How the trolley problem explains 2016: One philosophical meme told the story of this year's major news events. The year everyone realized digital media is doomed: No one has figured out how to make Internet journalism profitable — and in 2016, it showed. Post-mortem: How 2016 broke political journalism. The empire strikes back: We thought women would break new ground in 2016 — we were wrong. This was the year America finally saw the South: In 2016, from music to television, the experience of Black Southerners was everywhere. The year that culture disappeared: Donald Trump drowned out nearly every cultural event in 2016 — and it's only going to get worse. A letter to historians of the future: The 2016 election really was dominated by a controversy over emails. Kevin Gannon on the US, 2016. The toughest death of 2016: The democratic norms that (used to) guide our political system. So long, 2016: The year of the political earthquake.
It's not just you: Literally everyone expects the worst, study says. Peter Thiel is trying to save the world: The apocalyptic theory behind his actions. End of the American apocalypse narrative: What happens when the people pushing the apocalypse narrative are suddenly in charge? Seth Baum on what Trump means for global catastrophic risk. Joanna Rothkopf on 100 ways the world could end in 2017. One in 500 chance humans will be extinct in a year, mathematician claims. Sex robots could kill humans because they'll be too good in bed. Earth woefully unprepared for surprise comet or asteroid, NASA scientist warns. Eight terrifying ways the world could actually end.
Who would destroy the world? Studies of existential risk often focus on technologies that could destroy the world, rather than on the people who might use these technologies. Is humanity doomed? John Wensel interviews David Grinspoon, author of Earth in Human Hands: Shaping Our Planet's Future. Stassa Edwards on a fictional guide to surviving the end of the world. A syllabus for the End Times, or, a few thoughts about thinking at what might turn out to be the beginning of the end of the world.
"How many times a day do you ruminate on how unfit you are to scavenge for survival amid the ruins of civilization".
Alison McQueen (Stanford): The Wages of Fear and the Promise of Hope: How Should We Feel When We Talk About Climate Change? Kieran Setiya on how philosophy can address the problem of climate change. Want to slow climate change? Stop having babies — the alternative is "give up your toys". Stop waiting for a big breakthrough on climate change — this is what we'll get instead. A major climate threshold has been permanently crossed. Richard Marshall interviews Dale Jamieson, author of Reason in a Dark Time: Why the Struggle to Stop Climate Change Failed — and What It Means For Our Future. We don't need a "war" on climate change, we need a revolution.
Margaret A. Young (Melbourne): Trade Measures to Address Climate Change: Territory and Extraterritoriality. The first chapter from The New Ecology: Rethinking a Science for the Anthropocene by Oswald J. Schmitz. Global Trumpism seen harming efforts to reduce climate pollution. Libertarianism, liberalism, and the legal theory of environmental regulation: Jason MacLean reviews Ecolawgic: The Logic of Ecosystems and the Rule of Law by Bruce Pardy. The Holocene hangover: It is time for humanity to make fundamental changes. Stacey Balkan reviews The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable by Amitav Ghosh.
Cass Sunstein (Harvard): Changing Climate Change, 2009-2016: A Preliminary Report. Rosemary Lyster (Sydney): Climate Justice, Adaptation and the Paris Agreement: A Recipe for Disasters? The word "anthropocene" has become the closest thing there is to common shorthand for this turbulent, momentous, unpredictable, hopeless, hopeful time — duration and scope still unknown. Can the world fight climate change in the era of Trump? Obama's science adviser thinks so. Economists agree: Economic models underestimate climate change. How to stay sane in the face of climate change: Physical consequences aren't the only danger of the climate crisis.
From Bitch, a series of articles on climate change and unnatural disasters. 2016 will be the warmest year, but this is how deniers will spin it. This one weird trick will not convince conservatives to fight climate change: Clever new arguments are beside the point.
Jordan Alexander Brunner (ASU): The (Cyber) New Normal: Dissecting President Obama's Cyber National Emergency. From Buzzfeed, Hayes Brown on what you need to know to understand the latest drama between Israel and the US. Masha Gessen on the most powerful men in the world: "Trump and Putin, on the other hand, lack a concept of the future". Melissa Wuske reviews The New Communism: The Science, the Strategy, the Leadership for an Actual Revolution, and a Radically New Society on the Road to Real Emancipation by Bob Avakian. Scott McLemee reviews Consuming Catastrophe: Mass Culture in America's Decade of Disaster by Timothy Recuber.
The Obama administration sanctions Russia for meddling in the 2016 election — in one fell swoop, Obama has managed to slap Putin's wrists and tie Trump's hands. Glenn Greenwald and Tucker Carlson unite to dismiss Russian hacking allegations. Former Trump advisor Carter Page reportedly sends letter to McCain threatening the U.S. and our military.
Robert Geraci (Manhattan): A Tale of Two Futures: Techno-eschatology in the US and India. The technological trends that will shape the next 30 years: Eliot Peper interviews Kevin Kelly, author of The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future. Chris Dixon on eleven reasons to be excited about the future of technology. Shane Greenstein on ten open questions for the techno-optimist. The Google X moonshot factory is struggling to get products out the door — why? When our culture's past is lost in the cloud: Nicholas Carr reviews When We Are No More: How Digital Memory is Shaping Our Future by Abby Smith.
What it feels like to be the last generation to remember life before the Internet.
Samuel Issacharoff (NYU): Outsourcing Politics: The Hostile Takeovers of Our Hollowed Out Political Parties. Who will do what Harry Reid did now that Harry Reid is gone? Nevada's departing senator would have fought Trump with a ruthlessness perhaps no other Democratic leader has. Ed Kilgore on the Democratic game plan for making Trump miserable — and regaining power. In North Carolina, some Democrats see their grim future: The GOP's moves have many on the Left worried their bare-knuckle tactics will spread nationally. Here's how Obama is Trump-proofing his legacy. Don't disappear next year, Obama: The outgoing president should stop worrying about norms and start resisting Trump (and more).
David Pettinicchio (Toronto): Elites, Policy and Social Movements. "We have to resist": Cody Delistraty interviews Rebecca Solnit on the difference between hope and optimism, and the dangers of activism without a plan. The future of resistance: Groups on the Left are planning to disrupt Donald Trump's agenda through grassroots political warfare. Thinking about committing civil disobedience in the age of Trump: For the first time in his life, liberal technocrat Harold Pollack is considering going to jail.
"The wealthy would never steal": A credo for Trump's party (and more). House Republicans will ring in the new year with a plan to permanently cripple government. There's a very good reason Paul Ryan wants Congress doing business in secret. The US could be vastly different a year from now if Donald Trump and his cabinet picks have their way. Ed Kilgore on the radical unpredictability of Donald Trump. Trump's tantrums are a window into his presidency: He will break every political norm in sight — and Democrats will have to break a few in return. Trump keeps pulling the same trick because it keeps working. Memo to the media: Stop giving Trump the headlines he wants.
Margaret Boittin (York), Greg Distelhorst (MIT), and Francis Fukuyama Stanford): Reassessing the Quality of Government in China. Patrick Francois, Francesco Trebbi, and Kairong Xiao (UBC): Factions in Nondemocracies: Theory and Evidence from the Chinese Communist Party. Speculation grows Xi Jinping will defy China rule on leadership retirement. From NYRB, a review essay on the Cultural Revolution by Ian Johnson. China wants to give all of its citizens a score — and their rating could affect every area of their lives. Ian Johnson interviews Christopher Rea, author of The Age of Irreverence: A New History of Laughter in China.
Shucheng Wang (CUHK): Tripartite Freedom of Religion in China: An Illiberal Perspective. Ian Johnson on the role of Chinese religion in environmental protection. Resettling China's "ecological migrants": Miaomiao Lake Village is just one of the new communities built to accommodate the world's largest environmental migration project — but residents are struggling to adapt. China starts cancelling under-construction coal plants. Your balcony fell off, vaccines are overheated? Chabuduo — how China became the land of disastrous corner-cutting.
They've got you, wherever you are: Jacob Weisberg reviews The Attention Merchants: The Epic Scramble to Get Inside Our Heads by Tim Wu; and Chaos Monkeys: Obscene Fortune and Random Failure in Silicon Valley by Antonio Garcia Martinez. Tim Cook confirms: Tech met with Trump to ask for billions in tax breaks. Forgive me, techies, but here are the seven reasons why Silicon Valley likes Trump. Silicon Valley's power brokers want you to think they're different — but they're just average robber barons. Blinded by "technology": Bob Hughes, author of The Bleeding Edge: Why Technology Turns Toxic in an Unequal World, on how another world should be easy — what's hard is imagining it when somebody's brandishing an iPhone in your face. The first chapter from Technology Differences over Space and Time by Francesco Caselli.
America's top case study: Trump's personality provides for a fascinating psychological case study. Sarah Kendzior on applying the Billy Bush principle to Donald Trump (don't be a sycophant). Justin Davidson on Donald Trump's war against facts. Don't be fooled: Closing the Trump Foundation doesn't solve Trump's conflict of interest problems. From Vox, a guide to the most powerful jobs in the Trump administration and the people filling them. Rick Perry, as energy secretary, may be pressed to resume nuclear tests. White nationalist Richard Spencer tries to distance the "alt-Right" from Trump. "Alt-Right" groups will "revolt" if Trump shuns white supremacy, leaders say.
Hungarian Miklos Haraszti: I watched a populist leader rise in my country — that's why I'm genuinely worried for America. If the very worst happens, it won't be because we didn't know that it might happen — we have all been amply warned.