Bob Burkey

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The novelist on Trump’s America and publishing the book of his life at 70<p>When Paul Auster was 14, a boy just inches away from him was struck by lightning and killed. “It’s something I’ve never got over,” he tells me. He was at summer camp: “there we were, nearly 20 of us caught in an electric storm …

Literature

US Republican leaders love Ayn Rand’s controversial philosophy—and are increasingly misinterpreting it

Ayn Rand’s books are over the top and cinematic to a fault. Her characters are all stylish or bloated cardboard cut-outs of people, and the heroes are profoundly selfish. Yet a century after she was born, the Russian-born novelist endures as a deeply influential artist and intellectual in the …

The economist behind Universal Basic Income: Give all citizens UBI to help combat a 'neofascist wave of populism'

He described a growing class of "precariat" workers, alienated by a western political agenda which had, since the 1970s, promoted market-led competition above job security. Real wages across the west had stalled for decades and "flexible" work was becoming the norm, leaving many millions around the …

Repealing Obamacare affects everyone

Obamacare touches just about everyone.<p>It's not just for the 20 million people who have health insurance through the individual Obamacare exchanges or Medicaid expansion.<p>Under Obamacare, senior citizens pay less for Medicare coverage and for their prescription drugs. Many Americans have received …

Health Care

When Ayn Rand Collected Social Security & Medicare, After Years of Opposing Benefit Programs

A robust social safety net can benefit both the individuals in a society and the society itself. Free of the fear of total impoverishment and able to …

Social Security

The Parochial Progressive Obsession with Ayn Rand

Rand’s ideas don’t have nearly as much power on the right as liberals imagine.<p>A lot of CEOs have terrible taste in literature, and some of them like …

The Most Politically Dangerous Book You’ve Never Heard Of

How one obscure Russian novel launched two of the 20th century’s most destructive ideas.<p>When Alan Greenspan began his political career in 1974, he asked two people to accompany him to his Oval Office swearing-in ceremony as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers: his mother, Rose Goldsmith, …

Paris Review - Joy Williams, The Art of Fiction No. 223

Interviewed by Paul Winner<p>Issue 209, Summer 2014<p>With Robert Stone in Key West, ca. 1995.<p>Joy Williams couldn’t find her glasses before a lecture some years ago and used prescription sunglasses instead. During Williams’s walk to the podium, an audience member was heard asking if the writer had gone …

Literature

Leading authors pick international classics that should be on student’s bookshelves, but are often neglected by universities<p>I teach it to my first years and return to the book through their degree. It is the perfect introduction to complex ideas: oppressive socio-economic political structures, …

Books

This Simple Philosophical Puzzle Shows How Difficult It Is to Know Something - Facts So Romantic

In the 1960s, the American philosopher Edmund Gettier devised a thought experiment that has become known as a “Gettier case.” It shows that …

7 Ways to Improve Your Writing, According to Experts

Sometimes you don’t know what you want to say. Other times you don’t know the right way to say it. And very often you can’t get your butt in the …

Baseball Players See the Ball As Way Bigger Than You Do

According to Major League Baseball, the league’s namesake object has an objective reality. “The ball shall be a sphere formed by yarn wound around a …

Writing a Novel in a Month - NaNoWriMo Prep

Streamlining your writing process is useful. Whether you’re gearing up for a novel-writing challenge such as NaNoWriMo, or simply have a personal …

A Novel Writing Formula

Here at the Novel Factory, we’re into processes.<p>Writing a novel is a long, hard slog and, while we’re certainly not averse to a bit (or a lot) of …

More evidence backs transposon theory of aging - Futurity

A new study increases and strengthens the links that have led scientists to propose the "transposon theory of aging."

Jonathan Safran Foer’s ‘11-year project’ comes to an end with Here I Am

On Tuesday, Jonathan Safran Foer arrived in Milan, where he was promoting his third novel, <i>Here I Am</i>. One of the book's central narratives involves a war breaking out between Israel and its neighbours, triggered by a massive earthquake under the Dead Sea. "It's an odd thing to bring a book about an …

Pacific sea level predicts global temperature changes

The amount of sea level rise in the Pacific Ocean can be used to estimate future global surface temperatures, according to a new report led by …

Microplastics discovered in the deep, open ocean

A unique study will provide valuable new insights into the concentrations of microplastics in the open ocean from surface to the sea bed, say …

An MIT Scientist Claims That This Pill Is the Fountain of Youth

I recently received in the mail a small cardboard box, solidly constructed and colored a subtle metallic gray, from the future. ELYSIUM HEALTH was …

My great-uncle's lover was the inspiration for Lara in Doctor Zhivago - not his wife

It was in 1935 that Boris Pasternak, then aged 45, first spoke of his intent to write an epic Russian novel. And it was to my grandmother, his younger sister, Josephine, (who married her Pasternak cousin, hence the continuation of the surname) that he confided that the seeds of a novel were …

Literature

Joy Williams’s Refractory Brilliance

Her fiction is easy to follow, but hard to fathom. It may appear conventional, but it is ruthless and surreal.<p>There is a theological parable devised by the impeccably named English philosopher John Wisdom but often adapted and updated by others. The version I first heard, years ago, went something …

Must science be testable?

String wars among physicists have highlighted just how much science needs philosophy – and not just the amateur version<i>By Massimo Pigliucci</i>Read at …

What Experts Wish You Knew about False Memories

Every memory you have ever had is chock-full of errors. I would even go as far as saying that memory is largely an illusion.<p>This is because our …

Word-of-mouth sensation has made the novelist $10m in the last year, outselling George RR Martin, but still earning a fraction of James Patterson’s $95m<p>Former financial journalist Paula Hawkins has become one of the world’s highest-paid authors, leap-frogging Game of Thrones bestseller George RR …

Books

The Literary Battle for Nat Turner’s Legacy

In his 1967 novel, The Confessions of Nat Turner, William Styron, a white southerner, told the story of America’s bloodiest slave revolt—in the voice of its African-American leader. Half a century later, Turner is the subject of Nate Parker’s new film, The Birth of a Nation, and the literary battle …

Deactivation of Brain Receptors in Postmenopausal Women May Lead to Lack of Physical Activity

<i>Summary: Researchers have discovered a connection between a lack of ovarian hormones and changes in the nucleus accembens following menopause.</i><p>Source: …

Science Unlocks The Secret To Why Introverts Prefer Alone Time To Socializing

There can be many causes of introversion, but if your brain is wired to be an introvert, it's safe to say that you can't help wanting to be alone!

A conversation with novelist Jonathan Franzen.

“Manhattan is just all bank branches,” said Jonathan Franzen as he walked through the living room of his home in Santa Cruz, California. When he …

The problem with traditional conservatives is that they’re too anti-government to fulfill Thiel’s vision. Fortunately for him, Trump is no traditional conservative<p>Tonight, tech billionaire Peter Thiel will speak at the Republican national convention and make his case for why Donald Trump should be …

Political Science