May 1, 2014 / From the Editor, Uncategorized
Each Friday we compile a list of interesting links and articles our editors find from …
December 12, 2014
Each Friday we compile a list of interesting links and articles our editors find from across the web. Here’s what’s catching our eye this week.
A newly discovered C.S. Lewis letter reveals his definition of “joy”:
A letter from CS Lewis which was discovered inside a secondhand book sees the author writing of how “real joy … jumps under ones ribs and tickles down one’s back and makes one forget meals and keeps one (delightedly) sleepless o’ nights”. Believed to be previously unpublished, the letter to a “Mrs Ellis” was written by Lewis on 19 August 1945, and sees the author unpicking the concept of joy. Three years later, Lewis would expand on the subject in his memoir Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life, the account of his conversion to Christianity. “In the Trinity Term of 1929 I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England,” he would write, taking the book’s title from the eponymous Wordsworth poem.
Somewhere along the evolutionary road, our ability to consume alcohol may have saved the human race:
As we’re sipping away on a glass of stout or Merlot, we probably take for granted our ability to digest the alcohol in the drink. Alcohol, or dietary ethanol (as scientists like to call it), is technically a toxin — imbibing too much can lead to a hangover and even poisoning, of course. But thanks to enzymes in our gut, and particularly one called ADH4, we can make use of the calories in alcohol. And, according to a new scientific paper, we gained that ability a very long time ago, at a critical moment in our evolution.
Almost 13 years after the CIA established secret prisons to hold and interrogate detainees, the Senate Intelligence Committee released a report on the CIA’s programs listing 20 key findings. Click a statement below for a summary of the findings.
Ross Douthat of the New York Times reasons why we tortured and why we shouldn’t:
Six years ago, when an earlier set of revelations about our interrogation procedures in the years immediately following 9/11 were in the news, I wrote a rambling piece for The Atlantic on torture, in which I tried to work through how my own mind had changed on the issue, to contextualize the torture debate in America’s long history of dubiously-moral wartime measures, and to think through how we should pass judgment on our leaders and their choices in this case.
The Verge argues that Rolling Stone “flunks Reporting 101 and rape victims are going to have a worse time because of it”:
2014 was an incredible year for discussions about consent and rape. Street harassment, sexism, and rape on campus came to the forefront of our shared conversation through social media, protests, and all forms of journalism. And it worked. People who otherwise would never have talked about rape culture engaged in the conversation. I’ve never heard so many men use the word “consent.” It doesn’t matter that the discussions were polarizing, or that many continue to debate rape culture’s existence. The discussion happened, and it’s largely because women used the power of the internet to make it so.
The inventor of the first home video game system died this week:
Ralph H. Baer, who turned television sets into electronic fantasy lands by inventing and patenting the first home video game system, died on Saturday at his home in Manchester, N.H. He was 92. His death was confirmed by his family. Video games have become more than just a ubiquitous pastime and a gigantic market (by some estimates, total worldwide sales of console hardware and software and online, mobile and computer games exceeded $90 billion in 2013). They are also an engine that has driven scientists and engineers to multiply computer speed, memory and visualization to today’s staggering capabilities.
“Lumbersexuality and Its Discontents,” a look into how the lumberjack aesthetic played a part in an urban masculinity crisis and how it’s coming back into style:
The first one I met was at an inauguration party in 2009. I was in a cocktail dress. He was in jeans, work boots, and a flannel shirt. He had John Henry tattooed on his bicep. He was white. Somehow, at a fairly elegant affair, he had found a can of PBR. Since then they’ve multiplied. You can see them in coffee shops and bars and artisanal butchers. They don’t exactly cut down trees, but they might try their hand at agriculture and woodworking, even if only in the form of window-box herb gardens.
I called two men in their 90s Thursday. Both had urgent concerns to discuss. Geno Morosi, 94, is troubled by the Tigers’ shortage of proven outfielders and wonders if Jose Iglesias will hold up over a full season at shortstop. “The Tigers aren’t even going to come CLOSE to winning their division!” he declared. Albert Morosi, 92, is asking if his Angels are going to do anything this offseason and believes they should start by trading a certain high-priced outfielder. “They’ve got to get rid of (Josh) Hamilton,” he said. At last, sources have confirmed it: Baseball keeps us young, even in spite of — or maybe because of — the fan angst.
Laws may be the root of the police brutality problem:
Protests for police reform are sweeping the United States following the deaths of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, and an untold number of other unarmed or innocent people of color. Amid the anger and sadness, one thing is clear: policing in America is a huge and complex problem. It’s also a historical problem. As Ta-Nehisi Coates observed in The Atlantic, the insane incarceration rate of blacks in this country is part of a long tradition; “America’s entire history is marked by the state imposing unfreedom on a large swath of the African American population.”
Would we still define God as three persons, according to our definition of “persons” today?
The “personalist” understanding of the Trinity, articulated most influentially in the work of John Zizioulas, has fallen on hard times. Recent scholars have attacked Zizioulas’s idea that Cappadocian Trinitarianism represented an ontological revolution, hammering again and again the distinction between divine and human personhood. Michel Barnes’s conclusion is the most drastic of the lot: “If the word [person] disappeared entirely from English and other modern languages our reading of patristic trinitarian writings would be greatly improved.”
David A. Garner