Category Archives: Human Progress

Link and Comment: Krugman on Terrorism

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman regularly criticizes President Trump and the entire Republican party for engaging in fantasy economics– the kind of economics, which actually has never worked, that says cutting taxes on the wealthy will spur business and … Continue reading

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Links and Comments: Sapiens; Leaving Religion; Conspiracy Theories; Weather Forecasting

1. From yesterday’s NYT Book Review. Chuck Klosterman likes Harari: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/18/books/review/chuck-klosterman-likes-writers-who-arent-self-absorbed-sociopaths.html What’s the last great book you read? I picked up “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind,” by Yuval Noah Harari. I thought: “This will probably be O.K. I’ll probably … Continue reading

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Oliver Sacks on Forster and Rees

There’s a short essay by the late Oliver Sacks in current issue of The New Yorker: The Machine Stops. He muses about people walking down the street staring at their phones. Much of this, remarkably, was envisaged by E. M. Forster … Continue reading

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Links and Comments: Progress; San Francisco Values; Value of Literature

From earlier this month. New York Times, Nicholas Kristoff: Why 2018 Was the Best Year in Human History!: Once again, the world’s population was living longer and living better than ever before. Kristof does a version of this column every … Continue reading

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Links and Comments: World Getting Better; Choosing What to Believe; Questions for Atheists; Mathematical Ideas; Trumpian Cruelty

Vox: 23 charts and maps that show the world is getting much, much better. From 2014, but updated this month. These data echo the theme of Steven Pinker’s recent books. File under: human progress, despite conservative paranoia and fears \\ … Continue reading

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Links and Comments: Optimists; Bible; Children

Time Magazine’s current issue is called “The Optimists,” and is edited by Bill Gates. Steven Pinker has a piece: Why We Refuse to See the Bright Side, Even Though We Should According to the latest data, people are living longer … Continue reading

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Perspectives: Dozois and Bryson

Recently on Facebook, Gardner Dozois quotes from At Home, by Bill Bryson (author of A Short History of Nearly Everything), on the closing years of the 19th century: “From the perspective of domesticity, there has never been a more interesting … Continue reading

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Wright: Nonzero: Intro and Chapter 1

I’ve decided to tackle three or four substantial nonfiction books, over the next few weeks, in the manner of reading books for college courses — that is, alternating among them over a quarter or semester-like period of 8 to 10 … Continue reading

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Pinker: Better Angels: Passages and Outline from the Preface

This is Steven Pinker’s big 2011 book, The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined, that takes a long-range view of human history to show that the human condition, over millennia and especially in recent centuries and decades, … Continue reading

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Big History

I’ve just recently become aware of the concept, and term, “Big History”. It happened when I saw a coffee table book, shown here, at Barnes & Noble a couple weeks ago, and glanced through it, noticing two names I recognized: … Continue reading

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