Books and literature

Had I a right, for my own benefit, to inflict this curse upon everlasting generations? I had before been moved by the sophisms of the being I had created; I had been struck senseless by his fiendish threats: but now, for the first time, the wickedness of my promise burst upon me; I shuddered to […]

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In addition to working on my term paper and PhD proposal, I am reading an interesting collection of books. I am nearly done with Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate, which has been very compelling. I am reading Srdja Popovic’s Blueprint for Revolution: How to Use Rice Pudding, Lego Men, and Other […]

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Written by Ron Diebert, the director of the Citizen Lab at U of T, Black Code: Inside the Battle for Cyberspace contains some very interesting information, of importance to anyone concerned with the future of the internet and communication. He discusses the major discoveries made by the lab, including massive criminal malware enterprises, government surveillance […]

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The first industrial revolution, centered in Flanders, happened almost entirely because of the arrival from the Arab world of a new, horizontal loom, equipped with foot pedals to lift the warps. This innovation left the weaver’s hands free to throw the shuttle back and forth, which made weaving much faster and more profitable and, above […]

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Previously, we discussed whether inequality of wealth or income is a problem in and of itself, or only insofar as it produces other undesirable consequences. Thomas Piketty’s book Capital in the Twenty-First Century has received a huge amount of attention, and focuses precisely on the question of inequality. He has some interesting things to say […]

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Given this dialogue of the deaf [between experts with opposing views about inequality], in which each camp justifies its own intellectual laziness by pointing to the laziness of the other, there is a role for research that is at least systematic and methodical if not fully scientific. Expert analysis will never put an end to […]

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One neat thing about J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings is the way in which the story is set within multiple frames. The Hobbit, for instance, is sometimes presented as the account written of his adventures by Bilbo Baggins. It is also presented as part of the Red Book of Westmarch: […]

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The trouble with obsessing over collapse, though, is that it keeps you from considering other possibilities. … The rest of this book will be devoted to another possibility – that we might choose instead to try to manage our descent. That we might aim for a relatively graceful decline. That instead of trying to fly […]

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