The Narrowing Of The Conservative Mind. Plus, The Best Of The Web This Week.

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How the Republican Party forgot its roots. The dark side of Thomas Jefferson. A Chinese innovator who builds skyscrapers like Legos. Why you should get ready for driverless cars. And more! Enjoy.

Politics and World Affairs

The Conservative Mind  / David Brooks / The New York Times
Good piece on how the Republican Party has allowed economic conservatism to overpower traditional conservatism, and in doing so, “has abandoned half of its intellectual ammunition.”

Imagination Interface  / Scott Adams / The Scott Adams Blog
A very interesting take on how “economies are driven by imagination” and how great leaders are skilled at inspiring/manipulating expectations for the future.

The Lie Factory  / Jill Lepore / The New Yorker
The amazing story of the world’s first political consulting firm, which invented and perfected in the 1930s many of the dirty tricks and deceptions that continue to win elections today. (via Stephen)

My Name Is Joe Biden And I’ll Be Your Server  / Bill Barol / The New Yorker
Very funny: “If [my mom] was here you know what she’d say? … She’d say, ‘Joey, I hope your friends saved some room for dessert, because the Molten Chocolate Explosion Cake with Burnt-Caramel Gelato is outta this world, Joey. It is literally out of this world.'”

Arts and Culture

Who Wants To Eat Jellyfish Omelets? Dolphin Meatballs? Mouse-On-Toast? These Guys  / Aaron Birk and Robert Krulwich / NPR
A look at two of history’s most adventurous eaters, and the extraordinary lengths they went to in the name of culinary experimentation.

The Dark Side Of Thomas Jefferson  / Henry Wiencek / Smithsonian
Excellent piece on how a simple financial calculation helped persuade the man who gave us the phrase “all men are created equal” to reverse his antislavery position.

The Surprisingly Colorful Spaces Where The World’s Biggest Decisions Get Made  / T.A. Frail / Smithsonian
A slideshow featuring the interiors of several interesting organizations, from the French Communist Party (which, let’s be honest, is probably not making the world’s biggest decisions) to the New School to the United Nations.

Know Your States  / Jim’s Pages
Test your knowledge of American geography in this fun and deceptively simple game.

Business and Economics

Meet The Man Who Built A 30-Story Building In 15 Days  / Lauren Hilgers / Wired

Engaging profile of Zhang Yue, the ambitious businessman who has developed a way to build skyscrapers quickly and cheaply … and now plans “to erect the world’s tallest building in just seven months.”

How Do They Make Their Money?  / Seer Interactive
Clear visualization of the business models of dozens of different tech firms.

How Families Spend In Brazil, Russia, China, Egpyt, India, Turkey, Indonesia, And Saudi Arabia  / Derek Thompson / Quartz
Charts show stark differences in how family budgets differ in a wide range of countries around the world.

A Trans-Atlantic Trip Turns Kafkaesque  / Gary Shteyngart / The New York Times
“You, American Airlines, should no longer be flying across the Atlantic.”

Science and Technology

Who’s Behind The Wheel? Nobody.  / Dan Neil / The Wall Street Journal
The Journal’s automotive critic on why driverless cars are inevitable, and why that’s a good thing. The opening paragraphs are very well done.

Glass Works: How Corning Created The Ultrathin, Ultrastrong Material Of The Future  / Bryan Gardiner / Wired 
Fascinating story of how Corning invented Gorilla Glass — featuring a cameo from Steve Jobs — and on how it approaches innovation more broadly.

Seven Ways Mobile Phones Have Changed Lives In Africa  / Tolu Ogunlesi / CNN
Useful perspective on how quickly things are changing and improving. (via Lauren)

Explore The Ocean With Google Maps  / YouTube
Apparently, organizing the world’s information includes underwater information.

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