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Review: Two Years, Eight Months and Twenty‑Eight Nights by Salman Rushdie


Ursula K Le Guin in The Guardian: A “colossal fragmentation of reality” occurred in the 20th century, Salman Rushdie has said, and his novels enact and display that fragmentation with terror and glee.

Why are there no fish in the deepest deep sea?


R. R. Helm in Deep Sea News: Here’s a mystery: below 8,400 meters there are no fish. There are other creatures: sea cucumbers, anemones, tiny worms, but no one has ever seen a fish.

India and Pakistan’s Dialogue of the Deaf


Mohammed Hanif in the New York Times: We are at it again. India and Pakistan are talking a lot these days, mostly about why they don’t want to talk to each other.

Humeysha - Burma Between You and Me

[Thanks to Zain Sayed Alam.]

Is this the most important book of 2015? Consent and victim-blaming in the age of the smartphone


Gemma Fraser in The F Word: “They are all innocent until proven guilty. But not me. I am a liar until I am proven honest.” Eighteen-year-old Emma O’Donovan is beautiful, confident and seems to have the world — and all the boys — at her feet.

on Sally Mann's new memoir


Anne Higonnet at Public Books: In her memoir, Sally Mann cites a saying: when an asshole makes good art, he is remembered as an asshole who made good art, but when an asshole makes bad art, he’s just remembered as an asshole.  But when someone who made good art is accused of being a Bad Mother, can she ever be remembered as anything but a Bad Mother?

How do we define what is human and what is not?


Alice Crary at The European: Today the classical idea that people merit solicitude simply in virtue of being human – or, more succinctly, that bare humanity is morally important – is on the defensive.

The Firebombing of Japan, “The New Yorker,” and St. Clair McKelway


Patrick Coffey at the LA Review of Books: ON THE NIGHT of March 9, 1945, American B-29 bombers burned 15 square miles of Tokyo, killing 100,000 civilians and leaving more than one million homeless.

What Are You Doing with My DNA? “Informed Consent” explores deep ethical questions in genetics research


Diana Kwon in Scientific American: Twelve years ago, members of the Havasupai Tribe entered into a legal battle with Arizona State University, over the ways in which school researchers were using blood samples from tribe members without proper informed consent.

Friday Poem

Fire . the Lord your God is a consuming fire The stories of the gods outshine the moon your story is darkness outshining the sun we hide our eyes because of your fire at the moment of the mountain let not God speak to us lest we die no wonder history gives us cities like widows sitting in their menstrual blood no wonder book of revelation surges up four horsemen orgy of vengeance after nonviolent gospels no wonder swarms of Christian soldiers burning libraries burning heretics no wonder chapel in Cuzco sculpted conquistador striding upon the prone body of an Indian no wonder imams cut hands off sinners no wonder the Jewish lunatic murders worshipers in a place of reconciliation everybody trying to look goes blind .

Israel’s funniest Palestinian writer decamps to the Midwest


Ruth Margalit at The New Yorker: Political debate in Israel is vigorous, if not always elegant, often summoning the old Hebrew phrase that describes “a dialogue between deaf people.” But it has been dampened in recent years by a series of government-sponsored bills: one demanding that non-Jewish Israelis take loyalty oaths; another authorizing the finance ministry to withhold funds from organizations deemed—however vaguely—to be violating Israel’s foundational tenet of a “Jewish and democratic” state.

interpreting hamlet


Michael Caines at the Times Literary Supplement: No gravediggers. No funeral for Ophelia. No voyage to England.

oliver sacks' last article for the NYRB


Oliver Sacks at The New York Review of Books: Walter B., an affable, outgoing man of forty-nine, came to see me in 2006.

Why political science can’t — and shouldn’t — be too much like economics


Daniel W. Drezner in The Washington Post: In Tuesday’s post, I argued that it was quite possible for political scientists to be both rigorous and relevant.

Rewrite, Reboot, Remix


J.M. Tyree in The Rumpus: I suspect that everyone is always rewriting something or other, whether they are self-conscious about it or operating intuitively.

I am not a story


Galen Strawson in Aeon: ‘Each of us constructs and lives a “narrative”,’ wrote the British neurologist Oliver Sacks, ‘this narrative is us’.

An American Nobel economist’s pressing advice for Europe


Alvin E. Roth in Politico: The Mediterranean isn’t an effective barrier between Europe and refugee crises in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

Can you solve the bridge riddle?

Courage in the Face of Terror: The Untold Stories of Anti-Abortion Terrorism


Vanessa C. Adriance in Ms Magazine: LIVING IN THE CROSSHAIRS exposes the harrowing reality facing abortion providers in the U.S.

Computer science: Enchantress of abstraction


Richard Holmes in Nature: The bicentenary of Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace, heralds the critical reassessment of a remarkable figure in the history of Victorian science.


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