The Spanish flu wiped out 6% of India’s entire population
—The Economist in ‘Covid19 could devastate poor countries‘
—Tolstoy in “A Calendar of Wisdom“
The truly useful, the truly good, and therefore the truly great, is always simple.
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’
—Jesse Kriss, on Uses This
…why should I be using mobile data to stream music to a $1000 phone when I can get an MP3 player for $26 that can hold 7000 songs on a micro SD card and has 80 hour battery life?
Narendra Modi, the prime minister, controls the story of Indian nationalism these days, and has little use for the history of the anti-colonial struggle (which his own heroes, the first Hindu nationalists, largely sat out).
The Congress party, now in opposition, would traditionally stoke the embers of the anti-British campaigns, which it led. But it is trying hard to appeal to new voters, desperate for jobs and otherwise far from the memory of the freedom struggle.
— The Economist, in ‘The politics of apologising for Amritsar’
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.