In the News 10.03.17 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
Friday 10th March, 2017
PPE: The Oxford Degree That Runs Britain
Monday, 13 April 2015 was a typical day in modern British politics. An Oxford University graduate in philosophy, politics and economics (PPE), Ed Miliband, launched the Labour party’s general election manifesto. It was examined by the BBC’s political editor, Oxford PPE graduate Nick Robinson, by the BBC’s economics editor, Oxford PPE graduate Robert Peston, and by the director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, Oxford PPE graduate Paul Johnson. It was criticised by the prime minister, Oxford PPE graduate David Cameron. It was defended by the Labour shadow chancellor, Oxford PPE graduate Ed Balls.
Elsewhere in the country, with the election three weeks away, the Liberal Democrat chief secretary to the Treasury, Oxford PPE graduate Danny Alexander, was preparing to visit Kingston and Surbiton, a vulnerable London seat held by a fellow Lib Dem minister, Oxford PPE graduate Ed Davey. In Kent, one of Ukip’s two MPs, Oxford PPE graduate Mark Reckless, was campaigning in his constituency, Rochester and Strood. Comments on the day’s developments were being posted online by Michael Crick, Oxford PPE graduate and political correspondent of Channel 4 News.
Born a Slave, Emma Ray Was the Saint of Seattle’s Slums
It was the 1890s, and a series of underground tunnels and cellars existed beneath Gold Rush-era Seattle, a result of the city’s relentless leveling of hills. In these hidden places were women, often addicted to morphine, often selling their bodies to support their habit. They lived under the city’s wharves as well, in conditions described as “damp and moldy and dark.” They lived in abandoned buildings and deserted outhouses on the city’s muddy outskirts, only creeping out in the middle of the night to find money or their drug of choice.
For many such women, the day they met Emma Ray was the day their life changed. A small African-American woman, born a slave in Missouri, Emma walked unafraid in the meanest streets of Seattle because she believed that she was a child of God, and that her work was divine. As a local leader of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, her purpose, as she saw it, was to minister to the “lost people” of Seattle – alcoholics, prostitutes, addicts, and more. She went into the brothels, slums, prisons, and saloons, as well as places few entered. She even invited large numbers of destitute women, men, and children into her home, that they might get on their feet.
Read the rest of this article at Crosscut
How to Become an International Gold Smuggler
As the minutes ticked by on the afternoon of April 28, 2015, Harold Vilches watched stoically while customs officers at Santiago’s international airport scrutinized his carry-on. Inside the roller bag was 44 pounds of solid gold, worth almost $800,000, and all the baby-faced, 21-year-old college student wanted was clearance to get on a red-eye to Miami. Vilches had arrived at the airport six hours early because he thought there might be some trouble—he’d heard that customs had recently seized shipments from competing smugglers. But Vilches had done this run, or sent people to do it, more than a dozen times, and he’d prepared his falsified export paperwork with extra care. He was pretty sure he wouldn’t have any trouble. While he waited, he texted his contacts in Florida, telling them he’d already cleared customs.
Read the rest of this article at Bloomberg
Musicians on Artistic
Creation — and Its
LATE LAST YEAR, a week before his final record was released and not quite four weeks before he died, Leonard Cohen held a press conference at the Canadian consulate in Los Angeles. Dapper in a dark suit, seeking support in his seat from a cane, the 82-year-old fielded questions. With a wit and candor and gentleness and wisdom that felt extraterrestrial, he spoke as though he’d traveled here from a civilization more advanced than our own to offer us a few gifts that could ensure the survival of our species. Near the end, there was a kind of apotheosis. A Japanese reporter asked Cohen about one of the lyrics from the new record’s title song, “You Want It Darker,” in which Cohen sing-speaks, “Hineni, hineni, I’m ready my Lord.”
A Hebrew word that appears in the Old Testament, hineni — הנני : “Here I am” — is said by Moses and Abraham and Isaiah when God appears to ask something of each of them. It’s a declaration not of location but of disposition, of willingness. The reporter wanted to know from Cohen about the moment that inspired the line. “I don’t really know the genesis, the origin,” Cohen began. “That ‘hineni,’ that declaration of readiness no matter what the outcome, that’s a part of everyone’s soul. We all are motivated by deep impulses and deep appetites to serve, even though we may not be able to locate that which we are willing to serve. So, this is just a part of my nature, and I think everybody else’s nature, to offer oneself at the critical moment when the emergency becomes articulate. It’s only when the emergency becomes articulate that we can locate that willingness to serve.”
Read the rest of this article at The New York Times
How Paella Got Punked – and the Valencian Chefs Trying to Save It
Paella is the history of Spain on a plate, so why did aficionados have to start Wikipaella to protect it? In this extract from his new book, Matt Goulding heads for Valencia in search of the perfect dish
If you look closely enough, you will find the entire history of Spain within the perimeter of a paella pan. Olive oil, the golden film that forms the base of every paella, adding depth and a gentle sheen to the bed of grains, is the story of a hungry ancient Rome expanding its empire across Iberia, one olive tree at a time. Tomato, the heart of the sofrito that lends colour and a savoury-sweet baseline to a proper paella, is the story of Spain’s own vision of empire and conquest, and the unexpected treasures it pillaged from the New World. And the heart of paella – the rice, saffron and vegetables that fill out the pan – speaks of 700 years of Moorish rule leaving a footprint on the Iberian peninsula; one that informs how Spain eats, drinks and lives to this day.
When the Berbers of north Africa made their way up through Andalucía and into the Valencia area during the eighth century, they found a flat coastal land rich with fresh water from the rivers and lagoons that cut through the plains like veins and arteries. They called the area the Albufera, little sea – green and wet and spotted white with ocean birds, a breeding ground for a new culture in Spain and the rest of Europe. Within years of the Moors’ arrival, the wetlands were converted into rice paddies used to feed the growing Iberian extension of the Moorish empire. Thirteen hundred years later, massive grain silos stand tall like watchtowers over the Valencia flats, fuelling one of the world’s most enduring and extraordinary rice cultures.
Paella wasn’t the result of a singular creation from an inspired cook, but a slow evolution of necessity and adaptation, a convergence of land and history and circumstance. References to rice a la valenciana can be found as early as the 17th century, but the paella itself, the wide, shallow pan fundamental to the dish’s creation, doesn’t surface until the end of the 19th century. With it came what we now recognise as the world’s most famous rice dish.
The dimensions of the dish are rooted in the ground itself, the Valencian rice and orange fields where farmers and day labourers sought sustenance as they worked the earth. Paella evolved as a reflection of their immediate surroundings: legumes and tomatoes from the gardens, snails clinging to the wild rosemary and thyme bushes wet with rain, duck and rabbit from the marshes of the Albufera, all cooked over wood cut from the surrounding citrus groves.