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Notes on Bantu Philosophy

Justin E. H. Smith in his blog: There is an observation sometimes made in connection with the history of philosophical reflection on the nature of human distinctness, that language has moved in, in the past few centuries, to fill a role that had previously been taken up by belief in a divinely implanted soul.

Collective Punishment in Gaza

Rashid Khalidi in The New Yorker: Three days after the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu launched the current war in Gaza, he held a press conference in Tel Aviv during which he said, in Hebrew, according to the Times of Israel, “I think the Israeli people understand now what I always say: that there cannot be a situation, under any agreement, in which we relinquish security control of the territory west of the River Jordan.” It’s worth listening carefully when Netanyahu speaks to the Israeli people.

Cocoa farmers taste chocolate for the first time

Ex-Israeli Security Chief Diskin: 'All the Conditions Are There for an Explosion'

Julia Amalia Heyer interviews Yuval Diskin, in Spiegel (photo: Reuters): SPIEGEL: What about Israel talking directly with Hamas?

what it’s like to be an anti-war Israeli

Marina Strinkovsky in New Statesman: On Saturday, I attended an extremist demonstration in Tel Aviv. Some 5,000 other dangerous fanatics and I gave up a small slice of our weekend to express our intolerably radical views to a hostile or, at best, indifferent public, surrounded by a thick protective wall of visibly disgruntled border police and a 20-foot wide cordon of metal barriers.

probiotics could prevent obesity and insulin resistance

From KurzweilAI: Vanderbilt University researchers have discovered that engineered probiotic bacteria (“friendly” bacteria like those in yogurt) in the gut produce a therapeutic compound that inhibits weight gain, insulin resistance, and other adverse effects of a high-fat diet in mice.

Wednesday Poem

Comete Uphill in Melbourne on a beautiful day a woman is walking ahead of her hair. Like teak oiled soft to fracture and sway it hung to her heels and seconded her as a pencilled retinue, an unscrolling title to ploughland, edged with ripe rows of dress, a sheathed wing that couldn't fly her at all, only itself, loosely, and her spirits.

Refugee Crisis: The Stunning Collapse of Syria’s Safe Spaces

Farrah Hassen in Foreign Policy in Focus (Photo: UNHCR Photo Unit / Flickr): While filming a documentary in Syria in the summer of 2003, I visited the Jaramana refugee camp near Damascus.

We Experiment On Human Beings!

Christian Rudder in the OKCupid blog: All dating sites let users rate profiles, and OkCupid’s original system gave people two separate scales for judging each other, “personality” and “looks.” I found this old screenshot.

Soak the Rich

An exchange on capital, debt, and the future between David Graeber and Thomas Piketty in The Baffler (image: © C.K.

The “Act of Witnessing:” Journalism’s Responsibilities in Covering Tragedy

Kaitlin Solimine in Hippo Reads In the aftermath of the Malaysia Air Ukraine incident, one thing was clear: the damage ran deep.

From A Diary of Mysterious Difficulties

An excerpt from a new book by 3QD friend Laura Raicovich. " Diary of Mysterious Difficulties was borne out of spam received over a period of several months.

Fanon Documentary Confronts Fallacies about anti-colonial philosopher

Bhakti Shringarpure in The Guardian: Fanon’s posthumously published The Wretched of the Earth has often been viewed as a call to violent action against the coloniser, as a radical militant anthem for all oppressed peoples, and as a deeply controversial ideology of resistance.

Ex-Israeli Security Chief Diskin: 'All the Conditions Are There for an Explosion'

Julia Amalia Heyer interviews Yuval Diskin, in Spiegel (photo: Reuters): SPIEGEL: What about Israel talking directly with Hamas?

Killing Things

by Liam Heneghan In the early 1980s wanting to be a naturalist — a coleopterist, in particular, that most Darwin-like of naturalists — I spent a couple of summer months in Killarney National Park, in Ireland, making a collection of chrysomelid beetles.

Post-9/11, scholars scolded the religious. Now they overintellectualize them

Stephen T. Asma in the Chronicle of Higher Education: September 11 changed the God conversation. Atheism was always a reasonable alternative to theological glitches like the problem of evil, and of course God seemed increasingly unnecessary after Darwin’s revolution, but atheism was a relatively quiet and confident minority position.

Did the invention of photography kill the painted portrait? Of course not

Morgan Meis in The Smart Set: Willem de Kooning made a portrait of Marilyn Monroe in 1954. The painting consists of a few splotches of yellow and blue paint.

The Bible and Homosexuality

Dylan Thomas was not only a young genius but a genius of youth

Austin Allen at Poetry Magazine: Thomas’s reputation as popular bard—an Orpheus or Taliesin reincarnate—trailed him from his earliest career in Wales.

the right to have rights

Seyla Benhabib at Eurozine: In a well-known passage of The Origins of Totalitarianism, Hannah Arendt wrote: "We become aware of the existence of a right to have rights (and that means to live in a framework where one is judged by one's actions and opinions) and a right to belong to some kind of organized community, only when millions of people emerge who had lost and could not regain these rights because of the new global political situation [...] The right that corresponds to this loss and that was never even mentioned among the human rights cannot be expressed in the categories of the eighteenth-century because they presume that rights spring immediately from the 'nature' of man [...] the right to have rights, or the right of every individual to belong to humanity, should be guaranteed by humanity itself. It is by no means certain whether this is possible."[9] The "right to have rights" has become the well-known phrase through which to capture the plight of the stateless, the refugee, the asylee and displaced persons – that is, the plight of those who have been cast out of the framework "where one is judged by one's actions and opinions." Throughout this discussion, Arendt polemicizes against the grounding of human rights upon any conception of human nature or history.