Big News in Science and Other Links

Science

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).

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Ukraine, US Nuclear Policy, Etc.

With the incursion of Russia into the Ukraine, a lot of stuff is going on.

Peter Baker in The New York Times, “Pressure Rising as Obama Works to Rein in Russia.”

“Ukraine, Putin, and the West” at n+1.

Peter Beinart for The Atlantic: “The Ukraine: Is This How the War on Terror Ends?”

Dominic Tierney for The Atlantic: “Putin’s Improv Act.”

David Rhode for The Atlantic: “Crimea: The Greatest Challenge to Geopolitics Since the Cold War.”

“Kerry Condemns Russia’s ‘Incredible Act of Aggression’ in the Ukraine.”

And a critique of The New York Times‘ coverage of Kerry.

 

Nuclear

“Aim Points in the US Nuclear Arsenal.”

Hans M. Kristensen, Director of the Nuclear Information Project, has authored an article for the Federation of American Scientists, “Obama and the Nuclear War Plan.”

 

Other

Noam Chomsky, “America’s Apocalyptic Imperial Strategy.”

Noam Chomsky, “The Death of American Universities.”

On Fredric Jameson.

boundary 2‘s latest entry into its Great American Author Series, “A Political Companion to Walt Whitman” by Kerry Larson.

Ezra Klein, “The Real Reason Nobody Reads Academics.”

And Ian Bogost on Flappy Bird.

Russia Sends Troops into the Ukraine and Other Links

Things are happening very quickly in the Ukraine. David Remnick reports on the most recent events for The New Yorker in “Putin Goes to War.” He writes:

Vladimir Putin, the Russian President and autocrat, had a plan for the winter of 2014: to reassert his country’s power a generation after the collapse of the Soviet Union. He thought that he would achieve this by building an Olympic wonderland on the Black Sea for fifty-one billion dollars and putting on a dazzling television show. It turns out that he will finish the season in a more ruthless fashion, by invading a peninsula on the Black Sea and putting on quite a different show—a demonstration war that could splinter a sovereign country and turn very bloody, very quickly.

In other news, Luke O’Neil has a piece in Esquire: “The Year We Broke the Internet: An Explanation, an Apology, a Plea.”

From my old neck of the woods, “Say Goodbye to Phoenix–And the American West.”

And a blast from the past. A video for The Faint‘s new single, “Help in the Head,” from their forthcoming album Doom Abuse. I cannot help but see this video as a paranoid reflection on the total surveillance of contemporaneity.