Monthly Archives: July 2010

Massimo Pigliucci on how to tell science from bunk

July 7, 2010
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Massimo Pigliucci on how to tell science from bunk

The New York Society for Ethical Culture has posted an interesting video on Youtube of Massimo Pigliucci, author of Nonsense on Stilts: How to Tell Science from Bunk, speaking on the topic of his book. In his presentation Pigliucci discusses how to differentiate between science and pseudoscience, some of the culprits in the dissemination of pseudoscience in society, and the sometimes dire consequences when such ideas gain traction. Check it out below. . . .

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As temps rise in NY, remember the great Chicago heat wave

July 6, 2010
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As temps rise in NY, remember the great Chicago heat wave

As the temperature tops 100 degrees on the east coast many, especially in major urban centers, are bracing for the consequences. As history has shown, these consequences can include power failures, hospitalizations, and even deaths. Case in point: Chicago, 1995, when one of the most disastrous heat waves ever to strike the US killed over seven hundred people who succumbed to a week-long onslaught of 90-to-100 degree temperatures. Eric Klinenberg’s Heat Wave: A Social Autopsy of Disaster in Chicago documents this tragedy and attempts to answer the question of how, in a day and age where the simplest of technologies could have avoided such disaster, so many could have perished. Revealing the tragedy’s darker social dimension, Klinenberg shows how a number of surprising and unsettling forms of social breakdown—including the literal and social isolation of seniors, the institutional abandonment of poor neighborhoods, and the retrenchment of public assistance programs—contributed to the high fatality rates. As Klinenberg demonstrates in this incisive account of the contemporary urban condition, the widening cracks in the social foundations of American cities that the 1995 Chicago heat wave made visible have by no means subsided as the temperatures returned to normal. The forces that affected Chicago . . .

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Publicity Round-up: Long Holiday Weekend Edition

July 2, 2010
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Publicity Round-up: Long Holiday Weekend Edition

Fire up the BBQ and light the sparklers. It’s time to celebrate America’s birthday. And how best to do that? With an super-sized publicity round-up! Oh, and a three day weekend. But before you head out to the parades, check out what’s been going on around here. Serf’s Up: Hayek’s still hanging ten in the top ten on Amazon, and lots of people are still writing about The Road to Serfdom‘s surprise surge in popularity. Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Russ Roberts explains why Hayek Is making a comeback (hint: it’s not just because of Beck’s endorsement; Roberts argues that Hayek’s ideas are particularly resonant for our time). Over on Daily Finance, Sarah Weinman calls Beck “the publishing industry’s biggest hope” and points to the success of The Road to Serfdom following Beck’s recommendation as proof. And there’s no doubt the book is selling well: it was third among paperback nonfiction bestsellers, according to the Washington Post. The Danger of Political Obstruction: Gregory Koger, author of Filibustering: A Political History of Obstruction in the House and Senate, discusses “the slippery rules that guide the process of obstruction” on the Political Bookworm blog of the Washington Post. In Praise of . . .

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Free e-book for July from the University of Chicago Press!

July 1, 2010
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Free e-book for July from the University of Chicago Press!

This month’s free e-book: Making Patriots by Walter Berns—a pithy and provocative essay that attempts to answer the question of how patriotism has flourished throughout America’s history, despite the culture’s veneration of individualism and self-interest. After expertly and intelligibly guiding the reader through the history and philosophy of patriotism in a republic—from the ancient Greeks through contemporary life—Berns locates the best answer in the thought and words of Abraham Lincoln, who Berns claims understood better than anyone what the principles of democracy meant and what price adhering to them may exact. The graves at Arlington and Gettysburg and Omaha Beach in Normandy bear witness to the fact that self-interested individuals can become patriots, and Making Patriots is a compelling exploration of how this was done and how it might be again. Download the complete e-book for free during the month of July or try a sample first with this excerpt. . . .

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