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Impure thoughts

Alan Jacobs points to a wonderful passage in Claude Levi-Strauss’s Triste Tropiques: In Martinique, I had visited rustic and neglected rum-distilleries where the equipment and the methods used had not changed since the eighteenth century. In Puerto Rico, on the other hand, … Continue reading

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I feel measurably less emotional now

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s COO, responds to the uproar about the company’s clandestine psychological experiment on its members: “This was part of ongoing research companies do to test different products, and that was what it was; it was poorly communicated. And for … Continue reading

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The quarter-of-a-second rule

Mother Jones excerpts my brief essay on the malleability of our sense of time, “The Patience Deficit,” from the anthology What Should We Be Worried About? Here’s the essay’s first paragraph: I’m concerned about time — the way we’re warping it and … Continue reading

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Bringing economics into the world

Throwing his considerable weight behind the post-autistic economics movement, Robert Skidelsky offers a calm but blistering critique of the “mainstream economics” curriculum that has come to dominate university teaching. Arguing that mainstream economics, with its pseudo-scientific mathematical models, is at heart … Continue reading

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Technology as love

For a few years now, I’ve used summertime laziness as an excuse to recycle some of this blog’s old posts. The following post was originally published, under the ponderous headline “God, Kevin Kelly and the Myth of Choices,” in July of 2011. … Continue reading

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The ebook equilibrium

Last week, I gave a talk at the Digital Book Conference at Book Expo America (BEA) in New York. Here’s the text of my remarks. Let me begin with a confession: I used to fear ebooks. You’ll be pleased to … Continue reading

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The eunuch’s children

1. Pulp Fact Gutenberg we know. But what of the eunuch Cai Lun? A well-educated, studious young man, a close aide to the Emperor Hedi in the Chinese imperial court of the Eastern Han Dynasty, Cai invented paper one fateful … Continue reading

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