Victims of the flower war between the Netherlands and Russia. / candiche
The Baffler,  August 18, 2015

Daily Bafflements

Victims of the flower war between the Netherlands and Russia. / candiche
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• Is it time to close the Vatican bank, whose ATMs flash options at users in Latin? And that’s the least of its problems: “Much of the money is sent covertly to churches and voluntary groups in poor countries and failed states without functioning banking systems. All this means that transparency and accountability have never been high on the IOR’s list of desiderata,” writes Paul Vallely. Here’s everything you’ve ever wanted to know about “Roman Catholic bureaucracy and its corruption” but were afraid to ask.

New research shows that “People who commit violent terror attacks, it turns out, are not identifiable by the ideas they hold, but rather by the things that they do. The violence comes first, the thinking second.” (Thanks, The Globe and Mail!)

• As punishment for investigating the shooting down of the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over Ukraine, Russia is stepping up its inspections of Dutch flowers and torching many, which they say are “infected with western California flower thrips.”

• Google’s fleet of ominous robots is steadily learning to navigate terrains outside the Boston Dynamics laboratory. Killer robots, help yourselves to Kendall Square!

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Further Reading

 October 16

When a conservative commentator like Bret Stephens starts explaining how of “culture” dictates behavior, reach for your bullshit detector.

 October 16

Some seventy-two years from the last American execution for desertion, the firing squad is a tough-guy pantomime for hacks and hams.