Smarter than social media
On Fridays I suggest worthwhile weekend reading that’s guaranteed to improve your posture, your online dating prospects, and make you an all around better person. Read all this and probably, you’ll lose five pounds.
But first, the week’s photo challenge. See if you can guess what city this is. It may not be easy, so here are two clues.
Answer at the bottom.
Now, on to some worthwhile reads:
How is this even possible? “On May 22, 2022, I began an experiment. I unplugged everything in my apartment, with the goal of drawing zero power from the electric grid for one month. I had no idea how I would make it past a few days.” What started as an experiment turned into a habit. I disconnected from the electric grid for 8 months—in Manhattan.
Any military conflict between the United States and China will upend the world as we know it. With an eye toward a possiblw future China/Taiwan conflict, how to arm to win. The sweet spot is accurate but cheap weapons. These can be classic smart weapons like GPS-gravity bombs but also include an Abrams tank that can reliably kill adversaries 3000 meters away with unguided shells. The Weapons that Win Wars.
As definitive an account as we have so far. Huge compilation of interviews with American officials about the runup to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Start this now and you’ll still be reading it on Monday: ‘Something Was Badly Wrong’: When Washington Realized Russia Was Actually Invading Ukraine
Soviet soldiers piled Kaja Kallas's mother and grandmother into a cattle car in 1949 and deported them to the east, beyond Novosibirsk. Now, at age 45, Kaja Kallas is Prime Minister of the Russian Border state of Estonia. How Kaja Kallas Rose To Become One of Europe's Leading Voices
Michael J. Totten reviews Matt Johnson’s new book about Christopher Hitchens. “If you gave [televangelist Jerry] Falwell an enema, Hitchens told Fox News host Sean Hannity the day after Falwell died, he could be buried in a matchbox.” That’s Hitchens. The Liberal Internationalist.
Care for a quick tour of all of human history? The Rift Valley is the only place where it can be seen in its entirety. The Rift Valley tells the entire human story from the start.
Who discovered the expansion of the universe? He was a physicist, yes, but something more. “Dressed in his black clerical garb and white collar, as if prepared to take confessions, he stepped to the podium and presented an idea that veered perilously close to theology. He had discovered, he claimed, a moment when the entire universe exploded out of a tiny “‘primeval atom.’” How a Catholic Priest Discovered the Expansion of the Universe.
We once briefly visited Mongolia. In a case of unfortunate timing, we were a bit distracted, for we arrived the day after 9/11. Next trip, I’ll take along Mark Hay’s useful guide: 14 Things to Know Before You Go to Ulaanbaatar.
Hunter-gatherers don’t live in an economic idyll but their deep appreciation of rest puts industrialised work to shame. A recent history of ancient people suggests their jobs were better than yours. Lessons from the Foragers.
Lessons from the Foragers suggests we could learn a few things from people who lived long ago. Which leads me to a short book list about early people and how we ended up in a world full of public relations consultants, telemarketers, brand managers, and countless administrative specialists who are paid to sit around, answer phones, and pretend to be useful.
Before the Dawn by Nicholas Wade
The Old Way by Elizabeth Marshall Thomas
Against the Grain, a deep history of the earliest states by James. C. Scott
Work by James Suzman
This week’s photo quiz answer is: this is Havana, Cuba. There are a few more photos in the Cuba Gallery at EarthPhotos.com.
Tomorrow, we’ll try to figure out how Russia’s war on Ukraine might end, and we’ll look back at the week and see if we can figure out what just happened. Please ask someone you know to join you, and consider a subscription. Rates start at the entirely reasonable rate of free. See you tomorrow.