Omnium Gatherum: 12dec2021

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for December 12, 2021

Here’s a variety of notable things I’ve recently found that you may also be interested in checking out:

  • Tweet—”Earlier tonight, my mother, Anne Rice, passed away due to complications resulting from a stroke. She left us almost nineteen years to the day my father, her husband Stan, died. Below is a statement I posted to her Facebook page moments ago.” Tweet thread—”#RIP to the Queen of the Goths. Two first paperback printings of Lasher, one with gold detail, one with silver. The kind of thing my tiny bibliographic brain can’t pass up when dollar book hunting.” “Rice is far from an unproblematic writer but her work has been a lifeline for queers and weirdos for decades.” Also “RIP, Anne Rice.” Tweet—”Oh wow… Goodnight Anne Rice. Your journey was a journey, but you gave the culture so much, and so many foundational things. Thank you.” Tweet—”Hoping the ghosts of Anne Rice and Vicente Fernández hook up and solve erotic supernatural mysteries together.”
  • The world’s oldest story? Astronomers say global myths about ‘seven sisters’ stars may reach back 100,000 years“—”Similar ‘lost Pleiad’ stories are found in European, African, Asian, Indonesian, Native American and Aboriginal Australian cultures. Many cultures regard the cluster as having seven stars, but acknowledge only six are normally visible, and then have a story to explain why the seventh is invisible.” ‘All modern humans are descended from people who lived in Africa before they began their long migrations to the far corners of the globe about 100,000 years ago. Could these stories of the seven sisters be so old? Did all humans carry these stories with them as they travelled to Australia, Europe, and Asia? Careful measurements with the Gaia space telescope and others show the stars of the Pleiades are slowly moving in the sky. One star, Pleione, is now so close to the star Atlas they look like a single star to the naked eye. But if we take what we know about the movement of the stars and rewind 100,000 years, Pleione was further from Atlas and would have been easily visible to the naked eye. So 100,000 years ago, most people really would have seen seven stars in the cluster.”
  • A Philosopher’s Defense of Anger. The scholar Myisha Cherry discusses rage as a tool in the fight against racial injustice.” About The Case for Rage: Why Anger Is Essential to Anti-Racist Struggle [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Myisha Cherry—”When it comes to injustice, especially racial injustice, rage isn’t just an acceptable response-it’s crucial in order to fuel the fight for change. Anger has a bad reputation. Many people think that it is counterproductive, distracting, and destructive. It is a negative emotion, many believe, because it can lead so quickly to violence or an overwhelming fury. And coming from people of color, it takes on connotations that are even more sinister, stirring up stereotypes, making white people fear what an angry other might be capable of doing, when angry, and leading them to turn to hatred or violence in turn, to squelch an anger that might upset the racial status quo. According to philosopher Myisha Cherry, anger does not deserve its bad reputation. It is powerful, but its power can be a force for good. And not only is it something we don’t have to discourage, it’s something we ought to cultivate actively. People fear anger because they paint it in broad strokes, but we can’t dismiss all anger, especially not now. There is a form of anger that in fact is crucial in the anti-racist struggle today. This anti-racist anger, what Cherry calls “Lordean rage,” can use its mighty force to challenge racism: it aims for change, motivates productive action, builds resistance, and is informed by an inclusive and liberating perspective. People can, and should, harness Lordean rage and tap into its unique anti-racist potential. We should not suppress it or seek to replace it with friendly emotions. If we want to effect change, and take down racist structures and systems, we must manage it in the sense of cultivating it, and keeping it focused and strong. Cherry makes her argument for anti-racist anger by putting Aristotle in conversation with Audre Lorde, and James Baldwin in conversation with Joseph Butler. The Case for Rage not only uses the tools of philosophy to articulate its arguments, but it sharpens them with the help of social psychology and history. The book is philosophically rich and yet highly accessible beyond philosophical spheres, issuing an urgent call to all politically and socially engaged readers looking for new, deeply effective tools for changing the world. Its message will resonate with the enraged and those witnessing such anger, wondering whether it can help or harm. Above all, this book is a resource for the activist coming to grips with a seemingly everyday emotion that she may feel rising up within her and not know what to do with. It shows how to make sure anger doesn’t go to waste, but instead leads to lasting, long-awaited change.”
  • Memento Mori. Philosopher John Martin Fischer Has Been Thinking About Death, and It’s Made Him a Happier Person.” By John Martin Fischer, author of Death, Immortality, and Meaning in Life [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library]—”The most recent addition to the Fundamentals of Philosophy series, John Martin Fischer’s Death, Immortality, and Meaning in Life offers a brief yet in-depth introduction to the key philosophical issues and problems concerning death and immortality. Its engaging and accessible narrative is clearly organized into ten chapters that address meaning in life, death, the badness of death, time and death, ideas on immortality, near-death experiences, and extending life through medical technology.”
  • Can We Still Bump N’ Grind to R. Kelly? To Grapple with the Immorality of Artists We May Have to Go Through Their Art.” By Erich Hatala Matthes, author of Drawing the Line: What to Do with the Work of Immoral Artists from Museums to the Movies [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library]—”Can we still watch Woody Allen’s movies? Can we still laugh at Bill Cosby’s jokes? Woody Allen, Kevin Spacey, Dave Chappelle, Louis C. K., J.K. Rowling, Michael Jackson, Roseanne Barr. Recent years have proven rife with revelations about the misdeeds, objectional views, and, in some instances, crimes of popular artists. Spurred in part by the #metoo movement, and given more access than ever thanks to social media and the internet in general, the public has turned an alert and critical eye upon the once-hidden lives of previously cherished entertainers. But what should we members of the public do, think, and feel in response to these artists’ actions or statements? It’s a predicament that many of us face: whether it’s possible to disentangle the deeply unsettled feelings we have toward an artist from how we respond to the art they produced. As consumers of art, and especially as fans, we have a host of tricky moral question to navigate: do the moral lives of artists affect the aesthetic quality of their work? Is it morally permissible for us to engage with or enjoy that work? Should immoral artists and their work be “canceled”? Most of all, can we separate an artist from their art? In Drawing the Line, Erich Hatala Matthes employs the tools of philosophy to offer insight and clarity to the ethical questions that dog us. He argues that it doesn’t matter whether we can separate the art from the artist, because we shouldn’t. While some dismiss the lives of artists as if they are irrelevant to the artist’s work, and others instrumentalize artwork, treating it as nothing more than a political tool, Matthes argues both that the lives of artists can play an important role in shaping our moral and aesthetic relationship to the artworks that we love and that these same artworks offer us powerful resources for grappling with the immorality of their creators. Rather than shunning art made by those who have been canceled, shamed, called out, or even arrested, we should engage with it all the more thoughtfully and learn from the complexity it forces us to confront. Recognizing the moral and aesthetic relationships between art and artist is crucial to determining when and where we should draw the line when good artists do bad things.”
  • Zazen.” Excerpt from Zazen [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Vanessa Veselka—”Somewhere in Della’s consumptive, industrial wasteland of a city, a bomb goes off. It is not the first, and will not be the last. Reactions to the attacks are polarized. Police activity intensifies. Della’s revolutionary parents welcome the upheaval but are trapped within their own insular beliefs. Her activist restaurant co-workers, who would rather change their identities than the world around them, resume a shallow rebellion of hair-dye, sex parties, and self-absorption. As those bombs keep inching closer, thudding deep and real between the sounds of katydids fluttering in the still of the city night, and the destruction begins to excite her. What begins as terror threats called in to greasy bro-bars across the block boils over into a desperate plot, intoxicating and captivating Della and leaving her little chance for escape. Zazen unfolds as a search for clarity soured by irresolution and catastrophe, yet made vital by the thin, wild veins of imagination run through each escalating moment, tensing and relaxing, unfurling and ensnaring. Vanessa Veselka renders Della and her world with beautiful, freighting, and phantasmagorically intelligent accuracy, crafting from their shattered constitutions a perversely perfect mirror for our own selves and state.”
  • How Do You Find a Book When You Can’t Remember the Title or the Author?. Marina Luz Mines on the Language We Use to Describe Forgotten Literature.” Excerpt from A Library of Misremembered Books: When We’re Searching for a Book but Have Forgotten the Title [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Marina Luz—”How do you find a book when you can’t recall the title.or the author? This homage to a common reader’s dilemma is a gift the booklover in your life won’t soon forget. Readers know all too well the comedy and tragedy of forgetting the name of a must-find book. Inspired by this torturous predicament, artist Marina Luz creates paintings of books based on the descriptions we use when we can’t remember their titles—mining Internet book-search forums for the quirky, vague, and often hilarious language we come up with in these moments. This volume collects dozens of these imaginary books into a library all their own: Titles like ‘Cat, Possibly Named Henry,’ ‘It Was All a Dream,’ or ‘Something-Something, Beverly Hills’ inspire dreaming up their contents, often as entertaining as trying to guess the real book behind them. A celebration of book love unlike any other, this petite book is a clever gift for bibliophiles that will spark knowing smiles.”
  • The Galaxy of Philosophy“—”Last month we launched a print store with 11 ‘field posters’ designed by the great Nadieh Bremer. These are very large 36″x48″ high-res posters that map the top 600 or so titles in different fields. The size of a dot indicates how often a title is assigned. Titles cluster and are colored based on how often they are assigned together. In addition to being gorgeous, our bet is that they are also instructive for students looking to develop an overall grasp of complex fields. Posters cost $54.99 and sales support the work of Open Syllabus.” “One interesting thing about this layout, from my perspective, is that it doesn’t strongly reproduce my mental map of the field — which was formed through a political theory education that privileged a division between anglo/analytic and continental traditions. You can find those divisions, but the field overall includes a lot of ‘cross canonical’ works that are taught across multiple themes and traditions. It’s also interesting to compare to the place of philosophy in the larger ‘co-assignment galaxy,’ which maps a much wider array of titles across syllabi from all fields.”
  • A new study shows that UK school libraries are still very, very white.“—”Researchers from the University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University, and Keele University surveyed schools across England about the diversity of their libraries, and 65% of the respondents said less than 15% of their school library books featured BIPOC characters. (For comparison, slightly over a third of UK students are BIPOC.) A whopping 92% of school staff surveyed said they were dissatisfied with the current diversity of their school library. Many respondents said they felt powerless to change the diversity of their school library: some due to budget constraints, some due to a lack of children’s books with BIPOC main characters, some due simply to a lack of knowledge on where to find existing children’s books with BIPOC main characters. This isn’t solely a library curation issue: according to the researchers, only 7% of all children’s books published in the UK between 2017 and 2019 contained non-white characters, and only 5% contained non-white main characters. In 2019, nearly 90% of teachers in UK state-funded schools were white. In the face of this data, the researchers called for several action points: for dedicated funding, either central government funds or funds sourced from fundraising events, to stock school libraries with diverse books; for schools to audit their libraries and identify gaps in their collections; and for publishers to address the racial imbalance of the books and authors they represent.”
  • A close-reading of 5 music videos that take place in libraries.”—”Look, books make me want to dance, too. And while some libraries have a “no talking” policy, you have to admit: they didn’t say anything about singing! So because it’s Monday and you might need this, please enjoy the best music videos in recent history (is there any other, for music videos?) to take place in your favorite quiet reading zone: the library.”
  • Simpsons Library. Collecting all books, magazines and printed material from The Simpsons.”
  • All the Fast Food You Love Contains Hormone-Disrupting Chemicals, Study Finds. Cheeseburgers and chicken burritos had especially high levels of phthalates and similar substances.”
  • Scientists find strange black ‘superionic ice’ that could exist inside other planets. UChicago and Carnegie scientists see new state of matter at high temperature, pressure.”—”Everyone knows about ice, liquid and vapor—but, depending on the conditions, water can actually form more than a dozen different structures. Scientists have now added a new phase to the list: superionic ice. This type of ice forms at extremely high temperatures and pressures, such as those deep inside planets like Neptune and Uranus. Previously, superionic ice had only been glimpsed in a brief instant as scientists sent a shockwave through a droplet of water, but in a new study published in Nature Physics, scientists found a way to reliably create, sustain, and examine the ice.”
  • NASA wants to buy SLS rockets at half price, fly them into the 2050s. The agency wants the rocket to become a “sustainable and affordable system.”
  • Three Under-recognized Hazards of Digital Recording“—”Few people are sufficiently wary of digital recording—audio, video, and even photography. I want to discuss three massively under-appreciated hazards of modern-day recording: (1) unending, unbounded moral judgment; (2) tarnished reputational connotations; and (3) tarnished self-perception. These hazards are so significant that in our present technological milieu, almost every person has reason to avoid subjection to digital recording whenever possible.”
  • Let’s All Try Shutting Up a Bit More“—”Following up on Chris Hayes’s piece about just how public all of our lives have become, Ian Bogost has a great piece for The Atlantic. In it, he speculates on other ways social media could work. ‘It’s long past time to question a fundamental premise of online life: What if people shouldn’t be able to say so much, and to so many, so often?’ I’ve long phrased this more crudely: More people should shut up more often.”
  • Scientists Built an AI to Give Ethical Advice, But It Turned Out Super Racist“—”We’ve all been in situations where we had to make tough ethical decisions. Why not dodge that pesky responsibility by outsourcing the choice to a machine learning algorithm? That’s the idea behind Ask Delphi, a machine-learning model from the Allen Institute for AI. You type in a situation (like ‘donating to charity’) or a question (‘is it okay to cheat on my spouse?’), click ‘Ponder,’ and in a few seconds Delphi will give you, well, ethical guidance. The project launched last week, and has subsequently gone viral online for seemingly all the wrong reasons. Much of the advice and judgements it’s given have been… fraught, to say the least.” Also “Delphi: Towards Machine Ethics and Norms“—”What would it take to teach a machine to behave ethically? While broad ethical rules may seem straightforward to state (“thou shalt not kill”), applying such rules to real-world situations is far more complex. For example, while “helping a friend” is generally a good thing to do, “helping a friend spread fake news” is not. We identify four underlying challenges towards machine ethics and norms: (1) an understanding of moral precepts and social norms; (2) the ability to perceive real-world situations visually or by reading natural language descriptions; (3) commonsense reasoning to anticipate the outcome of alternative actions in different contexts; (4) most importantly, the ability to make ethical judgments given the interplay between competing values and their grounding in different contexts (e.g., the right to freedom of expression vs. preventing the spread of fake news). Our paper begins to address these questions within the deep learning paradigm. Our prototype model, Delphi, demonstrates strong promise of language-based commonsense moral reasoning, with up to 92.1% accuracy vetted by humans. This is in stark contrast to the zero-shot performance of GPT-3 of 52.3%, which suggests that massive scale alone does not endow pre-trained neural language models with human values. Thus, we present Commonsense Norm Bank, a moral textbook customized for machines, which compiles 1.7M examples of people’s ethical judgments on a broad spectrum of everyday situations. In addition to the new resources and baseline performances for future research, our study provides new insights that lead to several important open research questions: differentiating between universal human values and personal values, modeling different moral frameworks, and explainable, consistent approaches to machine ethics.”
  • This Air Force Targeting AI Thought It Had a 90% Success Rate. It Was More Like 25%. Too little of the right kind of data can throw off target algorithms. But try telling the algorithm that.”—”But Simpson said the low accuracy rate of the algorithm wasn’t the most worrying part of the exercise. While the algorithm was only right 25 percent of the time, he said, ‘It was confident that it was right 90 percent of the time, so it was confidently wrong. And that’s not the algorithm’s fault. It’s because we fed it the wrong training data.’ Simpson said that such results don’t mean the Air Force should stop pursuing AI for object and target detection. But it does serve as a reminder of how vulnerable AI can be to adversarial action in the form of data spoofing. It also shows that AI, like people, can suffer from overconfidence.”
  • Sarco suicide capsule hopes to enter Switzerland. A 3D-printed capsule destined for use in assisted suicide hopes to operate in Switzerland, according to Exit International, the organisation that developed the ‘Sarco’ machine.”
  • ‘The internet’s on fire’ as techs race to fix software flaw“—”A software vulnerability exploited in the online game Minecraft is rapidly emerging as a major threat to internet-connected devices around the world. ‘The internet’s on fire right now,’ said Adam Meyers, senior vice president of intelligence at the cybersecurity firm Crowdstrike. ‘People are scrambling to patch and there are script kiddies and all kinds of people scrambling to exploit it.’ He said Friday morning that in the 12 hours since the bug’s existence was disclosed that it had been “fully weaponized,” meaning that malefactors have developed and distributed tools to exploit. The flaw may be the worst computer vulnerability discovered in years. It opens a loophole in software code that is ubiquitous in cloud servers and enterprise software used across industry and government. It could allow criminals or spies to loot valuable data, plant malware or erase crucial information, and much more.” Also tweet—”As relevant as it’s ever been.”
  • Activision Blizzard employees launch strike fund, move closer to unionizing.”
  • Tweet thread—”I used to respect Starbucks as a smart, innovative company. BUT I’ve lost respect for Starbucks because of the dirty, hardball tactics it has used against the unionization drive in Buffalo: It closed a store where 80% of the workers signed pro-union cards. Starbucks executives say it should be up to the employees whether they want a union. But Starbucks has mounted one of the most intense & aggressive anti-union efforts I’ve ever seen to pressure its Buffalo workers to vote against the union.” Also “Starbucks launches aggressive anti-union effort as upstate New York stores organize. Management urges baristas to reject the union at mandatory ‘listening’ sessions and shuts stores holding drives.” Also “Starbucks workers at a Buffalo store unionize in a big symbolic win for labor” and “What the first Starbucks union means for workers everywhere. A company-owned Starbucks in New York state is the first in the US to unionize.”
  • Tweet—”This excellent thread highlights the constant ethical bind of trying to survive under late-stage capitalism as people die, and the environment burns.” Tweet thread—”Love folks threatening not to back Kickstarters on Twitter, the company whose wealth financed Celo, the blockchain platform KS plans to use. But I’m typing this on a blood-soaked iPhone in my apartment on stolen land, so what do I know? God, I’m so tired.”
  • Tweet—”Yes, it’s a Ponzi scheme. But who cares? So are the dollars in your pocket.” Tweet—”…They just said it right out loud. I’ve said since the start that cryptocurrency was the chance for everyone to realize that money isn’t real and that value is literally what we make it. But we truly & fully missed the boat there, didn’t we? Capitalism really does co-opt all.” Tweet—”You say fiat currency is a Ponzi scheme, but i think you mean turtle stack, and also why not go the rest of the way and ABOLISH CAPITALISM”
  • The price of ‘freedom’: How anti-lockdown protest leaders make money from the movement. You can buy caps and t-shirts, pseudo-medical COVID treatments, even social media sites and legal advice – it’s all part of the deal when you are marching for freedom.”
  • Watch “Pandemic Ethics | Peter Singer“—”Rebecca Tuvel, Dan Cullen and Eric Samson interview Peter Singer about pandemic ethics. Are lockdowns and mandatory vaccines morally justified? What should governments have done differently? Why were there calls to cancel this lecture?”
  • ‘Unvaxxed Sperm’ Is Trying to Become the Anti-Vax Bitcoin. It’s based on the false anti-vax belief that COVID vaccines affect fertility and that the sperm of unvaccinated people will be worth a fortune one day.”
  • Tweet—”Both I and Michael Phelps know how to swim.”
  • Texas man gets 10 years for shooting man in eye with paintball in protest“—”An Oregon court has sentenced a self-proclaimed member of the Proud Boys to 10 years in prison for shooting a man in the eye with a paintball gun during a protest last year.”
  • Tweet—”Hi it’s December 2021, and it’s now literally in writing that senior advisers to the ex president of the United States plotted to declare a bogus national emergency to cancel a national election and seize the government by military force.”
  • Tweet—”Police bodycam video recorded on Jan. 4, 2021, shows Trevian Kutti, a publicist for hip-hop artist Kanye West, telling a Georgia election worker who former President Trump falsely accused of manipulating votes that she was in imminent danger.” Also “Two election workers break silence after enduring Trump backers’ threats.” Tweet thread—”I mean, reality is just word salad now.”
  • An Open Letter in Defense of Democracy. The future of democracy in the United States is in danger.”—”We are writers, academics, and political activists who have long disagreed about many things. Some of us are Democrats and others Republicans. Some identify with the left, some with the right, and some with neither. We have disagreed in the past, and we hope to be able to disagree, productively, for years to come. Because we believe in the pluralism that is at the heart of democracy. But right now we agree on a fundamental point: We need to join together to defend liberal democracy.”
  • Don’t be fooled: The Supreme Court’s Texas abortion decision is a big defeat for Roe v. Wade. Justice Neil Gorsuch’s majority opinion is sneaky, underhanded, and a big blow to abortion rights.”
  • Abortion is a Public Good. The right to reproductive health and agency is a compelling state interest.”
  • Feds bust ‘modern-day slavery’ ring amid new immigration enforcement effort. At least 100 immigrant workers were freed from conditions in which at least two died, another was repeatedly raped, and others were kidnapped and threatened with death.”
  • Leaked SoCal hospital records reveal huge, automated markups for healthcare. Screenshots of a system used by Scripps Memorial Hospital show markups of as much as 675% being imposed automatically during treatment.”
  • Australia’s coal-fired power plants likely to shut almost three times faster than expected, report suggests. Latest blueprint by Aemo says grid has already ‘outpaced all expectations’ and anticipates ninefold increase in wind and solar by 2050.”
  • The Evolution of the Mad Scientist. The crazed caricature of genius was largely inspired by now-debunked late-Victorian ideas about how species change.”—”In the pages of the Mind, scientists argued (using what Stiles calls “surprisingly unscientific” rationale) that “mankind had evolved larger brains at the expense of muscular strength, reproductive capacity, and moral sensibility.” Scientists worried about the potential to pass genius (and, by extension, insanity) on to future generations. Of course, many also conceded that “extraordinary men were relatively unlikely to reproduce,” with one scientist blaming “shy, odd manners, often met with in young persons of genius,” according to Stiles. But what if these nerds did reproduce? Working from Lamarckian theories of evolution, these scientists hypothesized that the more humans relied on their brains, the weaker the rest of their bodies would become. “One possible conclusion of rapid Lamarckian brain evolution, then, was a species of morally insane beings boasting enormous cerebrums and minuscule bodies,” writes Stiles.” See also “Literature in ‘Mind’: H. G. Wells and the Evolution of the Mad Scientist” by Anne Stiles, Journal of the History of Ideas, Vol. 70, No. 2 (Apr., 2009), pp. 317-339.
  • How do People Think the Mind and the Brain Interact?“—”A common view among cognitive scientists is that people are dualists about the mind and the brain. According to this view, people intuitively believe that the mind is fundamentally different from the brain, and that the two can interact with each other. Empirical evidence also seems to support this view of people as intuitive dualists: For example, in survey studies people often agree with statements such as ones describing the mind as ‘a special form of energy that is in contact with the brain’, or stating that the mind interacts with the brain to determine behavior. However, there is reason to suspect that lay intuitions may be more complex than the two simple tenets of intuitive dualism.”
  • Inquiries into the Future of Cosmopolitanism“—”Cosmopolitanism has received increasing attention in recent years as the global nature of the modern world and the multicultural dimensions of contemporary societies become ever more salient. Nevertheless, accounts of the conception and practice of cosmopolitanism remain controversial, primarily because they tend to employ only the characteristic approaches and address only the particular concerns of contemporary Anglo-American philosophy. The U.S.-China Research Group on Cosmopolitanism brings together nine scholars from the United States and the Chinese cultural sphere with the aim of pursuing a structured dialogue around theoretical and practical problems related to cosmopolitanism. In order to initiate the group’s inquiry into the nature and future of cosmopolitanism, each participant has composed a short reflection describing her or his initial thoughts on the topic. These are presented as points of departure for an ongoing conversation that will be carried by your criticisms, comments, and suggestions, which we invite and appreciate.”
  • Nature Is Becoming a Person. How to make sense of the new global trend that grants legal rights to animals, plants, and rivers.”
  • Reimagining political philosophy: on Charles Mills. Charles Mills, who died earlier this year, was a model for a political philosophy engaged with subjects the discipline had systematically ignored, first among them race and racism.”
  • Multiculturalism, Animal Rights and Inclusive Citizenship.” Interview with philosopher Will Kymlicka. “The fact that multiculturalism policies have not generally weakened the welfare state suggests that most countries have found a way to reconcile multiculturalism and national solidarity: we might say that they are working out in practice a kind of multicultural nationalism. But this raises a theoretical puzzle. Most theorists of nationalism – such as David Miller – argue that multiculturalism necessarily undermines national solidarity, by weakening a sense of common identity or sense of belonging. Conversely, many theorists of multiculturalism argue that nationalism is inherently antithetical to multiculturalism: that nationalism is inherently prone to exclusion or assimilation of minorities, and so multiculturalism can only thrive in a post-national world. So nationalists think they must be anti-multiculturalism, and multiculturalists think they must be anti-nationalist. Yet in practice, in at least some times and places, citizens are able to reconcile the two. This suggests that our received theories of nationalism and multiculturalism must be missing something: there must be some points of potential overlap between nationalism and multiculturalism that our theories are missing. In my recent work, I’ve been trying to make sense of this area of overlap, and in particular, trying to think about how nationalism and multiculturalism might converge around an ‘ethics of membership’.”
  • Trans-Class. Notes on Class, Anxiety, and Class Anxiety”—”This is the second in a series of essays broadly inspired by my reading of Marcel Proust’s À la recherche du temps perdu (currently I’m in the middle of volume III).”
  • Is it okay to harvest pig kidneys to save human lives? We’re starting to grow pigs to take their organs and put them in humans. Wait, what?”
  • A French dictionary added a gender-neutral pronoun. Opponents say it’s too ‘woke.’” Also “French dictionary accused of ‘wokeism’ over gender-inclusive pronoun. Education minister condemns use of ‘iel’, saying inclusive writing is not the future of the French language.”
  • Gender in Latin and Beyond: A Philologist’s Take“—”Some students assume that Latin and Greek gender must be straightforward to me; and one, who had to take a German course, turned up in my office, stared at me accusingly and said, ‘In your language, spoons are masculine, forks are feminine and knives are neuter; explain yourself!’ This, then, is what I will try to do for Latin, but also for other languages. If you bear with me, you will see how different languages assign gender to nouns and how this is not a random process; and hopefully you will come to think of gender as not quite as pointless as it may have seemed before. But my essay is not a magic bullet: it will help you to make sense of grammatical gender assignment, and in that sense it will help you to learn languages, but it will not eliminate the effort of learning altogether. However, on our little journey together, we will also touch on some questions of broader interest: how did ancient scholars think of gender? Can nouns have more than one gender? And does grammatical gender influence the way we think about the world? We will begin our journey with the word gender itself.”
  • Exclusive 3:16 Interview With Friedrich Nietzsche“—”What I understand by “philosopher”: a terrible explosive in the presence of which everything is in danger. So what drew me to it? The majesty of the ruling glance and condemning look, the feeling of separation from the multitude with their duties and virtues, the kindly patronage and defense of whatever is misunderstood and calumniated, be it God or devil, the delight and practice of supreme justice, the art of commanding, the amplitude of will, the lingering eye which rarely admires, rarely looks up, rarely loves.”
  • Hegel today. Too dense, too abstract, too suspect, Hegel was outside the Anglophone canon for a century. Why is his star rising again?”
  • Was René Descartes a Victim of Skull Blasting? Centuries after the philosopher’s death, lingering controversy over his remains highlights a macabre practice of profiting from the dead.”
  • What Is It Like to Be a Philosopher?“—”In this interview, Mike Huemer, Professor of Philosophy at University of Colorado Boulder, discusses being a little kid thinking about where God came from and the nature of consciousness, Ender’s Game, his mother’s reaction to his decision to major in philosophy, taking classes with Searle and Feyerabend at UC Berkley, social justice warriors, Ayn Rand, the problem of induction, moral intuitionism, anarchism, the collapse of communism, the fledgling internet, dualism, which views in ethics are complete non-sense, submitting a stylistically Wittgensteinian writing sample, grad school at Rutgers, Colin McGinn, Vann McGee’s logic class, Civilization (by Sid Meier), refuting skepticism, two common grad student problems, evolving as a teacher, the job market, landing a job at UC Boulder, woke ideology, the great questions of philosophy, his book, Approaching Infinity, reincarnation, Bush, Obama, Trump, Biden, his blog Fake Nous, and his last meal…”
  • Whereof we know nothing, pass over in silence“—”In recent months, and for the first time, I’ve been embarrassed to be a philosopher. Consequently, I’ve been hanging out with academics in other disciplines and keeping my background quiet. I had always assumed that philosopher was a noble vocation and the peak of intellectual achievement. Enough has happened lately to make me doubt this. Philosophy has a problem and that problem is hubris. Philosophers pride themselves on their argumentative skills. They should have a better than average grasp of logic and a high capacity for understanding. Understanding of what? That is part of the problem. Philosophical skills are, in theory, general and transferable, so we can apply our techniques to any possible question. So far, so good. Yet this can also generate hubris.”
  • Join New Voices on Women in the History of Philosophy.” About New Voices on Women in the History of Philosophy by History of Women Philosophers and Scientists at Paderborn University: “About Us“—New Voices on Women in the History of Philosophy is a group for emerging scholars (in the widest sense) at the Center for the History of Women Philosophers and Scientists. New Voices has the purpose of creating a forum for international scholars who work on women in the history of philosophy. New Voices intends to interconnect and further the work of scholars in the field of Women Philosophers in the History of Philosophy.”
  • Tips for collaborating with scientists, from a philosopher. Make language inclusive and agree on your aims in advance.”
  • Disability, Sexuality, Political Leaning, Socio-Economic Background, and Other Demographic Data on Recent Philosophy PhD Recipients“—”The APDA tracks the job placements of PhD recipients in philosophy from PhD-granting departments in the English-speaking world plus selected programs elsewhere, with over 200 universities represented. Every few years, the APDA also surveys PhD recipients concerning their satisfaction with their PhD program as well as selected demographic characteristics.” “In this post, I’ll highlight some of the APDA’s demographic results.”
  • No, Black People Can’t Be ‘Racists’“—”The attacks waged against everything deemed ‘critical race theory’ constitute a new form of McCarthyism that spreads fear of a future in which Black professors may again be labeled by the state as political dissidents and left to the whims of a new, updated House Un-American Activities Committee.”
  • On Comedians that Punch Down (Srinivasan/Cowen, and yes Chappelle)“—”One of the great jokes of the political circumstances of our age is that comedians are the great political commentators of the age. And while it would be silly to claim that David Letterman is solely responsible for the political ascendancy of Donald Trump, it’s also true that he helped turn Trump from a New York city character into a national celebrity by repeatedly giving him space for — I say this with the benefit of hindsight — test-running his campaign massages. Belatedly, around 2010 Letterman himself grew uneasy about this, calling Trump a racist and sharply demarcating the “circus” (in which Letterman and Trump were both starring (ahh) freaks) from the political arena. The point of the contrast in Letterman’s shtick then is to proclaim Trump unfit for office. (The interview with Dr. Phil is still worth re-watching; Jason Zinoman’s 2017 New York Times article gives useful background, although does not mention Trump’s role in the Central Park five.) Letterman’s underlying instinct that there is a contrast between comedy and politics is an important one. It’s no less important than the difference between work-place harassment and comedy. What’s funny and worth having in one context, is oppressive in another. I am thinking of these matters not just because Plato implies that Aristophanes is responsible for the accusation (and so eventual execution) of Socrates, or the predictable controversy about Dave Chappelle’s latest special, and (recall) my struggle with the implications of my admiration for Norm Macdonald, but also because the topic frames the relatively recent, fascinating discussion (or interview) between Tyler Cowen and Amia Srinivasan.”
  • Showing, Telling, Understanding: Musings on Popularization“—”Yet to ‘compromise’ on the detail is to change the subject. A book about the lives of philosophers and mathematicians, about “watered-down approximations” of their ideas (Rayo’s words [10, Preface]), or about the fictions inspired by them is not a book about the ideas themselves. A reader who seeks understanding of these subjects is simply a different target from one who seeks to hear about others’ intellectual and aesthetic relation of them.”
  • Watch “Exploring the Space of Scientific Freedom and Responsibility (Heather Douglas and Maria Kronfeldner)“—”Heather Douglas (Michigan State University) and Maria Kronfeldner (Central European University, Vienna) discuss the many relationships between the freedoms and responsibilities scientists have.”
  • On the Internet, We’re Always Famous. What happens when the experience of celebrity becomes universal?”—”The most radical change to our shared social lives isn’t who gets to speak, it’s what we can hear.”
  • Tweet—”I told earlier how Gen Zrs crashed Kellogg’s website by submitting bogus applications online when it sought job apps from strike breakers to replace union workers. UPDATE: one of them wrote a program which uses random data to submit bogus applications to Kellogg’s 24 hrs a day.”
  • ‘We Changed People’s Mentality’: What It Was Like on the Ground in Egypt as Officials Unveiled the Pyramids’ First-Ever Contemporary Art Show. Get a peek behind the scenes of this unprecedented event.”
  • Space Jam: Former Senator Talks Aliens, Asteroids and ‘Star Trek’ With Larry Sabato. Former Florida U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, named in May to lead NASA, took part in a wide-ranging discussion on the politics of space with professor Larry Sabato on Tuesday.”
  • How Fish and Chips Migrated to Great Britain. The fried fish was introduced by Jews fleeing religious persecution.”