This is one of my favourite pictures. Absolutely no post-production artifice. This is exactly what I photographed early one morning on Nordeinde in The Hague.
Quote of the Day
“When I am playing with my cat, how do I know she is not playing with me?”
Musical alternative to the morning’s radio news
Randy Newman – Stay Away: His Covid song
Paul Day’s St Pancras ‘Meeting Place’ sculpture
My photograph yesterday captured only a fragment of what is by any standards an extraordinary work.
Euan Williamson has made a lovely video of the frieze which captures it in the round.
What can we learn from cats?
Answer: Don’t live in an imagined future.
Lovely interview by Tim Adams in yesterday’s Observer. It was triggered by publication of Gray’s new book, Cats and the Meaning of Life, which I’ve just ordered on the strength of this conversation.
Long read of the day.
Trump’s army of angry white men
Charles Blow, writing in today’s New York Times:
The most optimistic among us see the Trump era as some sort of momentary insanity, half of the nation under the spell of a conjurer. They believe that the country can be reunited and this period forgotten.
I am not one of those people. I believe what political scientist Thomas Schaller told Bloomberg columnist Francis Wilkinson in 2018: “I think we’re at the beginning of a soft civil war.” If 2018 was the beginning of it, it is now well underway.
Trump is building an army of the aggrieved in plain sight.
It is an army with its own mercenaries, people Trump doesn’t have to personally direct, but ones he has absolutely refused to condemn.
Which is why his defeat in the election is likely to provoke serious disturbances in some places.
Girl in the mirror
Some of these Lincoln Project ads are really powerful. Thanks to CD for pointing me at it.
Why is everyone building an electric pickup truck?
This is a follow-up the the link I posted the other day about the Hummer electric SUV. It seems that lots of auto manufacturers are launching SUV EVs. Why? I thought the whole thing about SUVs is that people bought them because they were bad for the environment? So here’s an explanation from Ars Technica…
Here’s the problem: no one knows who that American electric pickup buyer is. “It’s not like people have been asking for this,” says Jessica Caldwell, the executive director of insights at Edmunds. “I don’t think people have been sitting around and thinking, ‘You now what I need? A pickup with an electric motor.’”
The Hummer, which hasn’t been produced since 2010, has gained a cult status among a certain kind of driver. General Motors wants the car aficionados and gearheads to pay attention: convince them to go electric, and the whole world might follow. To wit, GM has stuffed plenty of nerdery into the electric pickup. It comes with a crab walk feature that lets the truck drive diagonally and in-vehicle graphics developed by video game maker Epic Games. The truck, the first to use GM’s new Ultium batteries, has a 350-mile range. It can do 0 to 60 in three seconds.
Economics for the people
A remarkable essay in. Aeon by Dirk Philipsen of Duke University.
A basic truth is once again trying to break through the agony of worldwide pandemic and the enduring inhumanity of racist oppression. Healthcare workers risking their lives for others, mutual aid networks empowering neighbourhoods, farmers delivering food to quarantined customers, mothers forming lines to protect youth from police violence: we’re in this life together. We – young and old, citizen and immigrant – do best when we collaborate. Indeed, our only way to survive is to have each other’s back while safeguarding the resilience and diversity of this planet we call home.
As an insight, it’s not new, or surprising. Anthropologists have long told us that, as a species neither particularly strong nor fast, humans survived because of our unique ability to create and cooperate. ‘All our thriving is mutual’ is how the Indigenous scholar Edgar Villanueva captured the age-old wisdom in his book Decolonizing Wealth (2018). What is new is the extent to which so many civic and corporate leaders – sometimes entire cultures – have lost sight of our most precious collective quality.
This loss is rooted, in large part, in the tragedy of the private – this notion that moved, in short order, from curious idea to ideology to global economic system. It claimed selfishness, greed and private property as the real seeds of progress. Indeed, the mistaken concept many readers have likely heard under the name ‘the tragedy of the commons’ has its origins in the sophomoric assumption that private interest is the naturally predominant guide for human action. The real tragedy, however, lies not in the commons, but in the private. It is the private that produces violence, destruction and exclusion. Standing on its head thousands of years of cultural wisdom, the idea of the private variously separates, exploits and exhausts those living under its cold operating logic.
Worth reading in full.
Other, perhaps interesting, links
The magic of the tilt-and-turn window. Made in Germany, naturally. Link
I’m a Principled Republican Senator and I’m Suddenly Troubled By the Current State of Politics. Link
Chile restores democratic rule: Neoliberal’s first gunshot has stopped echoing. Link
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