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How to take Baghdad  

Peter Jones offers the definitive guide to taking Babylon (sorry, Baghdad) in the Financial Times. “In 539BC, the Persian king Cyrus besieged the city. Herodotus tells us that Cyrus was on the point of giving up when a soldier suggested diverting the Euphrates north of the city until it became so shallow that the Persians could enter Babylon along the river bed under its mighty walls. That was the first capture of Babylon — an example of lateral thinking that the Americans could take heed of as they attack Baghdad.”

And that’s as nothing compared to how Darius succeeded in 523BCE. Read it.

Cheer up 

“The average European says, with dread: ‘How do we stop people doing x?’ The average American says with excitement: ‘When will I be able to do x?’ For x, read ‘test myself for future dementia risk’, ‘change my unborn children’s genes,” or even ‘fill my blood vessels with nano-robots to enable me to live to 150’.” Matt Ridley provides a welcome antidote to europessimism.

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