What's good for society?
One morning, when I was about four years old, I proudly announced from the back seat of my family’s car, “Mother, I want you to know that I am the first kid in my whole kindergarten to think inside my head rather than out loud.” The car slowed to a standstill as we waited for the light to change. My mother turned to me, smiled, and said softly, “How do you know you’re the first?” Oded Na’aman: The Checkpoint
Posted June 3, 2012; 04:17 p.m. by Staff "Don't Eat Fortune's Cookie" Michael Lewis June 3, 2012 — As Prepared (NOTE: The video of Lewis' speech as delivered is available on the Princeton YouTube channel.) Thank you. President Tilghman. University - 2012 Baccalaureate Remarks
Two Cheers for Double Standards
Introductory note: Russell delivered this lecture on March 6, 1927 to the National Secular Society, South London Branch, at Battersea Town Hall. Published in pamphlet form in that same year, the essay subsequently achieved new fame with Paul Edwards' edition of Russell's book, Why I Am Not a Christian and Other Essays ... (1957). As your Chairman has told you, the subject about which I am going to speak to you tonight is "Why I Am Not a Christian." Why I Am Not A Christian, by Bertrand Russell
Getting Smart on Aid
Welcome to the Brave New World of Persuasion Profiling | Magazine Photo: Brock Davis Welcome, [FIRST NAME], to the era of personalization. Amazon.com recommends books you might like, Netflix tailors your movie menu, and Google customizes your news.
A special report on feeding the world: The 9 billion-people question
Ahmed Ezz, one of several NDP officials arrested since Egypt's revolution began [EPA] Editor's note July 2, 2013: This article was published shortly after the collapse of the Mubarak regime, however it raises crucial issues that still resonate with the current situation in Egypt. On February 16th I read a comment that was posted on the wall of the Kullina Khalid Saed's ("We are all Khaled Said") Facebook page administered by the now very famous Wael Ghonim. By that time it had been there for about 21 hours. A revolution against neoliberalism?
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The bright side of wrong There are certain things in life that pretty much everyone can be counted on to despise. Bedbugs, say. Back pain. The RMV.
February 01, 2011|By Erica L. Green, The Baltimore Sun Until last summer, Baltimore City students probably didn't think that Michael Phelps and African step dancers would have much to do with their learning. But city school officials reported that middle-school students who used fractions to clock swimming lessons with the Olympic champion's coaches or calculated the proportion of rhythms by the performers showed significant progress in their ability to retain academic skills over the summer. City schools' revved-up summer program gets results - baltimoresun.com
When Peru’s most wanted man was captured in 1992, a young ballerina went to jail too, for harbouring him at her studio. The story was turned into a novel and film, “The Dancer Upstairs”. This year, the author of the novel, Nicholas Shakespeare, flew to Lima to meet the dancer at last—and to ask her whether she was guilty From INTELLIGENT LIFE Magazine, Winter 2010 “Amigo?” The interrogator, a stout policewoman in a tight black jersey, sits behind a scuffed counter. “Si, amigo,” I say, and sense her rolled eyes. THE DANCER AND THE TERRORIST
The Hazards of Nerd Supremacy: The Case of WikiLeaks - Jaron Lanier - Technology The degree of sympathy in tech circles for both Wikileaks and Anonymous has surprised me. The most common take seems to be that the world needs cyber-pranksters to keep old-school centers of power, like governments and big companies, in check. Cyber-activists are perceived to be the underdogs, flawed and annoying, perhaps, but standing up to overbearing power. It doesn't seem so to me. I actually take seriously the idea that the Internet can make non-traditional techie actors powerful.1 Therefore, I am less sympathetic to hackers when they use their newfound power arrogantly and non-constructively.
In one of the diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks Putin and Medvedev are compared to Batman and Robin. It’s a useful analogy: isn’t Julian Assange, WikiLeaks’s organiser, a real-life counterpart to the Joker in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight? In the film, the district attorney, Harvey Dent, an obsessive vigilante who is corrupted and himself commits murders, is killed by Batman. LRB · Slavoj Žižek · Good Manners in the Age of WikiLeaks
One year ago, San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order directing the city’s departments to make their data public. Yesterday, the city’s board of supervisors turned that order into law. As far as we could establish, this is the first time any city in the U.S. has implemented an open data law. But given that other jurisdictions often follow San Francisco’s lead in this space, it’s likely not the last. The law is brief. San Francisco Passes First Open Data Law
Simple steps to happier politics It’s easy to be discouraged by our polarized political environment. A new study suggests there may be an easy way out. Right before the 2008 presidential election, prospective voters were asked to complete an online survey. Some of the participants were assigned a brief self-affirmation exercise, where they had to choose the personal trait (from a list of 10) that was most important to them and write a sentence or two explaining that choice. Other participants encountered the same list but had to choose the trait that was least important and explain why someone else might find it important.
Diseased thinking: dissolving questions about disease Related to: Disguised Queries, Words as Hidden Inferences, Dissolving the Question, Eight Short Studies on Excuses Today's therapeutic ethos, which celebrates curing and disparages judging, expresses the liberal disposition to assume that crime and other problematic behaviors reflect social or biological causation. While this absolves the individual of responsibility, it also strips the individual of personhood, and moral dignity
April 2008 (This essay is derived from a talk at the 2008 Startup School.) About a month after we started Y Combinator we came up with the phrase that became our motto: Make something people want. We've learned a lot since then, but if I were choosing now that's still the one I'd pick. Another thing we tell founders is not to worry too much about the business model, at least at first. Not because making money is unimportant, but because it's so much easier than building something great. Be Good
Talking about Capitalism
The Acceleration of Addictiveness July 2010 What hard liquor, cigarettes, heroin, and crack have in common is that they're all more concentrated forms of less addictive predecessors. Most if not all the things we describe as addictive are.