Big News in Science and Other Links


The first evidence for cosmic inflation–i.e., the Big Bang–was discovered this week.

Megan Garber at The Atlantic, “What It’s Like to be Right About the Big Bang?”

The search for Flight MH370 is revealing one thing: the ocean is filled with garbage.

Kim Stanley Robinson alert: Paul Rosenfeld, “Would You Take a One-Way Ticket to Mars?”

And as part of his forthcoming 3 million page novel, Breeze Avenue (2015), Richard Grossman has buried a crystal ball deep inside of Princeton Mountain in Colorado. The ball, “made of synthetic sapphire, which is almost as indestructible as diamond,” has the Ten Commandments inscribed on it in Hebrew, and in “20 million years, as a result of natural forces carefully calculated by the geologists, the Torah Ball will emerge from its eroded resting place and bear the Ten Commandments down the mountain.” Hyperarchivalists of the deep future rejoice!

Richard Grossman, The Torah Ball (Synthetic Sapphire, Princeton Mountain, 20 Million Years of Erosion, 2011).

Richard Grossman, The Torah Ball (Synthetic Sapphire, Princeton Mountain, 20 Million Years of Erosion, 2011).


Stephen Slemon, “The Humanities Crisis Industry.”

Simon During, “Stop Defending the Humanities.”

Timothy Burke on anxiety, academia, and the humanities: “Frame(d).”

The worst picture of the week:

Jason Segel as David Foster Wallace on the set of The End of the Tour.

Jason Segel as David Foster Wallace on location at The Mall of America for the film The End of the Tour.

Frederick C. Moten on “The Beauty of José Esteban Muñoz.”

David Golumbia on boundary 2‘s digital turn.

Eileen Jones has a review of Wes Anderson’s new film, The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) at Jacobin, “Wes Anderson and the Old Regime.”

Richard Brody, Nymphomaniac: Lars Von Trier’s Joyless Sexual Tantrum.”

A discussion of the “twee fascism” of Her at Database Animal.

Alex C. Madrigal, “Why It’s Time for the Journal of Porn Studies.”

The Journal of Porn Studies.

Heather Havrilesky on the contemporary injunction to “Play, Dammit.”

Ken Bauman on Earthbound, interviewed by Salvatore Pane.


And more news in recently declassified nuclear stupidity that one of my students just drew my attention to (thanks Matt!): ‘”Starfish Prime” Video Shows 1962 Nuclear Explosion in Space.” “‘Starfish Prime’ [was] a test conducted in the summer of 1962 when a 1.45-megaton nuclear weapon was launched 250 miles into space above the Pacific Ocean and then detonated.”

US and International

Peter Beinart, “America is Too Broke to Rescue Ukraine.”

George Packer on understanding the Ukrainian Crisis for The New Yorker, “Terms of Crisis.”

Andrew Leonard, “Is Privacy Really Dead? Julia Angwin and the Quest to Escape Big Brother.”

Eric Schmitt, “Iranian Ship, in Plain View but Shrouded in Mystery, Looks Very Familiar to U.S”:Iran is building a nonworking mock-up of an American nuclear-powered aircraft carrier that United States officials say may be intended to be blown up for propaganda value.”

Radley Balko on how “overwhelming paramilitary force is on the rise”: “‘Why Did You Shoot Me? I was Reading a Book’: The New Warrior Cop is Out of Control.”

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