From City Journal, Alain de Botton on the consolations of pessimism: In our age, as in Seneca’s, the worst is always possible; an article on HG Wells, the godfather of American liberalism; drinking Harvey Milk’s Kool-Aid: Lionized by Hollywood and California state legislators, the real Milk was a demagogue and pal of Jim Jones; and a review of The Jewish Odyssey of George Eliot by Gertrude Himmelfarb. From Policy Innovations, can we evolve to become Homo sociens? You may never have the memory of Rain Man, but you can still get tips for improving your cognitive performance from this extraordinary thinker. From Christianity Today, a review of books on the Israeli-Palestine conflict. The case for working with your hands: Changes in the economy have had the surprising effect of making the manual trades more attractive as careers. Chop Chop Square: The Walrus goes inside Saudi Arabia’s brutal justice system. Tim Ferriss on how one simple question — "What's the worst that could happen?" — is all you need to learn to do anything. Primordial Muse: The abundant and wide-ranging material that covered Francis Bacon's studio was essential inspiration — and perhaps reveals something of this enigmatic artist. The Numbers Guy on the growing popularity of popularity and the powerful influence of popularity on our decisions.