Sunday 10 November 2013


Illustration: Tom Bachtell via The New Yorker.

"On Sunday morning, I rose early. I had decided the night before to go to the ocean, so I slipped a book and a bottle of water into a sack and caught a ride to Rockaway Beach. It felt like a significant date, but I failed to conjure anything specific. The beach was empty, and, with the anniversary of Hurricane Sandy looming, the quiet sea seemed to embody the contradictory truth of nature. I stood there for a while, tracing the path of a low-flying plane, when I received a text message from my daughter, Jesse. Lou Reed was dead." This is how Patti Smith piece about Lou Reed in The New Yorker starts, read it here. E.T.P. 3'30'

Photo: Allstar HBO via The Guardian

Stuart Jeffries writes a provocative piece in The Guardian: Think digital distractions have killed our attention spans? Think again. He argues that the rise of complex TV series and vast novel shows demonstrate that we still prefer commitment to a quick fix. "In a culture of speed-dating, quick fixes, fast food, bullet trains, pop-up everything, and unreadably long jeremiads about the increasing incidence of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, the single-minded commitment required to read a long, absorbing book serves as a rebuke to a culture that favours those who can simultaneously email/tweet/instant message/hold up their end of a phone call/Skype while live blogging the whole shebang." Read full article (and prove Jeffries right) in The Guardian. E.T.P.: 7'

Photo via The Economist.

Do different languages confer different personalities? "It’s an exciting notion, the idea that one’s very self could be broadened by the mastery of two or more languages. In obvious ways (exposure to new friends, literature and so forth) the self really is broadened. Yet it is different to claim—as many people do—to have a different personality when using a different language. A former Economist colleague, for example, reported being ruder in Hebrew than in English. So what is going on here?" If you speak more than one language and, as me, you always feel that you are not the same when speaking in your 2nd (or 3rd or 4th) language, then this article is for you. Read it in the Economist. E.T.P.: 6'

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