Why Richard Avedon’s Work Has Never Been More Relevant - The New York Times
Kind of a review of a reissue of Avedon's "Nothing Personal," but also a defense of him against the assumption that he was mainly or merely a fashion photography. I have to admit, this is more or less what I thought, so I need to take another look.
photogprahy  photographers  richard_avedon  book_review  race  history  james_baldwin 
2 days ago
Trillions of Flies Can’t All Be Bad - The New York Times
Review of Erica McAllister's "The Secret Life of Flies," with several interesting bits about flies in general.
insects  entomology  nature  animals  book_review 
2 days ago
The Public Papers of Margaret Sanger: Web Edition
"Stop Perpetuating The Unfit by a National Policy on Limitation of Families"
eugenics  birth_control  margaret_sanger  women  gender 
2 days ago
RA: Burial's Untrue: The making of a masterpiece
Eight minute video on the making of "Untrue," with several fascinating bits of information— like the fact that many of his beats are made at least partly from Metal Gear samples.
burial  music  electronic  production 
10 days ago
Saudi Arabia: Hundreds of Mysterious Ancient Stone Structures Discovered on Lava Domes
Hundreds of ancient and mysterious stone structures have been discovered in Saudi Arabia via Instapaper http://ift.tt/2grT8xC
IFTTT  Instapaper 
11 days ago
The Woman Who Charted the Last American Wilderness | Outside Online
Brief description of Mina Hubbard's exploration of Labrador, which she undertook after her husband had died in the attempt, hoping to beat a rival who had described him as a bumbler and incompetent. She won by 6 weeks, flouting all sorts of gender conventions in the process.
exploration  gender  sexism  canada  native_americans 
12 days ago
The Neo-Confederate Haunting American Liberalism | Dissent Magazine
Review of the book "The House of Truth: A Washington Political Salon and the Foundations of American Liberalism," by Brad Snyder, but focused on the figure of Gutzon Borglum, a regular attendee at the "House of Truth," was liberal Washington political salon, and also had close and friendly relations with the KKK, designed the Confederate monument at Stone Mountain, and was generally in favor of a form of American nationalism that had, at least racial overtones. Author of the review more or less takes it for granted that ANY American nationalism must, by definition, have racial overtones, which is not clear to me.
history  nationalism  book_review  art  liberalism  gutzon_borglum 
14 days ago
If a scientific conspiracy theory is funny, that doesn’t mean it’s a joke - The Verge
On how conspiracy theories spread on the internet. Includes the role of mainstream media coverage, even when critical or dismissive, in causing or accelerating spikes in searches and interest.
conspiracy_theories  internet  technology 
17 days ago
In Northern Minnesota, Two Economies Square Off: Mining vs. Wilderness - The New York Times
Thoughtful, balanced piece about the dispute between mining advocates and environmentalists over the Boundary Waters area in Northern Minnesota.
mining  environment  politics 
21 days ago
The Pioneering Modernist Who Wrote an Audacious String Quartet - The New York Times
Short profile of Ruth Crawford Seeger, who wrote several influential modernist compositions, including a string quartet that was a major influence on Eliot Carter. Nearly ceased writing after marrying Charles Seeger, however, focusing on their children and her step-children, and recording folk music.
composers  women  music 
28 days ago
Glyphosate: WHO cancer agency edited out "non-carcinogenic" findings
Report on changes made to a draft of a paper on glyphosate, the key ingredient in Roundup, by the WHO's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). Sections in the draft which found that the chemical is NOT carcinogenic were removed or altered, and the final report declared that it is "probably" carcinogenic. IARC's is the only major study to have found this, and the least transparent in the process.
chemophobia  science  environment  politics  glyphosate  health 
28 days ago
The Emperor’s New Music | Lapham’s Quarterly
Really interesting piece about the use of folk songs by Chinese rulers as a kind of barometer for public attitudes toward their regimes. Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty (206 BCE-220 CE) created a Music Bureau (Yuefu) to collect and perform these songs, possibly at least partly for this reason. He also became enamored of a young eunuch named Li Yiannian, who composed many songs for the court and was made head of the Yuefu until losing the emperor's favor.
china  history  music  politics 
29 days ago
The Prophet of Germany’s New Right - The New York Times
Profile of Götz Kubitscheck, one of the leading right-wing thinkers in contemporary Germany. Major influence on AfD. Interesting on the ways in which he tries to reimagine German nationalism to avoid overlap with Hitler, but still draws on some of the same ideas and themes as the Nazis. Spengler is a major influence. Focus on Western decline and the need for reinvigoration. Outwardly much less racist than other anti-immigrant right-wing thinkers in Europe now, but it's hard to see on the idea of a "Volk" whose essence is altered and even weakened by the arrival of different cultures doesn't take you down that road.
nationalism  germany  racism  immigration  nazi  far_right  europe 
4 weeks ago
I Bullshitted My Way to the Top of Paris Fashion Week - VICE
Very VICE-y, but still very funny, story about pretending to be the person behind Georgio Peviani, a market-stall brand of jeans with a made-up name.
fashion  media  clothes  faking_it 
4 weeks ago
How to Be a Know-It-All | The New Yorker
About OUP's Very Short Introductions series. Compares the books to Pliny's Natural History, Diderot's Encyclopedia, and other attempts to record all human knowledge. Some interesting discussion of the gaps in the series, and why they are there.
books  encyclopedia  knowledge  indexing 
4 weeks ago
He Was Meant To Guard A Country's Votes — Instead He Was Murdered
Report on the apparently stalled investigation into the death of Chris Msando, an election official in Kenya murdered just before the 2017 elections, which were later nullified by the Supreme Court.
kenya  africa  elections  democracy  crime  corruption 
6 weeks ago
Keepers of the Secrets | Village Voice
Kind of just an article about what archivists do, with some attention to how the profession has changed in the last couple of decades. But also a kind of testament to the special qualities of the archive, of touching the actual documents held and used by particular people.
archives  libraries  research 
7 weeks ago
How Fake News Turned a Small Town Upside Down - The New York Times
Really pretty terrifying story of how an obsessive "journalist," operating in a "vacuum of fact," contributes to the could of misinformation and misunderstanding around a sexual abuse case involving children.
journalism  news  fake_news  refugees  islam  racism 
7 weeks ago
Who Killed the ERA? | by Linda Greenhouse | The New York Review of Books
Review of Marjorie Spruill's "Divided We Stand," on the debate over the ERA in the 1970s and the way that the conflict between "women's rights" and "family values" was set up at this time.
women_and_politics  women  gender  politics  rights  feminism 
7 weeks ago
Todd Stewart | Archive - Picher, Oklahoma
Todd Stewart's photos of Picher, Oklahoma, a former mining boom town now virtually abandoned.
photogprahy  photographers  mining 
8 weeks ago
The Heroism of Incremental Care | The New Yorker
Atul Gawande on incremental, continual maintenance vs. acute, crisis actions. Surgery vs. primary care, road building vs. maintenance.
infrastructure  healthcare  medicine  incrementalism  maintenance 
8 weeks ago
The New Elite’s Silly Virtue-Signaling Consumption | The American Conservative
Both the title and, to some extent, the tone are irritating, but the basic point seems valid: consumption as a way of indicating both social and moral attitudes and associations.
economics  class  markets  hipsters 
8 weeks ago
In Angela Merkel, German Women Find Symbol, but Not Savior - The New York Times
On how Merkel's rise has not been tied to an improved economic position for women, who still make 22% less than men and are almost non-existent as corporate executives. One very interesting point is the difference between East and West, with West being much more conservative on gender issues.
germany  women  gender  women_and_politics  sexism  psc150 
8 weeks ago
The Man the Presidency Changed - POLITICO Magazine
Shortish piece on Chester Alan Arthur's shift from machine functionary to civil service reformer.
history  president  government  corruption  civil_service  machine_politics  psc120 
8 weeks ago
Documenting the Disappearance of America's Most Toxic Ghost Town
A book and exhibition of photos by Todd Stewart, documenting the slow disappearance of Picher, Oklahoma, a town made toxic by mining of lead and zinc.
mining  environment  photogprahy  against_irrelevance 
8 weeks ago
Myanmar Follows Global Pattern in How Ethnic Cleansing Begins - The New York Times
Goos basic explanation of the pattern of scapegoating to strengthen majority national identity.
burma  nationalism  identity  rohingya  conflict  ethnicity 
8 weeks ago
Inside India’s race to cool 1.3 billion people in a warming world - The Verge
As temperatures rise, air conditioning becomes a necessity in hotter parts of the world, but air conditioning adds to the problem. New methods of cooling, and powering air conditioners, will need to be found to accommodate large, hot places, like India.
environment  climate  technology  india  development  inequality 
8 weeks ago
Who Can Afford to Write Like John McPhee? | New Republic
A great writer describes his process, with many concrete pointers from improving one's own writing, but that process seems dependent on an abundance of time and money that few working writers could imagine having today.
writing  writers  john_mcphee  book_review  against_irrelevance 
8 weeks ago
The great nutrient collapse
As C02 in the atmosphere increases, plants produce more sugars and other carbohydrates, and less of other key nutrients, like protein, zinc, and potassium. As a result, there is more food being grown, but it is less nutritious. Very little research is being done on the intersection of climate change and nutrition, despite the profound implications this change might have for human health.
food  agriculture  plants  botany  climate  science  biology 
9 weeks ago
The Peculiar Poetry of Paris’s Lost and Found | The New Yorker
On the Bureau of Found Objects, established in 1804 under Napoleon; instantiates the idea of property as a sacred right in France, which is not interrupted or undermined by the loss of an object. Connects this to French history, in which lost objects once belonged to the person on whose land they were found; the French Revolution deliberately altered that norm, and the Bureau reflects the new standard.
cities  paris  loss  property_rights  law  against_irrelevance 
9 weeks ago
Jimmy’s Blues - Los Angeles Review of Books
Nice piece about Baldwin, really kind of a broad overview of his career as a writer, nominally organized around a comparison between his style and the blues and jazz (and a possible shift in that work from one to the other).
james_baldwin  writers  writing  race  music 
10 weeks ago
Here at the End of All Things
On the maps in fantasy books, and how they are and are not like maps of the real world.
maps  fantasy  geography 
10 weeks ago
A Storm Forces Houston, the Limitless City, to Consider Its Limits - The New York Times
On how unchecked growth has exacerbated the flooding in Houston, mainly by eliminating open areas and green spaces that could have absorbed some of the rain.
weather  climate  flooding  urban_planning  cities  development  power_in_city 
11 weeks ago
Finding North America’s lost medieval city | Ars Technica
Long piece on Cahokia and its excavation. Archaeologists think the city was built primarily as a spiritual center, as part of some kind of religious revival movement, with economic concerns secondary. At its height in 1050 BCE, it has as many as 30,000 people. Many unanswered questions about why, after about 400 years, most of that population left.
archaeology  science  history  native_americans  cahokia 
11 weeks ago
Neoliberalism: the idea that swallowed the world | News | The Guardian
Stephen Metcalf on the rise of neoliberalism, focusing on its displacement of concern for or attention to values beyond those recognized by the market.
economics  hayek  keynes  neoliberalism  inequality 
11 weeks ago
Critical Failure | Hazlitt
On the critic Armond White, who the author argues has descended from a contentious but always interesting voice to, in essence, a troll, less interested in the films he reviews than in pissing off the people he perceives to be their audience.
criticism  critics  film  armond_white 
august 2017
Architecture-by-Bee and Other Animal Printheads – BLDGBLOG
Interesting, partly speculative/fanciful look at animals as 3d printers, including real projects involving bees and silkworms.
architecture  insects  biomaterials  materials  science 
august 2017
Inside Patreon, the economic engine of internet culture - The Verge
On Patreon, which has allowed a few people to make lots of money, many others to make some extra income, and struggles to deal with hate speech and similar problems.
internet  economics  free_speech  art 
august 2017
Cogito Zero Sum | The Baffler
On the tendency to treat arguments and opinions as expressions of a self, and so challenges to those arguments as attacks on that self.
identity  politics  argument  learning  higher_ed 
august 2017
Even After the Glass Ceiling Yields, Female Executives Find Shaky Ground - The New York Times
On the "glass cliff," the phenomenon of women getting top corporate jobs at companies that are in deep trouble.
business  economics  gender  women_and_politics 
august 2017
Fewer Immigrants Mean More Jobs? Not So, Economists Say - The New York Times
Basically, all of our intuitions about the effects of immigration are wrong.
economics  immigration  politics 
august 2017
Vanishing Land Fuels ‘Looming Crisis’ Across Africa - The New York Times
A combination of climate change, population growth, and poor management are leading to increased competition for arable land, sometimes turning violent.
africa  agriculture  environment  politics  development 
july 2017
Martin Luther’s Revolution | The Nation
Review essay on several books about Luther and Protestantism.
religion  christianity  martin_luther  protestantism  history  theology 
july 2017
How your clothes are poisoning our oceans and food supply | Environment | The Guardian
How synthetic microfibers from clothes— mostly shed during washing— are collecting in both oceans and freshwater, and ending up in fish and other water animals. And: we're so screwed.
clothing  environment  plastic  science  economics 
july 2017
A Man in a Hurry: Claude Shannon’s New York Years - IEEE Spectrum
Excerpt from "A Mind at Play," a new book about Claude Shannon and the invention of information theory.
information  claude_shannon  science  bell_labs  technology 
july 2017
NYPD, Microsoft Launch All-Seeing “Domain Awareness System” With Real-Time CCTV, License Plate Monitoring [Updated]
Describes, in general terms, the Domain Awareness System designed by Microsoft for the NYPD. Might very well help prevent terrorist attacks; obviously open to serious abuse.
terrorism  civil_liberties  civil_rights  surveillance  technology 
july 2017
[Reviews] | Getting In and Out, by Zadie Smith | Harper's Magazine
Zadie Smith on both "Get Out" and Dana Schutz's painting "Open Casket" More generally, on the idea of "appropriation."
race  art  film  zadie_smith  review  culture 
july 2017
Wilhelm Reich: the man who invented free love | Books | The Guardian
Wilhelm Riech, one of the "second generation" of psychoanalysts, whose theories of "the orgone" inspired a generation to lock themselves in boxes for sexual fulfillment. Also one of the people Sontag mentions as a proponent of the theory that cancer is a result of repressed emotion.
wilhelm_reich  psychology  sexuality  disease  sontag 
july 2017
From Ptolemy to GPS, the Brief History of Maps | Innovation | Smithsonian
Very brief history of maps and mapping, with some vague speculation about how GPS and turn-by-turn directions affect our ability to navigate.
maps  cartography  technology  GPS  history 
july 2017
The Brave New World of Gene Editing | by Matthew Cobb | The New York Review of Books
Review essay of some books about genetics/CRISPR. Argues for more public attention and oversight.
genetics  science  CRISPR  democracy  representation 
july 2017
Greetings, E.T. (Please Don’t Murder Us.) - The New York Times
On attempts to send out messages for aliens, as opposed to listening for communications from them. Some see this as extremely dangerous; the potential consequences raise important questions about representation and democracy. Who gets to decide to take an action that may literally change the course of human history? What kind of oversight is adequate?
democracy  representation  aliens  science 
july 2017
How ‘Wellness’ Became an Epidemic
The growth of the Wellness Industrial Complex, and how "wellness" is different from "health."
health  wellness  culture  class 
july 2017
The Art at the End of the World - The New York Times
Heidi Julavits visits "Spiral Jetty" with her family, and contemplates the relations between art, material, and a world without human consciousness.
heidi_julavits  robert_smithson  art  artists  landscape  land_art  spiral_jetty  nature 
july 2017
Is the staggeringly profitable business of scientific publishing bad for science? | Science | The Guardian
Describes the history of journal publishing. Includes the rise of Pergamon, whose founder Robert Maxwell pioneered the business of journal publishing. Later bought out by Elsevier, Maxwell realized that the nature of scientific journals meant they weren't really in competition with one another, since each one's content is unique, so creating a new one didn't eat into the audience for older ones. He therefore helped create hundreds of new ones, and university libraries simply had to keep subscribing to everything.
science  journals  publishing  business  academia  economics 
july 2017
Asghar Farhadi on The Past, A Separation, and Crafting Earth-Shaking Drama From Small Moments | Filmmaker Magazine
Interview comparing "A Separation" with "The Pat," discussing the role of the home, children, and small decisions as decisive points in people's lives.
ashgar_farhadi  film  directors  iran 
june 2017
A Mystic Monumentality | by Martin Filler | The New York Review of Books
Review essay of two new books about Louis Kahn, which argues that he was the foremost architect of his era, and focuses on the "spiritual" aspects of his designs.
architecture  louis_kahn  architects  book_review 
june 2017
A Sociology of the Smartphone
Excerpt from Adam Greenfield's "Radical Technologies," unpacking the role of the smartphone and the costs of that role.
culture  technology  smartphones  phones  infrastructure  inequality  privatization 
june 2017
Panama Canal Expansion - Diagram of Panama Canal Locks
On the expansion of the Panama Canal to accommodate larger ships.
shipping  panama  trade  transportation  infrastructure 
june 2017
Drought as Infrastructural Event | Limn
Talking about, first of all, the Panama Canal, which uses fresh water from rivers to fill its locks and moves ships; this illustrates how droughts actually result from a combination of meteorological events and infrastructural design.
water  infrastructure  panama  government  governmentality  sovereignty 
june 2017
The Next Green Revolution - National Geographic
On the different possible paths to increasing crop yields to meet the needs of a growing global population: genetic modification, traditional cross-breeding, organic farming, etc. Actually kind of hopeful, though as is often the case the political aspects of the issue aren't dealt with here.
food  agribusiness  agriculture  GM_foods  climate  economics 
june 2017
Story of cities #27: Singapore – the most meticulously planned city in the world | Cities | The Guardian
How Lee Kwan Yew planned and built Singapore virtually from the ground up (thanks to bombing during WWII that wiped the slate clean, so to speak), creating a city that works very well, but only through continued strict regulation of the behavior of its residents.
cities  history  urban  urban_planning  governmentality  power_in_city 
june 2017
The City of White Marble: Ashgabat, Turkmenistan - The Atlantic
Some amazing, eerie photos of what happens when you combine excesses of oil wealth and ego in Ashgabat.
photogprahy  turkmenistan  ashgabat  cities  government  oil  inequality  democracy 
june 2017
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