My weekly collection of the provocative, intriguing, or curious, in a world where the house is falling down. The contextual, the cultural, and other things that catch my eye.

Image credit: Old People’s Home (1882), by Fritz von Uhde. Wikimedia Commons.

  • The economics of euthanasia. In an ageing society, we are going to struggle to find just ways to manage the problem of death.
  • Democracy is in decline. Apparently, our brains aren’t designed to manage the complexities of mass democracy. But people have been saying this ever since the franchise was invented.
  • To understand 21st century politics, you need to understand Girard. Human behaviour is about status and desire. A good introduction by Alex Danco. (Thanks to Sue Robinson.)
  • Branko Milanovic’s ‘elephant’ graph is misleading. It shows relative changes in global income over time. But the chart of absolute changes looks very different.
  • Wendell Berry is a radical poet of place. 50 years of his writing on land and activism have just been published by the Library of America and reviewed in The Nation. And here’s a reading of Berry’s short and disturbing poem ‘Questionnaire’.
  • Buildings homes for hedgehogs. And birds, lizards, bats, and butterflies. We need to spend more time creating sustainable habitats for other species.

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“The whole world’s at sixes and sevens, and why the house hasn’t fallen down about our ears long ago is a miracle to me.” (Thornton Wilder)