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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on Two Books About Muslim Identity

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in the New York Times: In 1776, Thomas Jefferson’s friend Senator Richard Henry Lee expressed both of their opinions when he asserted in Congress, referring to Muslims and Hindus, that “true freedom embraces the Mahometan and the Gentoo as well as the Christian religion.” In 1777, the Muslim kingdom of Morocco became the first country in the world to formally accept the United States as a sovereign nation.

The many tragedies of Edward Teller

Ashutosh Jogalekar in The Curious Wavefunction: Edward Teller was born on this day 107 years ago. Teller is best known to the general public for two things: his reputation as the “father of the hydrogen bomb” and as a key villain in the story of the downfall of Robert Oppenheimer.

Massive scientific report on marijuana confirms medical benefits

Beth Mole in Ars Technica: In a new 400-page analysis that blows through the current state of scientific knowledge on the health risks and benefits of marijuana, one of the strongest conclusions is that it can effectively treat chronic pain in some patients.

If Donald Trump really is compromised, we need immediate action, not media overreach

Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone: Have we ever been less sure about the truth of an urgent news story? Three days into the "Russian dossier" scandal, which history will remember by a far more colorful name, we still have no clue what we're dealing with.

Medical correctness

Anthony Daniels in The New Criterion: In Russia in 1839, Custine wrote that Tsar Nicholas I was both eagle and insect: eagle because he soared over society surveying it with a sharp raptor’s eye from above, and insect because he bored himself into every tiny crack and crevice of society from below.

What Drives Successful Crowdsourcing?

Michael Fitzgerald in Harvard Magazine: Karim Lakhani says his work poses a provocative question: can a crowd of random people outsmart Harvard experts?

nat hentoff (1925 - 2017)

karel husa (1921 - 2016)

zygmunt bauman (1925 - 2017)

Sunday Poem

The Tip Just days before the crash that killed him, my father lost the tip of his index finger while working on the same vehicle that would take him away.

This is how the American republic ends

Ryan Cooper in The Week: A recent review of studies convincingly argues that FBI Director James Comey's letter vaguely announcing a new chapter in the email investigation eroded Clinton's margins by enough to make her lose.

What Happens When Algorithms Design a Concert Hall? The Stunning Elbphilharmonie

Liz Stinson in Wired: THE MOST INTERESTING thing about Herzog and De Meuron’s newly opened concert hall, the Elbphilharmonie, isn’t its wave-like facade, which rises above the city of Hamburg, Germany.

An Experiment in Empathy

Lisa Miller in New York Magazine: In May, Underwood drew all kinds of flak for agreeing to let George Zimmerman sell the Kel-Tec PF9 that killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin on his site.

The American Action Auteur

Isaac Butler in the LA Review o f Books: THE CLIMAX OF THIEF, Michael Mann’s first feature film, is the kind of sequence it feels like only he can pull off.

Coretta Scott King: A Posthumous Memoir

Patricia J. Williams at The New York Times: Nearly every image of Coretta Scott King since her husband’s death has seemed suffused with preternatural stillness, her face fixed with the brave solitude of timeless interior bereavement.


Jack Saebyok Jung at The Quarterly Conversation: Translating one of the most experimental novels to come out from South Korea in recent memory is no easy task, and Yewon Jung’s translation dutifully recreates Jung Young Moon’s sustained deconstruction of sentences and narratives.

Jane Austen at 200

Lucy Worsley at The Guardian: “Downright nonsense” was the verdict of Mrs Augusta Bramston, a Hampshire friend and neighbour of the Austen family, on reading Pride and Prejudice.

Saturday Poem

(Not so) random selections from Jim Harrison’s Returning to Earth, (a section of a larger collection-1982)  which, when I read them this morning occasionally glancing out the window at a new day’s emerging shadows, were shaded beautifully but badly by now.

The Divided States: Trump's inauguration and how democracy has failed

Pankaj Mishra in The Guardian: Never in human history have so many diverse peoples lived together as in our time.

Big Sugar’s Secret Ally? Nutritionists

Gary Taube in The New York Times: The first time the sugar industry felt compelled to “knock down reports that sugar is fattening,” as this newspaper put it, it was 1956.