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Only That I Were An Official Person!

Glenda Sluga | Lapham's Quarterly | 5th January 2022 | U

In the early 19C, being "patriotic" was one of the few avenues available to women who wished to be political in public. It was an emotional matter of civic identity that chimed with contemporary views of the feminine intellect, yet also impinged on the great matters of state. Letters from across the continent expose the shadow diplomacy such ambitious women practised under this guise (2,114 words)

The Steel House Saga

Rainey Knudson | Texas Monthly | 5th January 2022 | U

The sculptor Robert Bruno spent the last 30 years of his life working on a vast and alien-looking steel edifice situated east of Lubbock, Texas. It "was principally designed as sculpture, albeit with three bedrooms and two and a half baths", and Bruno stubbornly moved into it just before his death from cancer. Now, after years of real estate shenanigans, it looks set to become an AirBnB (2,450 words)

Cleaning Online Reputations

Paul Gallant | Walrus | 4th January 2022 | U

The internet has a long memory, so there are professionals whose business involves making us forget. This profile of one such "fixer" not only runs through the tools of his trade, but examines how this nascent industry is chasing its own tail: "The booming market for reputation fixing appears to be encouraging more online defamation and an ecosystem to manage it" (2,291 words)

Renaissance Philosophy, Magic, And Botany

Fabrizio Baldassarri | JHI | 22nd December 2021 | U

On the fabled lamb of Tartary, an "animal-plant" first described in medieval texts that captured the imagination of Renaissance philophers and botanists. Although a few did try to argue for its actual existence, the lamb mostly served as a thought experiment for investigating the nature of plants. The debate had implications for later notions of spontaneous generation, hybridisation and grafting (2,631 words)

The Speed Of Science

Saloni Dattani and Nathaniel Bechhofer | Works In Progress | 8th February 2021 | U

Can science go faster without compromising quality, integrity or transparency? These writers argue yes, but their conditions are steep: researchers must abandon any notion of static "publication" for prestige's sake and all work would need to become completely open source. Peer review and critique become a speciality of their own, increasing pace and defeating nepotism in one stroke (2,805 words)

Podcast: Susan Wolf, “Moral Saints” | Good In Theory. Well rounded discussion of Wolf's 1982 article about morality, rationality and the human tendency towards hagiography (26m 00s)

Video: Live From Studio S2 | YouTube | Hania Rani. The Polish pianist and composer performs a medley of her minimalist, percussive works using a variety of different keyboards (25m 40s)

"It is not every man who can be exquisitely miserable, any more than exquisitely happy"
James Boswell

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