Monday, April 27, 2015


1. For any of you who ever wanted to be an astronaut, this NPR article and its links and videos should prove a pretty powerful corrective to THAT silly pipe dream. It begins:
So there's a cosmonaut up in space, circling the globe, convinced he will never make it back to Earth; he's on the phone with Alexei Kosygin — then a high official of the Soviet Union — who is crying because he, too, thinks the cosmonaut will die.  
The space vehicle is shoddily constructed, running dangerously low on fuel; its parachutes — though no one knows this — won't work and the cosmonaut, Vladimir Komarov, is about to, literally, crash full speed into Earth, his body turning molten on impact. As he heads to his doom, U.S. listening posts in Turkey hear him crying in rage, "cursing the people who had put him inside a botched spaceship." 
This extraordinarily intimate account of the 1967 death of a Russian cosmonaut appears in a new book, Starman, by Jamie Doran and Piers Bizony, to be published next month. The authors base their narrative principally on revelations from a KGB officer, Venyamin Ivanovich Russayev, and previous reporting by Yaroslav Golovanov in Pravda. This version — if it's true — is beyond shocking.

Keep reading. It only gets worse for that poor, poor Ruskie. I know some people have taken issue with the reporting in this article, but the broad strokes are important, and well rendered.

2. If you're one of those people who thinks GMO foods are no different from the cross-breeding tactics of old, then you should probably avoid Simon Worrall's interview with author Steve Druker, which treads onto some pretty terrifying territory while laying down some seriously depressing wisdom about the naked lunch staring up from your plate.

3. For the seventh time, today's DDD Suggested Reading List includes four selections from the Open University and BBC Radio 4's introductory level general philosophy course entitled The History of Ideas. I hope you're enjoying these videos as much as I did when first seeing them!


"Buddhism's Four Noble Truths"

"Max Weber on the Protestant Ethic"

"Ayn Rand on Selfishness"

"Aristotle on Flourishing"

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