dlittle30

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Girl, Interrupted

Who was Sappho?<p>One day not long after New Year’s, 2012, an antiquities collector approached an eminent Oxford scholar for his opinion about some brownish, tattered scraps of writing. The collector’s identity has never been revealed, but the scholar was Dirk Obbink, a MacArthur-winning classicist …

Literature

Adrian Piper’s Show at MoMA is the Largest Ever for a Living Artist. Why Hasn’t She Seen It?

<b>A</b>drian Piper, the conceptual artist and analytic philosopher, is almost as well known for what she has stopped doing as for what she has done. By 1985, she had given up alcohol, meat and sex. In 2005, she took a leave of absence from her job at Wellesley, sold her home on Cape Cod and shipped all …

University of Chicago

Daniel Little: University of Michigan-Dearborn chancellor proud of diversity

As he prepares to step down at the end of July, Little s also proud of efforts to engage with the community surrounding the university'

Detroit

Shakespeare on tyranny

Stephen Greenblatt is a literary critic and historian whose insights into philosophy and the contemporary world are genuinely and consistently …

The Barrier to Rooting Out Nassar’s Crimes? Michigan State’s Ex-President Faults University Bureaucracy

Mark Wilson, Getty Images<p>Lou Anna K. Simon, a former president of Michigan State, testifies during a U.S. Senate subcommittee hearing on Tuesday as …

The 60-Year Downfall of Nuclear Power in the U.S. Has Left a Huge Mess

The demand for atomic energy is in decline. But before the country can abandon its plants, there's six decades of waste to deal with.<p>It was just another day in the life of the defunct Hanford nuclear site, a remote part of Washington State that made most of the plutonium in America’s Cold War …

Nuclear Energy

Social generativity and complexity

The idea of generativity in the realm of the social world expresses the notion that social phenomena are generated by the actions and thoughts of the …

Realism and Theory Change in Science (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

1. The History of the Historical Challenge<p>1.1 The Bankruptcy-of-science Debate<p>The issue of theory-change in science was debated in the context of the …

What the boss wants to hear ...

According to David Halberstam in his outstanding history of the war in Vietnam, The Best and the Brightest, a prime cause of disastrous …

Regulatory failure

When we think of the issues of health and safety that exist in a modern complex economy, it is impossible to imagine that these social goods will be …

What happens when a church dedicated to fighting white supremacy is accused of it

It felt like a typical Sunday at the “diverse, spirit-growing, justice-seeking” church. That is the motto of All Souls Church Unitarian, one of the most respected and most multiracial congregations in a denomination where those two attributes are strongly linked.<p>The program that congregants …

San Francisco’s Big Seismic Gamble

The city’s building code does not protect its people from earthquakes nearly as much as you might think.

Empowering the safety officer?

How can industries involving processes that create large risks of harm for individuals or populations be modified so they are more capable of …

Cambridge Analytica and the Perils of Psychographics

In September, 2016, Alexander Nix, the C.E.O. of Cambridge Analytica, the data and messaging company that was working at the time with Donald Trump’s supposedly flagging Presidential campaign, explained his firm’s work like this: “If you know the personality of the people you’re targeting, you can …

Cambridge Analytica

Denying Genetics Isn’t Shutting Down Racism, It’s Fueling It

Last weekend, a rather seismic op-ed appeared in the New York <i>Times</i>, and it was for a while one of the most popular pieces in the newspaper. It’s by …

Queer Eye

In Game Theory, No Clear Path to Equilibrium

John Nash’s notion of equilibrium is ubiquitous in economic theory, but a new study shows that it is often impossible to reach efficiently.<p>In 1950, …

Mathematics

Mechanisms, singular and general

Let's think again about the semantics of causal ascriptions. Suppose that we want to know what caused a building crane to collapse during a …

Machine learning

The Center for the Study of Complex Systems at the University of Michigan hosted an intensive day-long training on some of the basics of machine …

Consensus and mutual understanding

Groups make decisions through processes of discussion aimed at framing a given problem, outlining the group's objectives, and arriving at a plan for …

Technology lock-in accidents

<i>image: diagram of molten salt reactor</i><br>Organizational and regulatory features are sometimes part of the causal background of important technology …

Stackable and Sub-Degree: How Postsecondary Institutions Can Support the Middle-Skill Economy

By identifying job market needs and providing programming aimed at helping to retool the skill sets required for middle-skill jobs, universities and …

Computational social science

Is it possible to elucidate complex social outcomes using computational tools? Can we overcome some of the issues for social explanation posed by the …

Nuclear accidents

diagrams: Chernobyl reactor before and after<br>Nuclear fission is one of the world-changing discoveries of the mid-twentieth century. The atomic bomb …

Folk psychology and Alexa

Paul Churchland made a large splash in the philosophy of mind and cognitive science several decades ago when he cast doubt on the categories of "folk …

Cold war history from an IR perspective

Odd Arne Westad's The Cold War: A World History is a fascinating counterpoint to Tony Judt's Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945. There are some …

China's Surveillance State Should Scare Everyone

The country is perfecting a vast network of digital espionage as a means of social control—with implications for democracies worldwide.<p>Imagine a society in which you are rated by the government on your trustworthiness. Your “citizen score” follows you wherever you go. A high score allows you access …

Surveillance

Inside Amazon's Artificial Intelligence Flywheel

In early 2014, Srikanth Thirumalai met with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. Thirumalai, a computer scientist who’d left IBM in 2005 to head Amazon’s …

A Chinese satellite just used quantum cryptography to make an unhackable video call between Beijing and Vienna

The feat marks another milestone for the satellite, officially called Quantum Experiments at Space Scale (QESS)<p>The Chinese “Micius” satellite has …

Declining industries

Why is it so difficult for leaders in various industries and sectors to seriously address the existential threats that sometimes arise? Planning for …

'Charlottesville': A Government-Commissioned Story About Nuclear War

A fictional 1979 account of how the town in Virginia would weather an all-out nuclear exchange between the U.S. and U.S.S.R.<p>Editor's Note: “Charlottesville” is a short story that was commissioned by the Office of Technology Assessment in 1979 as an appendix to the report <i>The Effects of Nuclear War</i>. …