Sunday, May 26th, 2019
Goodbye, Judith Kerr, goodbye!
Monday, May 13th, 2019
We must be facing this: David Gelertner on giving up Darwin. Like Smith’s invisible hand and even Newton’s laws of physics, these glorious, newly-algorithmic cosmologies — the precursors to our wonder-world of bitty digitalism — aren’t the full explanation.
A manifesto for the remaining sensible: “Tucker’s Right” by Michael Anton.
Tuesday, January 1st, 2019
Chronicling from “below the API line”, as Venkatesh Rao calls it, are Austin Murphy with “I Used to Write for Sports Illustrated. Now I Deliver Packages for Amazon” in The Atlantic and Lauren Hough with “I Was A Cable Guy. I Saw The Worst Of America” in The Huffington Post.
The depicted harshness of American work life for so many is terrible not just for those involved but for all. (Also these two share a prodigious unmet need to urinate on the job — is this the top new workplace tribulation?)
Friday, December 14th, 2018
Tuesday, December 11th, 2018
A screed we need: “When Supplements Become Substitutes” by Joshua Mitchell in the redoubtable City Journal. This conceptual framework clarifies much of what Western societies are concerned about regarding themselves.
Saturday, November 17th, 2018
“Respected journalist” Joel Golby has pulled off a rather spectacular series of mini-essays for Vice in Choose Your Own Adventure: Friday Night Edition!. More relevant perhaps for people say a quarter of a century younger than me, but one can appreciate.
Wednesday, November 7th, 2018
A savvy 69-year-old Dutchman who “identifies as 45” aims to legally reduce his age.
Tuesday, October 30th, 2018
Species eradication and wiping out animal populations seem to me a more dire problem than mere climate change. It should be our environmental priority.
Wednesday, October 17th, 2018
Friday, October 12th, 2018
An interview at the impressive Fathom Journal with Lyn Julius, author of Uprooted.
The Jews were intrinsic to the rhythm of life in the Middle East. It all ended in the space of a generation. Some 850,000 Jews fled 10 Arab countries; most found refuge in Israel, where over half the Jewish population has roots in Arab or Muslim lands.
Tuesday, October 9th, 2018
Now that’s a web site: New York City tree map — every last one, including street view, species, diameter. [via Kottke]
Thursday, August 30th, 2018
“Breaking Smart” by Venkatesh Rao. This is the first collection, “Software is Eating the World”, inspired by a residency at Andreessen/Horowitz.
Sunday, August 19th, 2018
On nationalism old and new. In Tablet, the prophetic columnist David P. Goldman discusses Yoram Hazony’s new book The Virtue of Nationalism.
Tuesday, July 10th, 2018
Sunday, June 17th, 2018
As my year of diving languorously into the murky waters of the Wake wore on, I came to feel that it was this failure, this impossibility, this grand futility of the Wake, that constituted its secret theme, its true aboutness.
Tuesday, June 5th, 2018
Justice Anthony Kennedy: “The outcome of cases like this in other circumstances must await further elaboration in the courts, all in the context of recognizing that these disputes must be resolved with tolerance, without undue disrespect to sincere religious beliefs, and without subjecting gay persons to indignities when they seek goods and services in an open market.”
Thursday, May 31st, 2018
The Dawn of Day
This is a delicious book to pick up in spurts — BMW punchy as Emerson is Rolls-Royce bubbly — but I couldn’t say what it’s chiefly about, where it starts, where it ends, how it fits in with Nietzsche’s other books, nor whether I’ve even read it before (I do remember particular points but perhaps they’re also mentioned in the other books). As usual this 19th-century giant sounds as if he writes… this morning.
Tuesday, May 22nd, 2018
From February 2016 to February 2018, global average temperatures dropped by 0.56 degrees Celsius, reports Aaron Brown in Real Clear Markets. He notes that “none of this argues against global warming” as “the 1950s was the last decade cooler than the previous decade” but worries that “statistical cooling outliers garner no media attention”.
Friday, April 27th, 2018
North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un enters South Korea for a summit with President Moon Jae-in. They jointly plant a tree and sign a friendly declaration.
This review of The Jewish Joke: An essay with examples (less essay, more examples) has examples.
Thursday, April 26th, 2018
Of course they should do it, what are they waiting for? Venice mulls charging for day-trippers — again.
Saturday, April 21st, 2018
We have entered an uncanny valley of algorithmic culture. I believe it’s still easy to step out of, but even easier not to. And maybe it’s merely a speeding up of how things have always worked.
Friday, April 20th, 2018
Saturday, April 7th, 2018
From 2014: The Economist introduces us to Sebastian de Grazia’s 1962 Of Time, Work and Leisure. Increasingly, leisure is not for the rich but for the poor.
Wednesday, April 4th, 2018
In this interview Ursula K. Le Guin provides a rather thorough little course on the craft of fiction, covering present vs past tense, first-person vs omniscient narration, conflict as action.
“Henry James did the limited third person really well, showing us the way to do it. He milked that cow successfully. And it’s a great cow, it still gives lots of milk. But if you read only contemporary stuff, always third-person limited, you don’t realize that point of view in a story is very important and can be very movable. It’s here where I suggest that people read books like Woolf’s To the Lighthouse to see what she does by moving from mind to mind. Or Tolstoy’s War and Peace for goodness’ sake. Wow.”
Tuesday, April 3rd, 2018
For a variety of reasons, in many countries around the world, dishwashers are not popularly used appliances.
I remember reading that Shimon Peres said he liked doing the dishes — it was his thinking time. Is that what everybody’s doing?
Otherwise, why not a dishwasher if you live in an economy where they are affordable and not in a city where you eat out every meal? It’s more economical, it’s less work; it seems a no-brainer. To stand for an hour or so every evening manually scrubbing? Not as arduous as washing clothes but still something that the machine’s been doing a lot better job of for decades. Huh.
Sunday, April 1st, 2018
Michael Rubin at aei.org: Yes, Turkey has definitely become a rogue regime.
From my brief travels I came across the standard blue/red divide, but it’s more virulent in Turkey due to the revolutionary power of the local religion.
Friday, March 30th, 2018
When Galileo looked up at the night sky with his new-fangled teslescope one profound effect was the dislodging of the nonsensical metaphysical notion from Aquinas of the perfection of the stars.
Thursday, March 29th, 2018
A conversation with Kai-Fu Lee at edge.org. He’s an AI researcher who has worked at Apple, Microsoft and Google, and wrote AI Super-powers: China, Silicon Valley and the New World Order.
He believes SkyNet fears are ridiculous but that much needs to be done to handle the coming massive loss of jobs.
Sunday, March 25th, 2018
It’s Tim Ferriss’s most soulful interview yet: Jack Kornfield, a guru who talks the talk, walks the walk, sat the sit. With a great selection in the shownotes of links and people mentioned.
As these two leaders discuss morning practices, I’m struck by how many of the perspectives and attitudes they hope for are nicely handled by the Jewish morning prayers.
Saturday, March 24th, 2018
On artists with jobs. “That’s job jobs, the kind you hear about in stump speeches.” Speaking personally, I believe I knew a long time ago that this is a good path but I lacked the gumption to maybe be bored some of the day.
Friday, March 23rd, 2018
If you’re worried about Facebook, just take a look at WeWork.
Thursday, March 15th, 2018
The Bloomsbury set thought about work and leisure, with ideas for today as we wrestle more universally with these issues.
Friday, March 9th, 2018
Tyler Cowen has a modest proposal: polarized shopping. “You get better deals from the companies you patronize regularly, most of all from airlines and hotels. It requires only some stretch of the imagination to think that more of those programs could be organized around ideology.”
Wednesday, March 7th, 2018
Jordan Peterson and Camille Paglia light up a brightly-lit room for 1 hour 43 minutes.
Tuesday, March 6th, 2018
A review of the new disenchantment with our overly-enchanting digital lives by one Arianna Huffington of all people.
Sunday, March 4th, 2018
Everything for the ride, the game, the thrill, perhaps the rugs. Paul Manafort, American Hustler in The Atlantic.
Monday, January 22nd, 2018
Amazon Go physical grocery store opens in Seattle, featuring no check-out.
Tuesday, January 16th, 2018
If you read one brief op-ed piece this year, surely it must be Of Crudeness and Truth by Andrew Klavan in City Journal. “For Nurse Ratched, read Hillary Clinton, CNN, The New York Times, Yale University, Twitter, and Google/YouTube —— all the tender ministers of polite silence and enforced dishonesty. If Donald Trump’s boorishness crashes like a bull through the crystal madhouse of their leftism — well, good. It’s about time.” Like other forms of tyranny, at first we found political correctness amusing. One consequence of it: this risky presidency.
Wednesday, January 10th, 2018
Was The Bonfire of the Vanities the American novel’s last hurrah?
Tuesday, January 2nd, 2018
Thursday, December 7th, 2017
Power may skip over the Gen Xers directly from the Boomers to the Millennials, Matthew Hennessey worries in the redoubtable City Journal. There’s a related podcast episode “Generation X, Millennials, and Technology” (which, when googling “city journal millennials”, ranks above the article).
Wednesday, November 15th, 2017
New York Times photo essay: parking and staying overnight at the Wal-Mart car park.
Wednesday, September 13th, 2017
Thank you Bjorn Lomborg for the courage to articulate the problem that is the climate change distraction. The immediate fallout from fixations is their opportunity costs.
Now that it’s over, time to tell the neo-medievalists: hurricanes are not new to Florida. Nicely researched and written piece by a chagrined resident.
Sunday, September 10th, 2017
In this adaptation from Esther Perel’s forthcoming book The State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity, the argument goes that extra-marital affairs are often about self-development.
Saturday, September 9th, 2017
Friday, September 8th, 2017