Little Links & Notes

Good afternoon everyone. It’s a beautifully mild and spotlessly sunny lunchtime in southern England right now and here I am with this instalment of Little Links & Notes. A few long reads this time – but as always, they’re there because they’re worth your bandwidth. Enjoy them and your evening. – elliot

‘How Putin’s Oligarchs Bought London’ (The New Yorker / Patrick Radden Keefe°)

[Britain became] a no-questions-asked service provider to the crooked élite, offering access to capital markets, prime real estate, shopping at Harrods, and illustrious private schools, along with accountants for tax tricks, attorneys for legal squabbles, and “reputation managers” for inconvenient backstories. It starts with visas; any foreigner with adequate funds can buy one, by investing two million pounds in the U.K. (Ten million can buy you permanent residency.)

[…] The oligarchs “feel free to buy Belgravia, kill dissidents in Piccadilly with Polonium 210, fight each other in the High Court, and hide their children in British boarding schools.

[…] According to an investigation by BuzzFeed News, U.S. intelligence believes that at least fourteen people have been assassinated on British soil by Russian mafia groups or secret services, which sometimes collaborate, but British authorities tend not to name suspects or bring charges. (Instead, they have concluded with an unsettling frequency that such deaths are suicides.) In an interview with NPR in late February, Bill Browder was asked whether he would name Russian oligarchs who had not yet been sanctioned but should be. “I live in London,” he said. “So it’s very unwise to name names.”

‘The Case for Induction Cooking’ (New York Times°)

Reasons to go induction include: it’s easier to clean, doesn’t heat up the kitchen, you can be more precise with the temperature, it doesn’t pollute the planet and it also heats pans via electromagnets, which is insanely cool.

Also: “For children who live in a home with a gas stove, the increased risk of asthma is on par with living in a home with a smoker.”

A look at the “color bar” – a form of segregation – in Britain’s pubs of the past and one mans attempt to end it. (Good Beer Hunting / David Jesudason).

‘The Diderot Effect: Why We Want Things We Don’t Need — And What to Do About It’ (James Clear°)

The Diderot Effect states that obtaining a new possession often creates a spiral of consumption which leads you to acquire more new things. As a result, we end up buying things that our previous selves never needed to feel happy or fulfilled.

Starbucks is planning to phase out disposable cups (CNN Business°). This is the right thing to do. Customers and staff alike are going to hate it for a while, I’m sure. But it’s the right thing to do.

If you’re in the UK you should know that “Taboo” starring Tom Hardy is now on Netflix (it’s on Hulu if you’re in America). It’s an underrated, dark gem and a favourite of mine. It is long overdue a second season, but don’t let that put you off.


Related: Enablers of dirty Russian money in London + What's an 'Unexplained Wealth Order'?

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