Bald Norwegians, French intellectuals and VR flirting


Favourited: Assorted picks from our weekly newsletter 

25th September 2015

Our weekly newsletter is unleashed on Thursday lunchtimes, featuring the latest long and short reads from the site plus a roundup of stories of innovation from around the web that caught our eye.

Here's a peak at this week's favourites. As we go along in our new rolling format, we'll flag some highlights of things we find interesting here. In the meantime, you can read the latest newsletter in full here and sign up here, or at the top right of this page.


  1. The US military's technological superiority is waning, now that you can use hobbyist drones for reconnaissance or iPads to aim mortars. So the Pentagon is turning to Silicon Valley to restore its military edge (California Sunday)
  2. "Almost no pop celebrities write their own hits. Too much is on the line for that, and being a global celebrity is a full-time job. It would be like Will Smith writing the next Independence Day." Meet the bald Norwegians and other unknowns behind the songs that top the charts (Atlantic)
  3. When the financial crisis hit Sardinia, a group of local friends decided that the best way to help the island was to set up a currency from scratch (FT)
  4. China VCs are 'going crazy for girl groups'. Top Chinese group SNH48 has 119 members and operates essentially as a VC-backed startup, worth several hundred million dollars (Businessweek)
  5. The decline of the French intellectual: "Paris has ceased to be a major centre of innovation in the humanities and social sciences" (Politico)
  6. Experiments with a six-hour workday (Guardian)
  7. Most economic indicators describe the nation state, but perhaps we should be focusing on cities: Tim Harford on what cities tell us about the economy (FT)
  8. "Quiet intimacy so realistic it's unsettling." Why a VR game about flirting is as scary as a horror game (WIRED)
  9. Never mind the future, we need more diverse visions of the present (The Verge)
  10. What is 'local'? What is 'authentic'? René Redzepi explains why he's closing Noma (Lucky Peach)


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