Writing

I fear that my list of project ideas, which I assemble out of an optimistic hope that the future will bring a long span of free time for such undertakings, includes an idea for a screenplay. It would be a film in the style of Apollo 13 (technically and historically accurate, and developed with lots […]

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Given this dialogue of the deaf [between experts with opposing views about inequality], in which each camp justifies its own intellectual laziness by pointing to the laziness of the other, there is a role for research that is at least systematic and methodical if not fully scientific. Expert analysis will never put an end to […]

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One neat thing about J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings is the way in which the story is set within multiple frames. The Hobbit, for instance, is sometimes presented as the account written of his adventures by Bilbo Baggins. It is also presented as part of the Red Book of Westmarch: […]

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To generate exuberant diversity in a city’s streets and districts, four conditions are indispensable: The district, and indeed as many of its internal parts as possible, must serve more than one primary function; preferably more than two. These must insure the presence of people who go outdoors on different schedules and are in the place […]

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The momentum of the heating, and the momentum of the economy that powers it, can’t be turned off quickly enough to prevent hideous damage. But we will keep fighting, in the hope that we can limit that damage. And in the process, with many others fighting similar battles, we’ll help build the architecture for the […]

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There is a wistful myth that if only we had enough money to spend – the figure is usually put at a hundred billion dollars – we could wipe out all our slums in ten years, reverse decay in the great, dull, gray belts that were yesterday’s and day-before-yesterday’s suburbs, anchor the wandering middle class […]

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“The merciless shelling had no pattern. It was aimless and incessant. Each day it seemed to increase in intensity. Mortars and the grinding howl of rocket-firing Katashkas soon added to the din. Most people now spent much of their time in cellars, air raid shelters, flak tower bunkers and subway stations. They lost all sense […]

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“‘I have no doubt,’ Von Manteuffel told his staff, ‘that on Hitler’s maps there is a little flag saying 7TH PANZER DIV., even though it got here without a single tank, truck, piece of artillery or even a machine gun. We have an army of ghosts.’” Ryan, Cornelius. The Last Battle. 1966. p. 395

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“By now confusion was beginning to sweep the German lines. Shortages were apparent everywhere and in everything. A critical lack of transport, an almost total absence of fuel, and roads thronged with refugees made large-scale troop movements almost impossible. This immobility was producing dire consequences: as units shifted position, their equipment, including precious artillery, had […]

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“In all, one third of Reymann’s men were unarmed. The remainder might as well have been. ‘Their weapons,’ he was to relate, ‘came from every country that Germany had fought with or against. Besides our own issues, there were Italian, Russian, French, Czechoslovakian, Belgian, Dutch, Norwegian and English guns.’ There were no less than fifteen […]

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