Things to Read this Week...

Animals think. Therefore...

"In 1992, at Tangalooma, off the coast of Queensland, people began to throw fish into the water for the local wild dolphins to eat. In 1998, the dolphins began to feed the humans, throwing fish up onto the jetty for them. The humans thought they were having a bit of fun feeding the animals. What, if anything, did the dolphins think?

Charles Darwin thought the mental capacities of animals and people differed only in degree, not kind—a natural conclusion to reach when armed with the radical new belief that the one evolved from the other. His last great book, “The Expression of Emotions in Man and Animals”, examined joy, love and grief in birds, domestic animals and primates as well as in various human races. But Darwin’s attitude to animals—easily shared by people in everyday contact with dogs, horses, even mice—ran contrary to a long tradition in European thought which held that animals had no minds at all. This way of thinking stemmed from the argument of René Descartes, a great 17th-century philosopher, that people were creatures of reason, linked to the mind of God, while animals were merely machines made of flesh—living robots which, in the words of Nicolas Malebranche, one of his followers, “eat without pleasure, cry without pain, grow without knowing it: they desire nothing, fear nothing, know nothing.”


David Bowie’s last days: an 18-month burst of creativity

For more than a decade before his death David Bowie seemed to disappear. Beset by ill health after an on-stage heart attack in 2004, he largely withdrew into a life at home in New York, becoming a ghost in the city where he had lived for a quarter of a century.

Yet as the world comes to terms with his death this week, admirers are digesting a remarkable late burst of creativity, a dramatic 18-month flourish capped by an apparently exquisitely well-crafted exit.

At 69, Bowie reasserted himself both as a musician – Blackstar, the album released two days before his death, is topping charts around the world – and as a questing creative figure whose vision is still playing out on the New York theatre stage.

How did Bowie pull this off from the penthouse duplex he shared with wife, Iman, and 15-year-old daughter, Lexi, in the Nolita section of downtown Manhattan?



Can Everlane make Ethical Clothing Chic?

Michael Preysman has come to China on a warm day in October to confront a young executive whose family owns the Dongguan factory that makes his popular backpacks. Preysman is the fast-talking founder and chief executive officer of Everlane, the five-year-old online clothing company committed to, and capitalizing on, “radical transparency” about where its shirts, sweaters, T-shirts, pants, coats, shoes, and bags are made and how much they cost to make. Its influence is greater than its size suggests: Everlane has been called “the Internet’s smartest clothing brand” (Fader) and the next J.Crew (Racked). “We want the look of Céline and the ethics of Patagonia,” Preysman says.

Read the rest of this article on Bloomberg Business here