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Can A Sentence End With A Preposition?

Emma Bowman | NPR | 27th February 2024 | U

Merriam-Webster declares freedom from a long-standing grammatical taboo: ending sentences with prepositions. Their new entry credits, or blames, John Dryden for popularising the rule in the 17th century; “untold millions have suffered as a result”. Concluding Preposition Opponents disagree, and the debate is heated. The entry’s caption has the last word: “that’s what we’re talking about” (1,000 words)


The World’s First Computer

Evaggelos Vallianatos | Classical Wisdom | 23rd February 2024 | U

Ever since it was unearthed from a shipwreck in 1900, the Antikythera Mechanism has perplexed scientists. This dictionary-sized device with bronze-toothed gears had a calendar for Greece’s major annual events; an eclipse calculator; and an Olympiad dial for sports. Likely built 2100 years ago by the astronomer Hipparchos, it is “the most complicated piece of scientific machinery known from antiquity” (1,400 words)


Common Law And Regulating Social Media

Morgan Ricks & Ganesh Sitaraman | LPE Project | 26th February 2024 | U

Case for designating social media platforms as common carriers. The core idea: businesses which provide essential services to commerce and tend towards monopoly need to be governed by special rules in public interest. Some believe this might prevent deplatforming. While there are fears about unmoderated content, common carriers have always been able to exclude users as long as it was reasonable (1,100 words)

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Military Failures Of Fascism

Bret Devereaux | Unmitigated Pedantry | 23rd February 2024 | U

“Being good at war is central to fascism in all its forms. Despite this positioning, fascist governments are generally bad at war. A shocking percentage of these regimes started wars of choice, which resulted in the absolute destruction of their state. We miss this fact because fascism heavily prioritises all the signifiers of military strength, the pageantry rather than the reality — which beguiles people” (3,300 words)


What Is Left?

Rebecca Solnit | LitHub | 23rd February 2024 | U

To be on the left “has long meant a grab bag full of contradictions”. Since 1917, the left has both opposed and supported authoritarianism, stood up for universal human rights while ignoring rights-based oppressions, and both supported and scorned organised religion. Perhaps this is just “a problem of nomenclature”? The aim should be “truth in labelling and clarity in categories” (1,900 words)


Podcast: How Did Consciousness Evolve? | On Humans. Challenging the assumption that the scientific method cannot fully explain how humans developed their capacities for feeling and meaning. Can evolutionary biology help us understand the origins of consciousness? Are robots conscious? (55m 14s)


Video: Why Do Weeping Willows Weep? | YouTube | Minute Earth | 3m 1s

Genetic mutations can make certain trees droop downwards. Struck by the beauty of these outliers, people have helped them proliferate. “Weeping trees became common because humans wanted them around.”


Afterthought:
"We lived our lives as if life was forever. To live one's life without a sense of time is to squander it"
Diana Trilling


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