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Friday Links (8/5)

Posted by Josh Rothman  August 5, 2011 03:39 AM

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Madness and poetry: Joshua Mehigan reflects on the long history between them; "By Modernism, the greatest poets are like the villains on the old Batman TV show, each known for his or her own inimitable brand of eccentricity, whether it’s Marianne Moore’s tricorn, Cummings’s typography, or Pound’s broadcasting career." (Poetry)

The Holocaust on "This Is Your Life": An oldie but a goodie: Amazing episode of the heartwarming 1950s show, in which a Holocaust survivor 'wins' the chance to recollect her years spent in Nazi concentration camps on live TV. Yes, it includes the infamous Holocaust charm bracelet. (The Film Archive)

Applying game theory to the debt 'negotiations': Game-theoretical logic reveals that they couldn't have turned out any differently than they did. According to Brendan Greeley, "for all the collective self-loathing that attended the debt ceiling talks, it’s important to remember that, like just about everything in human behavior, it was still reducible to a game. Looked at through the prism of game theory, it’s hard to see how the outcome could have turned out any other way." (Bloomberg Businessweek)

Interview with Chris Anderson of TED: "There is unbelievable inspiration and wisdom to be gained from listening to people well outside your field. The breakthrough spark often comes from outside the little box in which you’re focussed." (Dumbo Feather)

Colson Whitehead enters the World Series of Poker: "I have a good poker face because I am half-dead inside. My particular combo of slack features, negligible affect, and soulless gaze had helped my game ever since I started playing 20 years ago...." (Grantland)

[Image: The English novelist Wilkie Collins may have been the first person to articulate the idea of mutually assured destruction; about the Franco-Prussian War, he wrote: "I begin to believe in only one civilising influence -- the discovery one of these days of a destructive agent so terrible that War shall mean annihilation and men's fears will force them to keep the peace...."]

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About brainiac Brainiac is the daily blog of the Globe's Sunday Ideas section, covering news and delights from the worlds of art, science, literature, history, design, and more. You can follow us on Twitter @GlobeIdeas.
Brainiac blogger Kevin Hartnett is a writer in Columbia, South Carolina. He can be reached here.

Leon Neyfakh is the staff writer for Ideas. Amanda Katz is the deputy Ideas editor. Stephen Heuser is the Ideas editor.

Guest blogger Simon Waxman is Managing Editor of Boston Review and has written for WBUR, Alternet, McSweeney's, Jacobin, and others.

Guest blogger Elizabeth Manus is a writer living in New York City. She has been a book review editor at the Boston Phoenix, and a columnist for The New York Observer and Metro.

Guest blogger Sarah Laskow is a freelance writer and editor in New York City. She edits Smithsonian's SmartNews blog and has contributed to Salon, Good, The American Prospect, Bloomberg News, and other publications.

Guest blogger Joshua Glenn is a Boston-based writer, publisher, and freelance semiotician. He was the original Brainiac blogger, and is currently editor of the blog HiLobrow, publisher of a series of Radium Age science fiction novels, and co-author/co-editor of several books, including the story collection "Significant Objects" and the kids' field guide to life "Unbored."

Guest blogger Ruth Graham is a freelance journalist in New Hampshire, and a frequent Ideas contributor. She is a former features editor for the New York Sun, and has written for publications including Slate and the Wall Street Journal.

Joshua Rothman is a graduate student and Teaching Fellow in the Harvard English department, and an Instructor in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He teaches novels and political writing.


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