A World Without Clouds. A state-of-the-art supercomputer simulation indicates that a feedback loop between global warming and cloud loss can push Earth’s climate past a disastrous tipping point in as little as a century. As I've written before, I believe that the do-nothing scenario is too optimistic.
Interesting interview with Yngve Slyngstad, the CEO of Norway's sovereign wealth fund. He presides over USD 1,000 billion and for that reason alone is worth listening to. As Nassim Taleb would say he has skin in the game. Main take away: ignore the noise and focus on the long term. Technology is the driver of economic growth.
Why zebras have stripes. Zebra stripes confuse biting flies, causing them to abort their landings. But do they have white or black stripes?
The universal decay of collective memory and attention. Using data on the citation of academic articles and patents, and on the online attention received by songs, movies and biographies, the authors describe the temporal decay of the attention received by cultural products. They show that, once the temporal dimension of the decay is isolated, the attention received by cultural products decays following a universal biexponential function.
The Star of the Silken Screen. David Salle on Any Warhol.
Gut bacteria linked to mental well-being and depression. "A study of two large groups of Europeans has found that several species of gut bacteria are missing in people with depression. The researchers can't say whether the absence is a cause or an effect of the illness, but they showed that many gut bacteria could make substances that affect nerve cell function, and maybe mood."
It's over. The mainlandization of Hong Kong.
The new needle skyscrapers in Manhattan. I still don't understand why anyone would want to live on the 70th or 80th floor.
The biological basis of mental illness. Adrian Woolfson reviews Good Reasons for Bad Feelings: Insights From the Frontier of Evolutionary Psychiatry by Randolph M. Nesse, a study on the role of evolution in conditions such as depression and anxiety. Many years ago I read an intriguing article by Randolph Nesse, Why We Get Sick, in which he expounds his theory of “Darwinian medicine”. I'm curious to read this follow-up.
Human evolution’s ties to tectonics. Review of Origins: How The Earth Made Us by Lewis Dartnell. Added to my pile.
Missing the Dark Satanic Mills. Review of Behemoth: A History of the Factory and the Making of the Modern World by Joshua B. Freeman. I've added it to my wish list.
Michael Freeden on the contemporary role of political theory. With populist politicians seemingly in the ascendant across the world, how have political theorists responded – and what lessons should they learn? Raffaella Baritono asks Michael Freeden, one of the pre-eminent theorists of liberalism, for his take on the current crisis not just of politics, but of political theory.
An extract from Adam Tooze’s book Crashed.
Sleep science. In the era of screens sleep is crucial.
Harold Brodkey: Yesterday’s Genius. I enjoyed some of the stories in Stories In an Almost Classical Mode so I laboured through The Runaway Soul after picking up a copy at a discount a year or so after it was published. I can't recall whether I actually finished it or put it aside and planned to finish it some time. It reminds me that authors and artists in general who are heralded during their life can vanish into oblivion after their death.