Conrad Black | National Review | 28 February 2013
Fine polemic against the American justice and prison system, from a writer whom nobody could accuse of bleeding-heart liberalism, but whose sensibility has been sharpened by his own spell of prison time. "The U.S. has 5 percent of the world’s population, 25 percent of its incarcerated people, and half of its academically qualified lawyers"
Daniel Engber | Slate | 27 February 2013
Beware: disturbing content. "It's hard to say exactly what Gilberto Valle is accused of doing. He never kidnapped anyone, or raped anyone, or murdered anyone. He was never violent to the women who will take the stand. He's never tasted human flesh. But he thought about these things, and he talked about these things. Did he plan to do them?"
Brad Leithauser | New Yorker | 26 February 2013
For myself, I prefer "conciseness", but that is the only word of criticism I have for this (yes) short note in praise of brevity in poetry. Haikus, of course. But pride of place to Strickland Gilliland's two-word masterpiece, "Fleas". With special mention for Donald Hall’s “Exile", which was first written at 100 lines, then shortened to six
Kishore Mahbubani | Foreign Policy | 27 February 2013
America fought long and hard to maintain its leadership over the Soviet Union. Why has it made little attempt to thwart China's rise? Two main reasons: because America has been distracted by its adventures in the Middle East; and because America went on assuming, at least until very recently, that its global position was unassailable
Anonymous | Economist | 23 February 2013
"The country jammed between Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Israel is disintegrating. Perhaps the regime will collapse; it could fight on from a fortified enclave, the biggest militia in a land of militias. Syria looks increasingly likely to fall prey to feuding warlords, Islamists and gangs—a new Somalia rotting in the heart of the Levant"
Ross Andersen | Aeon | 25 February 2013
Portrait of Nick Bostrom, head of Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University. His field of study: very-long-term trends that may support human flourishing—in outer space, for example—or lead to human extinction. "Bostrom’s intellectual project is to reach into the epistemological fog of the future, to feel around for potential threats"
Thought for the day:
"If belief in human rationality were a scientific theory it would long since have been falsified and abandoned" — John Gray