Ray Bradbury, The Art of Fiction No. 203



Does science fiction satisfy something that mainstream writing does not?


Yes, it does, because the mainstream hasn’t been paying attention to all the changes in our culture during the last fifty years. The major ideas of our time—developments in medicine, the importance of space exploration to advance our species—have been neglected. The critics are generally wrong, or they’re fifteen, twenty years late. It’s a great shame. They miss out on a lot. Why the fiction of ideas should be so neglected is beyond me. I can’t explain it, except in terms of intellectual snobbery.

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The Paris Review — Sam Weller

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The Canadian Psychologist Beating American Pundits at Their Own Game


The rise of Jordan Peterson.

If you’re struggling to understand what the appeal of a once-obscure psychologist from rural Alberta is, and why his legions of young, mostly male acolytes gobble up his every word, you’re not alone. Gallons of digitalink have been spilled attempting to parse the subject, with voices like David Brooks breathlessly declaring ours the “Jordan Peterson moment.” For all the perplexity surrounding his rise, however, there’s a simple explanation for his popularity. Peterson’s writing and lectures, on the surface level, are full of not-too-tough love and legitimately useful life advice; “Stand up straight with your shoulders back” and “Pet a cat when you encounter one on the street” are the titles of two chapters in 12 Rules for Life, top-line exhortations he uses to explain his views on dignity and the importance of life’s small pleasures.

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How Stephen Hawking Reclaimed His Voice—and Helped Others Do the Same


His success serves as a powerful example of how people and machines can work symbiotically to unleash human potential. We can empower people across the entire range of abilities to express their creativity and engage in intellectual pursuits. While humans have always used tools and technologies to enhance their abilities, new developments in areas like artificial intelligence, machine learning, and human-machine symbiosis can advance this goal far more effectively, more efficiently, and faster. This increases accessibility to people across the ability spectrum and geographical boundaries.

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What Silicon Valley Can Learn from the Theranos Fraud Case


The flip side of the startup story. Sometimes things go very wrong.

As for Holmes’s future, Angel said, “she is very tainted, so no public company would really want to have her on board.” At the same time, he described her as “very intelligent, very talented and a great salesperson, [who] will land on her feet eventually.” Guay agreed. “Any kind of public role where a company would put her forward as a spokesperson or as a person of importance — that’s going to be a non-starter, at least for a while.”

Guay wondered how things may have come to such a pass at Theranos. “In many fraud circumstances, they sometimes start with small lies, and then those small lies have to be backed up with bigger and bigger lies,” he said. “[It is about] understanding how that all evolved here — whether this was something that [Holmes] felt she had to do or wanted early on, and then she dug herself a hole that she couldn’t get out of. It’s hard to know exactly how that evolved.”

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Under the Hollywood Gaslight


Rose McGowan.

McGowan can’t be separated from the reality of an activism hierarchy, which privileges certain women over others. “If you’re someone like Meryl Streep or Oprah Winfrey or someone like that, you are in a really good place to speak out,” says Zeisler. McGowan, whose relevance was waning as far back as ten years ago, is not. Add to that her anarchistic approach to the #MeToo movement as a whole— attacking not only abusers but celebrity activists like Alyssa Milano and Streep who don’t fit her narrative—and she becomes a precarious voice. After McGowan called out Time’s Up activists for not supporting her memoir or her TV series, Amanda Hess wrote in The New York Times, “in Hollywood, where product and cause are inextricable, it makes a kind of sense.”

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Soraya Roberts — Hazlitt

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Stephen Hawking’s advice for a fulfilling career


“Work gives you meaning and purpose, and life is empty without it.”

Last month, the American Psychological Association published an article that synthesised findings on this topic that stretch back as far as 1993. Research from Harvard professor Teresa Amabile found that “no matter the size of a goal – whether curing cancer or helping a colleague – having a sense of meaning and feeling a sense of progress can contribute to happiness in the workplace.”

But finding work with purpose can be hard for many.

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Bryan Lufkin — BBC

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Why Amartya Sen remains the century’s great critic of capitalism


Every major work on material inequality in the 21st century owes a debt to Sen. But his own writings treat material inequality as though the moral frameworks and social relationships that mediate economic exchanges matter. Famine is the nadir of material deprivation. But it seldom occurs – Sen argues – for lack of food. To understand why a people goes hungry, look not for catastrophic crop failure; look rather for malfunctions of the moral economy that moderates competing demands upon a scarce commodity. Material inequality of the most egregious kind is the problem here. But piecemeal modifications to the machinery of production and distribution will not solve it. The relationships between different members of the economy must be put right. Only then will there be enough to go around.

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Tim Rogan — Aeon

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