A censorship less visible

Kenan Malik in Pandaemonium: One of the problems in discussing censorship is that we often don’t recognize censorship for what it is. There is no longer the Lord Chamberlain marking scripts and cutting out the unacceptable. Instead, we, in effect, ourselves mark them. And that, ironically, makes censorship not more, but less, visible. In all…

Why Growth Can’t Be Green

Jason Hickel in Foreign Policy: Warnings about ecological breakdown have become ubiquitous. Over the past few years, major newspapers, including the Guardian and the New York Times, have carried alarming stories on soil depletion, deforestation, and the collapse of fish stocks and insect populations. These crises are being driven by global economic growth, and its accompanying consumption, which…

America, Land of Brutal Binaries

Andrew Sullivan in New York Magazine: It was entirely a coincidence that I found myself reading Jonathan Haidt and Greg Lukianoff’s The Coddling of the American Mind in the same week that Brett Kavanaugh was credibly accused of sexual assault in his teens, and Ian Buruma lost his job as editor of The New York Review of Books,…

How Laurence Sterne reinvented the novel

Lucinda Smyth in Prospect: “The trouble with life (the novelist will feel) is its amorphousness, its ridiculous fluidity,” writes Martin Amis in his memoir Experience. “Look at it: thinly plotted, largely themeless, sentimental and ineluctably trite. The dialogue is poor, or at least violently uneven. The twists are predictable or sensationalist. And it’s always the same…

Yes, Government Creates Wealth

Mariana Mazzucato in Democracy: The January 2010 edition of The Economist was devoted to the dangers of big government. A large picture of a monster adorned the magazine’s cover. The editorial opined: “The rich world has a clear choice: learn from the mistakes of the past, or else watch Leviathan grow into a true monster.” In a…

Titans of Mathematics Clash Over Epic Proof of ABC Conjecture

Erica Klarreich in Quanta: In a report posted online today, Peter Scholze of the University of Bonn and Jakob Stix of Goethe University Frankfurt describe what Stix calls a “serious, unfixable gap” within a mammoth series ofpapers by Shinichi Mochizuki, a mathematician at Kyoto University who is renowned for his brilliance. Posted online in 2012, Mochizuki’s papers supposedly prove the abc conjecture, one of the most far-reaching…

Disaster Capitalism Strikes Puerto Rico

Tom Winterbottom in Public Books: It has been a year since Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, leaving a trail of destruction: ruined infrastructure, destroyed homes, and thousands of fatalities. Since that particular hurricane has largely faded from the news, the slow rebuild continues and defining questions loom over the process: Who is Puerto Rico for?…

The medical community has ignored mountains of evidence to wage a cruel and futile war on fat people

Michael Hobbs in The Huffington Post: About 40 years ago, Americans started getting much larger. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 80 percent of adults and about one-third of children now meet the clinical definition of overweight or obese. More Americans live with “extreme obesity“ than with breast cancer, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and HIV put…