The Spanish flu wiped out 6% of India’s entire population
—The Economist in ‘Covid19 could devastate poor countries‘
sitzfleisch (ZITS–flysh), or “chair glue,” is a German word for the ability to sit through a boring or complex task for a considerable amount of time, however long it takes
—From The Quartz, in ‘This lifehack will change your life—if you can stand it’
“There are an awful lot of Hindus, I’d guess 40%, who basically dislike Muslims and have no problem at all with this government’s approach,” says an American political scientist of Indian origin, who prefers anonymity (a subclause of the CAA allows the government to strip émigrés of their Overseas Citizen of India status).
—From The Economist, in ‘Narendra Modi’s sectarianism is eroding India’s secular democracy’
Every move is designed to cow opponents and critics into silence—within and without.
Total efficiency constrains us. We become super invested in maintaining the status quo because that is where we excel. Innovation is a threat. Change is terrifying. Being perfect at something is dangerous if it’s the only thing you can do.
—The Farnham Street Blog, in ‘Getting Ahead By Being Inefficient’
People say write about what you know. That’s bullshit. Write about what you don’t want people to know.
—Susan Sarandon’s character in an episode of Mike & Molly
Even if you write something of poor quality but do it quickly, you’re already getting somewhere. Reflecting on writing is fine sometimes, but it doesn’t actually bring you any closer to completing a work, whereas having a draft, even if it’s bad, gives you material to hone.
Jacques Delors, a former head of the European Commission who championed closer integration, rightly pointed out that “nobody can fall in love with the single market”. There is nothing flashy about reworking bankruptcy rules or tax regimes.
—The Economist in ‘A singular opportunity’
This is very relevant in the times of Trump, BoJo and social media memes. Michael Lewis’ book, The Fifth Risk, touches on this in the US context. But like Jacques points out, it’s unglamorous work and his writing can only make it so much more interesting.
“The bad will be there no matter what, while the good requires major efforts,” says Vladimir Kattsov, director of Russia’s Voeikov Geophysical Observatory.
—The Economist in ‘Why Russia is ambivalent about climate change’
He’s talking about the potential benefits of climate change to Russia—opening of Arctic route and availability of Tundra lands for farming—versus the threats—more frequent droughts, floods and crop failures in current farmed areas.
When the British empire was expanding, a saying went, “trade followed the flag”.
—The Economist in ‘Masters of Business in Asia’
He says that Sami saw a boy walking on his own in the road. Vega and the others called out and asked him if he wanted to play, but he didn’t understand. So Sami rolled a ball over to him, and then he kicked it…
—From “Britt-Marie Was Here” by Fredrik Backman