Social Science

The History of the Nerd

Joe Moran— Unlike Scandinavians or Southeast Asians, Americans have no carefully calibrated language for describing different kinds of embarrassment. They have a reputation for seeing shyness as unAmerican. Their cultural heroes are seemingly self-sufficient, outdoorsy types: pioneers, backwoodsmen, cowboys, baseball players—men living what Theodore Roosevelt called “the strenuous life.” But

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(Self-)Righteous Anger

Judson Brewer— In 2010, I went on a monthlong silent retreat with the aim of working on and possibly stabilizing a special c concentration type of meditation practice (jhana) that can be held for hours if practiced correctly. I had been reading about and trying to develop this practice for

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Workers of the World

Niall Kishtainy—  A spectre is haunting Europe – the spectre of communism.’ This is the first line of The Communist Manifesto, which was written in the middle of the nineteenth century and is perhaps the most famous political pamphlet ever. The spectre – something scary and menacing – was the threat to

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The Other Middle East

Franck Salameh— Middle East specialists of a hundred years ago have traditionally been philologists trained in a dozen or more Middle Eastern languages, including Latin and Greek, but also the obligatory Hebrew, Aramaic, Arabic, Turkish, and Persian among others. Today, many of the luminaries of this venerable area of inquiry

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YouTube = MeTube

Judson Brewer—  “Status Update,” an episode of the podcast This American Life, featured three ninth graders talking about their use of Instagram. Instagram is a simple program that lets people post, comment on, and share pictures. Simple but valuable: in 2012, Instagram was bought by Facebook for one billion dollars. The podcast episode began

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Hunting Mobile Shoppers

Joseph Turow— “Bricks and mortar is dead; long live bricks and mortar!” This was the surprising theme that emerged from the sprawling 2014 Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition, reported Laura Heller, editor in chief of the online trade magazine FierceRetail. Everybody in retail had previously been emphasizing only the tremendous advantage that

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The Four Horsemen of Capitalist Decline

Fredrik Erixon and Björn Weigel— Now, however, capitalism seems to have lost its founding spirit of enterprise. Four forces that guided the economy from the 1970s assisted in reducing the scope for experimentation and innovation. They are not the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, nor were they all undesirable, but

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The future of Islamism

Tarek Osman— Arab Islamism has always tried to design the future in the image of the past. The Islamists have repeatedly tried to impose their own interpretations of certain episodes in Islamic history upon how their societies should live in the present. The approach might have had some merit when

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Sense of righteousness

Robert A. Burt— The judicial task is not mechanistic but properly and necessarily involves judgment. In particular, judges must understand themselves as ultimately promoting equal deliberation among conflicting parties rather than imposing their own calculus of equality on the parties. This understanding is not alien to the judicial function; it

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Has ISIS Won the Digital War?

Philippe Joseph-Salazar— First, let us remember that terrifying images of throat-slitting are not new. The atrocity of which our discourse community is (not) aware is more than a decade old: It did not begin with the execution of the American journalist James Foley, beheaded on prime time in August 2014.

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