USA

On the tracks of Lovecraft

Two months ago I traveled the East Coast and urged my family to visit Providence / Rhode Island as well. We just made a minor stop there but I tried to see as many sites as possible that are related to the famous horror-, fantasy- and science fiction-author Howard Philips Lovecraft. Due to the fact that we were there for only a night and half a day we just saw the Lovecraft Square, one of his former houses, some streets near Brown University and, of course, his grave a the Swanpoint Cemetery. Unfortunatley, I was not able to visit the Brown University Library in order to study the Lovecraft Collection. I hope that I will have a chance to get there later.
In the Lovecraft Arts and Sciences Shop in the center of Providence I bought "The Annotated Lovecraft", a monumental tome with the most relevant stories by Lovecraft, completed by hundreds of interesting annotations explaining his inspirations, hidden connections and scientific or occult backgrounds. My salutations to the nice shop keeper - we talked a moment about living in Berlin and making music and it was so cool. Thanks!
(Note my Cthulhu-themed t-shirt by one of my favorite bands, the German independent gothic classic horror psycho chamber story-telling industrial rockers Janus)

Article: Rules for Survival in Autocracies

I have lived in autocracies most of my life, and have spent much of my career writing about Vladimir Putin’s Russia. I have learned a few rules for surviving in an autocracy and salvaging your sanity and self-respect. It might be worth considering them now:

Rule #1Believe the autocrat. He means what he says. Whenever you find yourself thinking, or hear others claiming, that he is exaggerating, that is our innate tendency to reach for a rationalization.

NYR Daily - Masha Gessen: Autocracy: Rules for Survival

Wikipedia gives us this definition of autocracy
An autocracy is a system of government in which supreme power is concentrated in the hands of one person, whose decisions are subject to neither external legal restraints nor regularized mechanisms of popular control (except perhaps for the implicit threat of a coup d'état or mass insurrection). Absolute monarchy and dictatorship are the main historical forms of autocracy. In very early times, the term "autocrat" was written in coins as a favorable feature of the ruler, having some connection to the concept of "lack of conflicts of interests".

Patterns in Presidential Speeches

The folks at Vocativ used a Flesch-Kincaid readability test to assess the ease of comprehension of more than 600 presidential speeches, delivered by every Commander in Chief in American history. Notice a pattern?

io9: Have Presidential Speeches Gotten Less Sophisticated Over Time?