Quote of the day

"We might describe our world as having retail sanity, but wholesale madness"
Peter Thiel

Raw Thoughts On Amazon Dash

First take on Amazon’s product-order buttons for the home. They’re genius. They lower friction and lock you in to Amazon. They probably cost next to nothing to make. But the forward-looking bit is something that Amazon doesn’t even mention: They are advertisements for the product, right there in your home, put there by you. The product is the channel. “In the future every product will carry a buy button” (2,120 words)

The Ragu Chronicles

An eating expedition through Bologna in search of Italy’s best pasta sauce. Opinions differ, especially when it comes to the inclusion of tomatoes. Here’s a recipe for the second-best: Sauté some diced onion, carrot, and celery in olive oil until caramelized; simmer for three hours with coarsely ground beef, ground pork butt, a cup of white wine, peeled tomatoes, tomato paste, and bay leaves. But for the best ragu read on (5,800 words)

Living With A Computer

The 1982 iteration of James Fallows explains how to use one of these computer things. “When I sit down to write a letter or start the first draft of an article, I simply type on the keyboard and the words appear on the screen … How I wish my employers would install computers in their headquarters, so I could submit articles over the telephone, one computer to another, instead of fighting the crowds at the Express Mail window” (7,100 words)

The Podemos Revolution

Podemos tops the polls in Spain and may form the next government on a manifesto of radical socialism, echoing Syriza in Greece. The party was founded a mere 15 months ago. It relies heavily for its popularity on a single charismatic leader, Pablo Iglesias. Rival parties may learn from its methods and rally effectively against it. But even if it goes no further, Podemos has shown that power in Spain is up for grabs (6,270 words)

Stuck In Seattle

A facepalm in every paragraph of this sad and highly entertaining account of Seattle’s disastrous plan to replace an elevated waterfront highway with a huge traffic tunnel deep underground. The tunnelling machine got stuck after 1,000 feet. The $4bn project is years behind schedule. Taxpayers risk an unholy bill. But big tunnels almost always go badly wrong. There’s a literature on the subject. What was Seattle smoking? (3,200 words)

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