Friday, 20 March 2015

Some links you might like

1. Flowers made out of bullets. Only in America, perhaps, but pretty clever.

2. Why does terrorism (sometimes) work? "During the modern era, ... hundreds of billions of euros, hundreds of thousands of soldiers, and hundreds of ships, aeroplanes and nuclear missiles passes from one group of politicians to another without a single shot being fired. People have quickly got used to this, and consider it their natural right. Consequently, even sporadic acts of political violence that kill a few dozen people are seen as a deadly threat to the legitimacy and even survival of the state. A small coin in a big empty jar can make a lot of noise." Terrorism as theatre.

3. "At the opening ceremony in 1981, Banda arrived by helicopter in a three-piece Savile Row suit and Homburg hat. He knelt to drink from a brackish pool remembered from his childhood and then mounted a podium to address the expectant crowds. While he spoke in English, his strongman JZU Tembo translated into Chichewa. And as he proceeded to declaim page after page of Caesar’s De Bello Gallico in Latin, Tembo remained unfazed: mwamva zimene amene Kamuzu! “You heard what Kamuzu said!” The crowds roared, an honor guard stood to attention, and throngs of dancing girls wailed and cavorted in adulation." The school in Malawi, modeled on Eton, that consumed a third of the country’s education budget.

4. This, with the great title of "Out of My Mouth Comes Unimpeachable Manly Truth", is one man's account of spending a week in the Four Seasons in New York eating luxury foodstuffs (that somehow seems the right phrase) and watching nothing but Russian television. One reads about how newspapers are suffering and yet from time to time one finds signs that there might still be some fat in their budgets for expenses.

5. "Three days before Britain declared war, on September 3, 1939, Janet Vaughan received a telegram from the Medical Research Council. It read, “Start bleeding.”" That's from Rose George on Dame Janet Vaughan, who was instrumental in setting up proper blood donation services in England, and used Virginia Woolf’s mincer for medical purposes.

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