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To say that Future is rap’s strangest young male star right now might not be saying all that much. As music sales of all kinds dissipate into the aether, it seems to be making the dwindling number of big record companies more and more conservative, content to approach a promising weirdo like Young Thug only when there’s already popularity for the leveraging—especially since certain potential signees, having gained a cult from one hot mixtape, question the necessity of any major-label deal at all.

Reared on Outkast, Future came by his idiosyncrasy organically (older cousin Rico Wade was part of Atlanta’s original Dungeon Family). His experimentation takes an accessible form, emotive and rousing. The most prominent technique is frequent but deliberate use of Auto-Tune: his raspy singing-rapping keeps drifting in and out of impossible computer-enhanced focus. In the music video for fiancée Ciara’s life-affirming “Body Party,” a song Future co-wrote, he comes on like the love interest from some ‘90s teen movie, or an android replacement who just discovered human feelings: “They don’t call me the Future for no REAson.”

Here’s a scenario: imagine you’re given a pie and told to share it with a stranger. The knife is in your hands, you can divvy it up any way you choose, but with one caveat: if the stranger doesn’t agree to the split, the pie will be taken away and you’ll both be left with nothing. What’s your offer? How equal a share do you propose? And, if you’re the stranger, how do you respond if someone offers you, say, a quarter of the pie? What about a single measly slice?

The pie quandary is the essence of something called the “ultimatum game,” a common tool in economics experiments. In a perfectly rational world in which each player is out to get the biggest reward, the best move for the responder is to accept any offer. Assuming she will play this way, the way for the knife-wielder to take home the biggest slice is to make the smallest offer possible. Even a sliver of pie, the thinking goes, is better than no pie at all.

Studies have long found, however, that this is not how people actually play. The person in charge of the split often offers far more than necessary. And responders frequently reject offers, even though it means leaving empty-handed.

Piketty, a pronouncer.

The way we 3D print.

Net Neutrality appears to be dead. Nice Internet we had once.

Welcome to the dumpster fire that is our contemporary lexicon, “...

I first met Alistair MacLeod in Banff. I was a student there, and when I saw Alistair’s car pull up I ran out into the parking lot to meet him. Hello Mr MacLeod, I said. Well hello there, he replied. Can I take your bags, sir? He seemed baffled by this and his eyes involuntarily drifted to the popped trunk. I pulled out his suitcase and told him I was a participant in the fiction program and that I loved his short stories. I carried his bags to his door and was delighted with myself.

Every memory I have of my last trip to India, 14 years ago, revolves around smell. My grandmother’s mothball shawls, eggplant frying in the kitchen, how the grilled cheeses smelled like plastic because India is not a country used to grilling its cheeses or buttering its bread with anything other than ghee.

And the rest of it—well, the rest of it smelled like poop. People poop, cow poop, dog poop, cat poop, bull poop. We were staying with my uncle in Jammu, a middle-class area where homes are average-sized and there is electricity, but the bathroom is still separated from the rest of the home and plumbing is a luxury. It is common, then, to see people defecating in the streets, people who are extremely poor. My mother warned me against wearing sandals, and I would watch her—a woman in her late 40s—hop around the alleys near my uncle’s house, avoiding giant turds like some weird form of hopscotch.

One of the people responsible for putting a man on the moon died last week at the age of 95. This is, in 2014, a common and not terribly newsworthy occurrence: the generation of men and women whose industry kept a dozen men safe from vacuum, radiation, and temperatures ranging from scalding to freezing is now succumbing to the mediocre ravages of time. The youngest living astronaut to have walked on the moon itself is older than Hitler’s invasion of Austria.

But John C. Houbolt deserves our attention, for at least a moment, because his contribution was important enough that it changed the direction of the US space program. As NASA tried to figure out, in the early 1960s, how it was going to meet President Kennedy’s goal of landing a man on the moon before 1970, Werner Von Braun was pretty sure he already knew the answers: he had, after all, been thinking about this stuff for some time.

The problem was Von Braun, whom the Americans had seconded with his enthusiastic consent at the end of World War II, didn’t want to build machines just to land a man on the moon. He wanted rockets that could also help the United States build space stations, and eventually put a man on Mars.

More than 200 teenage schoolgirls are still missing one week after they were abducted in Nigeria, reportedly by the Islamist extremist group Boko Haram, with the intention of turning them into “sex slaves and cooks.”

An interview with 17-year-old Noor Mamlouk, “one of the brightest young activists in the Canadian-Syrian community.”

Questlove to Hip-Hop: You’ve failed us.

“Volleyball, Sunday sports and maybe fucking.” John Updike’s necessary distractions.

You learn a few things when you take the tour of Vimy Ridge, as we approach the centenary of those two days in April 1917 that did so much to give Canadians a sense of themselves as a nation. You learn that these trenches through which the tour guide takes you were actually dug by the Brits, who were here a year or so earlier, when they tried and failed to win the ridge. You learn that, for the French who live around here, the memorial is a place to walk your dog—that the paths among the craters created by the thousands of shells both sides rained down on the men here, pounding them into the soil that to this day sits pockmarked, infused with bones and blood of hundreds of Canadians and Germans, are a pretty place to go for a jog. You also learn that the Germans were not in fact the enemy but, rather, the opponent. That’s the word my guide used, a few times, when talking about what happened here.

I asked her, a student from Ottawa on a plum four-month work term, about the word. Was the choice intentional? Yes. I asked her what term she used in French. She had to fast-forward through the script in her head—funded, approved, and presumably mandated by the Canadian government: “L’opposition.” Just two sides, each with a point.

Paula Daly is an author (and freelance physiotherapist) living in Cumbria, England. She is the author of Just What Kind of Mother Are You? and Keep Your Friends Close, about a happy marriage that is threatened by a suspicious outsider.

1. What...

When the historians of Punjab next gather to write the history of that proud people, they will have to include a new warrior king in the annals: Anthony Bourdain. After all, when Bourdain’s Parts Unknown series kicked off its newest season with a visit to the North Indian state, it united the Punjabi diaspora like few things before it.

I may be exaggerating, but by less than you might imagine. Bourdain’s show created an unmistakable buzz amongst Punjabis in North America. Twitter, Facebook, and WhatsApp conversations lit up in pre-show anticipation and post-show analysis. And could you blame us? Instead of the usual generic vision of India, here, finally, was Punjab itself: its rural roads, its Golden Temple, its boisterous sounds, its dhaba roadside restaurants.

I met García Márquez in 1969, in Barcelona, when he kindly granted me an interview for an Argentinian magazine in order to allow me to make some money to live on. García Márquez knew what it was like to be a young penniless writer. When, after finishing One Hundred Years of Solitude in 1966, and being rejected by the publisher Carlos Barral in Spain, who said to him “I don’t think this novel would sell,” García Márquez decided to offer it to Editorial Sudamericana in Buenos Aires, but had to send the manuscript in two parcels because he had not enough money to pay for the postage at all once.

“He wishes he could embrace his eclectic C.V. with the brio with which Shaquille O’Neal has embraced his, ‘from the Reebok pumps to the Shaq Fu video game to the awful movies and rap albums. I appreciate people who are happy.’” ...

In 1922, the second of three successive British expeditions to summit Everest was stuck. Though they had managed to get higher up the mountain than anyone previous—well, higher than anyone who had bothered to keep track, but at this point climbing the mountain was almost exclusively a British obsession, so it was a safe assumption—after two attempts, one of which got them to a new record of 8,230 metres, they still sat frustratingly below the peak. For George Mallory, one of the bravest and most elegant climbers on the team, if not necessarily the wisest, this would not stand: this was the second time he had gotten most of the way to the top, and that simply wasn’t good enough for him.

He led a small group on the expedition’s third attempt. Aiming for expediency, he tried to force his way up as quickly as possible, avoiding the softer climbs the group had tried before. This urgency proved disastrous; unable to hold the weight of the climbers, the steep ice collapsed into an avalanche, killing seven and ending the 1922 expedition’s attempts for good. Displaying the plucky dauntlessness that was so crucial to the British character in the latter days of empire, the avalanche was announced to the rest of the world with the relieved words, “All whites are safe!” As with last week’s disaster, their Nepalese porters took the entirety of the mountain’s wrath, including one whose body was never recovered.

The expedition wound up giving the world a much more famous phrase about Everest. On a hero-making North American tour organized after the disaster, Mallory was asked why anyone would even want to climb Everest. His response—which almost certainly doesn’t need to be repeated, but will be, endlessly—is the molecular version of man’s indomitable will to explore: “Because it’s there.”

In early May 2011 I found myself drinking heavily and late into the evening at Hart House at that year’s Toronto the Good party. The party was distinguished from other parties of the type largely by scale, not composition—after all, plenty of shindigs in this town mix politicians, architects, planners, civic-minded reporters, and assorted other local loudmouths.

Speaking with City Councillor Adam Vaughan that evening, just days after Michael Ignatieff had led the Liberal Party into a smoking crater, I made conversation by repeating what seemed the common wisdom of the time: the Liberals were doomed, doomed I said, and it wasn’t clear how the party could get out of the electoral cul-de-sac it had found itself in.

But the councillor, in what was either extraordinary prescience or extraordinary planning, said to me: “The Liberals have been in bad spots before. The people who stuck with the party the last time around had names like Trudeau. And Vaughan.”

Alistair MacLeod has died at the age of 77. In the National PostMark Medley remembers the author. Here’s MacLeodreading from No Great Mischief. And, if you haven’t read it yet, last year we published “Remembrance,” MacLeod’s first new short story in more than a decade.

In publishing, diversity is not enough.

“Never open a book from the wind’s point of view.” Visiting Elmore Leonard’s Detroit.

13. It feels somehow improper to eat Easter-branded candy corn, but the wrongness of candy corn is innate and fundamental.

12. “Simnel cake is a light fruit cake with two layers of almond paste or marzipan, one in the middle and one on top, that is toasted and eaten during the Easter period in the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland and some other countries.” It’s that time of year again, thought the thin-lipped British pervert. I get to eat double the marzipan!

11. The existence of chocolate-covered marshmallow eggs must be delayed compensation on the part of that kid who always wanted to make s’mores at camp.

Beyond a certain level of empyrean Beyoncé-scaled fame, pop stars are often obliged to field dumb questions from some media institution or another—especially in a music market like this one, where the #2 American album last week sold a record-low 30,000 copies, or 0.0001% of the U.S. population. So it was that Kelis had the opportunity to politely shade a New York Times Magazine reporter with responses like, “I’ve been doing music since 1998, so obviously longevity is not an issue for me,” or, “I don’t know what Paul Newman’s situation is, but I make sauce” (she started producing a whole line).

When LeBron James and Chris Bosh came to the Miami Heat in 2010, the expectation was clear. They would win championships, plural—not one, not two, not three, not four, but some other, embarrassingly high number they would surely regret ever mentioning in their premature victory parade.

The assumption was that James—and, to a lesser extent, power forward Bosh—would provide value to the team not just through their own productivity, but through the effect they would have on those around them. A good player, after all, makes his teammates better—the rare sportswriter cliché often backed up by the numbers. In the NBA, where superstars are rare, the surest way to improve an organization tends not to be patiently gathering valuable, mid-tier employees; it’s luring a star to your city and letting him transform the organization from the inside.

The belief in the transformative power of stars goes well beyond the NBA; it’s reflected in the outrageous salaries for CEOs and the scramble for talent in Silicon Valley. “Someone who is exceptional in their role is not just a little better than someone who is pretty good,” Mark Zuckerberg told The New York Times in 2011. “They are 100 times better.”

In which The Beer Store, a “foreign-owned corporate monopoly,” tries to brand convenience store clerks as the type of sleazy middle-aged men you do not want your kids to be around. Um, gross?

The New York...

A press release arrived in my inbox yesterday, heralding the opening of a new pair of rental towers in Toronto. For the neighbourhood in question, the development is the first new dedicated rental project in 40 years. For the large majority of neighbourhoods in Toronto, the next rental tower will be the first one in 40 years, if not longer—a result of a massive political turn away from encouraging rental construction in the postwar decades.

But anyone hoping the return of rental construction will bring about a return of affordability on its own has a while to wait yet. First of all, the subsidies and policies that existed in the 1970s to keep prices low either don’t exist anymore or are on their way out. (We should all be paying more attention to the expiry of co-op housing funds from Ottawa.) Secondly, the world has changed, and the wealthy aren’t fleeing our cities the way they once did. The hottest real estate markets are in city cores, and the rentals that are being built—like the towers I got that release for—aren’t aiming for the middle of the market.

Which leads a number of perfectly reasonable people to conclude that the problem is that cities are building too much luxury housing and not enough affordable units, like reporters for the New York Times in their look at the worsening affordability for renters in the US, and the gap between renters and owners. (Spoiler: it’s a pretty bleak picture.)

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