Recently perused articles

  • In light of the new NSA surveillance programs being unveiled (though not at all a surprise), The Atlantic has an analysis of threats to America’s livelihood — such as health issues and car accidents — which (also) not surprisingly pale in comparison to deaths from terrorism, which in no way has limited the post-9/11 culture of fear. Wouldn’t it make more sense to give up liberties to save the most lives possible, if we’re to give up liberties? Like, say, imposing taxes on sugary drinks that we’ll all have to shoulder the collective economic burden for once obesity and diabetes develops in those who chose to partake in unhealthy treats? No, that’d be too fascist and draconian. Better to just wiretap the entire fucking country.
  • Here’s an article from The Nation on Nietzsche’s apparent “children,” conservatives like Friedrich Hayek whose Austrian school of economics ideals shape the predominant  capitalist ideal today. Oh and here’s a dissent in Dissent that’s critical of the link between Nietzsche and neoliberal economics.
  • The New Yorker commemorates the 200th birthday of few people’s favorite (proto-)existentialist philosopher, Soren Kierkegaard:

Kierkegaard, the great Danish philosopher of subjectivity, would have been two hundred years old on May 5th, and, looking back, we can see that ironic, angst-ridden modern literature begins with him. Strindberg, Ibsen, Nietzsche, Kafka, Borges, Camus, Sartre, and Wittgenstein are among his heirs—and without him, where would Woody Allen be?

  • Apparently, neuroscientists led by Henry Markram are trying to build an exact replica of the human brain. The EU is betting $1.3 billion that he can. Here’s a chart from Wired on the computational power that’ll be required to do so:

    Source: Wired Magazine

  • Rounding up the bunch, another Atlantic piece on China’s economic growth. Is it sustainable? Do we even have to ask this question? When it it we ended the debate on whether “development” (in the building dams, buying cars, getting a new phone every 6 months way) is a good thing? Was there ever a debate? Who’s to say? (No; maybe; too early; not really; whomever).