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The shipping sector is finally on board in the fight against climate change

For the first time, the massive global shipping sector has agreed to a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, in what’s been called a …

How gold rushes helped make the modern world

This year is the 170th anniversary of one of the most significant events in world history: the discovery of gold at Sutter’s Mill in Coloma, …

A Brief History of Human Energy Use

And what it means for our future<p>People are always asking Bill Gates if he's really read all of Vaclav Smil.<p>Smil is a professor at the University of Manitoba. His bio says he does “interdisciplinary research in the fields of energy, environmental and population change, food production and nutrition, …

Energy

Friday essay: the erotic art of Ancient Greece and Rome

<i>In our sexual histories series, authors explore changing sexual mores from antiquity to today.</i><p>Rarely does L.P. Hartley’s dictum that “the past is a …

Anti-anti-communism

Millions of Russians and eastern Europeans now believe that they were better off under communism. What does this signify?<i>By Kristen R Ghodsee & Scott</i> …

America’s Moral Malady

The nation’s problem isn’t that we don’t have enough money. It’s that we don’t have the moral capacity to face what ails society.<p>Editor’s Note: Read <i>The Atlantic</i>’s special coverage of Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy.<p>Image above: Americans, young and old, dwell in Resurrection City, made of tents and …

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Where have you gone, Holden Caulfield? Why We Aren’t ‘Alienated’ Anymore | Origins: Current Events in Historical Perspective

From the good Dr. Wertham's crusade against comic books to the raft of books such as <i>The Shook-Up Generation, The Trouble Makers, Suburbia's Coddled</i> …

Let’s ditch the dangerous idea that life is a story – Galen Strawson

‘Each of us constructs and lives a “narrative”,’ wrote the British neurologist Oliver Sacks, ‘this narrative <i>is</i> us’. Likewise the American cognitive …

Why Women Had Better Sex Under Socialism

When Americans think of Communism in Eastern Europe, they imagine travel restrictions, bleak landscapes of gray concrete, miserable men and women languishing in long lines to shop in empty markets and security services snooping on the private lives of citizens. While much of this was true, our …

University of Pennsylvania

Monopoly was invented to demonstrate the evils of capitalism

‘Buy land – they aren’t making it any more,’ quipped Mark Twain. It’s a maxim that would certainly serve you well in a game of Monopoly, the …

Theory from the ruins

The Frankfurt school argued that reason is dangerous, mass culture deadening, and the Enlightenment a disaster. Were they right?<i>By Stuart Walton</i>Read …

Noam Chomsky: Neoliberalism Is Destroying Our Democracy

<i>For 50 years, Noam Chomsky, has been America’s Socrates, our public pest with questions that sting. He speaks not to the city square of Athens but to</i> …

Political Science

How the Nazis Made Art Fascist

Cary Grant was there. So was the distinguished silent film star Mary Pickford. Tyrone Power, handsome swashbuckler of stage and screen, showed up …

Political Science

The Salt of the Earth

<i>Buying and Selling</i>. <i>The goal of life.</i><p>— Flaubert, <i>The Dictionary of Accepted Ideas</i><p>¤<p>IN HIS NOVEL <i>The Leopard</i>, Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa recounts a …

Democracy’s Dark Side

IN SINCLAIR LEWIS’S 1935 novel <i>It Can’t Happen Here</i>, the president-to-be is described as “almost illiterate, a public liar easily detected.” His …

George Orwell’s Spanish civil war memoir is a classic, but is it bad history?

Unleashed on 17 July 1936 by a military coup against the democratically elected government of the Second Republic, the Spanish civil war was a rehearsal for the second world war. The British, French and American governments stood aside and permitted General Francisco Franco, with the substantial …

World History

Spain Through Orwell’s Eyes

George Orwell arrived in Barcelona at the tail end of 1936, just months into the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War. Long before claiming iconic …

The United States of Work

Work no longer works. “You need to acquire more skills,” we tell young job seekers whose résumés at 22 are already longer than their parents’ were at …

Why People Use Information Avoidance to Choose Their Own Reality

Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University pinpointed the strategies that modern people rely on more and more to support their own versions of …

Critical Thinking

The Two-Bodied King of “Richard II” and Its Trumpian Delusion

AT LEAST DONALD TRUMP has made America read again. Soaring sales of Plato’s <i>Republic</i> and George Orwell’s <i>1984</i> prove that Americans are turning to …

The Power of Cautionary Questions: Neil Gaiman on Ray Bradbury’s ‘Fahrenheit 451,’ Why We Read, and How Speculative Storytelling Enlarges Our Humanity

“Ideas, written ideas, are special. They are the way we transmit our stories … from one generation to the next. If we lose them, we lose our shared history. We lose much of what makes us human.”<p><i>“The important thing,”</i> Ursula K. Le Guin wrote in contemplating the cultural role of speculative fiction …

Ursula K. Le Guin on Redeeming the Imagination from the Commodification of Creativity and How Storytelling Teaches Us to Assemble Ourselves

“Literature is the operating instructions. The best manual we have. The most useful guide to the country we’re visiting, life.”<p><i>“The imagination,”</i> wrote the trailblazing philosopher Mary Wollstonecraft in a 1794 letter, <i>“is the true fire, stolen from heaven, to animate this cold creature of clay,</i> …

The Headquarters of Neo-Marxism

Grand Hotel Abyss: The Lives of the Frankfurt School<p>by Stuart Jeffries<p>Verso, 440 pp., $26.95<p>Habermas: A Biography<p>by Stefan Müller-Doohm, translated …

Mark Fisher and Dum Dum Happiness

Biologically, cocaine works by blocking the normal removal of neurotransmitters dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine from the synapses between …

Is Consciousness an Illusion?

From Bacteria to Bach and Back: The Evolution of Minds<p>by Daniel C. Dennett<p>Norton, 476 pp., $28.95<p>For fifty years the philosopher Daniel Dennett has …

A Man in Himself Is a City: Jim Jarmusch’s “Paterson”

WAS JIM JARMUSCH WAITING for middle age or was middle age waiting for him? As the young director of films like <i>Stranger Than Paradise</i> (1984) and <i>Down</i> …

Kapitalizam kao religija

Kapitalizam se može posmatrati kao religija, to jest, kapitalizam u suštini nastoji da odgovori na iste brige, strepnju i nemir na koje je ranije …

Martin Luther King's Economic Dream: A Guaranteed Income for All Americans

The civil rights leader laid out his vision for fighting poverty in his final book.<p>One of the more under-appreciated aspects of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s legacy is that by the end of his career, he had fashioned himself into a crusader against poverty, not just among blacks, but all Americans. …

Restoring King

Every year, in January and April, we commemorate the extraordinary career of the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. But there is probably no figure in …