How Twitter promotes authoritarianism

There are several structural issues with Twitter, and other social networks, that encourage authoritarianism. The tendencies are encouraged by the nature of the medium, independent of ideology, and serve as…

Three stupid words

From L. Susan Stebbing’s Thinking to Some Purpose (1939): We should not allow our habits of thought to close our minds, nor rely upon catch-words to save ourselves from the labour…

Deadly speech

Eric Posner proposes a way to stop terrorism: [T]here is something we can do to protect people like Amin from being infected by the ISIS virus by propagandists, many of…

In defense of pasteurization

I recently purchased a bottle of juice from Whole Foods, only to begin vomiting profusely several hours after drinking it. The juice, it turns out, was not pasteurized. At first,…

I can’t even

Amanda Hess writes on contemporary can’t-even-ing: For those who grew up when teenagers didn’t “can’t,” the phrase might register as a whimper, as if millennials have spun their inability to…

Marshmallows and miscreants

It is sometimes said that a child who waits for two marshmallows is superior to one that eats a single marshmallow immediately. The notion is that this signifies delayed gratification, and…

Literally literally

Stan Carey writes about the usages and history of literally: Last week I heard a news reporter on Irish television describe people as “literally gutted” by the news of job losses….

In praise of safety razors

For fifteen years, I’ve been using one cartridge razor or another to shave my face. They work well enough, but have always seemed so wasteful and expensive. Even the best…

Is public radio for squares?

Every once in a while, Republicans set their sights on public broadcasting. They aim to defund networks such as NPR, asserting that they’re ideologically biased, and that such endeavors are best left…