Wednesday, 14 September 2016

A handful of links

No connecting theme, but all recommended.

1. Don't believe the good economic news about Brexit, says Tyler Cowen. It might end up costing £5,625 per person (in total wealth, not annual income). Value for money, says Aaron Banks. Or, to put it another way, what would you say the chance that your children would be doing their EU National Service and ordered by (say) an Italian general to fight a border war against Russia in the Ukraine (a) was before Brexit and (b) is now. And how much would you pay to avoid that possibility? (Of course, your children, being good Europeans, will volunteer anyway.)

2. On the topic of Russia, here is Peter Hitchens (more interesting than you might think). "My country boasts that it has not been invaded for one thousand years. The U.S. has not really been invaded at all, unless you count Britain’s 1814 rampage through Washington, DC (almost exactly two years after Napoleon Bonaparte had made a far more destructive and less provoked attack upon Moscow). But Russia is invaded all the time—by the Tatars, the Poles, the Lithuanians, the Swedes, the French, us British, the Germans, the Japanese, the Germans again: They keep coming. Nor are these invasions remote history. On the main airport road into Moscow, at Khimki, stands a row of steel dragon-teeth anti-tank barriers, commemorating the arrival there, before Christmas 1941, of Hitler’s armies."

3. The Bank of America thinks there is a 20-50% chance that we are living inside the Matrix, although "The investment implications remain unclear" (Hilary Putnam had something to say about that, as I recall ...). You don't get to vote for Matrexit, by the way.

4. "As for aromatic plants, one speaks of the narcissus of Jurjān, 
the roses of Jūr, the water lilies of al-Sīrawān, the gillyflowers of 
Baghdad, the saffron of Qom, and the sweet basil of Samarqand." London is having a hot spell at the moment and, while walking the streets after sunset in warm darkness, I feel I will come across the sweet basil of Samarqand round every next corner. I never do.

5. Yuja Wang. (Trigger warning - encores, not the main performance.)

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