J.P. O'Malley | Spectator | 22 March 2013
On the tensions between technology and free will. "Where do you put the end of the human ego? And where do you let the algorithm sort out human affairs? I don’t think we should decide in advance where that line should be. Instead we should experiment to find it. In the old days before computation, this was the line between market and government"
Phil Plait | Slate | 21 March 2013
Space telescope maps Universe by capturing background radiation from Big Bang. "What they found is pretty amazing: The Universe is lopsided on a vast scale. What can this mean? It could mean dark energy is changing over time, for example. Another idea is that we’re seeing some pattern imprinted on the Universe from before the Big Bang"
Ta-Nehisi Coates | Atlantic | 21 March 2013
"Yesterday I ate a bad nut on the train to Boston and went into anaphylactic shock. A doctor who happened to be seated nearby shot me up with a epipen. The train made an emergency stop in New London. I was shivering crazily. After I laid down, I heard the doctor say, 'I can't get a pulse.' This is something no one ever wants to hear"
Charles Pierce | Grantland | 15 March 2013
Fond memoir of working at Boston's alternative weekly newspaper, the Phoenix, in the 1970s. "Where do you start with the newspaper at which you grew so much, and learned so much, and came to respect the craft of journalism with a fervor that edged pretty damn close to the religious? What memories have pride of place now?"
Ian Bostridge | Times Literary Supplement | 20 March 2013
If the subject of Benjamin Britten doesn't enthral you to start with, you may find this piece heavy going. But if it does, then this is an expert treatment of Britten's life and work on the centenary of his birth. Admirers thought him the equal of Shostakovich and Stravinsky. Critics found his work thin and schematic — all head and no heart
Tony Perrottet | Smithsonian | 21 March 2013
"What follows is a brazenly opinionated short-list of travel classics—some notorious, some barely remembered—that have inspired armchair travelers to venture out of their comfort zone and hit the road." From Herodotus to Peter Mayall by way of Marco Polo, Mark Twain, Norman Douglas, Freya Stark, Jack Kerouac and Bruce Chatwin
Thought for the day:
"Peace comes when people plant vines, and ends when they dig for oil" — Roger Scruton