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It sounds like a communist utopia, but a basic income program pioneered by German aid workers has helped alleviate poverty in a Nambian village. Crime is down and children can finally attend school. Only the local white farmers are unhappy.The full, red Namibian sun is setting outside his living room window, the workers are returning to their corrugated metal huts, and Siggi von Lüttwitz is hitting a wooden table with the palm of his hand to explain why the experiment cannot work. “They all drink, you know,” he says, smoking an unfiltered cigarette, “and if you give them 100 dollars, they’ll just drink more.” By “they” Lüttwitz means the people of Otjivero, a settlement adjacent to his farmland. And by “they” he means people who are poor and black. –“How a Basic Income Program Saved a Namibian Village,” Dialika Krahe, Spiegel Online
“Gott meiner,” said my father to my mother. “Again no money? But I gave you twelve dollars at the beginning of the week. What have you done with it?” –“Memoirs of a Bootlegger’s Son,” Saul Bellow, Granta
“Anyone who spends any time inside football soon discovers that just as oil is part of the oil business, stupidity is part of the football business.” Well, football may not spend billions of pounds actively seeking out stupidity, piping, refining and selling it, but as Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski demonstrate over and over again in Why England Lose, it is certainly swimming in the stuff. –“The Profound Stupidity of Football,” David Goldblatt, Prospect
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”