Stalin maintained that if Britain had the right to control the Suez canal regardless of what the Egyptians felt and likewise the United States had the right to control the Panama canal regardless of what the Panamanians felt, then so too did the Soviet Union have the right to control the Turkish straits regardless of what the Turks felt.
—from ‘The percentages agreement‘
The Spanish flu wiped out 6% of India’s entire population
—The Economist in ‘Covid19 could devastate poor countries‘
Knowledge is a tool and not an end in itself.
—Tolstoy, in “A Calendar of Wisdom“
Continue reading On knowledge
Cavers and miners of the future will spot the Anthropocene as a stratified layer of plastic, which he finds strewn on beaches in the farthest points of the Lofoten Islands. His book is suffused with sadness for this. He finds comfort where he can: in the innocence of children, the company of friends, the light-drenched vividness of surface life, which cries out to be cherished—and in the astronomer who, confined to the dark, patiently turns towards the stars.
—The Economist: ‘Into the underland with Robert Macfarlane’
Centralising power not only offers a sense of control and order, but it’s a cheaper way to fight a war. Letting commanders decide what to do on the fly requires more training and more troops, which can be expensive and unpredictable.
— From Quartz, ‘A ferocious tank battle taught H.R. McMaster how to prepare for the unexpected’
Which brings me to the most important point: Lyft and Juno have effectively claimed that being forced to pay their drivers a living wage on each ride would put them at a competitive disadvantage. You can quibble over the details, but when you boil it down, that is the essence of the argument. How even to process that?
In the old days, if you couldn’t afford to pay your workers in compliance with the law, chances were your company went out of business. Today when you can’t afford to pay your workers adequately you hire them as independent contractors through a “technology platform” and pay wages supplemented by just enough gamified incentives to keep workers coming back for more, like gamblers at the slot machines.
The true innovation of Uber was figuring out the labor model that Lyft and Juno and so many other gig companies adopted.
— Ali Griswold, in Oversharing: Lyft sues to avoid paying drivers a living wage
He thinks the state should invest more in crime prevention. “We always prepare for battle, but not for the post-war,” he says.
— The Economist, in ‘Jair Bolsonaro wants Brazilians to have more guns’