Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Wednesday Links

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* Tomorrow’s crimes today: man arrested for attempting to steal five tons of glacial ice in Chile.

* Parlor game of the day: French Toast. Via Alex, via MetaFilter.

* Major birth control pill recall. Bring on the lawsuits! Wow.

* Worst idea in comics history confirmed.

* Cary Nelson on fighting for the humanities.

We take it for granted that scientific knowledge must advance, that there is much we do not know and much that we will live out our lives without knowing. Knowledge of the physical universe beyond the solar system and the galaxy remains so limited that it is hard even to calculate its partiality. The nature of life elsewhere in the universe remains beyond our grasp, as does knowledge of the human body that would enable us to control diseases like cancer.

And yet we often—unreflectively, uncritically, and in a learned form of self-deception—assume that we largely know ourselves and our history. Through its institutions and the norms of social life, human culture immerses us in collective understanding that is often deceptive or false.

The task of the humanities is not only to show us the ways that artists and others have penetrated our illusions by creative acts both modest and grand but also to try to discover when human cultures as a whole have seen through a glass darkly.

* Somebody in Stockholm finally noticed that the commander-in-chief of the biggest military on the planet is an odd choice for a peace prize.

* A Kinseyan gaffe is when a politician accidentally tells the truth.

* Abolish the dollar bill! For freedom!

* The headline reads, “India Factory Workers Revolt, Kill Company President.”

* Science uncovers the high cost of bad handwriting.

* Freddie deBoer on divorce rate hokum.

* And why do you have two nostrils instead of one giant hole in the middle of your face? io9 reports.

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