Love and Ruin


The story of Louis & Nancy Dupree.

More than any other foreigner, Dupree knew Afghans, all kinds of Afghans; he was as charmed by goatherds as he was by the royal family. They all had something to teach him, he felt. He assumed that Afghans found him charming, too, and indeed many did. What Dupree failed to see—what other Americans who knew and loved the country less did see—was that while Afghans liked him, that didn’t mean they trusted him. “Afghans were very cautious with Americans,” Ted Eliot, the former ambassador, said. “Their long history with foreigners taught them that you never knew who would be in charge next.”

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James Verini — The Atavist Magazine

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A food article for your Sunday!



Amy Besa, owner of Purple Yam in Brooklyn and Manila, also a self-described Manileña, makes her adobo with apple cider vinegar because that’s what was available in her city supermarkets growing up. A recipe from her book Memories of Philippine Kitchens uses baby back ribs and replaces the peppercorns with tellicherry peppers. She shared her recipe with the New York Times, where it maintains a perfect five-star rating from hundreds of homesick Filipinos.

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Roads & Kingdoms

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World history would be very different without the blood moon eclipse of 1504


Interesting tidbit from history. How chance events impact future. Recommended by Aayush.

That’s what happened in 1504, in the place now known as Jamaica, when Spanish explorer Christopher Columbus performed a deception that would alter the world’s future, as Duncan Steel explains in his book Eclipse: The Celestial Phenomenon that Changed the Course of History. Without this illusion, colonization of the Americas as we know it—with all it entailed, including the massacres of an incalculable number of indigenous people—might not have been.

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Ephrat Livni — Quartz

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Yosemite and the future of the national park


Having expanded Emerson’s ideas into what we now call “conservation,” Olmsted advocated for open public access. He located the source of this new principle in what might seem an unexpected text: the Declaration of Independence. As Olmsted argued, it was “the main duty of government … to provide means of protection for all citizens in the pursuit of happiness against the obstacles … which the selfishness of individuals or combinations of individuals is liable to interpose to that pursuit.” Olmsted believed that public access to nature was, in the famous language of the Declaration, an “unalienable Right.”

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Tyler Green — Places

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Simone de Beauvoir’s #MeToo


This dissatisfaction has arisen on the basis of moral objections to particular actions in particular situations. So to Colosimo’s claim that #MeToo feminism promotes a view of women as “victims and helpless objects of male desire rather than free agents” we need to ask two questions: first, if in other moral contexts free agency involves the freedom to denounce behaviour that we consider harmful, what’s different about this one? Second, what is this ‘male desire’, such that women are victims of it?

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Kate Kirkpatrick — IAI

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Mussolini’s Speech to Medical Doctors


Among the various themes developed by Mussolini, orthogenesis and birth rates were dominant throughout the entire speech. For Mussolini, physicians had to become gatekeepers, and decide what was right or wrong for Italians’ bodies and minds, and ultimately for the future of Fascism. In particular, Mussolini asked physicians to challenge flawed popular assumptions about the effects of giving birth, which many men considered an event that derived women of their beauty. For the Duce, such wrong-headed notions would ultimately lead to demographic crisis. Instead, Mussolini argued, Fascism should encourage maximal birth rates and minimal mortality among young people, in order to lower the average age of the Italian population, and thereby become stronger. Nations with a large elderly population, he warned, were destined to be defeated by younger countries. Doctors would have to be decisive in implementing this policy.

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Francesco Buscemi — Remedia

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Post Truth


It is a cynical view of politics that envisages the public as a television audience. In an interview for the film Get Me Roger Stone Trump evaluates his campaign, his political ambition and its efficacy: “I’ve always got good ratings. Ultimately it’s all about the ratings, and it is all about people watching and the eyeballs”.[xvi] More recently he boasted that his ratings on Fox News ‘Face the Nation’ were the “highest they’ve ever had… It’s the highest for ‘Deface the Nation’ since the World Trade Center. Since the World Trade Center came down. It’s a tremendous advantage”.[xvii] It is the drive for these ratings that motivates his post-truth attitude to the media. For Trump ratings are akin to a traditional notion of democratic legitimacy. Crucially, this is not a public that speaks. This is a public that watches.

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Elle Aspell-Sheppard — Verso

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