Tuesday, 31 March 2015

A miscellany of links

1. A Brief History of People Stealing Entire Houses. ""Four Italians—three men and a woman—were arrested yesterday," begins one such story, from 1911, about people who slowly carried away an entire three-story frame house "said to be owned by a Polish priest who lives in Brooklyn.""

2. It’s time to stop telling fat people to become thin. "... since 2002, study after study has turned up what researchers call the “obesity paradox”: Obese patients with heart disease, heart failure, diabetes, kidney disease, pneumonia, and many other chronic diseases fare better and live longer than those of normal weight."

3. Fear not the rootless cosmopolitan! "We show that cosmopolitanism and localism are not mutually exclusive and that members of the German elite feel even more attached to their nation than ordinary Germans".

4. New Zealand is a nice place. But the piece was interesting about the UK too: "The UK is a media-industry cluster, just in the way that New Zealand is an agriculture-industry cluster, and a big part of that in both cases is that knowledge of the industry isn’t confined to the people who are in it; it’s part of the everyday conversation. Alfred Marshall noticed this characteristic of industry clusters – “The mysteries of the trade become no mysteries; but are as it were in the air, and children learn many of them unconsciously. Good work is rightly appreciated, inventions and improvements in machinery, in processes and the general organization of the business have their merits promptly discussed”. The biggest asset of the British and Irish media industries is their educated consumer base, and that’s the thing that’s hardest to transplant somewhere else. I think this is the big benefit of the profusion of media-studies courses in British education – it’s not so much that all their graduates are going on to jobs in the media, it’s more that they will always be educated and critical consumers."

5. Philology: "when a celebrated German Assyriologist of my acquaintance (who shall remain nameless) got married, he rose abruptly from the wedding banquet to announce “Jetzt zur Arbeit!” (“Now to work!”) and headed for the door, a volume of cuneiform texts tucked under one arm; only the outraged intervention of his new mother-in-law kept him from leaving."

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