Suggested reading: What the journey from Star Trek to Siri says about our culture

by Liz W Faber In the film Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986) – the one with the whales – the crew of the USS Enterprise travels back in time and, of course, hilarity ensues as the familiar faces from the future try to blend in with the San Francisco of the 1980s. AtContinue reading “Suggested reading: What the journey from Star Trek to Siri says about our culture”

Suggested reading: Nuclear power still doesn’t make much sense

by Farhad Manjoo Whenever I write about the plummeting costs and growing capabilities of wind power, solar power and batteries, I’m usually met with a barrage of radioactive responses from the internet’s overheated nuclear reactors — social-media-savvy environmental activists who insist that nuclear power should play a leading role in the world’s transition away from fossil fuels. The sunContinue reading “Suggested reading: Nuclear power still doesn’t make much sense”

Suggested reading: Why think for yourself?

by Jonathan Matheson Several years ago, a collection of scholars from Princeton, Harvard, and Yale banded together to write an open letter of advice to incoming students. In brief, the message was this: think for yourself. This advice echoes the motto of the enlightenment: Dare to know! Have the courage to use your own understanding. The letter warnedContinue reading “Suggested reading: Why think for yourself?”

Suggested reading: The trouble with “The Big Bang”

by Sabine Hossenfelder Did the Big Bang happen? Has the James Webb Space Telescope found evidence against the Big Bang? If astrophysicists are sure the Big Bang happened, why do they also think the universe was born from a quantum fluctuation? And what does this have to do with dark matter? I can’t blame readersContinue reading “Suggested reading: The trouble with “The Big Bang””

Suggested reading: Two stories, Anton Chekhov and Jo Ann Beard

by Mary Gaitskill These are beautiful stories about death. Much of their beauty comes from the authors’ matter-of-fact gentleness regarding the subject, the way they come to it with humility rather than horror or even much drama. Although Chekhov was ambivalent about traditional spirituality and Beard is an atheist, both stories quietly revere life andContinue reading “Suggested reading: Two stories, Anton Chekhov and Jo Ann Beard”

Suggested reading: Philosopher of the apocalypse

by Audrey Borowski As the commander of the weather plane that supported the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima on 6 August 1945, Claude Eatherly did not feel any particular animosity towards the Japanese, involved as he was in committing arguably one of the most barbaric acts of the Second World War with completeContinue reading “Suggested reading: Philosopher of the apocalypse”

Suggested reading: Wine-tasting is junk science

by David Derbyshire Every year Robert Hodgson selects the finest wines from his small California winery and puts them into competitions around the state. And in most years, the results are surprisingly inconsistent: some whites rated as gold medallists in one contest do badly in another. Reds adored by some panels are dismissed by others.Continue reading “Suggested reading: Wine-tasting is junk science”

Suggested reading: Popper was right about the link between certainty and extremism

by Thomas Costello & Shauna Bowes Political views are, fundamentally, opinions about the best ordering of society. To paint with the broadest of brushes, progressives are optimists, seeking to plant trees whose shade they may never stand under. Conservatives, by contrast, believe that moving too quickly risks breaking the fragile machinery of society – perhaps irrevocablyContinue reading “Suggested reading: Popper was right about the link between certainty and extremism”

Suggested reading: I didn’t want it to be true, but the medium really is the message

by Ezra Klein In 2020, I read a book I’d been ignoring for 10 years, Nicholas Carr’s “The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains.” It was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize in 2011 and much loved among people who seemed to hate the internet. But in 2011, I loved the internet.Continue reading “Suggested reading: I didn’t want it to be true, but the medium really is the message”