Weekend Reading

Mainly, CS&W is about exploring the world out there, so here is some interesting weekend reading about places that chances are, you’re probably not right now:

Long train travel: There Is No Reason to Cross the U.S. by Train. But I Did It Anyway.
Shorter train travel: Brexit, and train travel through Europe.
How the contest between free trade and protectionism sparked fervor and unrest in medieval England: Maken Engelond Gret Ayeyn.
An article that prompted a post earlier this week: Grocery Stores Are at the Front Line of Turkey’s Latest Political Battle.
China, India, Nepal and the political future of Buddhism: China Is Winning the War for Nepali Buddhism.
How to escape despotism: The Underground Railroad of North Korea.

Policy wonk note: One of the recurring themes here is that, since the crumbling of the Berlin Wall in 1989, throughout the Clinton, Bush and Obama years, it has taken a long, long time for an international order to emerge from the ‘Post-Cold-War’ period. Here is a longish article that suggests that, finally, it’s time: The End of the New Deal Era—and the Coming Realignment. The author, Frank J. DiStefano, writes

“American parties are temporary coalitions forged as tools to self-govern our republic at specific moments of crisis. They bind fractious collections of people who disagree about many things but agree on how to solve the biggest problem of their age,”

and he says that is about to change. (Note to readers outside the U.S., it’s a little heavy up on American history.)

And finally, in the aesthetics department: How to Arrange Your Kitchen: According to Julia Child.

See you next week.

Weekend Reading

A schizo spring so far in our corner of Appalachia. Early blooming dogwoods and azaleas nipped in the bud. Trees normally not yet heard from way ahead of the weather. Mornings still at or below freezing as often as not. A pretty, early spring weekend is forecast, good for being outdoors.

Should you find a little spare time, here are a few articles I’ve found worthwhile this week.

– In the last couple weeks, the New York Times has featured two places we’ll find ourselves this summer: Helsinki and Hoi An.
– On France: Among the Gilets Jaunes.
– Réné Descartes “held that only humans are conscious, have minds and souls, can learn and have language and therefore only humans are deserving of compassion.” Bah. Here, a study of bears’ communication casts doubt on human supremacy over animals.
– On being eastern European: The East in you never leaves.
What Makes a Waterfall? Maybe It Forms Itself.
– A future of stuff, and accumulating it: Free Shipping.
– Russia’s eternal search for security “makes it less secure:” Russia’s Tragic Great Power Politics.

Enjoy the weekend. See you next week.

Weekend Reading

A few links to quality weekend reading about places you’re probably not:

On the outside looking in: A US American in Vietnam, from the Vietnamese newspaper VnExpress.
The last king of Xinjiang by Paul French.
Two articles about the new conflict between Uganda and Rwanda that’s not getting any better.
– ‘A Partial Freedom’: What Latvia Found in the KGB Archives.
– Armenia: Can post-revolution Yerevan get to grips with its informal architecture epidemic? With lots of photos.
– A Jordanian wildlife safari: The Refuge in the Desert.
– And finally, watch them make pizzas all day with this live webcam from a pizzeria in Bratislava.

See you next week.

Weekend Reading

For your weekend reading, here’s a sweep around the world for a few articles about places you’re probably not:

– The photos above are from Ethiopia (more here), currently Africa’s success story du jour. On the other hand, here’s a story about the country’s simmering ethnic tensions.
An unflattering look at the South African safari industry from a guide trainee.
– What happens if changing weather patterns eliminate India’s monsoon.
– France in the age of les gilets jaunes.
– AMLO’s first 100 days in Mexico.
Politics in Moldova is “about running a local fiefdom under the pretext of fighting a geopolitical battle, unaccountable to either Brussels or Moscow.”
– I love this article about how we should treat other animals. There’s also this.
– A trip behind the spectacle at Davos.

Take care and enjoy the weekend. See you next week.

Weekend Reading

A countdown of sorts is beginning, at least in my head. In about six weeks we’ll take CS&W back out into the world for an extended road trip beginning in Vietnam (many photos here). The last year or so has been relatively quiet at EarthPhotos.com, but I expect that will change. Here on CS&W, too, I anticipate more photography soon.

More on that in the weeks ahead. For now, a few clicks about different parts of the world for your idle time this weekend:

A blog about Stonehenge Replicas

A brief piece on why It’s Punk to Be Eastern European

Issues involved in The Battle to Save Lapland

A friend and I visited Atlantic City as very young men some time around 1980. Mostly, it made me want to get into a fight. That’s nothing like me, but it had this gritty and ominous undertone of meanness. Many years later comes this: Atlantic City Is Really Going Down This Time. Wonder what took it so long

A look at French troubles via a review of Twilight of the Elites: Prosperity, the Periphery, and the Future of France by Christophe Guilluy: Jupiter Falls to Earth

As fighting flared up again today between al-Shebab and government forces in Somalia, the northern portion of that country looks for acceptance from the rest of the world. Opinion here on Why has Somaliland succeeded where Iraqi Kurdistan has failed?

See you next week.

Weekend Reading

Five articles to take you far from home this weekend:

The Last Stop for Greyhound by Derek Shapton
– How they managed that Thai cave rescue: Miracle At Tham Luang by Sean Flynn
– Commuting to work on a Zimbabwean train
A terrific interactive trip along the nine-hour, 2,439km journey across eight stations from West Kowloon to Beijing
– A long and absorbing look at the region around the Chernobyl nuclear reactor

Weekend Reading

It’s still winter but the daffodils are pushing up out of the not quite frozen ground here in southern Appalachia. The end of winter is in sight, but between now and then we have at least a few more indoor weekends to come. This weekend I suggest a few politics-free articles, all at least vaguely related to traveling around this big old world.

These young lions in the photo are about nine months old, our guide in Amboseli thought. My next 3QD article will be about lions in a couple weeks. And you can see bunches more lions and tigers and bears (actually, I’m not sure there are bears) among the 691 photos currently in the Animals and Wildlife Gallery at EarthPhotos.com. For now, happy reading and a good weekend to you. On to the reading:

– Get a great tour of Tibet in Travels in Geology: Lhasa, Tibet: Journey to the roof of the world from Earth Magazine.
– And a photo essay of Russia’s far north.
– Peter Frankopan argues we’re too Europe-centric around here: Don’t let the rise of Europe steal world history.
– I enjoyed this discussion of Imperial Exceptionalism.
– Interesting article here written by Geoffrey Clarfield: Understanding Modern African Horrors by Way of the Indian Ocean Slave Trade
– It’s really hot again this summer in Australia.
– See Russia’s Las Vegas
Life in pursuit of science on Lake Baikal in winter and in the remote Chilean Atacama desert.

Politics-free except for this: Let’s see if we can figure out what’s going on in Thai politics. Yellows and reds and kings and princesses and military men and elections. Oh my.

Weekend Reading

Next week closes out January, and ends something we do most years here on the farm, an annual post-holiday cleansing period, largely free of our usual vices. This year we’ve tried something new – reduced use of the internet.

I can report worthwhile results all around. We got a lot of reading done, finished several books between us including for me, the 800-page monster, A Bright, Shining Lie by Neil Sheehan, a history of American involvement in Vietnam. It’s part of due diligence for a long visit to Saigon we have planned for later this year, from where I hope to share lots of photography and writing here on CS&W. More to come on that.

Nowadays we read a calamitous new report about the Arctic climate just about every week, and the never-ending series of warnings has been making me mad at global leadership, which is well aware that big steps need to be taken but unwilling to take them. Meanwhile this week we’ve had the increasingly sad annual media genuflection to Davos man, he who is most able to get the ball rolling, but who benefits too much from the way things are to do so. I’ve begun to believe it really might take a global system change to get things right, with all the calamity that will surely entail.

To explore that topic this weekend I suggest a few things: Try What Will It Really Take to Avoid Collapse by Jeremy Lent, and his website Patterns of Meaning. To have a look at just a bit of what a systemic change might involve, try The Next System, Eudaimonia&Co., Evonomics and the Transnational Institute, (among many others), all wildly too lefty for those to whom Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is unsettling.

In case that’s you, there are articles that outline the systemic nature of the problem in more mainstream places, like As a grocery chain is dismantled, investors recover their money. Worker pensions are short millions in the Washington Post and Millennials Didn’t Kill the Economy. The Economy Killed Millennials in The Atlantic. If AOC is a crazy, out of bounds nut to you, perhaps the website The American Conservative is more your cup of tea? In that case, please try Corporate Capitalists Killed American Identity there.


It will be a much colder than normal weekend here in southern Appalachia, in what is turning out to be a colder than normal winter. Wherever you are, I wish you a good weekend, stay warm and I’ll see you next week.

Weekend Reading

It has been a little quiet at CS&W over the holidays, and January will stay relatively quiet as we try to internet detox this month. We’re opting to stay off the internet much more in January, my wife and I, to see if it makes us better people. We’ll let you know. Meanwhile, some interesting news coming this spring that will alter the whole shape of this website. Can’t tell you for a couple of months.

And meanwhile, anytime is a good time to scroll through what’s up at 3 Quarks Daily, but next Monday will be an especially good time, when I’ll have my monthly column in the Monday Magazine (Topic hint: see photo). For now, some intriguing reading for the weekend:

What Driving Teaches Us About Living by Rachel Cusk. She’s so good.
What Europeans Talk about when They Talk about Brexit. Comprehensive roundup of what the rest of Europe thinks about Brexit.
The Ghosts of Mrs Gandhi by Amitav Ghosh. 1984 was not a good year for India.
There’s No Free Will? You Can’t Possibly Believe That by Tim Sommers
The Caucasus: No Longer Just Russia’s Neighborhood by Thomas de Wall. What’s up down there?
How My Father Made Landfall. Sylvia Poggioli’s parents.
Seattle Under Siege by Christopher F. Rufo. What’s going wrong?
The Children of the Revolution by James David Banker Frightening Red Guards in China.
Breath of life by Brian Victoria. Shinto shows the debt to animism of organized religions today.

See you next week.