Parts of the Patriot Act Expire and Other Links

National Security State

Jennifer Steinhauer and Jonathan Weisman, “Key Parts of Patriot Act Expire Temporarily as Senate Moves Toward Limits on Spying.”

Jennifer Steinhauer and Jonathan Weisman, “Senate to Take Up Spy Bill as Parts of Patriot Act Expire.”

James Ball, “End of Patriot Act Restrictions Is a Win But Vigilance Is Needed to Make It Real.”



Sam Gindin, “Is Another Crisis Looming?”

S. E. Smith, “The Real Reason Young People Are the Poorest Generation in 25 Years.”



Tristan Rayner, “The Blackest Material in the World Is Very Weird to Look at.”



John Whitaker, “Protecting Priceless Art from Natural Disasters.”


Literature and Culture

Jean-Paul Sartre, “Americans and Their Myths.”

McKenzie Wark, Fury Road.”

Obrad Savić interviews Stathis Gourgouris, “Dream Nation and the Phantasm of Europe, Part I.”

Walter Benn Michales, “Fifty Shades of Libertarian Love.”

Tom LeClair, review of The Familiar, by Mark Z. Danielewski.

Cynthia Ozick, review of The Daemon Knows, by Harold Bloom.

Warren Ellis, “The Future Is a Confidence Trick.”

Boris Kachka, “When Did Books Get So Long? The Year of the Very Long Novel.”

Robin Wasserman, “The Art of Ressurection,” review of Montage of Heck.

Anna Garvey, The Oregon Trail Generation: Life before and after Mainstream Tech.”

Jim Hinch, “Forty Years’ War.”

Thomas Crowley, “John Oliver Should Be More Like Mad Max.”

Christopher Orr, “In Tomorrowland, the End of the World Is Disneyfied.”

Rachel Laudan, “A Plea for Culinary Modernism.”

Colin MacCabe, “Cannes Dispatch: Son of Saul.”

Abraham Riesman, “The Secret History of Ultimate Marvel.”

David Foster Wallace’s “Host” gets a digital makeover.

Sharan Shetty, “There Is Justice in the World: Human Centipede 3 Gets Worst Metacritic Score Ever.”

And Sam Cohen, “Sideline Poetry.”


Humanities and Higher Education

Julie Rovner, “A Top Medical School Revamps Requirements to Lure English Majors.”

Valerie Strauss, “Stephen Colbert to Wake Forest Graduates: ‘I’ll Leave You with a Bit of Wisdom I Picked Up from Mad Max: Fury Road.'”

Rebecca Schuman, “College Students Are Not Customers.”

Laura McKenna, “The Cost of an Adjunct.”

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.”