Tuesday, March 31, 2015

If I calculate the average annual quota required to limit global warming to two degrees this century I find that simply maintaining a typical American single-family home exceeds it in two weeks. Absent any indication of direct harm, what makes intuitive moral sense is to live the life I was given, be a good citizen, be kind to the people near me, and conserve as well as I reasonably can.... [Climate change] deeply confuses the human brain, which evolved to focus on the present, not the far future, and on readily perceivable movements, not slow and probabilistic developments.

Jonathan Franzen, "Carbon Capture: Has climate change made it harder for people to care about conservation?" in the New Yorker of April 6, 2015

Monday, March 16, 2015

Personal happiness is profoundly conditioned by the social and political surroundings.

Tim Parks, "Revolutionary Italy: The Masterwork," New York Review (April 2, 2015)

Sunday, March 15, 2015

[T]wo centuries ago ... Europeans made a wager on history: that the more they extended human freedom, the happier they would be. ... [T]hat wager has been lost.

Mark Lilla, "Slouching Toward Mecca,"  New York Review (April 2, 2015)

Saturday, March 14, 2015

[R]elying on the Internet for facts and figures is making us mindless sloths.... a study in Science ...  demonstrates that the wealth of information readily available on the Internet disinclines users from remembering what they’ve found out.

Sue Halpern, "How Robots & Algorithms Are Taking Over," New York Review (April 2, 2015)

Friday, March 06, 2015

Most journeys...begin and all end with a sense of unreality.

Evelyn Waugh, When The Going Was Good