Donald Trump Will Not Go Gently

by Charles J. Reid, Jr. Added 21.05.2017
  As Donald Trump traverses the Middle East and Europe on his first international trip, there is considerable discussion domestically concerning the possibility that he might be removed from office, either involuntarily through impeachment, or through voluntary resignation.  I am not, however, convinced that he will soon depart office.  I hold to the view, rather, that when he returns from his overseas travels he will embark on a vigorous...

Karel Appel in Context

by David Galenson Added 21.05.2017
Karel Appel was born in Amsterdam in 1921, the son of a barber in a poor neighborhood. As a child, he painted with his uncle, an amateur artist. In 1942, he entered Amsterdam’s Royal Academy of Visual Art. In 1947, he and a classmate, the painter Corneille, traveled together to Paris, where they discovered modern art. In 1948, Appel and Corneille were among the founders of CoBrA. In 1949, Appel was commissioned to paint a mural for...

Edward Hopper: the artist who evoked urban loneliness and disappointment with beautiful clarity

by James Peacock Added 21.05.2017
Automat (1927). Irina/Flickr When Edward Hopper’s retrospective at Tate Modern in London closed in September 2004, more than 420,000 tickets had been sold. Up to that point, only the acclaimed duo of Matisse and Picasso had beat this record. It is now 50 years since Hopper died and his popularity hasn’t waned. What is it about Hopper’s brand of melancholy that has struck a chord with so many? Walking through the rooms of the exhibition was...

Why the million-dollar view is bad for our body and our soul

by Xing Ruan Added 20.05.2017
Sydneysiders desire to have a house with a harbour or ocean view. Elsewhere a distant mountain view will do. But a view from the house to the vast space is bad for us – the allure of the capacious world out there can only make our body, and our mind, relentlessly unsettled. The French proverb la forteresse assiégée – fortress besieged – is often used to describe the dilemma of being strangled inside while the freedom of space outside is...

What science tells us about successful ageing

by Bradley Elliott Added 12.05.2017
There have been some noteworthy examples of successful human ageing in the press recently. It was announced that Prince Phillip will be retiring from royal duties in the autumn, at the age of 96. A couple of days later we heard the sad news that 85-year-old Min Bahadur Sharchan died in an attempt to summit Everest (having successfully climbed the mountain at 76 years of age). Last week, we were also told about Bill Frankland, who, at 105...

The South Korean Election:  What Happens Next?

by Robert J. Delahunty and Charles J. Reid, Jr. Added 10.05.2017
  The sweeping victory of Emmanuel Macron in the recent French presidential election should not eclipse the result of the South Korean presidential race, in which the human rights lawyer Moon Jae-in won a decisive victory.  Indeed the South Korean outcome may well prove to be far more important, since it might fundamentally alter the US strategic position in the Pacific. Moon comes to power in the wake of the impeachment of former President...

Message Discipline — Health Care Is a Right

by Charles J. Reid, Jr. Added 06.05.2017
".......there are even religious reasons to support the claim that healthcare is a right. Archbishop Ivan Jurkovic, the Vatican’s head of delegation at the United Nations, declared in March that “health care is a fundamental right ‘essential for the existence of many other rights’ and ‘necessary for living a life in dignity.’” (Catholic News Agency, March 16, 2017). Pope Francis, furthermore, has declared many times, in many venues, that...

Democratizing Artificial Intelligence

by Maciej Kuziemski Added 02.05.2017
OXFORD – Artificial Intelligence is the next technological frontier, and it has the potential to make or break the world order. The AI revolution could pull the “bottom billion” out of poverty and transform dysfunctional institutions, or it could entrench injustice and increase inequality. The outcome will depend on how we manage the coming changes. Unfortunately, when it comes to managing technological revolutions, humanity has a rather...

A Recovery Plan For the Catholic Church

by Charles J. Reid, Jr. Added 29.04.2017
Gabriel Moran has spent a lifetime laboring on Catholic themes. He was a member of the Christian Brothers until the age of fifty, when he left that religious order to marry. Even after this shift in vocations, Moran remained committed to Catholic concerns in his position as a professor of education at New York University. He has thus brought a wealth of experience and learning to his most recent book, “Missed Opportunities: Rethinking the...

Self-driving cars should leave us all unsettled. Here’s why.

by Vivek Wadhwa Added 29.04.2017
It is a warm autumn morning, and I am walking through downtown Mountain View, Calif., when I see it. A small vehicle that looks like a cross between a golf cart and a Jetson-esque, bubble-topped spaceship glides to a stop at an intersection. Someone is sitting in the passenger seat, but no one seems to be sitting in the driver seat. How odd, I think. And then I realize I am looking at a Google car. The technology giant is headquartered in...

Do you really choose what you eat – or do your gut microbes decide for you?

by Tim Spector Added 29.04.2017
Illustration by Gil Costa, with elements from Servier Medical Art Most of us believe in free will, particularly when it comes to our eating habits. That’s why most people don’t regard obesity as a disease but rather a moral weakness or lack of willpower. But the free will argument has been taking a bit of a beating lately. For example, we showed in studies using twins and others using families that the reason some people are overweight and...

Five ways the meat on your plate is killing the planet

by Francis Vergunst and Julian Savulescu Added 27.04.2017
When we hear about the horrors of industrial livestock farming – the pollution, the waste, the miserable lives of billions of animals – it is hard not to feel a twinge of guilt and conclude that we should eat less meat. Yet most of us probably won’t. Instead, we will mumble something about meat being tasty, that “everyone” eats it, and that we only buy “grass fed” beef. Over the next year, more than 50 billion land animals will be raised and...

Who Owns History?

by Lawrence Weschler Added 24.04.2017
Left: Henry Taylor, “The Times Thay Aint a Changing Fast Enough!” (2016); Right: Dana Schutz, “Open Casket” (2017); courtesy of the Whitney Museum NEW YORK – Take a look at the two paintings above. Both draw on iconic photographic images from the ugly and fraught history of race relations in the United States, and both are among the most discussed works featured at the current Whitney Biennial at New York City’s Whitney Museum of American...

Six articles to make you optimistic about the planet’s future this Earth Day

by Sarah Bassett Added 22.04.2017
April 22 is Earth Day, one of the world’s largest environmental movements against climate change. It’s a time when people around the world come together to defend the environment against the impact of humans. With a climate change-denying Trump administration in the White House and fear-inducing predictions of what our world might look like a few degrees warmer, it’s understandable that many people have lost hope about the future of our...

Old Masters in London

by David Galenson Added 19.04.2017
London’s National Gallery has created six new exhibition rooms on its ground floor, and has filled them with paintings by Dutch and Flemish masters. After spending a few hours immersed in such quintessentially Dutch works as Meindert Hobbema’s 1689 landscape of the tree-lined entry to Middelharnis and Jan van der Heyden’s meticulous 1660 view of Amsterdam’s Westerkerk, I was a bit surprised to walk out of the Gallery and find myself in...

Creativity: Revolutions and Evolutions

by David Galenson Added 18.04.2017
One reason why creativity is often falsely assumed to be restricted to conceptual innovation, and experimental innovation is overlooked, is that there is frequently a great difference in how conspicuously the two types of innovation arrive. Conceptual innovations often appear dramatically and suddenly, whereas experimental innovations typically arrive gradually and almost imperceptibly. Conceptual innovations are often formulated and...

This Easter, an ancient branch of Christianity faces a threat to its very existence

by Mariz Tadros Added 14.04.2017
In the run-up to Easter, it is customary for Egypt’s Coptic Christians to go to church every evening. Churches are packed with worshippers – as they were on Palm Sunday, April 9, 2017, when a suicide bomber blew himself up at the altar in a Coptic church in Tanta, about 90 miles north of Cairo, killing 29 people and injuring 71 – some of them gravely. Three hours later, another suicide bomber tried to enter St Mark’s Church in Alexandria,...

What Google and Facebook must do about one of their biggest problems

by Vivek Wadhwa Added 14.04.2017
Google could lose as much as $750 million because of a boycott by advertisers, according to Nomura Research. Companies are protesting against the placement of their ads next to extremist and hateful content. An even worse offender is Facebook, which had enabled the propagation of fake news that may have influenced the outcome of the U.S. elections. The two companies have reaped massive profits from the spread of misinformation; yet they have...

China: Inside the world's largest higher education boom

by Katherine Stapleton Added 12.04.2017
A record-breaking 8m students will graduate from Chinese universities in 2017. This figure is nearly ten times higher than it was in 1997 and is more than double the number of students who will graduate this year in the US. Just two decades ago, higher education in China was a rare privilege enjoyed by a small, urban elite. But everything changed in 1999, when the government launched a program to massively expand university attendance. In...

The many reasons why less is more for the people choosing modest lives

by Teresa Belton Added 07.04.2017
The idea of a life lived modestly is gaining traction. Ten years ago, Samantha Weinberg, a mother of two young children, spent a year not shopping. Her aim was to reduce her environmental impact. The next year, Mark Boyle, founder of the online Freeconomy community, embarked on a life without money in order to sever his connection with it. Since then, others have joined this “Not Spending” movement. Going against social norms, pledging to...
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