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15 July 2014


How to Criticize with Kindness

How to compose a successful critical commentary:

  1. You should attempt to re-express your target’s position so clearly, vividly, and fairly that your target says, “Thanks, I wish I’d thought of putting it that way.”
  2. You should list any points of agreement (especially if they are not matters of general or widespread agreement).
  3. You should mention anything you have learned from your target.
  4. Only then are you permitted to say so much as a word of rebuttal or criticism.

8 July 2014

culture & sports

Sad Brazilians

23 June 2014

film & culture

What Pixar’s Next Movie Will Do for Girls

16 June 2014

health & culture

Miles O’Brien on Life After Losing a Limb

typography & culture

On Times New Roman

5 June 2014

culture & nature

Holy tusks, Batman. This makes me sad: Who Wants to Shoot an Elephant?

If you are the sort of person who harbors prejudices against people who blow sums greater than America’s median yearly income to shoot rare animals for sport, let me say that Will and Robyn Waldrip are very easy people to like. They didn’t grow up doing this sort of thing. Robyn’s dad was a fireman who took her squirrel hunting because it was a cheap source of fun and meat. Will’s father was a park ranger. In his twenties, Will went into the architectural-steel business, and now he co-owns a company worth many millions of dollars. They look like models from a Cabela’s catalog. They are companionable and jolly, and part of the pleasure of their company is the feeling that you’ve been welcomed into a kind of America where no one is ever fat or weak or ugly or gets sad about things.

31 May 2014

sports & culture

The Rise of the Red Devils

How Belgium built one of the top contenders for the 2014 World Cup, and what the team means to this fractious nation.

12 May 2014

science & culture

Spurious Correlations

sports & culture

The Premier League Standings if Only Goals by English Players Counted

8 May 2014

interface & culture

Interfaces That Make You Feel Old

25 April 2014

film & culture


21 April 2014

culture & language

Booksellers claim to have found Shakespeare’s annotated dictionary

technology & culture

Facebook’s friend problem

20 April 2014

culture & video

British Pathé recently released 100s of video clips from the 1890s to end of the 20th century to YouTube.

18 April 2014

music & culture

Happy Makes Pharrell Cry

technology & culture

Passwords are Obsolete

4 April 2014

politics & culture

The Super-Rich Should Quit Their Jobs

3 April 2014

politics & culture

Pure satirical brilliance: L.P.D.: Libertarian Police Department

I put a quarter in the siren. Ten minutes later, I was on the scene. It was a normal office building, strangled on all sides by public sidewalks. I hopped over them and went inside.

“Home Depot™ Presents the Police!®” I said, flashing my badge and my gun and a small picture of Ron Paul. “Nobody move unless you want to!” They didn’t.

“Now, which one of you punks is going to pay me to investigate this crime?” No one spoke up.

“Come on,” I said. “Don’t you all understand that the protection of private property is the foundation of all personal liberty?”

It didn’t seem like they did.

“Seriously, guys. Without a strong economic motivator, I’m just going to stand here and not solve this case. Cash is fine, but I prefer being paid in gold bullion or autographed Penn Jillette posters.”

2 April 2014

business & culture

The Expert

19 March 2014

science & culture

Stanford Professor Andrei Linde learns that his theory about the Big Bang origin of the universe may in fact have been proven