Rereading Ayn Rand on the New Left

It used to be called The New Left: The Anti-Industrial Revolution, but the later title was Return on the Primitive.  It was published in 1971, but sometimes drawn from slightly earlier essays.  I wondered if a revisit might shed light on the current day, and here is what I learned: 1. “The New Left is […]

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*False Alarm*, the new book by Bjorn Lomborg

The subtitle is How Climate Change Panic Costs Us Trillions, Hurts the Poor, and Fails to Fix the Planet. I agree with the author’s claim that climate change is not an existential risk for humanity.  Still, both the title and subtitle bother me.  The alarm does not seem to be a false one, even if […]

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What I’ve been reading

1. Yukio Mishima, The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With the Sea.  Yes compelling, and a sufficiently influential book that you should read it.  But aren’t you ever tempted to ask: has anyone ever behaved like that? 2. Rutger Bregman, Humankind: A Hopeful History.  An elegantly written book, offering an optimistic take on human nature […]

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My Conversation with Annie Duke

Here is the transcript and audio, here is the opening summary: Annie joined Tyler to explore how payoffs aren’t always monetary, the benefits and costs of probabilistic thinking, the “magical thinking” behind why people buy fire insurance but usually don’t get prenups, the psychology behind betting on shark migrations, how her most famous linguistics paper […]

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*Forms of Contention: Influence and the African American Sonnet Tradition*

That is the new, excellent, and timely book by Hollis Robbins, the title is descriptive, here is one excerpt: “If We Must Die” calls for resistance to violence in an environment of violence. The power of [Claude] McKay’s sonnet—Shakespearean and yet with modern diction—is the tension between the measured lines and rhyme, the poetic phrases […]

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What I’ve been reading

1. Alex Wiltshire and John Short, Home Computers: 100 Icons that Defined a Digital Generation.  Thrilling photos, I suspect the text is very good too but I don’t need to read it to recommend this one. 2. Jonathan Bate, Radical Wordsworth: the poet who changed the world.  Another magisterial and phenomenal biography by Bates, who […]

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That was then, this is now, *Mayday 1971* edition

That forthcoming book is authored by Lawrence Roberts, and the subtitle is A White House at War, A Revolt in the Streets, and the Untold History of America’s Biggest Mass Arrest.  Here is one excerpt: The president had made his wishes clear.  That was why Kleindienst was pushing a military solution.  The police chief made […]

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My excellent Conversation with Ashley Mears

Tired of lockdown, pandemic, and rioting?  Here is a podcast on some of their polar opposites, conducted by “a bridge and tunnel guy” with an accomplished sociologist.  Here is the audio and transcript, here is the summary: Ashley Mears is a former fashion model turned academic sociologist, and her book Very Important People: Status and Beauty in […]

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