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The Washington Post: "Authoritarianism is surging — Can liberal democracy fight back?" by Carlos Lozada

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Writing in The Washington Post , Carlos Lozada reviews two new books on the threats to liberal democracy: Liberalism and Its Discontents by Francis Fukuyama and The Age of the Strongman by Gideon Rachma: When warring cultures and distant poles are the recurring metaphors for our politics, genteel calls for moderation may seem quaint. When authoritarian impulses are ascendant, wishing for self-restraint can feel foolish, a denial of reality and an abdication of responsibility. But what if moderation and restraint — the acceptance of limits in political life — are not just the right thing, but really all that is left to try? Full review here.  

National Science Foundation: Changes In Doctorates Awarded From 1990 to 2020

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Here's an analysis of the fields of study of all the earned doctorates awarded by U.S. colleges and universities from 1990 to 2020. Doctoral study increases The three fields of study with the greatest increase in doctorates were: * Biological and biomedical sciences * Heatlh sciences * Computer and information sciences The growth in these majors is remarkable. The number of doctorates in biological and biomedical sciences rose from 4,328 in 1990 to 8,418 in 2020. (This includes topics such as anatomy, bacteriology, botany, endocrinology, genetics, genomics, neuroscience, and pharmacology often studied by professors of biology and academic and industrial research scientists.) D octoral study decreases The three fields of study with the greatest decrease in doctorates were: * Education administration * Teacher education * Education research The decline in these majors is striking. The number of doctorates in education administration fell from 1,664 in 1990 to 927 in 2020. (This inclu

The New York Review Of Books: "Under Their Skin" by Laura Miller

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Writing in The New York Review Of Books , Laura Miller goes deep into Olga Ravn’s The Employees: A Workplace Novel Of The 22nd Century. The premise is unsettling, as is the title: It is the first book by the Danish poet, novelist, and literary critic to be translated into English and was shortlisted for the International Booker Prize in 2021. Presented as a collection of records, primarily the transcripts of statements made by the crew of the Six Thousand Ship to a committee of unspecified composition, it documents the breakdown of the ship’s mission after the vessel arrives at a planet called New Discovery and the crew brings aboard a selection of objects found there. But the objects—which are referred to only as “the objects,” the most reductive and nondescriptive term for pretty much anything—aren’t monsters and don’t chase the crew members around. None of the speakers offer a full description of these things (or creatures?), but Ravn has said they were inspired by the sc

The Fence: All Possible Plots By Major Authors

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The Fence itemizes all possible plots by major authors, such as: Anthony Trollope : Your happiness is put on hold when it transpires your fiancé failed to correctly cash a cheque. This lasts for 130 chapters. Everyone else is ordained. More possible plots by major authors here.

Drinking Harrods Coffee From the 1930s with James Hoffman

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English barista James Hoffman was presented with an old bag of coffee beans apparently from Harrods. In this video, he explains how he determined it was probably sold in Argentina in the 1930s. He then roasted the beans, ground them, and brewed himself a cup.

Washington Post: "In These Disappointing Essays, David Mamet Can’t Close The Deal" by David Oppenheimer

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David Mamet is inarguably one of our greatest living playwrights, and no small talent as a director. His boldness, his wit, his hard-nosed ability to show us our own demons and our own follies would suggest that anything at all he care to write would be worth reading. Writing in The Washington Post , however, Daniel Oppenheimer finds Mamet's new e-book ( Recessional: The Death of Free Speech and the Cost of a Free Lunch ) to be a disappointment: Telling an author what he should have written is one of the cardinal sins of book criticism. In the case of Recessional , though, it seems like the only critically generous thing to do. Because the alternative is to dwell on the book as it is, which is a pale facsimile of my hypothetical. “Recessional” isn’t really a book at all but a McBook. It’s a collection of disparate pieces, written mostly as columns for National Review, that are given back to us in book form only because the author has a big name and there’s some money to be m

Quanta Magazine: "Why ‘De-Extinction’ Is Impossible (But Could Work Anyway)" by Yasemin Saplakoglu

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Writing in Quanta Magazine , Yasemin Saplakoglu explains some approaches to the idea of resurrecting extinct species such as the mammoth or the dodo. She finds that for many researchers, it doesn't matter so much whether it is technically possible or not: Most de-extinction researchers aren’t looking to resurrect a charismatic ancient beast just for the sake of putting it into the nearest zoo for viewer pleasure. Rather, they are aiming to create proxies for educational or conservation purposes, such as to fill the void left by their extinct counterparts in ecosystems or to boost the numbers of modern-day endangered species. Full article here.