Generation TED and the power of

Would we opt out of food if given the chance?

The estimate of only saving 45 minutes a day by switching up your diet like this seems hardly worth it. Surely it’s much more than this.

Why I Hope to Die at 75

It’s been a while since I read this and though I agree with the sentiment I remember him saying some pretty stupid things in the article. Neverless, this thinking ought to be more mainstream.

Pop Culture and Power

The Internet threatens final confirmation of Adorno and Horkheimer’s dictum that the culture industry allows the “freedom to choose what is always the same.” Champions of online life promised a utopia of infinite availability: a “long tail” of perpetually in-stock products would revive interest in non-mainstream culture. One need not have read Astra Taylor and other critics to sense that this utopia has been slow in arriving. Culture appears more monolithic than ever, with a few gigantic corporations-Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon-presiding over unprecedented monopolies. Internet discourse has become tighter, more coercive. Search engines guide you away from peculiar words. (”Did you mean … ?”) Headlines have an authoritarian bark (”This Map of Planes in the Air Right Now Will Blow Your Mind”). “Most Read” lists at the top of Web sites imply that you should read the same stories everyone else is reading. Technology conspires with populism to create an ideologically vacant dictatorship of likes.

The Great Escape Review: Do Foreign-Aid Donations Make Things Worse?

First, we find that infectious diseases are not endemic to the species, but the product of environmental conditions, especially overcrowding and poor sanitation. Second, we are confronted with the fact that inequality of welfare does not exist by nature: our ancestors were committed to sharing, and were able to survive only because they did share. Inequality, Deaton is convinced, is of very recent origin. This means that it is not one of those sad facts of nature about which we should wring our hands and moan; it is an artifact of human society that we can and should change.

A War for Power | Jacobin

Corporate chieftains, pro-war pundits, and political leaders didn’t huddle in a room and plot to keep the war going. They didn’t have to; the process drives itself as elites fulfill their wants.

Are Elite Colleges Bad for the Soul?

Reading for self-recognition is the default factory setting in most people’s minds. It is precisely the approach to literature that you don’t need to attend college to learn.

A chief terror of higher education for a lot of students isn’t the exams, or the term papers, or even the terribly narrow but weirdly long bunk beds. It is the choice involved in working through an uncharted terrain whose potential is reported to be limitless. That task is a microcosm of life. The mystery of what will matter, how the pieces will in hindsight fit together, is equally pressing for the overachiever and for Deresiewicz’s risk-seeking soul person.

People had a tendency to want too much from a college degree, Nisbet warned: Far more deadly to the character of the university than its exploitation in economic terms is its exploitation in psychological terms. That is, cultivation of the pernicious idea that by sending young people to universities one is teaching them to be human beings, to become citizens, to become leaders, or to find peace of mind, individuality, liberal arts, “soul,” or whatever may be in the public mind at the moment. In other words: we’re here to tell you everything you should know about Chaucer, not to fix your life.

<em>Dead Poets Society</em> Is a Terrible Defense of the Humanities

Hellhole - The New Yorker

The Idea of a Critical Theory

Don’t Call Yourself A Programmer, And Other Career Advice

This is depressing. Is it possible to have a career as a software engineer where you’re not thinking in this terms all the time? Or do you need to be an elite computer scientist/mathematician to do that?

Something more encouraging: The end of bzr version control system

The End of Solitude | The Chronicle Review

BE STILL & GROW: The difference between loneliness and solitude

Against Sedation and General Anesthesia: Time to Take Back Our Bodies

Embracing the Ego

And finally some Hume (Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion) and Heller (Catch-22):

Man, it is true, can, by combination, surmount all his real enemies, and become master of the whole animal creation: but does he not immediately raise up to himself imaginary enemies, the demons of his fancy, who haunt him with superstitious terrors, and blast every enjoyment of life? His pleasure, as he imagines, becomes, in their eyes, a crime: his food and repose give them umbrage and offence: his very sleep and dreams furnish new materials to anxious fear: and even death, his refuge from every other ill, presents only the dread of endless and innumerable woes. Nor does the wolf molest more the timid flock, than superstition does the anxious breast of wretched mortals.

He stepped into the briefing room with mixed emotions, uncertain how he was supposed to feel about Kraft and the others, for they had all died in the distance of a mute and secluded agony at a moment when he was up to his own ass in the same vile, excruciating dilemma of duty and damnation.