3 min read

You Should Read - Aug 12

You Should Read - Aug 12

Just One Thing

As I mentioned last week, I finally got around to watching Arrival, which was adapted from Story of Your Life, a short story by Ted Chiang. Here's an interesting lecture Chiang gave at MIT about the fundamental differences between science and magic, between science fiction and fantasy.

Collected Ephemera

The New Yorker Inside the War Between Trump and His Generals: How Mark Milley and others in the Pentagon handled the national-security threat posed by their own Commander-in-Chief.
This was getting a lot of traction this week; I saw it shared in multiple places. The biggest “shocker” is supposedly Milley’s unsent resignation letter, which I found oddly unartful for someone who is presented as a cerebral soldier. The whole article very much feels like a reputation rehabilitation for Milley and other generals. Were they really fighting behind the scenes or just keeping their heads down? The lack of detail about their action or inaction on Jan 6th is particularly suspect.

The Book Haven Zbigniew Herbert, Vasily Grossman, and “a small kernel of human kindness”
I ran across the following Vasily Grossman quote through Adam Weinstein on Twitter.

My faith has been tempered in Hell. My faith has emerged from the flames of the crematoria, from the concrete of the gas chamber. I have seen that it is not man who is impotent in the struggle against evil, but the power of evil that is impotent in the struggle against man... Human history is not the battle of good struggling to overcome evil. It is a battle fought by a great evil struggling to crush a small kernel of human kindness. But if what is human in human beings has not been destroyed even now, then evil will never conquer.

Incredible. I had never heard of Vasily Grossman. He was a Ukrainian Jew who served as a Red Army journalist during World War II and later wrote novels based on his wartime experiences, novels that were heavily censored during his lifetime.

PRINT When Pulps Were Tops Steven Heller reviews Pulp Power: The Shadow, Doc Savage, and the Art of the Street & Smith Universe
Simply fantastic cover art. It seems to me that The Shadow would be rich material for a streaming series, in the vein of Boardwalk Empire or Peaky Blinders.

Ars Technica Man Who Built ISP Instead of Paying Comcast $50K Expands to Hundreds of Homes
Broadband in the US generally lags the rest of the world in both speed and cost, but the lack of rural broadband takes those deficiencies to another level. I've been surprised to discover some of the people I play World of Tanks with have no wired broadband access (or, at least, not at an affordable price), so are using 5G mobile hotspots. And, at least one guy is using Starlink. Related: FCC Rejects Starlink’s Bid for Rural Internet Subsidies Due to Its $600 Satellite Dish

Fast Company How 3 Little Letters Can Make a Big Difference in How We Think About Brands: Ohio State won a trademark war over ‘the’, but the three-letter word actually shapes how we perceive other brands, too.

New York Times The Boy Bosses of Silicon Valley Are on Their Way Out: They rode their unicorns to fame and fortune. In a rocky market, it got a little less fun.
I loathe linking to the Times, but my

WBUR Cognoscenti No Time To Be Nice: Now Is Not The Moment To Remain Silent

Nice people made the best Nazis.

This essay by Naomi Schulman was originally published in November 2016. I find myself looking it up at least once a month.

Rolling Stone Guy Fieri Can’t Stop Rocking Out at Rage Against the Machine Shows: The esteemed “Mayor of Flavortown” has been to at least three shows in a row on the band’s long-awaited reunion tour

Perhaps I've judged Guy Fieri too hastily.