I have only lately determined to remember some of my early adventures. Till now I have always avoided them, even with a certain uneasiness. Now, when I am not only recalling them, but have actually…
LENGTH: 21 minutes (5308 words)
In early October 2011, Shannon Sherman, a pregnant nurse who was two weeks from her due date, met Elizabeth Warren, though she didn’t know it at the time. All Sherman knew was that a friendly…
LENGTH: 22 minutes (5714 words)
As chosen by Brendan I. Koerner A selection of all-time favourite articles from Wired contributing editor, former Slate and New York Times columnist, and the author of 2 excellent books, Brendan…
LENGTH: 1 minutes (416 words)
The search for an amateur philosopher In the July/August 2001 issue of the late, great magazine Lingua Franca, James Ryerson published an enthralling article about an anonymous benefactor who was…
Instead of the surge of rebounding growth which historically accompanies successful exit from a recession, we have the UK’s disappointing 0.2 per cent growth, the US’s anaemic 0.3 per cent and the glum eurozone average figure of 0.2 per cent. That number includes the surprising and alarming German 0.1 per cent, the desperately poor French 0 per cent and then, wait for it, the agreeably frisky Belgian 0.7 per cent. Why is that, if you’ve been following the story, laugh-aloud funny? Because Belgium doesn’t have a government. Thanks to political stalemate in Brussels, it hasn’t had one for 15 months. No government means none of the stuff all the other governments are doing: no cuts and no ‘austerity’ packages. In the absence of anyone with a mandate to slash and burn, Belgian public sector spending is puttering along much as it always was; hence the continuing growth of their economy. It turns out that from the economic point of view, in the current crisis, no government is better than any government – any existing government.
PUBLISHED: Sept. 1, 2011
LENGTH: 12 minutes (3055 words)
That new Brazilian fertility rate is below the level at which a population replaces itself. It is lower than the two-children-per-woman fertility rate in the United States. In the largest nation in Latin America—a 191-million-person country where the Roman Catholic Church dominates, abortion is illegal (except in rare cases), and no official government policy has ever promoted birth control—family size has dropped so sharply and so insistently over the past five decades that the fertility rate graph looks like a playground slide. And it's not simply wealthy and professional women who have stopped bearing multiple children in Brazil. There's a common perception that the countryside and favelas, as Brazilians call urban slums, are still crowded with women having one baby after another—but it isn't true.
PUBLISHED: Aug. 18, 2011
LENGTH: 13 minutes (3269 words)
Interview with Mikhail Gorbachev, 80. "I supported Putin during his presidency, and I still support him in many ways today. What troubles me is what the United Russia party, which is led by Putin, and the government are doing. They want to preserve the status quo. There are no steps forward. On the contrary, they are pulling us back into the past, while the country is urgently in need of modernization. Sometimes United Russia reminds me of the old Soviet Communist Party."
PUBLISHED: Aug. 16, 2011
LENGTH: 15 minutes (3889 words)
Minutes later I came across a group of teenagers huddled by Edmonton Working Men's Conservative Club. Most of them were girls, and in a state of panic. I saw they were holding a topless boy, who looked about 17. "He's been stabbed," one said. As soon as he was in the ambulance, his friends fled, telling police they did not want to talk to "Feds" (slang for the police). One screamed: "We hate you." Another shouted: "You're the reason this is happening."
For American Jews, the problem of the “ordinary German” is especially troubling, because it brings us directly to the darkest and most unassuageable suspicions about Jewish vulnerability. The most controversial books about the Holocaust, from Hannah Arendt’s Eichmann in Jerusalem to Daniel Jonah Goldhagen’s Hitler’s Willing Executioners, have been the ones that try to explain how the Germans—citizens of an advanced society, famous for its culture and education—could be led in the space of a few years to commit a genocide of the Jews. For if this people could do it, the strong implication is that under the right (or, better, the wrong) circumstances, any people could do it. And the history of the world since 1945 seems to bear out this implication. Cambodians, Serbs, and Rwandans have all shown that people do not have to be Nazis, or anti-Semites, in order to slaughter their neighbors.