July Links

(It’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted links, so some of this is already pretty dated, but heck . . it’s also been a jam-packed couple of weeks in the news.)



Nina Strochlic, “Britain’s Nuke-Proof Underground City.”

Forthcoming book: Fabienne Colignon’s Rocket States: Atomic Weaponry and the Cultural Imagination.



Lindsay Abrams, “The Ocean Is Covered in a Lot Less Plastic Than We Thought–and That’s a Bad Thing.”

James West, “What You Need to Know About the Coming Jellyfish Apocalypse.”

Brad Plumer, “Oklahoma’s Earthquake Epidemic Linked to Wastewater Disposal.”


Charles M. Blow, “The Gall of Dick Cheney.”

The gall of Blackwater.


National Security State

David Bromwich on Barack Obama, “The World’s Most Important Spectator.”

Patrick Tucker, “The Military Doesn’t Want You to Quit Facebook and Twitter.”

Conor Friedersdorf, “The Latest Snowden Leak is Devastating to NSA Defenders.” They’re just collecting massive amounts of banal stuff from innocent American citizens, and it’s basically open to search at The Washington Post. But wait, there’s more.

Barton Gellman, Julie Tate, and Ashkan Soltani, “In NSA-Intercepted Data, Those Not Targeted Far Outnumber the Foreigners Who Are.”

And more: “If You Read Boing Boing, the NSA Considers You a Target for Deep Surveillance.”

But if you try to keep your stuff private from the NSA, then almost assuredly they will start spying on you and will consider you an “extremist.”



Andrew Leonard, “The Supreme Court Just Outlawed the Future of TV.”

Vindue Goel, “Facebook Tinkers with Users’ Emotions in News Feed Experiment, Stirring Outcry.”

Maryam Monalisa Gharavi, “Canceled Message Part I and Part II.” On internet erasure and accumulation.

Teju Cole, “The Atlas of Affect.”



Paul Krugman’s review of Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century in The New York Review of Books, “Why We’re in a Second Gilded Age.”(Think I might have posted this before, but now that I’ve finished Piketty’s Capital, it deserves another go-round.)

Cory Doctorow on Piketty’s Capital.

Nivedita Majumdar, “Why We’re Marxists” (also a reflection on Piketty).

Wolfgang Streeck at the New Left Review, “How Will Capitalism End?”

Nick Hanauer writes an open letter to his fellow richest .01%: “Unless our policies change dramatically, the middle class will disappear, and we will be back to late 18th-century France. Before the revolution. And so I have a message for my fellow filthy rich, for all of us who live in our gated bubble worlds: Wake up, people. It won’t last. If we don’t do something to fix the glaring inequities in this economy, the pitchforks are going to come for us.” (Perhaps improving employment practices at Amazon would be a good place to start. . . .)



Natalie Wolchover, “Have We Been Interpreting Quantum Mechanics Wrong the Whole Time?”


Literature and Culture

An interview with J. Hoberman, maker of White House Butler Down (2014).

J. Hoberman reviews Snowpiercer (2014), “Revolt on the Polar Express.”

Peter Frase also discusses Snowpiercer (which I am going to see soon!).

Google’s weird selfies.

Google Selfies

Aaron Kunin, “An Essay on Tickling” at Triple Canopy.

China Miéville’s “Polynia.”

Critical Inquiry has launched The CI Review.

Daniel Wallis on Colorado.

Lebron James will announce Decision 2.0 at a special session of the United Nations General Assembly. (I hope it’s Phoenix. Please be Phoenix.) “To help him with his decision, the N.B.A. star has assembled an esteemed circle of advisers, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and the scientist Stephen Hawking, all of whom are expected to be in attendance for the United Nations announcement.”

And my friend’s band Alter Der Ruine just released their new album, I Will Remember It All Differently.


Humanities and Higher Education

Kevin Carey, “Americans Think We Have the Best Colleges. We Don’t.”

Fredrik deBoer responds, emphasizing that US higher ed has perpetually been the site of crisis narratives.

Ryan Anderson, “Academia and the People Without Jobs.”

And grades get inflated at Harvard simply because TAs just can’t take the whining anymore. (Note to my students: there is little information in this article on how to effectively raise one’s grade. . . .)


World Cup

One of the best Existential Comics yet: “World Cup Philosophy: Germany vs France.”

Tim Howard is amazing, but will we remember that?

Twitter’s reaction to Germany dismantling Brazil.


And I just got my copy of David Foster Wallace and “The Long Thing” in the mail. Amazon says it is in and for sale even though it comes out July 31st. I’ll have a post on it in the next couple weeks.

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