Daily Office:
Tuesday, 5 October 2010


¶ We’re of the opinion that armed civilian militias are essentially incompatible with civil representative democracy. Our response to Barton Gellman’s story in Time, “The Secret World of Extreme Militias,” however, is not to press for more stringent prohibitions on firearms. We take the growth of these groups as sympatomatic as a breach in the American fabric that needs to be repaired before it can be meaningfully defended. (via Scott Horton


¶ Before you see The Social Network, how about a little theory? HTMLGiant‘s Lily Hoang takes Giorgio Agamben to the movies “(so to speak), and now she understands The Facebook for what it really is: an Apparatus. You’ve got to love it.


¶ Felix Salmon’s admiring but also surprisingly humble take on Charles Ferguson’s Inside Job has us rethinking our weekly movie plans.


¶ Sometimes scientists establish that our intuitions are correct. University of Texaas researchers have established an objective test for “style matching,” which is the harmony that any two people establish (or don’t) at the start of any conversation. Any good listener will unconsciously register it. (Telegraph; via The Morning News)


¶ James Ward’s Boring Conference is taking shape! We probably wouldn’t attend even if we were in London, but we’d buy the Official Souvenir, if there were one. Among the speakers: Naomi Alderman, Joe Moran, and Peter Fletcher — a man who has logged every sneeze since July 2007. (I Like Boring Things)


¶ Bernard Porter files a wistful report on recent Swedish elections, at the LRBlog.


¶ Bill Morris glosses Elif Batuman’s LRB explosé about MFA Programs, at The Millions. Going to school is not the problem: education doesn’t kill writers. But Mr Morris agrees with Ms Batuman: aspiring writers ought to study literature, not “the craft of fiction.” (We believe that there is not only no better but no other way to learn how to write than to read, read, read.)


¶ Although the abuse of intellectual property laws (by those who would unnecessarily extend them to profit business corporations) does not bristle with the menace of armed militias, we believe that it is no less inimical to civil representative democracy. So we embrace Robert Darnton’s advocacy of a National Digital Library. (NYRBlog)

Have A Look

Buoyancy Bazooka. (Short Sharp Science)

Robert Boyle’s To-Do List. (3 Quarks Daily)

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