How a mysterious twitching epidemic overtook one Western New York town.
Friday, March 9
Thursday, March 8
All violence is not like all other violence. Every Jewish death is not like every other Jewish death. To believe otherwise is to revive the old typological thinking about Jewish history, according to which every enemy of the Jews is the same enemy, and there is only one war, and it is a war against extinction, and it is a timeless war.
On solitary confinement:
"Two or three hundred years from now people will look back on this lockdown mania like we look back on the burning of witches."
In which the author’s wife attempts to break the world record in Tetris.
Wednesday, March 7
The profile of a crime syndicate which dominates the European cocaine trade.
A profile of the Bronx immigrant family on the other end of your Chinese takeout menu.
A profile of thriller writer Harlan Coben and what it takes to succeed as a novelist even when the literary establishment doesn’t acknowledge your existence.
In 1970s Britain, conservative philosophy was the preoccupation of a few half-mad recluses. Searching the library of my college, I found Marx, Lenin, and Mao, but no Strauss, Voegelin, Hayek, or Friedman. I found every variety of socialist monthly, weekly, or quarterly, but not a single journal that confessed to being conservative.
A young Brit goes against the political grain.
Tuesday, March 6
Sometimes a writer does a really amazing piece that makes me jealous. Other times they do a piece that just makes me want to give up. Every time I read Katherine Boo I'm just glad that I don't even attempt to do narrative writing. It would be embarrassing to have anything I write put up against her. This dispatch from a refugee center for Katrina victims is heart wrenching and does more than anything else to bring home the psychological dimensions of American urban poverty.
People know Krugman these days as a feisty political polemicist, but back when he was less politically engaged he was absolutely one of the very finest popularizers of economic ideas ever. This piece is a wonderful, brief introduction to the fundamental economic forces driving the world and a lot of my current thinking is preoccupied with the questions it raises. Reading it again, I realized that a point I like to make about the elevator being a great mass transit technology is almost certainly something I subconsciously picked up here.