Discussion thread: what articles on the Web are worth reading?

I cannot brain here in the O’Hare lounge, but the other day a reader suggested that perhaps we can share links to articles on the Internet worth reading. I’ll put a few here in the comments, and urge readers to put other articles (with a link and a very short description) in the comments.

From the Five Books site, Timothy Garton recommends The best books on free speech.

A great article on flies from the New York Times magazine (click on screenshot):

The new campus censors” at the Chronicle of Higher Education (you’ll need a subscription or library access). It’s about the new drive by students (and the left-wing professors who urge them on) to shout down and shut down campus speakers. It also cites a free article from FIRE (Foundation for Individual Rights in Education) that’s below.

Rejecting the heckler’s veto“. This piece at the FIRE site shows something I didn’t know: the First Amendment prohibits the “shouting down” of speakers or interruptions of their talks so that they get canceled.

I haven’t read this paper, but a reader sent me the link and it looks interesting. (I’ll read it on the plane.) It appears to be a discussion of how the modern university is being corrupted by its corporate status and the competition to sell itself to students. Richard A. Shweder, “The end of the modern academy: At the University of Chicago, for example.

Your turn.

25 Comments

  1. Mark Reaume
    Posted November 16, 2017 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    sub

    nothing specific to report but I’m slowly making my way through many of Quillette articles.

    • ericgrobler
      Posted November 16, 2017 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

      Quillette is the best site I am aware of.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted November 16, 2017 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

      Good report. The hope for all but especially women, that there might be some way to identify the sexual harasser or sexual assault predator in advance is just not there. Everyday now we will be surprised and shocked at the next report on the next guy. It is like someone found the combination to disclosure even though it was there all the time. This freedom to talk might be the only real key to a cure or at least a first strike against the predators that are all over the place.

  2. Janet
    Posted November 16, 2017 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    Another Atlantic article, How America Lost Its Mind” about the evolution of our current collective mind set. Any article that starts out with Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s declaration: “You are entitled to your own opinion,
but you are not entitled to your own facts.” is probably worth reading. This article is nearly a month old but I have copied it to my archives.

  3. Posted November 16, 2017 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    Impact of recent observation of neutron star merged (easy to digest):

    https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/two-stars-slammed-into-each-other-and-solved-half-of-astronomys-problems-what-comes-next/

    Cherry blossoms are occurring earlier in Japan (last 1200 years):

    https://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2017/04/daily-chart-4

    Nuclear and hydro beat solar and wind for decarbonization:

    http://environmentalprogress.org/big-news/2017/11/7/the-power-to-decarbonize

  4. J Cook
    Posted November 16, 2017 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    In 1949 with the “Red Scare” at full volume, The Regents of the Univ. of California decided that all faculty should sign a “Loyalty Oath”. In 1950 George R. Stewart and others of the UC faculty published “The Year of the Oath”. ” A concise and readable account of the fight for academic freedom…”. Earl Warren was then Governor and president of the Board of Regents, soon the be Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Of the U.S.
    The book seems to be available online at the California Digital Library. Amazon and others too, for the print version.

  5. Posted November 16, 2017 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    Kenan Malik is often well worth reading:

    https://kenanmalik.wordpress.com/2017/11/15/rethinking-the-challenge-of-anti-muslim-bigotry/

  6. Posted November 16, 2017 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    Several interesting evolution articles in Quanta magazine. The one I found most interesting is about the possibility of sexual selection at the gamete level.

    https://www.quantamagazine.org/choosy-eggs-may-pick-sperm-for-their-genes-defying-mendels-law-20171115/

  7. barn owl
    Posted November 16, 2017 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    An oldie but a goodie: David Foster Wallace’s Shipping Out: On the (nearly lethal) comforts of a luxury cruise.

    https://harpers.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/HarpersMagazine-1996-01-0007859.pdf

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted November 16, 2017 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

      As to DFW’s non-fiction, here’s a site with links to a great collection of his journalism and essays.

      I’m crazy about his writing.

  8. Posted November 16, 2017 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    Cool, this is a good idea!

  9. Blue
    Posted November 16, 2017 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

    Not exactly an ‘article’ yet biographically uber – interesting: the wikipedia entry on Mr Robert G Ingersoll of 2/3rds of the 1800s here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_G._Ingersoll.

    Especially encapsulating is the deal in re the man’s daddy and how it was that from the life lived by the Elder then, the Child evolved. Particularly agnostically.

    Blue

  10. Craw
    Posted November 16, 2017 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

    This one is really old. I, Pencil http://www.econlib.org/library/Essays/rdPncl1.html

    The DOJ report on the Michael Brown shooting.
    https://www.justice.gov/sites/default/files/opa/press-releases/attachments/2015/03/04/doj_report_on_shooting_of_michael_brown_1.pdf

    More than anything else this shows that you cannot rely on early reports of such events, that witnesses have agendas, that you shouldn’t jump to conclusions.

  11. Craw
    Posted November 16, 2017 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

    A remarkably simple proof of Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorems. http://www.thebigquestions.com/2011/12/15/the-big-surprise/

    The original proof, with Gödel numbering, recursive functions, etc, is brutal.

    • Posted November 17, 2017 at 11:32 am | Permalink

      There’s a decent explanation due to George Boolos that uses one syllable words only, too. I am pretty sure it is online somewhere …

  12. Posted November 16, 2017 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

    Not much to say but Nature Briefing has some pretty interesting stuff today, such as one on axolotls:

    http://links.information.nature.com/ctt?kn=24&ms=NTUzNzUyNTAS1&r=MjUzNTk4MzA1NDk2S0&b=0&j=MTI4Mjg2NzI4MgS2&mt=1&rt=0

  13. Posted November 16, 2017 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

    Oh there’s also this article on what if 6 didn’t exist:

    https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/what-would-happen-if-there-were-no-number-6/?src=obsidebar=sb_4

    • Craw
      Posted November 16, 2017 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

      We’d be unable to count Nate Silver’s blunders. Though to be fair, this is true of any integer less than a shitload.

  14. Taskin
    Posted November 17, 2017 at 12:08 am | Permalink

    Having spent a year in architecture school, I quite enjoyed reading this piece. I could never understand the distain with which any attempt to make something beautiful was met. That said, I actually do like a couple of the buildings mentioned.
    https://www.currentaffairs.org/2017/10/why-you-hate-contemporary-architecture

  15. Posted November 17, 2017 at 4:47 am | Permalink

    ‘Living Fossils’ of Earth’s Oldest Life-Forms Found in Tasmania
    https://www.livescience.com/60962-living-fossils-of-oldest-life-tasmania.html?utm_source=notification

    Kin Selection –
    Males harm females less when competing with familiar relatives
    Samuel J. Lymbery, Leigh W. Simmons
    Published 15 November 2017.DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2017.1984
    http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/284/1867/20171984

    Female mimicry by sneaker males has a transcriptomic signature in both the brain and gonad in a sex changing fish
    https://academic.oup.com/mbe/advance-article/doi/10.1093/molbev/msx293/4607869

  16. Posted November 17, 2017 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    On terrorism studies, this is a sample of sources and people who are worth following.

    Hassan Hassan is always worth following on developments in the ME. Here is his initial translation following the release of Osama bin Laden’s diary. I suspect he may make a book out of it.

    http://www.thenational.ae/opinion/comment/osama-bin-laden-s-diary-gives-rare-insight-into-the-mind-of-a-jihadist-1.674140

    For online investigation, and with a knack of being right (called Khan Sheikhoun first and demolished the Assad/Hersh/Chomsky/Postol denialist line) the multinational bellingcat website is very good:

    http://www.bellingcat.com/

    The International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence from Kings College, London, produces regular papers on that topic. By such as Charlie Winter, the expert on IS online communication, Shiraz Maher and Peter Neumann:

    icsr.info/2017/11/icsr-insight-islamic-state-losing-control-virtual-caliphate/

    Charles Lister of the Washington-based Middle East Institute produces interesting work on developments in terrorism:

    http://www.mei.edu/sites/default/files/publications/PP3_Lister_CTQaeda_0.pdf

    The International Centre for Counter-Terrorism in the Hague produces topical papers on the area. A recent one was this highly useful statistical analysis on jihadist attacks in the west.

    icct.nl/publication/fear-thy-neighbor-radicalization-and-jihadist-attacks-in-the-west/


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