Five Articles I Enjoyed Reading This Week

  1. “Talking of spectacular clerical buildings the Middle Ages are of course the age of the great European cathedrals. Roman architecture was block buildings with thick, massive stonewalls, very few windows and domed roofs. The art of building in stone was one of the things that virtually disappeared in the Early Middle Ages in Europe. It came back initially in an extended phase of castle building. Inspired by the return of the stonemason, medieval, European, Christian society began the era of building their massive monuments to their God, the medieval cathedrals. Introducing architectural innovation like the pointed arch, the flying buttress and the rib vaulted roof they build large, open buildings flooded with light that soared up to the heavens in honour of their God. Buildings that are still a source of wonder today.”
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    A review of a book called “The Clock and the Camshaft: And Other Medieval Inventions We Still Can’t Live Without.”
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  2. “What this basically does is, it pushes the can down the road. The question is, what will happen one year later? Of course, the hope is that demand will come back, real estate companies will be able to sell the inventory they have built up, and use the money to repay loans. As far as hopes go, even cows might fly one day.”
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    Vivek Kaul uses a whole lot of logic, and minces no words in helping us understand why we should be very, very pessimistic about the real estate sector in India
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  3. “Sea power can be used flexibly to send calibrated signals to Beijing without necessarily having to cross its lines. At the least threatening level, New Delhi should increase the frequency and duration of naval deployments in the region, expanding the types of naval assets so deployed. Vessels on such deployments should regularly call at friendly ports of South East Asian countries, including Timor-Leste, and have frequent rendezvous with ships of the US, Japan, Australia, Vietnam, Singapore and Indonesia, away from disputed waters.
    Stronger signals can be sent by sending the navy on longer voyages to Japanese and Russian ports, especially if the routes are planned for saying a “Hi, Hello” to the Taiwanese along the way. Such voyages offer New Delhi forms of diplomatic leverage that it currently does not have with Beijing.”
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    Nitin Pai advocates a hawkish stance when it comes to China, but in a surprising part of the world. The essay is part of a series, all worth reading, of course.
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  4. “That being said, it is hard to learn much about how it works. First, a big part of the system is informal and thus only discoverable by observing it personally or by asking the locals. Second, it’s strongly decentralized. Different rules apply in different cantons and municipalities which makes the topic confusing to study. Third, Swiss aren’t especially interested in promoting their own system abroad. A lot of the resources therefore exist only in local languages.”
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    Via Tyler Cowen on MR, a great read on what makes Swiss democracy so great. The excerpt that he chose to include on MR comes towards the end of the very long post, mine is the second paragraph itself. The first and second points in the excerpt above are worth thinking about (and see Taleb on this as well, of course)
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  5. No excerpt, but I found this interesting, and might make it next week. Chicken biryani made with coconut milk!
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    Maybe one recipe every Friday? Especially in these times, seems like a good idea

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