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Love Is Like Cocaine

Helen Fisher in Nautilus: George Bernard Shaw knew the power of romantic love and attachment. Both, I will maintain, are addictions—wonderful addictions when the relationship is going well; horribly negative addictions when the partnership breaks down.

Why is “Laborism” an increasing influence within the Democratic Party even though union density continues to decline?

Rich Yeselson over at Crooked Timber: A few days ago, Matt Yglesias wrote me an email which asked a great question about American politics and the seeming movement to the left of the Democratic Party.

As a God Might Be

Meghan O’Gieblyn in the Boston Review: There are two kinds of technology critics. On one side are the determinists, who see the history of technology as one of inexorable progress, advancing according to its own Darwinian logic—the wheel, the steam engine, the autonomous car—while humans remain its hapless passengers.

The Truth About the Resistance

Robert Paxton in The New York Review of Books: One needs also to ask what the main purpose of resistance was.

de sade in america

Hussein Ibish at The Baffler: There’s an especially bitter irony in Sade’s image as a cheap pornographer: he was not in any recognizable sense creating pornography at all—nor can he be neatly pigeonholed into any other literary tradition.

an Amazon within the Amazon

Pablo Calvi at The Believer: There’s a steel vein running through the Andes from east to west, a warm, hollow line that sucks out the guts of the jungle, four hundred thousand oil barrels at a time.

the Struggle for a Sustainable Future in the Rare Metal Age

Michael Burleigh at Literary Review: Books on resource wars are ten a penny and usually focus on oil or water conflicts.

Friday Poem

Why —After Faiz Ahmed Faiz's Kuttey . Not even dogs Go as quietly as these men Battered and bruised Idle and begging Homeless and hearthless Stabbing each other for scraps Starving in silence Why What myth is it That keeps you Divided Amongst yourselves That keeps you Blind To your strength .

Gravitational waves: a three-minute guide

Davide Castelvecchi in Nature:  More here.

Parents outraged after students shown ‘white guilt’ cartoon for Black History Month

Peter Holley in The Washington Post:  A Virginia school district has banned the use of an educational video about racial inequality after some parents complained that its messaging is racially divisive.

Life as We Write It

Nika Knight interviews Brian Boyd in Guernica: The author on what evolutionary science can teach us about art and literature, his enduring interest in Nabokov, and why a good joke never dies.

How Chris Jackson is building a black literary movement

Vinson Cunningham in The New York Times: On an unnervingly balmy November day, the scene at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn was restless and expectant.

Gravitational Waves Exist: The Inside Story of How Scientists Finally Found Them

Nicola Twilley in The New Yorker: Just over a billion years ago, many millions of galaxies from here, a pair of black holes collided.

Ladies and Gentlemen, LIGO had detected gravitational waves!

Dennis Overbye in the New York Times: A team of physicists who can now count themselves as astronomers announced on Thursday that they had heard and recorded the sound of two black holes colliding a billion light-years away, a fleeting chirp that fulfilled the last prophecy of Einstein’s general theory of relativity.

The Incredible Story of LIGO

Paul Halpern in Medium: The LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) project was proposed by physicist Rainer (Rai) Weiss of MIT, along with Kip Thorne, Ronald Drever, Rochus Vogt and other researchers at Caltech.

on the poetry of GALINA RYMBU

Eugene Ostashevsky at Music and Literature: There is a lot of talk now, in the United States at least, about political poetry and even revolutionary poetry, and what these are, and how to write them.

a.o. scott debates with himself about the nature of criticism

A.O. Scott at Literary Hub: Q: So you’ve written a book in defense of thinking? Where’s the argument?

Magic and the rise of science

Diane Purkiss at The Times Literary Supplement: What fascinates Copenhaver is the overlap between magic and science.

Thursday Poem


Israel’s Putinisation

Adam Shatz in the LRB: Ahmad Tibi, a long-standing Arab member of the Knesset, once remarked that ‘Israel is democratic towards Jews, and Jewish towards Arabs.’ For many years, that soundbite nicely captured the contradictions of ‘Jewish democracy’: fair elections, press freedom, cantankerous debate and due process for some; land theft, administrative detention, curfews, assassinations and ‘muscular interrogations’ for others.