Avishai Margalit | New York Review Of Books | 31st January 2014
Notes on the character of Ariel Sharon. "He was either untrained for, or simply distrusted, any form of abstract thinking. Sharon’s abhorrence of abstract thinking included distaste for law and morality, and ended in a total mistrust of ideology. He was a pre-ideological general who fought in ideological wars. Part of Sharon’s dark charm, of which he had plenty, was the feeling that in him you could encounter primordial elements"
Clay Shirky | 30th January 2014
"The reason to bet on the spread of large-scale low-cost education isn’t the increased supply of new technologies. It’s the massive demand for education, which our existing institutions are increasingly unable to handle. Those of us in the traditional academy could have a hand in shaping that future, but doing so will require us to relax our obsessive focus on elite students, institutions, and faculty"
David Papineau | More Important Than That | 30th January 2014
"How can fans sensibly suppose that it is important for their side to win, even when there is no objective basis for their favouritism?" It's because humans "give meaning to our lives by adopting long-term goals and working to achieve them". We invest our energies in projects — family, career, house and garden, reputation. When you become a fan, your team becomes a project. You sign up for its mission
Benjamin Moser | New Yorker | 30th January 2014
Susan Sontag's biographer, on the intimacy of email. "Reading papers and manuscripts is one thing. Looking through someone’s e-mail is quite another. The feeling of creepiness and voyeurism that overcame me struggled with the unstoppable curiosity that I feel about Sontag’s life. To read someone’s e-mail is to see her thinking and talking in real time. One sees the insatiably lonely writer reaching out to people she hardly knew"
Ben Thompson | Stratechery | 27th January 2014
It's a mistake to see the iPad as occupying the same social space as the computer. Computers are for computing. iPads "are used for traditional computer activities, but they’re also used for gaming, for music-making, for drawing, even for sumo wrestling ... The Mac or PC is a specialised device, best compared to the grand piano in the living room: Unrivalled in the hands of a master, increasingly ignored by everyone else"
Thought for the day:
"No one comes to believe in God because they have been convinced by the arguments for God’s existence" — Kenan Malik
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