Andreas Follesdal (Oslo): The Philosopher as Coach. Philosophy is literally the "love of wisdom" — but what does it mean to love, pursue, and possess wisdom? Philosophy is supposed to be difficult: We complain about its thorny prose and technical intricacy, but should philosophy really be accessible to all? In philosophy, logic is too often considered the only appropriate analytical instrument; adding fiction to the toolkit can offer new and illuminating ways to contemplate human existence and its dilemmas. Erroll Morris on a series on meaning, truth, intolerance and flying ashtrays. What is x-phi good for? Its significance is not exactly cosmic. Hawking contra philosophy: Christopher Norris presents a case for the defence. In Turkmenistan, philosophy is more than welcomed by the authorities — so long as it's dead. A review of Do Llamas Fall in Love? 33 Perplexing Philosophy Puzzles by Peter Cave. A review of Philosophy Bites: 25 Philosophers on 25 Intriguing Subjects by David Edmonds and Nigel Warburton. The spirit of inquiry: Socrates spoke his ideas, and so brought them to life. It’s de Botton v Skidelsky: For decades, philosophers spoke only to each other, but that is changing as they once more reconnect with a wider public. Philosophy as confession: A review of Little Did I Know: Excerpts from Memory by Stanley Cavell. Lawrence Harvey gives a snapshot of the life of the German philosopher Paul Ree. Is it worth knowing about the lives philosophers led, or is their philosophy enough?
From Poroi, Kim Hong Nguyen (High Point): The Effacement of Post-9/11 Orphanhood: Re-reading the Harry Potter Series as a Melancholic Rhetoric; and Rebecca Ingalls (Drexel): The Trilemma Revised: Harry Potter and a Landscape of Moral Uncertainty. The Liberation of Lori Berenson: Freed after 15 years in prison in Peru for abetting terrorism, she is struggling to figure out what comes next. From The Atlantic Monthly, James Fallows on learning to love the (shallow, divisive, unreliable) new media; fifty years after his landmark speech calling television a “vast wasteland”, the former chairman of the FCC lays out a media vision for the next half century; and small groups of defectors are mounting a high-tech media insurgency to reach North Korea's isolated population. Harvard professor Richard Freeman discusses the history and theory of unions. The Pornographer in Winter: An article on Al Goldstein. 53.1% of you already know what this story's about — or do you? Need a hint? It's about Professor Daryl Bem and his cheerful case for ESP. What is WikiLeaks really trying to tell us? Foreign Policy asks eminent historians and scholars to take the long view on these startling documents; think Julian Assange is sui generis? He's just one in a long line of agents provocateurs, stretching back through Trotsky to the Greeks; the world of U.S. diplomacy as filtered through WikiLeaks looks an awful lot like a certain other Western imperial power from not too long ago; and what if the hidden messages in the WikiLeaks cables were less about Tunisia and Russia, more about Winnie the Pooh? A review of Awkwardness by Adam Kotsko. A review of Gay Rights and Moral Panic: The Origins of America's Debate on Homosexuality by Fred Fejes. War nerd Gary Brecher on Assassinations: Where accounting meets human resources.
Nuclear energy 101: Boing Boing goes inside the "black box" of power plants. The accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear-power plant involved multiple system failures that cast doubt on the guiding principle of the nuclear power industry: that engineers can build enough redundancy into safety systems to overcome any threat. From LRB, Hugh Pennington on the fallout from Fukushima. From The New Yorker, Elizabeth Kolbert on the reactor risk in Japan. Just what is a nuclear meltdown, anyway? Me, Myself, and Iodine: What's in the radioactive vapors leaking from the damaged Japanese nuclear power plant, and how dangerous is it? Japan's victims struggle to understand what's happened. Will Japan’s quake be the costliest ever? Nuclear Hubris: Could Japan's disaster happen here? Cautious reconsideration, not rejection, of nuclear energy in Washington. Trying to take in the scale of the destruction of the earthquake in Japan, Aaron Retica was reminded of what the great Japanese director Akira Kurosawa never forgot. Alain de Botton on tsunamis and stoicism. Hereafter's tsunami sequences get it pulled from Japanese theaters. The Boston Globe's The Big Picture on Japan. Want to know which natural disasters are targeting you, right now? Here's a collection of resources. Quake moves Japan closer to US and alters Earth’s spin: The unbuckling of two tectonic plates shifted Japan’s coastline by up to 13 feet, and a 250-mile-long section dropped in altitude by about two feet. Have you watched footage of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami on CNN.com? If so, you are one of 60 million global viewers that logged on to CNN to watch — that’s a new record.