Weekend Reading

This week's Weekend Reading contains some absolute gems- so without further ado, here are the articles worthy of your attention this weekend:

  • In Defence of Obscure Words is an argument by Will Self for using words that often need to be accompanied by a dictionary, warning against the dangers of intellectual laziness. I couldn't agree more.

  • Sherry Turkle begs us to put the social media revolution in perspective. Giving her own mother as an example, Turkle worries that "like a lot of older people today, she fritters away her social time with whoever she runs into, instead of sustaining continued conversations with the people she cares about the most."

  • David Eagleman is a new breed of man: a rock star neuroscientist. In The Brain: a User's Guide, Eagleman puts the accomplishments of nearly everyone on the planet to shame with such feats as attaching an electrical grid to a blind man's tongue in order to allow him to "see" as he climbs Mount Everest. Neuroscience rocks.

  • Speaking of neuroscience: I've long said that if I could travel to any place in time, I would choose Renaissance-era Florence for its unparalleled concentration of genius. Eric Kandel has changed my mind, explaining that 1900 Vienna contributed as much to human knowledge, but did so through a lens of reason. He also makes an eloquent case for an intersection of neuroscience and the arts in The Age of Insight.

  • Over on Brain Pickings, a summary of Clay Johnson's fantastic book The Information Diet: a Case for Conscious Consumption, in which Johnson explains why "arguing that blaming the abundance of information itself is as absurd as blaming the abundance of food for obesity."

  • I've saved my favorite for last: if you're half the fan of Russian literature that I am, this comparison of Dolstoyevsky and Tolstoy by eight preeminent modern scholars will thrill and delight you.

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