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mary ellen marks (1940 - 2015)


Stefany Anne Golberg at The Smart Set: In a photograph titled “Ward 81″, a woman sits on a bed. She is young, a teenager.

a voyage around ‘Las Meninas’


Simon Schama at the Financial Times: Jacobs, one of the great non-fiction writers of this and the last century, is usually found shelved under “travel writing”, which is the truth but certainly not the whole truth, any more than it adequately describes the books of Bruce Chatwin or Patrick Leigh Fermor.

Susan James on Michel Foucault and Knowledge

Over at Philosophy Bites: Michel Foucault was a prolific and original thinker. In this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast Susan James discusses some of the ways in which he explored questions about knowledge in his writing.  Listen to Susan James on Michel Foucault and Knowledge  

Not born this way


Shamus Khan in Aeon: Last month, the US Supreme Court affirmed the rights of same-sex couples to marry.

Incommensurate Russia


Perry Anderson in The New Left Review: It will soon be a quarter of a century since Russia left communism behind.

‘The Weather Experiment,’ by Peter Moore


Cynthia Barnett in the New York Times: On the 25th of October in 1859, the steam clipper Royal Charter rounded the island of Anglesey off the coast of Wales on what was supposed to be the celebratory last evening of its two-month journey from Melbourne to Liverpool.

Traffic Stop

Alex Landau, an African American man, was raised by his adoptive white parents to believe that skin color didn’t matter.

Psychology: the man who studies everyday evil


David Robson at the BBC: If you had the opportunity to feed harmless bugs into a coffee grinder, would you enjoy the experience?

Saturday Poem

Hedgehog The snail moves like a Hovercraft, held up by a Rubber cushion of itself, Sharing its secret With the hedgehog.

How Flowers Changed the World, From Ecosystems to Art Galleries


Elizabeth Quill in Smithsonian: What makes us want to grow a lily in a pot? It’s a question at the center of entomologist Stephen Buchmann’s latest book, The Reason for Flowers: Their History, Culture, Biology and How They Change Our Lives.

The Seven Good Years


Alice O'Keefe in The Guardian: The title of the Israeli writer Etgar Keret’s new collection of essays, The Seven Good Years, comes from the biblical story of the Pharaoh’s dream.

The defeat of Europe


Yanis Varoufakis in Le Monde Diplomatique: On 30 January, a few days after I became finance minister, the president of the Eurogroup, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, paid me a visit.

‘Academic Interest’


Amitava Kumar in The Chronicle of Higher Education's Lingua Franca: In a video that is available online, you can watch Judith Butler, philosopher and winner of a bad writing award,speaking to a crowd at Occupy Wall Street.

Salman Rushdie: “We are living in the darkest time I have ever known”


Cynthia Haven in her blog: Charlie Hebdo has announced that they will publish no more cartoons featuring Mohammed, although every other religion and public figure will continue to be fair game.

"Symphony No.9, Boogie" by Matryomin ensemble "Da"

The Future of Work in the Uber Economy


Steven Hill in Boston Review (Photo: Julian GONG Min): The employment status of its drivers has become the most prominent of the many controversies dogging Uber.

The Confused Person’s Guide to the Iran Deal


Karl Sharro in The Atlantic: In The Independent, Robert Fisk went a step further and tried to imagine what Arabs think based on his long experience in the region, arguing with typical nuance and subtlety that “the Arabs at least will suspect the truth: that the Americans have taken the Shia Muslim side in the Middle East’s sectarian war.” To investigate these portrayals of the Arab view of the deal, journalists affiliated with the Institute of Internet Diagrams spent hours in the legendary Arab Street itself.

Friday Poem

The First Circle 1.      the flat end of sorrow here two crows fighting over New Year’s Party leftovers.

‘I’m No Longer Afraid’: 35 Women Tell Their Stories About Being Assaulted by Bill Cosby


Noreen Malone and Amanda Demme in New York Magazine: More has changed in the past few years for women who allege rape than in all the decades since the women’s movement began.

Why Did Europe Conquer the World?


Martin Vander Weyer in The Telegraph: The course of history can be interpreted in many ways: as a search for food, water and treasure; as an ideological clash between light and dark; as a class struggle; or as a random intersection of topography, technology, disease, weather and occasional outbursts of charismatic leadership.


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