In a chilling experiment conducted in the early 1960s, Yale University psychologist Stanley Milgram set out to understand why Nazi soldiers followed orders to murder millions. The set-up of the experiment was clever. Members of the public would act as a teacher and test another supposed member of the public, the learner, on simple word association tests. A scientist, the experimenter, would oversee this.
Words have been a primal force of humanity for thousands of years. Take the famous line from the bible “In the beginning, there was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God” (Gospel of John, 1:1).This clearly emphasises the immense power of words.
I recently read a striking front-page manifesto from the Chinese Communist Party published in China’s People’s Daily. I Google translated it, edited and picked out the following highlights:
Historic turning point
October 2017 will be remembered in history as the golden autumn. The Chinese Communist Party, one of the largest political parties and most successful Marxist ones, has brought the world’s attention to China’s new era. Continue reading “China’s Dream Factory (3 min read)”
I’m well-travelled, I read a lot and I take a keen interest in the non-mainstream, yet until recently I had no idea that Europe had a Buddhist nation. The Republic of Kalmykia is that nation. It is an autonomous region in Russia, the size of Scotland and has a population of 290,000 people. It is located near Ukraine (to its west), Georgia (to its south) and the Caspian Sea (to its west).
I get it, I get it. Donald Trump has no attention span, doesn’t read, doesn’t listen, obsesses about the media, eats fast food, watches too much TV, speaks before he thinks and acts impulsively. That’s what commentators have concluded on the release of Michael Wolff’s “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House”. I’ve now read the book, and it’s certainly true that Wolff does everything he can to present Trump in that way.The trouble is no story is ever that clear.
I love podcasts. They’re one of my favourite ways of learning. They’re also incredibly efficient as you can listen to them while you’re walking or on the subway. I have my favourites, but I’m still scouring the world for new podcasts. This year has been great in that regard, and while there have many duds, these 12 are excellent: Continue reading “12 Great New Podcasts I Discovered In 2017”
I had great fun reading a 1982 novel called A Very British Coup by a former UK politician Chris Mullin. It charts the stunning rise (and fall) of Harry Perkins, a left-wing anti-establishment leader of the Labour Party. It may not be the most well-written book and some bits are dated, but its plot seems remarkably prescient in a world where the UK’s Labour Party has Jeremy Corbyn as its leader and the US is led by Donald Trump.
It’s easy to stereo-type the supporters of American presidents. I remember when Obama was in office his supporters were called “latte-drinking, Prius-driving, Birkenstock-wearing, trust fund babies”. I’ll leave it to your imagination on what the stereotype is for Trump supporters, but a new research report questioned 8,000 Trump supporters to determine how they could be characterised. Using cluster-analysis, the report found there are 5 types of Trump supporters: Continue reading “The Five Types Of Trump Supporters (3 min read)”