Monthly Archives: September 2017

Links and Comments: Tribalism, Zero-Sum Politics, Trump, Gut Reactions, Weather Forecasting

First, Andrew Sullivan has an essay in New York magazine, America Wasn’t Built for Humans, subtitled, “Tribalism was an urge our Founding Fathers assumed we could overcome. And so it has become our greatest vulnerability.” He wonders how American has … Continue reading

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Isaac Asimov: Foundation

Rereading classic SF in the 21st century: In which I both tease out themes of, and try to summarize, Isaac Asimov’s first Foundation book. I reread Isaac Asimov’s Foundation, i.e. the first book in the ‘Foundation Trilogy,’ a couple weeks … Continue reading

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Links and Comments: Reactions to Art; the Eclipse; Christianity and PKD

Saved from Facebook… A post by Adam-Troy Castro: Noted in a thread: Somebody (I forget who) told the story of leaving A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE as one of two teenage couples, being absolutely gobsmacked by it, and listening to his … Continue reading

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Bertrand Russell: Why I Am Not a Christian: Summary and Comments

This is a famous essay/lecture by one of the 20th century’s most influential philosophers. I first read the book containing this essay in 1979, when I was 24, and happened to pick it up again today, and thought it worth … Continue reading

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Kahneman, Thinking, Fast and Slow: Intro and Chapter 1

This is perhaps the most influential book of the past couple decades on the whole subject of human mental biases, how the ways in which we think entail errors of perception, and employ heuristics that are often but not always … Continue reading

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Pinker: Better Angels: Chapter 1: A Foreign Country

“If the past is a foreign country, it is a shockingly violent one.” This 30-page chapter is “tour” of the past, from 8000 BCE to the 1970s, an impressionist portrait of how violence was so common in the past, compared … Continue reading

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Link and Comments: The 3% Climate Change Deniers

You know how 97% of climate scientists agree that climate change is real, and due to human causes? So what about the 3% that don’t? A new study examined those. Quartz: Those 3% of scientific papers that deny climate change? … Continue reading

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Link and Comment: Elizabeth Kolbert spells it out

The New Yorker, September 11th issue. Elizabeth Kolbert: Hurricane Harvey and the Storms to Come. Subtitle: “In the leadup to the historic flood, Texas Republicans abetted Trump’s climate-change delusions.” Print title: “Coming Storms” Elizabeth Kolbert, author of one of the … Continue reading

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Link and Comments: NYTBR reviews Kurt Andersen’s FANTASYLAND

Just published, a big book by novelist and journalist Kurt Andersen, Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History (Random House), which is in my to-read stack. For the time being, here are some passages from Sunday’s front page review … Continue reading

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Link and Comments: SF and Science

Slate has an interesting essay by Lawrence Krauss that covers basic points about how science fiction doesn’t/can’t truly predict the future, with an interesting point how the internet arose as a tool to coordinate very complex scientific experiments: Indeed, perhaps … Continue reading

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