Kalamazoo by  Josephine Livingstone

Every year, three thousand people gather in Kalamazoo for the sake of the years 400 to 1400 (approximately) of the Common Era. The International Congress on Medieval Studies, held annually at Western Michigan University, is the largest gathering of medievalists on earth. They come from all over the world to participate in panels like “Attack and Counterattack: The Embattled Frontiers of Medieval Iberia,” “Waste Studies: Excrement in the Middle Ages,” “Historical, Ethnical and Religious Roots of the Thraco-Geto-Dacians and Their Successors: Romanians and Vlaho-Romanians” and “J. K. Rowling’s Medievalism (I & II).” They are literary critics, historians, experts in numismatics and linguistic datasets, and nuns. There are over five hundred sessions: meetings and drinks parties and bookstalls; groups of monks dressed in black; bespectacled, serious, young men; elderly ladies in capped sleeves. Here is a ragtag bunch of human beings all on the same pilgrimage, playing a part in a story that they can’t read, because they’re in it.


Clean eating and dirty burgers: how food became a matter of morals By Julian Baggini

The way these cream cakes flaunt themselves,” says saucy Carry On star Barbara Windsor, glaring disapprovingly at a chocolate eclair bursting with whipped cream, “it’s enough to lead a girl astray.” Her frown turns into a giggle. “Given half a chance,” she adds before tucking in gleefully.

Nothing captures the peculiarly moralistic British attitude to food better than this 15-second advert from the 1970s. And if poetry is the art of capturing whole worlds in few words then its immortal slogan “naughty but nice” is greater proof of its author’s artistry than the Booker prize its writer Salman Rushdie would go on to win.

For as long as we can remember, the British have associated delicious food with depraved indulgence. Anything that tastes good has got to be bad for your body, soul or both. The marketing department of Magnum knew this when it called its 2002 limited edition range the Seven Deadly Sins. Nothing makes a product more enticing than its being naughty, or even better, wicked.

Profesorii kamikaze

Via Hotnews: Ambasadorul Turciei explica de ce s-au grabit pucistii sa atace

Rep: Cu tot respectul, cu greu pot sa-mi imaginez 15.000 de profesori kamikaze…
Osman Koray Ertaş: Nu vorbesc despre ei, ci despre cei din Armata, ei pot actiona ca niste kamikaze. Iata inca un exemplu. La cea mai mare baza aeriana din Ankara, de unde au fost coordonate multe operatiuni din timpul puciului, in dimineata in care politia si armata reala au preluat controlul, au gasit un profesor asociat de religie la Universitatea Sakarya; numele sau e public. Cind Politia i-a perchezitionat biroul din Facultate a gasit o carte a lui Gulen. Asa ca pot deveni cu adevarat kamikaze. Va puteti imagina ce facea un profesor intr-o baza militara?


Banksy, Daft Punk, Elena Ferrante: The New Cult of the Anonymous Artist By Ted Gioia

I’m a devoted fan of novelist Elena Ferrante, but I can’t match my wife—who is currently reading her sixth Ferrante novel and is game for more. Of course, we are hardly alone in our enthusiasm: Ferrante is ultra-trendy right now, and has emerged as Italy’s leading candidate for a Nobel Prize in Literature.

Except there’s a tiny problem—she probably won’t show up to accept a Nobel Prize. In fact, readers have no idea who Elena Ferrante really is. Ferrante isn’t her real name, and the author might not even be a woman. Various theories about the novelist’s identity have been bandied about, but the only thing her publisher will admit is that she “was born in Naples.”

By the same token, Satoshi Nakamoto deserves a Nobel Prize in Economics for his creation of bitcoin, the cryptocurrency that is changing the world of international finance. But there’s a problem here too—no one knows Nakomoto’s real identity. A number of candidates have emerged, including Australian Craig Wright, who recently tried to take credit for bitcoin, but many experts doubt his claim. The bottom line: The leading innovator in money matters is a mystery man, and we may never know his real identity.


Why exhaustion is not unique to our overstimulated age By Anna Katharina Schaffner

Is ours the most exhausting age ever? Many sociologists, psychologists and cultural critics argue that the rapid spread of exhaustion syndromes such as depression, stress and burnout are consequences of modernity and its challenges. The argument goes that human energy levels have basically remained static throughout history, while the cognitive, emotional and temporal demands on the modern subject have increased so sharply that a chronic deficit of inner resources ensues. The most frequently named ‘exhaustion generators’ are the social changes resulting from acceleration, new technologies and the transformation of manufacturing into service and finance economies. Email and mobile phones, for example, make workers perpetually reachable, eroding the boundary between work and leisure, therefore making it difficult for employees to ever switch off from their jobs. Add to this the intensified competition from globalised capitalism and the result is that, today, the worker rarely leaves work. No wonder everyone is exhausted.


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