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The Rising Tide of Educated Aliteracy


Alex Good in The Walrus: The author of the surprise bestseller How to Talk About Books You Haven’t Read, Pierre Bayard, is a standard-bearer for today’s highbrow aliterates.

On Flannery O’Connor and T.S. Eliot


James McWilliams at The Millions: Early in her novel Wise Blood, Flannery O’Connor describes protagonist Hazel Motes, leader of the Church without Christ, by the silhouette he casts on the sidewalk.

The New Cult of Consensus


James Oakes at nonsite: The revival of interest in the conflicts and the violence that mark American history proved enormously fruitful.

How we made the hated typeface Comic Sans


Interviews by Ben Beaumont-Thomas in The Guardian: Vincent Connare, typographer I was working for Microsoft’s typography team, which had a lot of dealings with people from applications like Publisher, Creative Writer and Encarta.

A Long-Sought Mathematical Proof, Found and Almost Lost


Natalie Wolchover in Quanta: As he was brushing his teeth on the morning of July 17, 2014, Thomas Royen, a little-known retired German statistician, suddenly lit upon the proof of a famous conjecture at the intersection of geometry, probability theory and statistics that had eluded top experts for decades.

Does poverty damage children's brains? An interview with Amy Wax

Video length: 43:06

A Tale of Two Bell Curves


Bo Winegard and Ben Winegard in Quillette: To paraphrase Mark Twain, an infamous book is one that people castigate but do not read.

Wednesday Poem

Above Pate Valley We finished clearing the last  Section of trail by noon,  High on the ridge-side  Two thousand feet above the creek  Reached the pass, went on  Beyond the white pine groves,  Granite shoulders, to a small  Green meadow watered by the snow,  Edged with Aspen—sun  Straight high and blazing  But the air was cool.  Ate a cold fried trout in the  Trembling shadows.

Why Is Cancer More Common in Men?


Erin O'Donnell in Harvard Magazine: Oncologists know that men are more prone to cancer than women; one in two men will develop some form of the disease in a lifetime, compared with one in three women.

In the Future We’ll Grow Body Parts From Plants


Sheherzad Preisler in Tonic: Growing human tissue is a huge challenge for researchers, even on a small scale.

A PHYSICIST PUTS HER PASSION INTO PROSE


Muneeza Shamsie reviews Only the Longest Threads by Tasneem Zehra Husain in Newsweek Pakistan: Her novel is framed and juxtaposed by the growing friendship between Sara Byrne, a theoretical physicist, and Leonardo Santorini, a science journalist.

Save the NEA: One Poet’s Story of How the Arts Build Community


Patricia Traxler in Agni: Just to give some idea of what killing the NEA will (or more aptly, will not) accomplish, the $146 million budget of the National Endowment for the Arts represents just 0.012% (about one one-hundredth of one percent) of our federal discretionary spending.

Music as medicine: how songs could soon replace painkillers and help you sleep better


From Wired: In September 2013, Marko Ahtisaari resigned from his position as the head of product design at Nokia.

Roger Penrose: Fashion, Faith and Fantasy in Physics

Video length: 1:03:50 Video length: 19:04

how to write 'romantic' biographies


Michael Dirda at The Washington Post: Holmes’s “This Long Pursuit” is itself a complement to two earlier volumes: “Footsteps: Adventures of a Romantic Biographer” (1985) and “Sidetracks: Explorations of a Romantic Biographer” (2000).

capitalism and christianity


Barrett Swanson at Dissent: Though few contemporary Christians would likely admit it, many of the American colonies were built upon the idea of redistribution.

orpheus in bulgaria


Allegra Hyde at Threepenny Review: My husband and I have lived in Bulgaria for six months, lived in this country often confused for other places.

Remember why we work on cancer


Levi Garraway in Nature: I first realized I'd been bitten by the science bug in the summer of 1987. I was walking home from the laboratory, mulling over an organic chemistry reaction that I had been attempting — and mostly failing — to execute.

A.I. VERSUS M.D.


Siddhartha Mukherjee in The New Yorker: Explanations run shallow and deep. You have a red blister on your finger because you touched a hot iron; you have a red blister on your finger because the burn excited an inflammatory cascade of prostaglandins and cytokines, in a regulated process that we still understand only imperfectly.

Remember why we work on cancer


Levi Garraway in Nature: I first realized I'd been bitten by the science bug in the summer of 1987. I was walking home from the laboratory, mulling over an organic chemistry reaction that I had been attempting — and mostly failing — to execute.


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