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Chris Blattman on Cash, Poverty, and Development


Russ Roberts over at EconTalk interviews Chris Blattman: Russ: So, you have been writing a series of articles and done quite a bit of research, and I hope we get into much of that.

China’s Bad Dream


Gene Frieda in Project Syndicate: China’s debt/GDP ratio, reaching 250% this month, remains significantly lower than that of most developed economies.

Should Buying Sex Be Illegal?


Michelle Goldberg in The Nation: [D]efining “trafficking” can be politically fraught; there is a gray area between absolute exploitation and total free agency.

Why writers have spent centuries attacking Shakepeare


Adam Kirsch in The New Republic: Does Shakespeare suck? Ira Glass, the host of the popular upper-middlebrow radio show “This American Life,” apparently thinks so; he tweeted as much after suffering through a performance of King Lear in Central Park.

Octopus Cares For Her Eggs For 53 Months, Then Dies


Ed Yong in Not Exactly Rocket Science: In April of 2007, Bruce Robison sent a submersible into a huge underwater canyon in California’s Monterey Bay.

The life and strife of Pakistan's only Nobel Laureate

The life and strife of Pakistan's only Nobel... by dawn-news

Christopher Williams’s sophisticated pictures


Peter Schjeldhal at The New Yorker: Working with the MOMA curator Roxana Marcoci, Williams shows scores of photographs, mostly of odd objects (glass flowers, stacks of chocolate bars, cameras that have been cut in half to reveal their anatomy) and of subjects that suggest glossy-magazine advertisements (fashion models, fancy photographic gear) but often have something a bit off about them—such as a model seen from a strange angle.

hal foster goes to The Whitney


Hal Foster at the London Review of Books: This poisoned apple, this witchy charm, is what Koons offers in his best work, and when the ambiguity isn’t there, the performance falls flat.

The death of a fly is utterly insignificant – or it’s a catastrophe


Stephen Cave at Aeon Magazine: There is an equal and opposite alternative to veganism’s insistence on the momentousness of each death, and its ensuing death-denial.

The many shades of rape cases in Delhi


Rukmini Shrinivasan in The Hindu: A six-month long investigation by The Hindu has revealed that the nature of reported sexual assault in Delhi is far more complex than earlier imagined.

This is your brain on racism: Inside the mind of modern bigotry


Stephan Eric Bonner in Salon: Karl Marx once quipped that “violence is the midwife of every old society pregnant with a new one.” Just as surely, however, prejudice is the midwife of violence.

The social origins of intelligence in the brain


From KurzweilAI: By studying the injuries and aptitudes of Vietnam War veterans who suffered penetrating head wounds during the war, researchers have found that brain regions that contribute to optimal social functioning are also vital to general intelligence and emotional intelligence.

Friday Poem

Sex After being told, "Oh, what would you know about it anyway."  How the room rained down  a mother's only blistering ash, her words lifting then settling clear and hot, then the branding of me complete.  After she proclaimed to the rest of the family  that whatever it is I do with another woman could never even-steven to what she does with daddy.  As if my way to human pleasure too inefficient to be called the same.  As if we who do with a woman should find a new name for the doing.  She, believing that my body coming together with another woman's a fake freak of nature, not sex or love and could never be.

Refugee Crisis: The Stunning Collapse of Syria’s Safe Spaces


Farrah Hassen in Foreign Policy in Focus (Photo: UNHCR Photo Unit / Flickr): While filming a documentary in Syria in the summer of 2003, I visited the Jaramana refugee camp near Damascus.

the great Bohumil Hrabal


Zuzana Slobodová at The Times Literary Supplement: Both books reflect Hrabal’s fascination with language, and it is here that his main achievement lies.

just read hrabal


John Yargo at The Millions: Bohumil Hrabal was born near the beginning of World War I in Brno, in the Austro-Hungarian empire.

Geoff Dyer at a conference on . . . Geoff Dyer


Philip Maughan at The New Statesman: I couldn’t help but smile on a recent, drizzly afternoon when an earnest, hyper-intelligent historian from Queen Mary, University of London, concluded a lecture entitled “What Colour Was the 1990s?

bananas and foreign policy


From delanceyplace.com: In the early 20th century, with American industry just beginning to expand overseas and Latin America still just emerging from colonial shackles, bananas became one of America's first powerhouse industries: "[Bananas] are the world's largest fruit crop and the fourth-largest product grown overall after wheat, rice, and corn.

Thursday Poem

Van Gogh Well, he lived among us and hated winters.  He moved to Arles where summer and blue jays obliged him to cut off his ear.  Oh, they all said it was a whore but Rachel was innocent.

Cancer biomarkers: Written in blood


Ed Yong in Nature: In 2012, Charles Swanton was forced to confront one of cancer's dirtiest tricks. When he and his team at the Cancer Research UK London Research Institute sequenced DNA from a handful of kidney tumours, they expected to find a lot of different mutations, but the breadth of genetic diversity within even a single tumour shocked them.


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