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An American Family’s Curious Bond With Russia


Liesl Schillinger at VQR: It may sound incomprehensible—senseless, Constance Garnett would have put it, as she did in her translation of The Brothers Karamazov—but while the rest of the world may dread the return of the prolonged hostile stare-down known in the last half of the last century as the Cold War, in some ways, I welcome the refreeze.

Who owns culture?


Kenan Malik in Pandaemonium: I published recently a transcript of a radio documentary I had made that explored the question of ‘Who owns culture?

Genetic Memory: How We Know Things We Never Learned


Darold Treffert in Scientific American: I met my first savant 52 years ago and have been intrigued with that remarkable condition ever since.

Introduction to Utilitarianism

Andrew Sullivan retires from blogging


Andrew Sullivan at The Dish: The second is that I am saturated in digital life and I want to return to the actual world again.

the DICTIONARY OF UNTRANSLATABLES: A philosophical lexicon


Tim Crane at the Times Literary Supplement: This extraordinary book, a huge dictionary of philosophical terms from many languages, is a translation of Vocabulaire européen des philosophies: Dictionnaire des intraduisibles, originally published in 2004, the brainchild of the French philosopher Barbara Cassin.

on Paul Thomas Anderson's 'Inherent Vice'


J. Hoberman at Artforum: IT IS OBVIOUS BY NOW that Paul Thomas Anderson isn’t making individual movies so much as building an oeuvre block by block—the sturdiest, most resilient body of work by a big-time American director since Stanley Kubrick died and Martin Scorsese ran out of steam.

William Blake: Apprentice and Master


T. J. Clark at The London Review of Books: Just occasionally in Blake’s engravings there are pictures within pictures, and we get a glimpse of the life he thought images might lead in a better world.

What it's like to be gay in modern India


Sandip Roy in The Telegraph: “Just come back any time with madam to approve the kitchen design,” the   beaming modular kitchen consultant told me. I explained patiently, again, that there was no madam around.

Stomach-acid-powered micromotors


From KurzweilAI: Imagine a micromotor fueled by stomach acid that can take a bubble-powered ride inside a mouse — and that could one day be a safer, more efficient way to deliver drugs or diagnose tumors for humans.

Thursday Poem

Ritual You shot them. Two beautiful purebred dogs Siberian Huskies, each In the head, Once. They were sniffing around your chickens, Biting a few, Killing a few.

Armand Marie Leroi's rewarding study of Aristotle's science


Adam Rutherford in The Guardian: In this lush, epic and hugely enjoyable book, biologist Armand Marie Leroi explores the idea that it was another ancient Greek giant whose shoulders we may all stand upon.

A Graphene Discoverer Speculates on the Future of Computing


Katia Moskvitch in Scientific American: What does graphene mean for the future of computing? It is certain that silicon will be used for transistors—semiconductor devices that are the building blocks of modern computers—for at least the next five to 10 years.

The Blog Comment That Achieved an Internet Miracle


Conor Friedersdorf in The Atlantic: Last month, an improbable Internet exchange inspired many who noticed it to reconsider what's possible when debating politics online.

A Review of Herbrechter's "Critical Posthumanism"


John Bruni at berfrois: If posthumanism signals the end of a certain way of describing—or, more precisely, orienting—selfhood, then we might ask, as Ralph Waldo Emerson did at the start of his famous essay, “Experience” (that addressed, among other crucial issues, slavery), “Where do we find ourselves?

Conversation as Performance: On ‘BOMB: The Author Interviews’


Nick Ripatrazone at The Millions: The art of literary conversation, by whatever name, is certainly not new.Hannah Rosefield opened her review of John Freeman’s How to Read a Novelist to a larger discussion of our cultural obsession with the interview as a way to look behind the authorial mask.

Pope Francis, Radical Leftist?


Elizabeth Stoker Breunig at The New Republic: In any analysis of a public figure, partisan interests will influence one’s opinion, and there isn’t anything particularly productive about pointing out that conservatives tend to forgive in conservative leaders what they don’t in liberals.

21 + 21 = 42


Carley Moore in TNB: Last summer I turned 42 years old. On the morning of my birthday, my then-boyfriend asked me what I was doing when I was 21, half that age.

Unconscious thought not so smart after all


Alison Abbott in Nature: If you have to make a complex decision, will you do a better job if you absorb yourself in, say, a crossword puzzle instead of ruminating about your options?

Ram Manikkalingam: Extremists Can Be Our Friends


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