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Research psyschologist Christine Blasey Ford never sought the limelight, but she this week became the centerpiece of one of Washington’s most extraordinary political dramas in recent years, writes Courtney Weaver in a profile. A professor at Palo Alto University, she was forced out of quiet anonymity after she contacted Congress with the accusation that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her when they were both teenagers in the Maryland suburbs

Alternately clinical and teary, she stuck clearly to her story with testimony that riveted the American public. She was so convincing that at least one Republican senator has insisted that the FBI investigate her claims before a final vote on Mr Kavanaugh’s nomination.

John Thornhill  writes about how we are now living in a highly uncertain and interconnected world of quantum politics, which helps explain the success of US president Donald Trump. 

Elaine Moore thinks it is disturbing that so many companies blame their poor results on the immediate weather — snow, heat, rain — while so few are taking steps to deal with climate change risk.

Steve Richards explores the UK Labour Party’s contradictory messages about the likelihood and logistics of a second Brexit referendum.

Katie Martin observes that for cyclists, hell is other riders — and potholes.

Merryn Somerset Webb argues that employee share ownership is a brilliant idea, but argues that the current proposal for it is flawed. She proposes a better alternative that would involved staff pension plans.

Best of the week

First names tell stories that reach beyond cultural origin— Roula Khalaf

Trump has an alternative to Brett Kavanaugh— Janan Ganesh

Saving liberal democracy from the extremes— Martin Wolf 

Tribal feelings colour the Brett Kavanaugh debate— Courtney Weaver

The food app revolution will eat its drivers— John Gapper

Trump makes American comedy great again— Henry Mance

The trouble with Silicon Valley geniuses having a side hustle— Tom Braithwaite

The blob that tells a story about the origins of life— Anjana Ahuja

What you’ve been saying

Quality of life is far more important than its length: letter from Elizabeth Balsom, London, UK

Why all the fuss about a slowing in the rate of increase in life expectancy? I couldn’t care less how long I live, as long as I can see, hear, move without pain and am not a victim of dementia. Longevity tables seem to ignore quality of life. If my mother had died at 85 instead of 95, she would have had “a good life”. As it was, her last decade was wretched. I am reminded of Dickens’ description of the little crossing sweeper in Bleak House: “Jo lives — that is to say, Jo has not yet died."

In response to "Dollar dominance prevails despite global efforts" Mindful Quant says:

Reading the tea leaves of hedging patterns: rising USD loan values (and cost of capital) are offset by local GDP and inflation-linked assets. Perhaps this will export some inflation to US markets?

Compelling companies to forecast would not work: letter from David Damant, Stamford, Lincolnshire, UK

I suggest that Neil Chisman’s proposals of requiring companies to provide forecasts would not work ( Letters, September 27). I once attended a panel on the subject in New York, and apart from my own contribution the only topic discussed the whole morning was who would sue whom if the forecasts were wrong — and they will always be subject to change, often at frequent intervals (would the company be therefore required to provide constant updates?) If companies were required to give forecasts they would be so legally careful as to be useless. Leave the forecasting to analysts.

Today's opinion

Inge Feltrinelli, photographer and publisher, 1930-2018
A volcano of talent who never missed an opportunity

Why companies blame their problems on the weather
Chief executives duck difficult questions by complaining about snow, rain and heat

Person in the News: Christine Blasey Ford, America’s reluctant star witness
The psychology professor did not waver in her testimony against Trump’s US Supreme Court nominee

Labour’s high-wire act on Brexit
The party wants to reassure Leave voters while appeasing its pro-European members

Quantum politics and a world turned upside down
As Armenia’s physicist president tests his theory, Trump intuitively grasps its implications

How to make employee share ownership really work
It is a good idea but there is a better way than the flawed scheme proposed by Labour

FT Alphaville: Employers know it's easier to claw back a bonus than a raise

On Wall Street: Why markets got this week’s Fed meeting wrong
Investors and traders opted to seize on dovish signs from the Fed while ignoring others

Free Lunch: Theresa May and Chequers will both survive their rivals
When you eliminate the impossible, what remains, however improbable, must be accepted

FT Alphaville: Spain needs Turkey's banks to stay solvent

Undercover Economist: Curiosity can save us when lies come dressed as numbers
Statistics help answer almost all questions — if we take time to understand them

City Insider: Andrea Orcel leaves UBS on a bearish note
Investment bank star quotes Winnie the Pooh in his farewell email to colleagues

Instant Insight: Brett Kavanaugh and the sorry state of US democracy
Rarely has a midterm election been so closely tied to the future of the judiciary

FT View

The FT View: The lure of ambiguity for consumer brands
Dunkin’ Donuts and Weight Watchers risk diluting their identities

The FT View: Donald Trump, the UN and the fracturing of the west
The world order shook as America’s allies crossed the floor

The Big Read

The Big Read: Facebook: the court of King Mark
Mark Zuckerberg is taking control of Instagram and WhatsApp to protect the ‘prized child’. But are his team up to the challenges?

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