Rhys Southan | Aeon | 22 January 2013
On veganism and its shortcomings. "If we were replaced as the dominant animals on the planet, we’d probably prefer the new ruling species to be vegan. But if aliens with superior technology and minds came here and were determined to treat us the way that vegan humans treat animals on this planet, we’d still be in serious trouble"
Jacob Silverman | LA Review Of Books | 21 January 2013
Review of "Jews and Words", by Amos Oz and his daughter, Fania Oz-Salzberger, which locates the essence of Judaism in Jewish literary and intellectual culture. ”Jews are not first and foremost a race or a religion, but a civilization, one linked by the texts they read, the stories they tell, and the history they’ve chronicled"
Jill Lepore | New Yorker | 21 January 2013
Why America spends so much on its army, and how things got this way. "The U.S. once regarded a standing army as a form of tyranny. Now it spends more on defense than all other nations combined". Chance to rein in defence spending after Cold War was lost when neocons and liberals demanded new military adventures overseas
Glenn Harlan Reynolds | SSRN | 20 January 2013
Lessons from the Aaron Swartz prosecution. "Though people charged with a crime have due process rights in court, the decision whether or not to charge a person is almost completely unconstrained. Yet, because of overcharging and plea bargains, that decision is probably the single most important event in the chain of criminal procedure" (PDF)
Kyle Edwards | Practical Ethics | 21 January 2013
"Why does it matter for our moral appraisal of pedophiles whether pedophilia is innate or acquired? Is it wrong to imprison someone for a terrible crime not yet committed? Is it problematic to condemn individuals for acting upon these (and other harmful) desires if it can be shown that poor impulse control is genetically predisposed?"
Judit Kawaguchi | Japan Times | 22 January 2013
Interview with Tokyo rag-and-bone man, who reminisces cheerfully about his younger days as a drug addict, and then as a yakuza gang member. "No matter how many times I tried, I couldn't give up the habit. I heard that some yakuza groups didn't touch drugs. I figured that if I joined their ranks, I'd be saved. In a way, I was"
Thought for the day:
"History tells us that while these truths may be self-evident, they've never been self-executing" — Barack Obama