Posts by Yale University Press

Of Holy Rivers and Human Rights: Protecting the Ganges by Law

Sudipta Sen— On March 20, 2017, the highest court in the state of Uttarakhanda, India declared the river Ganges (known as the Ganga in India) and its main tributary Yamuna as rights-bearing “living entities,” effectively granting them the legal status of personhood. Uttarakhanda is a northern Indian state that borders

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Thermodynamics in Our Daily Lives

R. Stephen Berry— Thermodynamics is a beautiful illustration of how needs of very practical applications can lead to very basic, general concepts and relations, very much in contrast to the view that the practical and applied facets of a science are consequences of prior basic studies.  Thermodynamics teaches us that

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The Working Class Has the New Bourgeoisie Running Scared

Christophe Guilluy— The working class, wearing yellow vests, has just won a decisive battle: it has at last managed to make itself visible.  The gilets jaunes are not a traditional social movement that pits workers against employers or left against right.  For four months now, the young people, the older

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On Easter and Resurrection

Candida Moss— At Easter, as almost everyone knows, Christians celebrate and think about the death and resurrection of Jesus. The resurrection of Jesus is a foundational moment in Christian history that is proclaimed as part of the Creed, but it is also the model for the afterlife expectations of everyone

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Life Goes On

Shing-Tung Yau— My father’s death hit me hard, throwing me into an unfamiliar state in which I felt a weird mixture of things, all unpleasant, all at the same time. A powerful sadness welled up in me from a deep place I’d never accessed before. I felt a dull ache

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On Noses

Noelle Gallagher— By the word Nose, throughout all this long chapter of noses, and in every other part of my work, where the word Nose occurs, I declare, by that word I mean a Nose, and nothing more, or less. So claims the eccentric hero of Laurence Sterne’s wildly popular

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An Ending: India’s Railway Children

Jonah Steinberg— Nobody was tending to the body, which was arrayed on the tracks in at least three recently-separated pieces, its vessels, sinews, and bones protruding, trailing everywhere. The legs were torn off—the severed femurs sticking jaggedly out—and with them, the garments, so that the victim lay naked and exposed.

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Can Human Beings Understand the Economy?

Pascal Boyer— It is in the nature of human beings that they create societies. Philosophers have known and said that much for millennia. These days, scientists can paint a detailed picture of how evolution by natural selection made us social animals, providing us with those capacities and preferences that makes

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Who Was Ben Hecht?

Adina Hoffman— Ben Hecht was “a genius,” Jean-Luc Godard declared in 1968. “He invented 80 percent of what is used in Hollywood movies today.” He “wrote stories—and he made history,” proclaimed Menachem Begin four years earlier, at Hecht’s standing room-only Manhattan funeral. When Hecht was still alive, and invariably kicking,

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Ghostcatching

Emily Coates and Sarah Demers — Physics and dance share the singular problem of our universe: time moves in one direction. Events that occur can never be repeated exactly. A detector captures the collision of two black holes as an abnormal frequency—a cosmic blip, like the notation for a billion-year-old

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