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One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed

Seth Stevenson in Slate: Before any of the six entrants in the 2014 Sinquefield Cup had nudged a white pawn to e4, they’d already been hailed as the strongest collection of chess talent ever assembled.

Murder 'comes naturally' to chimpanzees

Jonathan Webb at the BBC: A major study suggests that killing among chimpanzees results from normal competition, not human interference.

Battle Ground: A look at the tangled political history of modern Gaza

Hussein Ibish in Bookforum: As this review was going to press, the latest bout of hostilities between Hamas and other Gaza-based militants and Israel had become even more bloody and destructive than 2009’s brutally named Israeli incursion into Gaza, Operation Cast Lead.

What Slipped Disks Tell Us About 700 Million Years of Evolution

Carl Zimmer in his excellent blog, The Loom: There’s a unity to life. Sometimes it’s plain to see, but very often it lurks underneath a distraction of differences.

A Gentleman's Guide To Sex In Prison

Daniel Genis in The Concourse: When I tell people that I recently finished serving a 10-year prison sentence for armed robbery, mostly in maximum-security facilities, I often feel a question lingering in the air.

Junkopia - A Short Film by Chris Marker

hush hoggies hush

The Hound of Heaven by Francis Thompson

Under the skin

Nathaniel Comfort in Nature: Is race biologically real? A clutch of books published this year argue the question.

Land of the Houyhnhnms is what they see done every day, and .....they look upon it as one of the necessary .....actions of a reasonable being.

Tyler Malone Interviews Paul Holdengräber

In Full Stop: Paul Holdengräber of the New York Public Library claims that good conversation can leave one “hopeful about the possibility of speech.” As one of the world’s leading conversationalists, he would know.

What Are the Humanities For?

Patrícia Vieira on Doris Summer's The Work of Art in the World: Civic Agency and Public Humanities and Peter Brooks's (ed.) The Humanities and Public Life, in The LA Review of Books: Peter Brooks’s edited collection The Humanities and Public Life and Doris Sommer’s The Work of Art in the World: Civic Agency and Public Humanitiesoffer spirited defenses of the humanities that attempt to explain why these fields of study matter.

We Shouldn't Forget Liberalism's Religious Roots

David Marquand reviews Inventing the Individual: the Origins of Western Liberalism by Larry Siedentop and Liberalism: the Life of an Idea by Edmund Fawcett, in TNR: In its 19th-century heyday, as Fawcett’s history reminds us, liberalism was optimistic, passionate and imbued with strongly held moral convictions.


Eric Lundgren at The Quarterly Conversation: Levé’s projects often invite us into discomfort, into awkward gaping at the failures of art.

A call for radical action to combat climate change

Pilita Clark at The Financial Times: Her thesis is that the climate movement has been a victim of appalling timing.

Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence

Noel Malcolm in TheTelegraph: 'Many of us saw religion as harmless nonsense. We thought, if people needed a   crutch for consolation, where’s the harm?

Scholar Behind U. of Illinois Boycotts Is a Longtime Activist

Marc Parry in the Chronicle of Higher Education: On a Friday night in early August, Corey Robin put out a call on his blog.


Elliott Colla in his blog: My first year as a student in Cairo. I visit Cairo’s main book market located in the famous area of Ezbekiyya.

On the 10th anniversary of the Clinton Global Initiative, Bill Clinton assesses the state of the world, and of his post-presidency

James Bennet in The Atlantic: In his distinction-defying way, Clinton has managed to prove the worriers both right and, more fundamentally, wrong.

Meet The 2014 Winners Of The MacArthur 'Genius Grants'

From NPR: One is becoming as well-known for her autobiographical work as she is for her test for what movies meet a gender-balance baseline.