Some links! Small update

April 18, 2021

Apologies for being so off-line of late. I've not been off-line in general, but I have been growing a little bit more disaffected with the entire inter-webs phenomenon. That may change things for me in coming months; I just don't know yet.

But for now, here are some links!


Teaching the pleasures of the text in postcolonial, postmodern India today.


Are we living through the “end of the great acceleration”?  The book reviewed here suggests we are.  Worth considering.


This is a really nice piece on the discourse around whether our civilization, or any civilization, is best described as “decadent.”  Note the association with Vichy France.


This is a fascinating article that is primarily about the growing size of container ships, but also in directly about the scale of global trade and the way that container trade has really created the particular kind of globalization we inhabit.  

Given the idea of standardized containers for trucks, trains, and ships only became a thing in the late 1950s, it’s amazing how important they have become.  Consider two quotes from the story:

“According to Alphaliner, a data firm, the global fleet of container ships includes 133 of the largest ship type — those that can carry 18,000 to 24,000 containers. Another 53 are on order.”

“Today, the largest ships can hold as many as 24,000 containers — a standard 20-foot box can hold a pair of midsize sport utility vehicles or enough produce to fill one or two grocery store aisles.“ 

Take five minutes out of your day to read the article and ponder how much of what you are wearing, what you are carrying, what you have eaten today and what you are reading this email on, had to be on one of these ships at one point, just to get to you:


This seems smart to me:

“politicians have too often hidden behind regulators. For much of the pandemic, Trump had no plan at all, and so the decisions of governors and regulators were paramount. Biden is doing much more, but he’s said, repeatedly, that he doesn’t want to get ahead of the science. Unfortunately, science can’t tell you what it does not yet know, and the virus spreads faster than our knowledge. It’s the job of politicians to weigh the information we have, and the possible benefits of experimentation, against society’s broader goals.”


Really nice piece on the humanities, by Rita Felski, arguing for four basic functions that the humanities distinctively (perhaps not exclusively) practice and cultivate: curating, conveying, criticising, and composing.


Neat older essay by W.H. Auden on now-almost forgotten Oxford don, Maurice Bowra.  Bowra’s work, not only his Memories but more than that, is well worth consulting.  And his Oxford college--Wadham--remains a jewel in that jewel box that is Oxford.


Maybe it is that a change in the common sense is happening in DC, at least a little bit.


Bouie is very good on the stakes here.


Be well everyone.  Here in Central VA it's a beautiful day--hope it is where you are, too.  Get outside today.