.

carnage and bedlam have in fact been the dominant modes of western modernisation, and that totalitarianism, far from being a distorted reaction to a benevolent Enlightenment tradition, in fact took to their conclusion the themes of that same Enlightenment project: scientific racism, jingoistic nationalism, imperialism and the violent struggle for existence as set down by Darwin.

the age of anger is dominated by a type who is utterly familiar from the west’s own history of modernisation — the superfluous and alienated young man of promise who takes it badly when he fails to grasp the plump fruits of modernity, and responds by resenting those who have somehow got ahead of him, or allegedly stood in his way, all the while falling back in defence of his own, indigenous culture.

answers are urgently required to the disarray of the world and its systems, for it is more than likely that today’s chasms between rich and poor, rooted and mobile, debtor and creditor, will grow rather than contract, and the alienated of our species will continue to seek newer, more spectacular ways of expressing their dissatisfaction. Pankaj Mishra shouldn’t stop thinking.
opinion  crisis  world  history  globalization  instapaper_favs 
january 2017 by aries1988
Killing Animals at the Zoo

The modern defense of zoos tends to refer to four achievements: education, conservation, scientific research, and the societal benefit of getting people out of the house. Much of this is often packed into a single claim, which may be true even if it is unsupported by good evidence: zoos are said to cause people to value wild animals more than they otherwise would, thereby improving the survival prospects of threatened species.

His manner, like that of Richard Dawkins, combines reserve and certainty in a way that can suggest adolescence: sometimes, when countering one of his critics, he reddens slightly, and half smiles.

An animal can be a city’s shared pet, or it can be a quasi-agricultural team member whose work is to be seen and to breed and, perhaps, to die young. The Copenhagen Zoo, more than most others, aims to include virtually every animal in the second category, and to avoid what Holst likes to call the Disneyfication of nature.

the Copenhagen Zoo adheres to a practice known as breed and cull. The case for this policy, which is followed by many other zoos in Europe, if with less gusto, is this: because contraception carries medical risks, and because animals can become infertile if they don’t breed, and because zoos must deprive animals of many natural behaviors, it’s important to allow them to mate and raise infants. Why take that away? Holst asked me.

The global giraffe population has declined by nearly forty per cent in the past thirty years

a strand of Danish animal exceptionalism. Danes aren’t unusually careless about animal welfare, but there’s a tradition of pragmatism—or, a critic could say, an insular and self-congratulatory moral laxity—about animal death.

a school of Danish thought, in the early twentieth century, that stressed a greater openness around sex and death and gross bodily functions. He noted that Denmark was the first country in the world to legalize pornography, in the late sixties.

I mean, when you’re dead you’re dead, Holst said to me at one point. And animals don’t have any expectations of what happens after death, or that they could have had a longer life.
zoo  children  education  debate  ethic  culture  dane  denmark  animal  life  instapaper_favs 
january 2017 by aries1988

potato  history  china  immigration  instapaper_favs 
december 2016 by aries1988
That’s the drawback but also the glory of creatures that were never domesticated. Nothing feels better than being singled out by something that at best should fear you, and at worst would like to eat you.
story  love  animal  debate  instapaper_favs 
december 2016 by aries1988
How domestication changes species, including the human | Aeon Essays

The overall picture is that domestication was a gradual affair, full of pitfalls and false starts. It took thousands of years of tinkering before agriculture as we know it came into being, and for much of that time, the border between wild and tame remained fluid. At the outset, this probably didn’t matter much. Early sea-faring pioneers who travelled from the Middle East to Cyprus brought wheat, barley and pigs, according to archaeological investigations of village sites dating back 10,000 years. But they also took with them species that weren’t domesticated, such as fallow deer and foxes. They didn’t distinguish between wild and tame. Instead of transporting just a few valuable species, they took with them a whole ecological niche. As Zeder writes: ‘They simply took with them the world that they knew.’

Brains of domestic pigs are 35 per cent smaller than those of boars, for example, while dogs’ brains are around 30 per cent smaller than those of wolves.

it was probably advantageous for domestic animals to have reduced sensory acuity. In the wild it paid to be skittish, while under human management, those individuals who could handle stress with equanimity did best.

Known as ‘lactase persistence’, a term that refers to the enzyme that breaks down lactose in milk, it’s one of the greatest evolutionary adaptations in any species of the past few thousand years. Tolerance developed in humans at least five times, once in Europe and four times in areas of sub-Saharan Africa.
human  biology  evolution  animal  culture  instapaper_favs 
december 2016 by aries1988
Murderous Games: Gladiatorial Contests in Ancient Rome | History Today
Mosaic at the National Archaeological Museum in Madrid showing a retiarius (net-fighter) named Kalendio fighting a secutor named Astyanax Rome was a warrior…
instapaper_favs  antiquity  spqr 
october 2016 by aries1988
What Chinese corner-cutting reveals about modernity | Aeon Essays
Why is China caught in this trap? In most industries here, vital feedback loops are severed. To understand how to make things, you have to use them. Ford’s workers in the US drove their own cars, and Western builders dwelt, or hoped to dwell, in homes like the ones they made. But the migrants lining factory belts in Guangdong make knick-knacks for US households thousands of miles away. The men and women who build China’s houses will never live in them.

If what you’re making represents a world utterly out of reach to you, why bother to do it well?

In the end, what perpetuates China’s carelessness most might be sheer ubiquity. Craft inspires. A writer can be stirred to the page by hearing a song or watching a car being repaired, a carpenter revved up by a poem or a motorbike. But the opposite also holds true; when you’re surrounded by the cheaply done, the half-assed and the ugly, when failure is unpunished and dedication unrewarded all around, it’s hard not to think that close enough is good enough. Chabuduo.
craftsmanship  chinese  today  china  society  symptom  crisis  trust  instapaper_favs 
october 2016 by aries1988
What makes clowns, vampires and severed hands creepy? – David Livingstone Smith | Aeon Essays

Like McAndrews and Koehnke, Jentsch held that Unheimlichkeit was the upshot of a kind of uncertainty leading to cognitive paralysis; but he did not think that paralysis was prompted by uncertainty about threat. Instead, he made the case that when we regard a thing as creepy it’s because we are uncertain about what kind of thing it is.

Monsters are, by definition, malevolent creatures that violate the natural order of things. Monsters are not merely terrifying. They are horrifying – because they are also creepy.

anthropologist Mary Douglas – in particular, her celebrated book Purity and Danger (1966) – is relevant here. Douglas points out that every culture possesses some conception of the natural order of things – a system of categories to make sense of the world. Any such system of meaning is inevitably confronted with anomalies that don’t fit into the scheme. When anomalies appear to transgress the natural order, they are branded as abominations.

pigs, which have cloven hoofs but do not chew their cud, do violence to the taxonomy. Like other interstitial beings, pigs are felt to be impure or unclean in a sense that goes well beyond merely physical dirtiness. They are, so to speak, metaphysically polluted.

human beings are inclined to think of every member of an animal species as sharing a deep feature or ‘essence’ that only members of that species possess; possessing the essence is what makes it the case that an animal is a member of its species.

It’s part of the notion of essences that if a thing possesses an essence, it possesses it completely.

It’s because we essentialise them that categorically ambiguous animals pull our minds in two directions at once, rather than causing us to take a middle path, and this cognitive paralysis is what generates the sensation of creepiness.
animal  human  research  psychology  instapaper_favs 
september 2016 by aries1988
Bringing up babel

If you don’t speak a person’s native language, there’s always a corner of their mind you can’t quite reach. But everyone who has learned a language in adulthood knows how hard it is, with the grammar books and the flash cards, the pronunciation problems and the awkward rhythm, never quite getting to fluency.

Parents normally use one of two strategies to make sure the minority language sticks: either one parent, one language, or one language at home, the other outside.

Bilinguals hit developmental milestones at the same rate as their monolingual peers. But they are prone to errors, and their total vocabulary is divided between two languages. So they usually lag behind slightly in the vocabulary of the schooling language. When these kids get to school, many teachers, with the support of doctors unfamiliar with the research, begin telling parents to speak only the majority language with the child – and many parents give in and do so.

the fear that language diversity would interfere with nation-building. A good American speaks English. By faulty syllogism, this meant that a second language made a bad American, so educational policy set about creating a nation of monoglots.

Bialystok has found that bilinguals seem to have better executive function – the ability to plan and carry out complicated tasks.

Roberto Filippi of Anglia Ruskin University has also found that bilingual children are better at tuning out distracting spoken language in the background.

Noam Chomsky theorised that human language is a single phenomenon, with relatively trivial surface differences between languages.

different languages may force people to pay attention to things they otherwise wouldn’t – such as different levels of formality, in languages that have both a formal and an informal word for you.

In one study, bilingual children did better on a task testing theory of mind. This is the knowledge, still developing in small children, that others have minds with different contents.

Many people report their first real understanding of grammar upon learning a second language.

A little can-do American optimism, a little Danish grit in the face of life’s harsh realities. If Henry acquires both of these, we will have done our job.
language  kid  parenting  choice  bilingual  brain  danish  baby  instapaper_favs 
september 2016 by aries1988
Utopian for Beginners

In his preface, Quijada wrote that his greater goal was to attempt the creation of what human beings, left to their own devices, would never create naturally, but rather only by conscious intellectual effort: an idealized language whose aim is the highest possible degree of logic, efficiency, detail, and accuracy in cognitive expression via spoken human language, while minimizing the ambiguity, vagueness, illogic, redundancy, polysemy (multiple meanings) and overall arbitrariness that is seemingly ubiquitous in natural human language.

What if, they wondered, you could create a universal written language that could be understood by anyone, a set of real characters, just as the creation of Arabic numerals had done for counting? This writing will be a kind of general algebra and calculus of reason, so that, instead of disputing, we can say that ‘we calculate,’ Leibniz wrote, in 1679.

seventeenth-century bishop and polymath, John Wilkins, who tried to actualize their lofty ideals. In his Essay Towards a Real Character, and a Philosophical Language, from 1668, Wilkins laid out a sprawling taxonomic tree that was intended to represent a rational classification of every concept, thing, and action in the universe. Each branch along the tree corresponded to a letter or a syllable, so that assembling a word was simply a matter of tracing a set of forking limbs until you’d arrived on a distant tendril representing the concept you wanted to express.

Wilkins’s taxonomic-classification scheme, which organized words by meaning rather than alphabetically, was not entirely without use: it was a predecessor of the first modern thesaurus.

the equally ambitious desire to unite the world through a single, easy-to-learn, politically neutral, auxiliary language

Among the Wakashan Indians of the Pacific Northwest, a grammatically correct sentence can’t be formed without providing what linguists refer to as evidentiality, inflecting the verb to indicate whether you are speaking from direct experience, inference, conjecture, or hearsay.

For Quijada, this was a revelation. He imagined that Ithkuil might be able to do what Lakoff and Johnson said natural languages could not: force its speakers to precisely identify what they mean to say. No hemming, no hawing, no hiding true meaning behind jargon and metaphor. By requiring speakers to carefully consider the meaning of their words, he hoped that his analytical language would force many of the subterranean quirks of human cognition to the surface, and free people from the bugs that infect their thinking.
language  story  linguist  russia  thinking  instapaper_favs 
august 2016 by aries1988
Why is English so weirdly different from other languages? – John McWhorter | Aeon Essays

almost all European languages belong to one family – Indo-European – and of all of them, English is the only one that doesn’t assign genders that way.

There is no other language, for example, that is close enough to English that we can get about half of what people are saying without training and the rest with only modest effort.

Crucially, their languages were quite unlike English. For one thing, the verb came first (came first the verb). But also, they had an odd construction with the verb do: they used it to form a question, to make a sentence negative, and even just as a kind of seasoning before any verb. Do you walk? I do not walk. I do walk.

Old English had the crazy genders we would expect of a good European language – but the Scandies didn’t bother with those, and so now we have none. Chalk up one of English’s weirdnesses. What’s more, the Vikings mastered only that one shred of a once-lovely conjugation system: hence the lonely third‑person singular –s, hanging on like a dead bug on a windshield. Here and in other ways, they smoothed out the hard stuff.

English got hit by a firehose spray of words from yet more languages

One result was triplets allowing us to express ideas with varying degrees of formality. Help is English, aid is French, assist is Latin. Or, kingly is English, royal is French, regal is Latin – note how one imagines posture improving with each level: kingly sounds almost mocking, regal is straight-backed like a throne, royal is somewhere in the middle, a worthy but fallible monarch.

Clip on a suffix to the word wonder, and you get wonderful. But – clip on an ending to the word modern and the ending pulls the accent ahead with it: MO-dern, but mo-DERN-ity, not MO-dern-ity. That doesn’t happen with WON-der and WON-der-ful, or CHEER-y and CHEER-i-ly. But it does happen with PER-sonal, person-AL-ity.

What’s the difference? It’s that -ful and -ly are Germanic endings, while -ity came in with French. French and Latin endings pull the accent closer – TEM-pest, tem-PEST-uous – while Germanic ones leave the accent alone. One never notices such a thing, but it’s one way this ‘simple’ language is actually not so.

What English does have on other tongues is that it is deeply peculiar in the structural sense. And it became peculiar because of the slings and arrows – as well as caprices – of outrageous history.
comparison  language  english  history  linguist  culture  scandinavia  origin  vocabulary  instapaper_favs 
august 2016 by aries1988
My Father, the YouTube Star

As a child who immigrated from Hong Kong, I was raised as an American during the day and Chinese after school. I brought home Western ideas that confounded my parents: sarcasm, irony, recalcitrance.

Our relationship reached a plateau of cordial indifference: We lived 2,000 miles apart and talked on the phone once a week about nothing important at all.

The videos are earnest and adorably cheese-ball, bearing the production tropes of ’80s VHS: There are spinning wipe effects, gratuitous zooms, saccharine background music.

Watching through nearly two dozen more videos, I realized every single dish had been served in my childhood home. Macau-style Portuguese coconut chicken. Pan-fried turnip cake. Sweet-and-sour pork. This time, the wave of nostalgia washed over me: I was 12 again, sitting at the kitchen table, my family’s mouths too preoccupied to squabble.

The only thing your mom had left was the memory of her taste. We’re afraid that if you wanted to eat your childhood dishes, and one day we’re both no longer around, you wouldn’t know how to cook it.
parents  distance  telephone  family  food  usa  gaijin  memory  record  video  instapaper_favs 
july 2016 by aries1988
What should you read this summer? A mega reading list
Supplement to the Italian Dictionary by Bruno Munari
“How could you do all of the following without uttering a word? Issue an invitation. Ask for the check. Say no. Convey happiness, sorrow or fury. Congratulate someone. Threaten them. Tell them to call you, to come closer, to step aside or that you love them. The brilliant mid-20th-century Italian designer and design theorist Bruno Munari showed how to express all of those things without speaking through hand gestures, facial expressions and attitudes of the body in his 1963 Supplement to the Italian Dictionary. His book is an inspired and engaging analysis not only of improvisational design but of the Italian psyche.” — Alice Rawsthorn (TED Talk: Pirates, nurses and other rebel designers).
list  TED  italia  language  book  read  instapaper_favs 
july 2016 by aries1988
Jason Bourne vs James Bond -
Matt Damon, the 45-year-old actor who plays him, summed up the difference between the two men in a recent interview. “Bond is a misogynist who likes swilling martinis and killing people and then telling jokes about it. Jason Bourne is a serial monogamist — he’s tortured by the things he’s done and feels empathy and compassion for other people. And Bourne would obviously win in a fight!” Obviously.
essay  movie  hero  masculine  comparison  uk  usa  spy  female  hollywood  british  american  manliness  story  world  instapaper_favs 
july 2016 by aries1988
Britain and Europe: the ties that bind —
The danger with stark dichotomies — and it is a danger with referendums — is that they flatten out nuances and make what is complex overly simple. Yes, in some ways, Britain has followed its own path. But each European country is exceptional in its own way. Switzerland is an extreme form of federalism. France is a highly centralised state, while Italy is more a collection of regions. Each country has laws, values and institutions that have developed over time and reflect its history. Yet ideas such as liberalism, Marxism and fascism have never respected borders.

History should not be asked to provide validation for political arguments in the present, or clear guidance for the future, but what it can do is caution us about taking too simple a view of the past. There are many competing strands in the European story but one thing is sure: Britain’s history cannot be disentangled from that wider one. Its inhabitants carry the genes of waves of migrants from the rest of Europe; Jutes, Danes, Vikings, Normans, Huguenots (who left behind names such as Farage), or Jews from Spain or eastern Europe.

In the late Middle Ages, British kings ruled over a swath of northern France and of Bordeaux. While they had lost most of it by the 15th century, they clung on to a small enclave around Calais until 1558. The then Queen, Mary Tudor, reportedly said the name would be engraved on her heart. Her successors never managed to gain it back but the British crown did not drop its claim to the throne of France until 1801.
history  uk  europe  Brexit  instapaper_favs 
july 2016 by aries1988
The American Promise in a Free Refill - The New Yorker

I returned to the booth with a fresh Fanta and delivered the news. It was the first time since arriving in Illinois that we smiled as a family. Refill was the first word my toddler son spoke in English, and when I heard him say it I felt some small new hope about our prospects in America.
gaijin  usa  culture  children  food  fun  instapaper_favs 
july 2016 by aries1988
The Great American Obstacle Course - The New Yorker
At the heart of Esquire’s “American Ninja Warrior” is the Great American Obstacle Course, and its obstacles, like those of American life, are meant to teach us…
challenge  sports  human  self  ninja  tv  american  instapaper_favs 
july 2016 by aries1988
The “Other Side” Is Not Dumb. — Medium
There’s a fun game I like to play in a group of trusted friends called “Controversial Opinion.” The rules are simple: Don’t talk about what was shared during Controversial Opinion afterward and you aren’t allowed to “argue” — only to ask questions about why that person feels that way. Opinions can range from “I think James Bond movies are overrated” to “I think Donald Trump would make a excellent president.”
debate  howto  instapaper_favs 
july 2016 by aries1988
Fish School Us on Wind Power - Issue 37: Currents - Nautilus
As an undergraduate, Dabiri modeled the undulating movements of jellyfish. A decade later, he was involved in the construction of a medusoid—a synthetic jellyfish made from elastic silicone and the heart cells of a rat—that swims just like a living jelly when a pulsating electric field is applied.5 During that time, Dabiri also became fascinated with another unorthodox combination: schooling fish and wind power.

Fish position themselves in a staggered formation in order to use the turbulence created by their neighbors to swim more efficiently.Courtesy of Robert Whittlesey

Dabiri and Whittlesey don’t know exactly why turbines packed into closely positioned pairs are the most efficient, but they have a couple of working theories.

allows the turbine pairs to be packed more closely together—only four diameters apart compared to a norm of 15 diameters for horizontal-axis wind turbines
cfd  wind  energy  design  science  scientist  aerodynamics  ocean  moi  wt  instapaper_favs 
july 2016 by aries1988
All Due Respect - The New Yorker
In Japan, it’s a crime to own a gun, another crime to own a bullet, and a third crime to pull the trigger: three charges before you even think about a target.

The name refers to an unlucky hand at cards—yakuza means eight-nine-three—and bluffing has always been part of the image. Many gangsters are Korean-Japanese or members of other minority groups that traditionally have been scorned. These outsiders proved to be nimble after Japan’s defeat in the Second World War, an era that is explored in Tokyo Underworld, by Robert Whiting. During this period, organized-crime groups established black markets where citizens could acquire necessities, and they were skilled at dealing with the occupying Americans. As Japan rebuilt, the yakuza got involved in real estate and in public-works projects.

For the most part, the yakuza eschewed violence against civilians, because the image of criminality was effective enough in an orderly society.

Adelstein says that the key to his work is the Japanese concept of giri, or reciprocity. His typical routine involves exchanging small favors with contacts, collecting bits of information that can be leveraged elsewhere.
reportage  portrait  crime  japan  american  story  mafia  instapaper_favs 
june 2016 by aries1988
Why We Like What We Like
In short, tastes are overdetermined, the upshot of many influences, and underdetermined, susceptible to change at, for example, the sight of the word toasted. Some combination of inputs including, but not limited to, reasons, hunches, bodily needs, past experiences, unconscious desires, social pressures, mystic chords of memory, and price point is behind every preference; they are weighted differently in almost every case; and they are highly malleable.

Still, Heffernan believes that we are living through a revolution. The Internet is the great masterpiece of civilization, she says. As an idea it rivals monotheism. And: If it’s ever fair to say that anything has ‘changed everything,’ it’s fair to say so about the Internet. Analog is dead. To understand the new regime, she argues, we need a new aesthetics, a new hierarchy of values. This is what she proposes to provide.

It might be the sensation that sites like those are incomprehensibly large, that we can never exhaust them. Ultimate unreadability is part of the aura of the Internet itself, the postmodern sublime, to use a term that Heffernan avoids. I can’t see all the books in a library at the same time, but I can go outside and look at the building. The Internet is a building that you can never look at.

Vanderbilt is able to identify two factors that have repeatedly been shown to have a significant influence on taste. One is social consensus; the other is familiarity. We get attracted to things that we see other people are attracted to, and we like things more the longer we like them.
taste  human  book  ad  internet  aesthetics  art  advertising  instapaper_favs 
june 2016 by aries1988
Alternative guide to Euro 2016 -
The French took a long time to fall en masse for football. In other countries, professional football started out as the sport of the urban working classes. But most of France never became very industrialised, and so the French working class stayed relatively small. The Parisian elite long had contempt for the sport, while in rural France football teams rarely became a strong source of local communal identity. Only in France’s few traditionally proletarian towns — notably Lens, Marseille and Saint-Etienne — did workers, uprooted from their ancestral villages, find belonging by supporting the local football team, much as they did in Manchester or Milan or the German Ruhr region.

The “black, blanc, beur” (black, white, son of Arab) team was a picture of a unified, multicultural nation. It was probably France’s happiest communal moment since Liberation in 1944, with the difference being that in 1998 all French people were on the same side.

French complaints about les Bleus provide a way for the nation to debate immigration. Whereas the French rugby team incarnate rural France, with many white players from the south-west, the football team are drawn more from non-white suburbs of big cities. Many of today’s players grew up in poor immigrant families (often Muslim), then emigrated as teenagers to grow rich playing for foreign clubs. In short, they have never lived in the French mainstream.

The French hope is that this summer will be a rerun of 1998. Thuram says: “I think that people only ask for one thing: to love the French team. Football has the power to create a certain communion of emotions. You can go up to another person you don’t even know and share that joy. For me, that’s what football is above all.” And it’s just what France now needs.
france  2016  football  race  city  sports  analysis  instapaper_favs 
june 2016 by aries1988
The long march from China to the Ivies | 1843
The nearly 400 students in Monica’s international wing each pay an annual tuition of roughly $15,000 per year – giving the public school a multi-million-dollar revenue stream.

After sifting through the options, Monica and Christina both gravitated to Elite Scholars of China (ESC), a boutique consultancy based in Beijing. Run by Tomer Rothschild and Stacy Palestrant, an expatriate American couple, the agency guides a small group of top students (100 this year) through the application process. Most students pay more than $15,000,

The obsession among top colleges with extra-curriculars has created a strange ritual in America. In the summer preceding application, students devise heart-warming experiences that will demonstrate how they embody the ideals of empathy, leadership or resilience: they volunteer at soup kitchens for homeless people, they start a sports league for disadvantaged youths, or – if their families are wealthy – they fly off to Haiti, Guatemala or Ghana to build houses for the poor.

The essay process can be painful, but it’s pushed me out of my comfort zone and forced me to examine my life, she says. The students who get agents to do everything may get into good universities, but they miss a very precious journey.
china  education  college  usa  concours  study  abroad  youth  comparison  service  instapaper_favs 
may 2016 by aries1988
Lost at Sea on the Brink of the Second World War - The New Yorker
When Berta Doff met Ben Cohn, in 1936, she was twenty-one years old, tall and confident, with the diction of an elocution instructor, which in fact she was.…
instapaper_favs  victim  war  ww2  sea  children  ancestor 
may 2016 by aries1988
正午 | 丁香诊所的五个故事 - 中国数字时代







doctor  hospital  private  service  instapaper_favs 
may 2016 by aries1988
cancer  death  family  story  instapaper_favs 
may 2016 by aries1988
What New York can learn from London -
British people are less earnest about religion than many Americans. But, more importantly, in such a diverse city-state as modern London, identities are similarly fluid.

Londoners live in a world where cultural strands are constantly blended in surprising ways. You can see that in day-to-day matters such as cuisine — this is a country where curry became a national dish long ago; today Londoners queue for ramen, bao buns and barbecue. But what is truly striking in the London city-state is the high proportion of mixed-race families.

But when my family moved to New York a few years ago, we found ourselves in a world where identities tend to sit in boxes rather than on spectrums. Yes, America is an amazing melting pot and New York an incredibly diverse city. Yet President Barack Obama is hailed as the first black president, even though he is actually mixed, and universities run special entrance programmes for minorities. On US television, romantic dramas usually match couples along ethnic lines, like a modern Noah’s ark. And when bureaucratic forms require you to identify your ethnic origins, there is sometimes a mixed box on the list, but often there is not.

The fact that Khan has been elected mayor makes me very proud of my London origins — not because he is a Muslim, but because most voters do not particularly care that he is.
race  comparison  multiculturalism  city  uk  usa  election  metropolis  instapaper_favs 
may 2016 by aries1988
Jeremy Paxman on Europe’s last wilderness -
Romania may not be the envy of the European Union for many things, but in one it should be: the mountains of Carpathia house the last great wilderness of this prosperous, crowded continent.

Walk through the arboreal gloaming — where the air is pungent, the ground is strewn with fallen branches or thick with dried needles and leaves, and feldspar pebbles glitter silver in the streams — and you feel reconnected with some primeval sense of how the continent was before the Habsburgs and Napoleon, before even Greece and Rome.

While forests are embedded deep in the Romanians’ sense of themselves, the Carpathian Mountains marked the boundary between Transylvania and Wallachia, which held very different concepts of ownership in the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires. It took years but, by the early 21st century, restitution was under way.

The history of the European continent is one of relentless exploitation of the land: civilisations have risen and fallen, leaving their mark in how they tamed the world. In the elegant explanation of the historian Sir Keith Thomas, uncultivated land meant uncultivated men.

what struck a chord with almost everyone was his talk of the tonic of wildness. In 1864, President Lincoln signed the first order creating a protected wilderness, in Yosemite, California. The patron saint of the American conservation movement, the Scots-American John Muir, wrote: Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilised people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity.

This is the last place in Europe where all wildlife and forest components are present, says Promberger. Walking through these forests makes you understand your place in nature and it has become my purpose in life to safeguard them from the greedy timber mafia.

The Fundatia Conservation Carpathia, founded by Barbara and Christoph, hopes for more philanthropists, nursing an ambition to create in Romania a Yellowstone or Serengeti for Europe, in the words of a British supporter, Paul Lister. One day, they dream, the country might become the Costa Rica of Europe.
forest  nature  europe  communism  business  east-europe  timeless  instapaper_favs 
may 2016 by aries1988
The French Culture Wars Continue - The New Yorker
We are in a society that is so secularized that it no longer understands the reality of religiosity itself, Roy has said. It’s precisely there that we must make an effort, to normalize the Muslim reality as a religious reality and integrate it into the French cultural space.
debate  society  religion  muslim  islam  female  intelligentsia  culture  integration  conflict  instapaper_favs 
may 2016 by aries1988
How to change the face of Europe -
‘Europe today faces a problem: it lacks a clear creation myth with unifying heroes’
europe  crisis  opinion  currency  people  nation  globalization  leader  myth  human  concept  instapaper_favs 
may 2016 by aries1988
Inside America’s Infrastructure Problem
From the crumbling bridges of California to the overflowing sewage drains of Houston and the rusting railroad tracks in the Northeast Corridor, decaying infrastructure is all around us, and the consequences are so familiar that we barely notice them—like urban traffic congestion, slow-moving trains, and flights that are often disrupted, thanks to an outdated air-traffic-control system.

there are political reasons that maintenance gets scanted. It’s handled mainly by state and local communities, which, because many of them can’t run fiscal deficits, operate under budgetary pressures. Term limits mean that a politician who cuts maintenance spending may not be around when things go wrong. There’s also what Erie calls the edifice complex: what politician doesn’t like opening something new and having a nice press op at the ribbon-cutting? But no one ever writes articles saying, Region’s highways are still about as good as they were last year.

infrastructure policy has become a matter of lurching from crisis to crisis, solving problems after the fact rather than preventing them from happening.
usa  infrastructure  today  opinion  politics  government  money  explained  transport  instapaper_favs 
may 2016 by aries1988
The Comfort Principle: Spend Money Where You Spend Your Time
Say the typical mediocre Office Depot chair costs $100, and a really good chair—a spine-conforming, back-supporting, muscle-relaxing specimen—costs $800. If you spread your $700 over the course of 2600 hours, that comes out to about 25 cents an hour. Would you pay a quarter an hour to be comfortable? My guess is yes. The numbers look even better when you realize you won't switch chairs every year. Even at five years—which is short for a quality chair—you're down to 5 cents per hour.
howto  buy  guide  money  choice  instapaper_favs 
may 2016 by aries1988
南方周末 - 【热点】“谁的孩子上北大”已经没那么重要了
instapaper_favs  education  society  class  inequality 
april 2016 by aries1988
Why Self Care Is So Important
You’re overwhelmed at work. You have a ton of projects piling up at home, and your calendar is packed with overdue tasks. To make room for all of this stuff,…
self  instapaper_favs  health  howto  moi 
april 2016 by aries1988
Mapping the Acoustics of Ancient Spaces - The Atlantic
What started as a quest to map the sophisticated acoustics of ancient churches could end up preserving and replicating forgotten noises from across the planet.
acoustic  archaeology  artefact  instapaper_favs 
april 2016 by aries1988
The North Peak
Once one of Taoism’s holiest mountains, Mount Heng in Shanxi Province was a denuded wreck, seeming to consist of nothing but broken slate. I grumbled epithets as I climbed the steep trail wondering why I had bothered to come.
taoist  story  china  mountain  religion  hermit  instapaper_favs 
april 2016 by aries1988
Studio City - The New Yorker
Hengdian’s lot is eight thousand acres and includes a replica of the Forbidden City.
tv  entertainment  story  china  city  instapaper_favs  reportage  movie  industry  actor 
april 2016 by aries1988
Class Consciousness - The New Yorker
One day, an Australian couple came to the restaurant. The man, thin and ascetic, with piercing eyes, started talking about an idealistic education system that had been introduced in Central Europe in the early twentieth century. Emphasizing the need to help children develop as individuals, it was based on ideas of reincarnation, free will, and individuality. After four days, the couple left, encouraging Harry and Li to stay in touch.

Steiner developed his educational philosophy in 1919, when the owner of the Waldorf-Astoria cigarette factory, in Stuttgart, asked him to set up a school for the employees’ children. Germany was in turmoil—a revolution followed the end of the First World War—and the new school was intended as a corrective to the harsh discipline of traditional schools. Steiner believed that children should be slowly guided out of what he termed “the etheric world,” where they existed prior to birth, and that education should engage first the hands, then the heart, then the brain. Waldorf-educated children play a lot when they’re young, and often don’t learn to read until second or third grade. After nearly a decade of studying Steiner’s system, Harry and Li returned to Chengdu, to start China’s first Waldorf school.
china  education  future  children  story  chinese  family  choice  kid  theory  debate  pioneer  moi  instapaper_favs 
april 2016 by aries1988
Letter of Recommendation: Looking Out the Window
A real window is something that frames our fundamental lack of control.
instapaper_favs  street  quartier 
april 2016 by aries1988
The New Europeans
Graf von Rechberg is an interesting man. He invited asylum seekers into his home for dinner, but he held an almost apocalyptic view of their presence in Germany. Many of them, he predicted, would come to live in Muslim-majority ghettos like those in Paris, where they don’t do anything, don’t work and then watch some stupid Internet films, and then some will carry out terrorist attacks, he said. I can’t change that. I can only accept it, and that will be our future.
reportage  deutschland  people  immigration  immigrant  story  bayern  germany  instapaper_favs 
april 2016 by aries1988
The Reckoning
She played dead as the sound of gunshots reverberated around her, echoing off the red tile roofs and limestone walls. Dozens of students had run home to retrieve their deer rifles, and the echo of return fire rang out as they came back to take aim at the gunman.
killing  university  life  change  story  love  history  victim  trauma  usa  religion  guns  crime  reportage  psychology  texas  instapaper_favs 
april 2016 by aries1988
10 years on Twitter -
Around lunchtime on March 21 2006, a 29-year-old software developer called Jack Dorsey tapped out a simple message. He only had 140 characters in which to do so…
twitter  instapaper_favs  story  social-network  origin 
march 2016 by aries1988
Game of Thrones - The New Yorker
New first-class seating units can cost more than half a million dollars each. Credit Illustration by Harry Campbell Seven years ago, I flew business class on…
flight  travel  comfort  instapaper_favs  airline  business  experience 
february 2016 by aries1988
The Ford Foundation’s Quest to Fix the World
Walker at the Ford headquarters. “In the sixties, when you came to see the president,” he says, “it was meant to be intimidating.” Credit Photograph by Andrew…
project  philanthropy  inequality  world  instapaper_favs  leader 
january 2016 by aries1988
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