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How to Solve the Famous Birthday Problem

Jason Marshall in QuickandDirtyTips: As you may know, the quadrennial World Cup was recently played in Brazil.

Thursday Poem

The Rain . Rain, and driving thoughts of rain, miles and hours of it, inches and yards of light and dark rain, where seamless cloud has been stitched and gathered into a great undoing of itself, in wind that brings its freeplaying ride through a highland plateau down into the hair- pinned, run-off green below Mount Arrowsmith or Frenchman’s Cap, whose faces have gone to a full-blown curtain of angled rain and its bright companions, ice and snow, to make, under the button grass, a blackwater seepage from a thaw that will come within days, or less, here and there at rain-mined overhangs flowering with spillage, and in Queenstown, where a conveyor belt sounds like a mongrel dragging its chain against the rim of an over- turned drum, it is raining still, at the tail end of a mining era, on the open-cut towns of Linda and Gormanston, diminishing under seasons of rain-blurred windows and the shells of cars in yards overgrown with absence, on lakes where the rings of rising trout are one with the surface-pelting blanket of the rain, clear and clean as the spittle of a local weather-telling prophet who grinds lens glass and peers at the sky from a roof, rain-hammered and domed above streets awash with longing, and further afield, near a moored houseboat on Macquarie Harbour, an old woodcutter is remembering rain as an all-night, fly-sheet- testing wall of black proportions, and day as much the same, with sunlight no more than a rumour, with running silver on the chip- flecked sleeves of his oilskin, and now, inland, with no change to the long-range forecast, at Cemetery Creek and Laughing Jack Lagoon, it is raining, and the rivers are full, their dark mirrors bubbling, and even the mountain-fed torrent between two hydro-electric plants – its peaks and lines like whitewashed milestones tumbling end over end – is driving the blood- made turbines with its own internal rain.

Iraq’s forgotten Christians in Kurdish exile

Jenna Krajeski at Harper's Magazine: One afternoon in early September, a crowd formed in the mall’s basement.

The Rise and Fall of Public Housing in NYC

Richard Price at Guernica: In 1935, the first public housing complex in New York, prosaically christened First Houses, (landmarked since 1974) on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, offered 122 apartments featuring oak wood floors and brass fixtures.

heidegger's black notebooks

Peter E. Gordon at the New York Review of Books: Heidegger was one of the most influential thinkers of the modern era.

Kiran Desai: 'You look bad if you go to India in western clothes'

Heidi Julavitz in The Guardian: KD: I remember starting to wear the most basic T-shirts and jeans and being unhappy in them.

Collaboration: Strength in diversity

Freeman and Huang in Nature: Sticking with co-authors with similar surnames to yours might dent the impact of your work.

Most People With Addiction Simply Grow Out of It

Maia Szalavitz in Substance: According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, addiction is “a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry.” However, that’s not what the epidemiology of the disorder suggests.

Wednesday Poem

The Hart Crane Connection 1. There’s a connection I’ve made between the overcrowded livestock ships in Fremantle harbour, and Hart Crane’s last voyage.

Thoughtlessness Revisited

Richard Wolin responds to Seyla Benhabib's NYT piece on Hannah Arendt, in The Jewish Review of Books: Benhabib’s allegations concerning the purported banality of Eichmann’s anti-Semitism are peculiar, since they are fundamentally at variance with Arendt’s central arguments and claims.

The Poor Don’t Need Pity

Joanna Scutts reviews Linda Tirado book, Hand to Mouth: Living in Bootstrap America, in In These Times (Photo by Lisa F.

The Poor Don’t Need Pity

Joanna Scutts reviews Linda Tirado book, Hand to Mouth: Living in Bootstrap America, in In These Times (Photo by Lisa F.

God and Gab: The Second Sex by Michael Robbins

Nick Ripatrazone at The Millions: Piety and profanity both require devotion. Graham Greene knew that.

contemporary art from and about the Arab world

Barry Schwabsky at The Nation: “In the presence of the violent reality of war,” wrote Wallace Stevens in 1942, “consciousness takes the place of the imagination.” What the poet meant is that in wartime, “everything moves in the direction of reality, that is to say, in the direction of fact,” so that “we leave fact and come back to it, come back to what we wanted fact to be, not to what it was, not to what it has too often remained.” But this pressure toward fact and the desire to change, to remake the facts, become “overwhelming.” It was difficult to look at “Here and Elsewhere,” the capacious exhibition of “contemporary art from and about the Arab world” (to quote from the press release), without sensing this overwhelming pressure toward fact.

three years on Rikers

Jennifer Gonnerman at The New Yorker: On the morning of July 28, 2010, Browder was awakened at around half past four.

Monday Poem

Early Autumn Surf ...... it’s still the birds have gone  knowing it’s time but today is an anomalous summer day which, breaking protocol, has oozed into early fall with temperate trappings lulling me with spacious softness and late brilliance, being the last echo of July, the final peal of August’s bell expanding as I surf down the hump of its luxurious waveform under the comfort of its breaking curl .

Animal populations ‘have halved since 1970’

Daniel Cressey in Nature: Earth’s wild vertebrate populations have dropped to one-half the size they were in the 1970s, according to an analysis of more than 3,000 species.

Does the history of philosophy matter?

Malcolm Thorndike Nicholson in Prospect: If you study philosophy at a British or American university, your education in the history of the subject will likely be modest.

Steven Salaita: U. of I. destroyed my career

Steven Salaita in the Chicago Tribune: Being recruited for a tenured faculty position at a major university is no small feat, nor should it be; tenure represents the pinnacle of an academic career.