All entries by this author

The Fahrenheit 9/11 Files

Jul 6th, 2004 2:30 am | By

And now to be serious again. Or maybe not so much serious as slightly less egomaniacal. The discussion of Michael Moore’s new movie rages on. Or not really rages, perhaps, but several people are talking about it. Todd Gitlin, for example, who has some reservations –

But now a pause for a moment of conscience. Let intellect have its due. Moore cuts plenty of corners, so how good can that be? Compelling? Useful? Moore specializes in hodgepodge. He jokes his way past the rough edges. He’s neither journalist nor documentarian, for he doesn’t set out to discover what he doesn’t already know. To patronize Michael Moore by calling him useful is to give him a pass for shoddy work, sloppy

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Moore Could be Better and Still Be Moore *

Jul 5th, 2004 | Filed by

‘He could show us that war kills and Bush is appalling, and yet be more scrupulous.’… Read the rest

Arab News Media and the ‘Blood of Martyrs’ *

Jul 5th, 2004 | Filed by

‘al Qaeda has become mainstream and being part of the movement is “cool” in the eyes of young people.’… Read the rest

The ‘No Ectoplasm Clause’ *

Jul 5th, 2004 | Filed by

Massimo Pigliucci on the neurobiology of regret.… Read the rest

Tupac Shakur not Some Sort of Byron *

Jul 5th, 2004 | Filed by

John McWhorter says rap teaches ‘recreational outrage.’… Read the rest

High Art v Low is a False Dichotomy *

Jul 5th, 2004 | Filed by

‘In America, even the intellectuals are anti-intellectual.’… Read the rest

The Hubble’s Last Years? *

Jul 5th, 2004 | Filed by

NASA has canceled missions to service telescope.… Read the rest

Machiavellian Monkeys

Jul 5th, 2004 | By Carl Zimmer

Our brains are huge, particularly if you take into consideration the relative size of our bodies. Generally, the proportion of brain to body is pretty tight among mammals. But the human brain is seven times bigger than what you’d predict from the size of our body. Six million years ago, hominid brains were about a third the size they are today, comparable to a chimp’s. So what accounts for the big boom? It would be flattering ourselves to say that the cause was something we are proud of–our ability to talk, or our gifts with tools. Certainly, our brains show signs of being adapted for these sorts of things (consider the language gene FOXP2). But those adaptations probably were … Read the rest

John Sutherland Deplores Soggy Platitudes *

Jul 4th, 2004 | Filed by

No one reading this blah-ridden document would guess how serious the crisis in arts funding is.… Read the rest

Louis Menand is a Tosser, Publisher Says *

Jul 4th, 2004 | Filed by

Helps to have a sense of humour, to get point of Eats, Shoots & Leaves.… Read the rest

Sudden Doubling of Known Planet Population *

Jul 3rd, 2004 | Filed by

Hubble telescope has found nearly 100 new planets.… Read the rest

Skull Fuels Homo erectus Debate *

Jul 3rd, 2004 | Filed by

Small skull could show diversity within species, or different species.… Read the rest

Carl Zimmer on a New Hominid Find *

Jul 3rd, 2004 | Filed by

Is human development straight or branching? How important were long legs and big brains?… Read the rest

Big Al

Jul 3rd, 2004 1:07 am | By

That article of Steven Waldman’s has sent me to dear old Alexis de Tocqueville, the darling percipient frog that he is. Because Waldman’s whole schtick in that article is just exactly the kind of thing Tocqueville, and, inspired by him, John Stuart Mill, had in mind. The old majority opinion trick – the old ‘We all think this so you’d better think it too or else, and never mind whether it’s true or not just shut up and think what you’re told.’ I actually don’t think Waldman is really talking about Kerry there, I think that’s just a pretext – a disguise, a mask, a beard for what he really wants to say, which is that Most Americans believe in … Read the rest

Tony Judt on Edward Said *

Jul 2nd, 2004 | Filed by

Frowned on overfamiliarity with “theory” at the expense of close textual reading.… Read the rest

Guardian List of 101 Women ‘Intellectuals’ *

Jul 2nd, 2004 | Filed by

Desperate list includes singers, actors, novelists, fashion designers.… Read the rest

Proud to be Abnormal

Jul 1st, 2004 9:10 pm | By

We’ve seen some stupid stuff in the You-Have-to-Believe-in-God department, but this pile of steaming nonsense in Slate is really – well, hard to believe. Get this part, for example:

But in general, most Republicans and most Democrats are pretty religious. The stark differences are at the extremes of each party, and, as so often is the case, the big question is whether the extremes will define the party as a whole. Most Republicans aren’t conservative fundamentalists, although it sometimes seems that way given the proclivities of the leadership. And the Democrats have their own version of that same dilemma, and it’s affecting the most important arena there is-this year’s presidential race: Will Kerry’s Democrats act like the Party of Secularists

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Polio Vaccinations can Resume in Nigeria *

Jul 1st, 2004 | Filed by

Confirmation that Kano will start vaccinating again is huge relief to WHO.… Read the rest

Orders to Get Religion Get Blunter Every Day *

Jul 1st, 2004 | Filed by

‘If Kerry’s really secular, he’s abnormal.’… Read the rest

EU Commissioner Nails Vatican ‘Bigotry’ *

Jul 1st, 2004 | Filed by

Opposition to condoms ‘hurting and bringing into great danger the lives of millions out there.’… Read the rest