excerpts

Jenny Diski: On Babyface

Jenny Diski— The great advantage over real live creatures that my Three Bears had in common with Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse, aside from not needing to be fed or produce droppings, was neoteny. Mickey and my ursine family looked only glancingly like a mouse or brown bears, and much more like babies.

Continue reading…

The Federalist Papers: On Impeachment

Sanford Levinson— Federalist 65: The Senate’s Confirmation and Impeachment Powers One of the most important distinction between the Senate and House, with regard to their constitutionally granted powers, concerns the former’s unique role in confirming presidential appointments. It is utterly irrelevant, as a formal matter, what the House thinks about

Continue reading…

Sorkin on the Racing Line

Clive James— Both The Sopranos and Band of Brothers were HBO cable productions, and their collective impact might tend to persuade us that network television was left nowhere. But it’s a law of the arts that a stylistic innovation gets instantly everywhere, like heat or cold; and in fact, even while HBO

Continue reading…

Gore Vidal: Some After Words

On July 31, 2012, Gore Vidal died at his home in in the Hollywood Hills section of Los Angeles, where he had moved in 2003, the same year that Yale University Press published his acute observations on our founding fathers in the acclaimed Inventing a Nation: Washington, Adams, Jefferson. In The

Continue reading…

Before and After Apollo

Bernd Brunner— History often rewards great breakthroughs but ignores the preparatory steps that made those achievements possible. The Apollo program, for instance, has been documented in great detail and still receives ample attention, but what of the extraordinary labors that led to that summit? How was flight to the moon

Continue reading…

“What Wine Goes with Cap’n Crunch?”

Ian Tattersall and Rob DeSalle— Asking, with the comedian George Carlin, “What wine goes with Cap’n Crunch?” might not actually be as trivial as it sounds. In fact, many people spend a lot of time worrying about which foods go best with which wines. This concern is not frivolous: the

Continue reading…

Why Are We Still Reading Jane Austen (But Not Mary Brunton)?

H. J. Jackson— Up to 1860, the career paths of Jane Austen and Mary Brunton were strikingly similar. If Brunton had an advantage in the reviews and reference books, Austen—who after all produced more novels—gradually took the lead in numbers of editions and reprints. Almost exact contemporaries, they both started

Continue reading…

Net Neutrality and The Internet of Things

Philip N. Howard— The internet of things will help bring structure to global politics, but we must work for a structure we want. This is a challenging project, but if we don’t take it on our political lives will become fully structured by algorithms we don’t understand, data flows we

Continue reading…

Jupiter, Ho!

Jon Willis— Galileo entered Jupiter orbit on December 8, 1989, just one day after the drama and revelations of the descent probe. Although Galileo was a Jupiter orbiter, the proximity of Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto offered the opportunity for multiple flybys of the Galilean satellites. During its eight-year mission to Jupiter, Galileo completed thirty-five

Continue reading…

“It’s the Climate, Stupid.”

Geoffrey Parker— Once upon a time, climate change was a hot topic. In 1979 the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the United Nations Environment Programme, the National Science Foundation, the Ford Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation paid for 250 historians, geographers, archaeologists and climatologists from thirty countries to share their expertise

Continue reading…

  • 1 2