廷龍政經閱讀 (20120101):拋棄偶像

廷龍政經閱讀: The Week of Jan 1, 2012


Tom McNichol: Be a Jerk: The Worst Business Lesson From the Steve Jobs Biography (The Atlantic)

The ease with which people can possess astonishingly contradictory qualities is one of the mysteries of human nature; indeed, it’s one of the things that separates humans from, say, an Apple computer. Every one of the components that makes up an iPad is essential to the work it produces. Remove one part and the machine no longer performs its job, and not even the Genius Bar can fix it. But humans are full of qualities that are in no way integral to their functioning in the world. Some aspects of personality have little or no bearing on whether a person performs well, and not a few people succeed in spite of their darker qualities. You can be a genius and an asshole, but the two aren’t necessarily causally linked.

Roger Angell: Life and Letters (The New Yorker)

Losing the mixed pleasures of just arrived letters may not mean as much in the end as what we’re missing by not writing them. Writing regularly to several people—a parent, a friend who’s moved to another coast, a daughter or son away at college—requires one to keep separate mental ledgers, storing up the weather or the idle thoughts or the disasters we need to pass on. We’re always getting ready to write. The letters out and back become a correspondence, and mysteriously take on a tone of their own: some rambly and comfortably boring; others cool and funny; some financial; some confessional. They stick in the mind and seem worth the trouble.

James Somers: How I Failed, Failed, and Finally Succeeded at Learning How to Code (The Atlantic)

If you’re having trouble, it could be because you don’t have much training in real math, that is, in solving open-ended problems about simple shapes and objects. It’s hard work. But it’s also kind of fun — it requires patience, creativity, an insight here and there. It feels more like working on a puzzle than one of those tedious drills at the back of a textbook.

Dave Schechter: Professor questions Iowa’s place in elections and creates a stir (CNN)

It may be a good thing that Bloom, a native of New Jersey, has been away teaching this semester at the University of Michigan because in trying to explain “in both a real and metaphysical way, what Iowa is,” he has drawn the ire of Iowans literally from all corners of the state — from Sibley and Keokuk (whose mayor has invited him to visit and explain the “a depressed, crime-infested slum town” remark) to Decorah to Shenandoah.

桑普:駁「告別革命」說 (開放


高華:讀王鼎鈞的《文學江湖》:冷戰年代一位讀書人的困窘和堅守 (思想)

人生如夢,世事難料,就像人們不可能料到蔣經國去世一年後東歐會發生歷史性巨變,武裝到牙齒的蘇聯也會解體一樣,當年的人們很難想像國民黨在台灣鐵桶般的統治也會結束。 國民黨從特務橫行,嗜權如命,到遵守政黨輪替的遊戲規則,其間既有人的因素,也有客觀環境推動的因素。 但不管怎麼說,國民黨進步了,台灣社會進步了。

李鍾琴:三篇文章看完才看清韓寒 (凱迪

韓寒寫道:“如能達成,從我而言,我承諾,在文化環境更自由之後:不清算,向前看,不談其在執政史上的敏感事件,不談及或評判高層集團的家族或者相關利益,只對當下社會進行評判和討論。如果文化界和官方能各讓一步,互相遵循一個約定的底線,換取各自更大空間,那便更好。”  我忽然想起了被西門慶差點踹死的武大郎。 武大傷重臥床,對潘金蓮道:“我死自不妨,和你們爭不得了!我的兄弟武二,你須得知他性格;倘或早晚歸來,他肯幹休?你若肯可憐我,早早服侍我好了,他歸來時,我都不提!”  瞧瞧,武大郎在向潘金蓮承諾“不清算,向前看”時,尚且知道抬出武松。 如果沒有武鬆的武力作後盾,被打得奄奄一息的武大郎有資格向潘金蓮、西門慶承諾“不清算,向前看”嗎?  而韓寒先否定武松,即而開始乞求,居然又以勝利者的姿態作出了寬容大度的承諾,卻不知這乞求是何等的卑微無力,這承諾又是何等的滑稽可笑!

高華:論國民黨大陸失敗之主要原因 (歷史教學-中學版

將介石對推行民主憲政有興趣也意願,即使是半心半意,也給中共提供了機會。 1945 年秋天,毛澤東在重慶通過和蔣介石的幾次長談和近距離的接觸,看穿了蔣實際上是“民主無量,獨裁無膽”。 回延安後,毛澤東說:“我看蔣介石兇得很,又怕事得很。他沒有重心———民主或獨裁,和或戰。最近幾個月,我看他沒有路線了。……我們是路線清楚而調子很低,並沒有馬上推翻一黨專政。我看,現在是有蔣以來,從未有之弱。兵散了,新聞檢查取消了,這是18 年來未有之事。說他堅決反革命,不見得。”[13] (p.422)毛澤東看出蔣和國民黨的致命弱點。 蔣介石是局中人當然不知此理,當他悟出此道時已經太晚。

Alexis Madrigal: The 3 Big Advances in the Technology of the Pizza Box (The Atlantic)

Now that pizza delivery containers have reached a sufficient level of advanced development, I think it’s about time our nations engineers turned their eyes on an even tougher problem that’s long stumped the country’s growing Latino population. Inventors, on behalf of my whole family, particularly my father, I implore you to explore this question: how do you keep corn tortillas warm and pliant?


廷龍政經閱讀 (20111225):革命

廷龍政經閱讀: The Week of Dec 25, 2011


許知遠:庸眾的勝利 (亞洲週刊)

但世上真有如此美事嗎?用劉曉波來比較韓寒,既不恰當也不公平。但是,公眾對兩者的態度,卻恰好不過的映襯了這個時代的特徵。人們不談論劉曉波,是因為他的名字不能出現在公共話語空間,也因為這有點危險。但集體性地沉默與忽視也在表明,其實我們對於真正的自由與反抗毫無興趣,甚至心生恐懼。自由是需要付出代價的,它不僅要反抗,而且有明確的主張。這需要智力與情感上的成熟,並願意為自己的決定承擔後果。  對於韓寒的熱烈推崇,是整個社會拒絕付出代價的標誌。當我們沉浸於隻言片語的嘲諷時,一定誤以為自己已消解了這可惡的權力體制,其實一點沒變,嘲諷只是為上面裹了一層糖衣,但我們進行自我麻醉,還將此視作一次反抗。

李慎之:無權者的權力和反政治的政治 (哈維爾文集


Robert Service: The Next Russian Revolution?  (The New York Times)

But Russians, having sleepwalked away from Communism, are awakening to the idea that if they want democracy and social justice, they need to engage in active struggle. Quiescent 20 years ago during Soviet Communism’s final days, they may at last be about to stand up for their rights.

Thanassis Cambanis: The Despair of Egypt (The Atlantic)

The revolutionary youth alone hold promise for Egypt’s politics of accountability, rule of law, minority rights, and civilian control over the army — the unpopular but important bulwarks of a more liberal order. It would be a mistake to focus too much on public opinion of the protests, or even the gatherings’ size. What matters is their impact. The military, in fact, has set the parameters. Since February, they have scorned those who negotiate with them in good faith at polite meetings. The only concessions the generals have made — including, last month, their agreement to schedule presidential elections a year and a half earlier than they’d originally wanted — came as the result of violent protests in Tahrir Square. Perhaps the revolutionaries found it simple to flood Tahrir in response to every crisis; but it was the generals who taught them that protest was the only tool that actually worked.

Derek Thompson: The Most Important Graphs of 2011(The Atlantic

What is it about graphs and economics? In a discipline where facts are murky and certainty is elusive, graphs offer a bright light of information and a small confidence that the world can be summed up between two axes. So when the BBC asked a group of economists to name their graph of the year, we decided to do the same (so did Wonkblog!). Here, from economists on left and right, and from economic journalists from around the beat, are the graphs of the year.

Kim Hyun Sik: The Secret History of Kim Jong II(Foreign Policy

Living under a totalitarian regime requires a daily suspension of disbelief. Nowhere is that more true today than in North Korea, where otherwise ethical people contort themselves into untenable moral positions because they’ve bought into the oft-repeated notion that their country is “Paradise on Earth.” Simply to survive in North Korea, citizens must believe they are living in a chosen land. And when ideological indoctrination morphs into reality, the dictator need not even be nearby to spread fear. Not if average people will do his bidding for him.

Václav Havel, playwright and president (The Economist)

His great aim, he used to say, was that his countrymen could enjoy life untroubled by politics. But that was only one of his achievements. As a playwright and as an essayist, and as a philosopher of the human condition, his fame stretched far beyond the “small boring European country” whose return to freedom he had so lovingly overseen.

Daniel Henninger: No Time for Christmas (Wall Street Journal)

Some might say they knew it would come to this when the “holiday log” began to appear on television. Nice as it was to have a beautiful fire roaring all day on the TV screen, you knew there was something wrong with this. Christmas has been pretty much all downhill from the holiday log.




在如此重負之下我們仍能掙扎著相愛,這實在是對人類的能力和耐力的禮讚,因為追求 快樂而不是痛苦,追求關心而不是征服,更為重要的是,追求聯繫——相互聯繫以及全體社會成員的聯繫——是對我們自身以及世界的創造和關愛。 人類的這種能力和耐力也使我們有了現實的希望,我們能夠在人類歷史上這個關鍵時刻,創造一個更加平衡且不太瘋狂的社會制度——在這個社會制度中,暴力、統治,以及性和精神的功能失常,不再被認為“就該是這樣”。

廷龍政經閱讀 (20111218):拯救中文

廷龍政經閱讀: The Week of Dec 18, 2011



陳雲:官用簡體殘字,毒我香港城邦 (三明治)


Ai Weiwei: The Dissident (Time)

I think Chinese leadership is trying to tell the world they have another set of logic or reasoning or values which are different from yours. Of course, I don’t think they believe that. It’s just an argument that’s made when you can’t confront the truth and facts. They really want to maintain power. At the same time, they refuse to communicate. They refuse to have good intentions. They refuse to be sincere. How can that last?

周軼君:中國式選舉——觀2011劍橋中國學聯主席競選 (財新)

初入會場的時候,我是心存偏見的。 中國學生確實如許知遠描述“公共生活中的隱形人”,事不關己並不熱衷。 排隊入場時,耳邊傳來的對話是關於“昨晚通宵打牌”或“某個牌子到底是哪個國家的”。 但後來現場觀眾的反應證明,他們顯然有自己的主張。

余華:Chinese Autumn is no Arab Spring (Los Angeles Times)

So in my view, there are only two roads ahead for China: democratization or revolution. Either road is likely to be long. In the first case, the Communist Party will never willingly relinquish its privileges but will only give them up incrementally, under pressure. In the second, it’s no easy matter for the scattered, isolated chopsticks to consolidate in the face of lavishly financed stability maintenance.



Stephen Bloom: Observations from 20 Years of Iowa Life(The Atlantic

It’s no surprise then, really, that the most popular place for suicide in America isn’t New York or Los Angeles, but the rural Middle, where guns, unemployment, alcoholism and machismo reign. Suicides in Iowa’s rural counties are 13.55 per 100,000 residents; New York’s suicide rate is 5.4 residents per 100,000. Hunting accidents are common, perhaps spurred by the elixir of alcohol, which seems to be the drink of choice whenever a man suits up in camo or orange overalls.

蘇美:寂寞少婦 (豆瓣)

有誰說出這些女人呢,它們說著豐胸減肥整容抽脂,每一份雜誌上封面上都有一個不知所謂的女人。它們肆無忌憚的談論著性,尺寸,體位,以為這就是剪鞭子放纏足了;它們把女人身體的個個部位昭顯於眾,堆砌在香車美酒和那些浮腫的男人身邊。黃金周圍。女人們煙視媚行,像足了冒牌的上海灘舞孃。我還沒見過有哪個國家,像這個國家一樣,把女人當牲口看,還不給草料。  羞恥,我常常一腔羞恥。一個自詡儒雅前衛的中年男人,他說:中國女人的問題,是太在乎男人的看法了。我咬著後槽牙冷笑。我抽你一耳光,只是因為你的臉太合乎我手掌的尺寸了。

李怡:有一句話,亞視和許多傳媒說不出口 (蘋果日報)



送舊迎新,自不該掃興。 可在此歲末,面對余傑事件,我只能提醒大家也提醒自己,不要忘記,中國改革身後,尚存巨大陰影:我們有許多憲政專家和學者,可時至今日,“專政”二字,還留在中華人民共和國的憲法中,它毫髮無損,仍紋絲不動。

老愚:56米長的中國表情(FT Chinese


Yiyi Lu: Black Jails: Times to Start Blaming Beijing (The Wall Street Journal)

As long as the central government remains strong in asking local governments to control the number of petitioners flowing into Beijing but weak in meting out punishment when local governments achieve their targets through dubious means, it does not look likely that abuse of petitioners would stop.

廷龍政經閱讀 (20111211):一滴淚

廷龍政經閱讀: The Week of Dec 11, 2011


一個人的生命有多少閱讀時間?還是多讀New Yorker, The Atlantic, Wall Street Journal,讓劣質中文自生自滅,靜待中文的文藝復興運動吧。


Mattathias Schwartz: Pre-Occupied: The Origins and Future of Occupy Wall Street (The New Yorker)

To many in the park, vagueness was a virtue. It also had a history. In 1962, student radicals gathered in Michigan to complete the Port Huron Statement, the founding document of Students for a Democratic Society. One student argued that an early working draft was too utopian and impractical. But Tom Hayden, the main author, wrote that the movement should “remain ambiguous in direction for a while: don’t kill it by immediately imposing formulas. . . . When consciousness is at its proper stage, we might talk seriously and in an action-oriented way about solutions.”

林行止: 高呼造福香港! 繼續忽略中產? (信報財經新聞)

曾氏的觀察頗有見地,然而,筆者以為此中或有用詞不當而迷失用意,即使他觀察無誤,其判斷力亦當斟酌。其實,青年人若富理想,社會會因他們追求理想賣力工作 而充滿活潑生機,可惜,當今香港青年不僅沒有什麼遠大理想,就是對基本的謀生出路亦感徬徨。貧富問題當然不是香港獨有,但香港有他地所無的特殊性,此為九 七年前的移民潮令中產階級明顯萎縮,而回歸後的內地定額移民不能填補此缺失,加上近年的物業狂潮和幾乎所有的政策尤其是稅制都向富裕階級和草根傾斜;充滿草根意識的政客以派發「免費午餐」交換選票為己任,結果是上層和下層社會都受到無微不至的「照顧」,中產階級的利益則乏人聞問。中產受壓,貧富問題更刺 眼。

Adam Gopnik: Shootings (The New Yorker)

Rural America is hunting country, and hunters need rifles and shotguns—with proper licensing, we’ll live with the risk. There is no reason that any private citizen in a democracy should own a handgun. At some point, that simple truth will register. Until it does, phones will ring for dead children, and parents will be told not to ask why.

Joesph Epstein: There at the New Yorker (The Weekly Standard Book Review)

Robert Warshow, in 1947, wrote: “The New Yorker has always dealt with experience not by trying to understand it but by prescribing the attitude to be adopted toward it. This makes it possible to feel intelligent without thinking, and it is a way of making everything tolerable, for the assumption of a suitable attitude toward experience can give one the illusion of having dealt with it adequately.”




七九年十一月,我劫後餘生,從安徽返京,到頤和園附近的學院辦理「錯劃右派改正」,順道重訪燕園。 那天正趕上寒流侵襲,冷雨淒淒。 我沿著似曾相識的未名湖踽踽獨行,欲哭無淚,腦子裡冒出兩句舊詩:   忍看朋輩成新鬼,天陰雨濕聲啾啾!


長期宣傳成功地將自己扮成一個古今無二的完美形象,不但是民族獨立的唯一希望所在,而且也承擔著中國人所追求的一切現代價值。 1949年奪權成功更增添了無窮的威勢,似乎已完全證實了「黨」的「光榮、偉大、正確」。 「黨」的絕對精神權威便從此在絕大多數知識人心中牢牢地建立起來了。連處於政治邊緣的沉從文先生在「反右」期間也老實地遵守著下面這個絕對原則:「凡對黨有好處就做,有損害處絕不干。」其馀的人更可想而知了。

Jose Antonio Vargas: My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant (New York Times Magazine)

The more I achieved, the more scared and depressed I became. I was proud of my work, but there was always a cloud hanging over it, over me. My old eight-year deadline — the expiration of my Oregon driver’s license — was approaching.

Blake Gopnik: Why Is Art So Damned Expensive (Newsweek)

“If I can’t sell something, I just double the price.” That’s what Ernst Beyeler, the great Swiss dealer who helped found Art Basel, reportedly said. Some people actually prefer to pay more than makes sense. Zelizer explains that, in all walks of life, we treat the biggest sums -differently, with special respect or even awe, than more-everyday money. “I think very often the price paid for a work is the trophy itself,” says Glimcher, the dealer.

廷龍政經閱讀 (20111204):雲

廷龍政經閱讀: The Week of Dec 4, 2011

幾天前,吾妻的Gmail Account被中國黑客竊取(黑客使用的是中華網郵箱),且所有恢復帳號的選項也被篡改。連續兩天反復聯繫Google,遭遇的只有冷眼。後來求助一位在Google工作的朋友,問題迅速解決。有了這個驚悚的遭遇,James Fallow刊於大西洋週刊的文章”Hacked!”讀起來真的非常親切。

James Fallow:Hacked!(The Atlantic

A company presents itself as the world’s leader in handling big data; it attracts users to its services (albeit free, but indispensable to the company as advertising vehicles) with the idea that trusting cloud services is moderne; and then it exposes them to something few sane users would accept on their own—the risk of “single-point failure” that could in a few minutes eliminate many years’ worth of crucial data. This is the same company famed for making every bit of data part of the world’s “permanent record.



Jeremy Page: Children of the Revolution (Wall Street Journal)

The offspring of party leaders, often called “princelings,” are becoming more conspicuous, through both their expanding business interests and their evident appetite for luxury, at a time when public anger is rising over reports of official corruption and abuse of power.

Lander:雜談-15-被遺忘的細節——中國古代建築的裝飾材料 (豆瓣

唐朝,琉璃指的是玻璃製品,而頗黎是天然玻璃類寶石,現在的黑耀石橄欖石玄武岩玻璃都屬於此類。 宋代,不透明或色彩暗淡半透明的彩色玻璃是琉璃。 而頗梨是透明無色的玻璃。 後者專指阿拉伯人在公元九世紀利用沙石製造出具有現代意義的無色透明的玻璃。 在宋朝,琉璃和玻璃正式在中國文獻上加以明確區分。 現在的定義是,琉璃是鉛鋇玻璃,玻璃則是以鈉鈣為主要成分。   玻璃和琉璃技術在明代失傳,明代用紙張和絹紗或明瓦代替玻璃,明瓦就是把蠣殼磨成半透明體,夾以竹片,嵌於窗上。 明末才重新有玻璃進口。

劉克襄:香港仔觀鷹記 (明報)

多麼不可思議的場景, 但這兒是香港島, 一個大都會的黃昏, 非覓食之時空。麻鷹們各自飛出自己的圓圈, 連結其它麻鷹的盤旋。牠們未發出任何聲音, 不像白天時還會在不同山谷發出輕快的鳴叫。每隻都有默契地關機了, 天空充滿靜肅。彼此間偶有追逐, 但都一下子即飛開, 繼續在天空翱翔。彷彿靠着安靜的盤旋, 即可溝通一切事情。

Jonah Lehrer: Chains That Set Us Free (Wall Street Journal)

Poets intuited this truth long ago, which is why they cling to poetic forms. The artificial requirements of the sonnet are just another cognitive obstacle, a hurdle that compels the mind to think in a more expansive fashion.