From Literary Hub, a look at the most savage burns of 2017. Power grabs and crackdowns: 2017 has been a great year for authoritarians. Melanie Ehrenkranz on Silicon Valley’s worst apologies of 2017. 2017: The year when incompetence saved America. In 2017, no one has fallen further than Aung San Suu Kyi. A look back at the ups and downs of public opinion in 2017. Drew Magary on the least influential people of 2017. Shut up Taylor Swift, everybody hated 2017. In 2017, everything was a milkshake duck. From Gizmodo, Ryan F. Mandelbaum on the coolest scientific discoveries of 2017; and Kristen V. Brown on the most significant science setbacks of 2017.

From Sapiens, a look at anthropology’s top findings of 2017. 2017 was a year of female rage (and more). How 2017 became a turning point for tech giants. Julia Reinstein on 38 great memes that defined 2017. What national news networks were talking about during 2017. In a year of tumult, were there any positive trends? Claire Felter on ten silver linings in 2017. Michael Harriot on 2017 as the whitest year ever. The worst political predictions of 2017: Spoiler alert — everybody was wrong. The story of America in 2017, if it happened somewhere else. Storms, fires, floods, and heat caused unprecedented destruction in 2017 — why?

2017 was the year that the Internet destroyed our shared reality: How the pro-Trump media, conspiratorial hyperpartisans, and delinquent platforms ushered in two parallel universes of information. The 2018 internet resolution everyone should have: Forget Facebook. In 2018, we will CRISPR human beings. 2018 isn’t looking good for U.S. world relations.


From the New Yorker, did our hunter-gatherer ancestors have it better? John Lanchester on the case against civilization. Samuel Moyn reviews Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States by James C. Scott (and more and more and more and more). Wayne J Hankey (Dalhousie): We Have Come to a Certain End of Western Civilization: Endings and Beginnings. Rachel Nuwer on how western civilization could collapse. How vulnerable are we to collapse? Archaeologists are plumbing the human experience to find out how various societies have responded to changes in climate, shifts in food resources, and natural hazards — among other challenges to human survival. How to survive the next catastrophic pandemic. Warning of “ecological Armageddon” after dramatic plunge in insect numbers. Are mass extinctions periodic, and if so, are we due for one? Ron Hogan is waiting for the end of the world.

Seth D. Baum and Anthony M. Barrett (GCRI): Global Catastrophes: The Most Extreme Risks. Stephen Gardiner (Washington): Accepting Collective Responsibility for the Future. Can universities save us from disaster? Nicholas Maxwell wonders. Craig S. Lerner (George Mason): The Tower of Babel Revisited: Global Governance as a Problematic Solution to Existential Threats. When will the Earth try to kill us again? A good exit: What to do about the end of our species? We have a pretty good idea of when humans will go extinct.

The year in apocalypses: There comes a moment, and perhaps it has come in 2017, when I need to believe something better is coming. A utopia for a dystopian age: Our impulse to imagine better worlds has nearly been extinguished — but we desperately need a new vision of inhabiting the planet. Utopia Inc: Most utopian communities are, like most start-ups, short-lived. What’s your utopia? Imagining an ideal world can help us make this world better.


From OUP, Peter Ohlin interviews David Benatar, author of The Human Predicament: A Candid Guide to Life’s Biggest Questions. Jennie Dear on the science of what it feels like to die (and more). When you die you know you are dead: Major study shows mind still works after the body shows no signs of life. Dying alone is seen as a character flaw — an imperfection growing somewhere deep inside of you that, provided it is caught in time, can be rooted out or zapped away. Can human mortality really be hacked? Scientists are waging a war against human aging — but what happens next? You can download Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Mortality and Its Timings: When is Death?, ed. Shane McCorristine.

Silicon Valley’s quest to live forever: Can billions of dollars’ worth of high-tech research succeed in making death optional? The road to immortality: In California, radical scientists and billionaire backers think the technology to extend life — by uploading minds to exist separately from the body — is only a few years away. Nicola Davison on Stephen Valentine and Timeship, the “fortress” designed to help people live forever. Luc Bovens looks at death, immortality and the worthwhile life (and part 2 and part 3).


Jill E. P. Knapen and Nancy M. Blaker (VU Amsterdam) and Thomas V. Pollet (Northumbria): Size, Skills, and Suffrage: Motivated Distortions in Perceived Formidability of Political Leaders. Tom Grimwood (Cumbria): The Meaning of Cliches. Virginia Heffernan on the bland philosophy of James Comey’s Twitter feed. From Library Journal, reviewing the apocalypses: The end of 2017 is nigh, which means it’s a good time to review the year to see if the terrible things people predicted actually came true. Max Boot: 2017 was the year I learned about my white privilege. Why humans are cruel: Paul Bloom explains why humans are so terrible to each other. The introduction to Measuring Tomorrow: Accounting for Well-Being, Resilience, and Sustainability in the Twenty-First Century by Eloi Laurent.


John Salvatier and Katja Grace, Allan Dafoe, and Owain Evans (Oxford) and Baobao Zhang (Yale): When Will AI Exceed Human Performance? Evidence from AI Experts. Andy Fitch interviews Nick Bostrom, author of Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies. Seth D. Baum on social choice ethics in artificial intelligence. Will AI enable the third stage of life on Earth? Artificial intelligence is getting more powerful, and it’s about to be everywhere. Silicon Valley luminaries are busily preparing for when robots take over. Stunning AI breakthrough takes us one step closer to the Singularity. SingularityNET’s Ben Goertzel has a grand vision for the future of AI.

How worried should we be about artificial intelligence? Self-driving cars, rogue nuke launches, evil AI: What tech threats you should (and shouldn’t) worry about. Hackers have already started to weaponize artificial intelligence. Phil Torres on why superintelligence is a threat that should be taken seriously. The dark secret at the heart of AI: No one really knows how the most advanced algorithms do what they do — that could be a problem. How artificial intelligence learns to be racist: Simple — it’s mimicking us. The darkness at the of the tunnel: Shuja Haider on artificial intelligence and neoreaction. An AI god will emerge by 2042 and write its own bible — will you worship it?

The rise of AI is sparking an international arms race: Sean Illing interviews Peter W. Singer, author of Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century. China’s AI awakening: The West shouldn’t fear China’s artificial-intelligence revolution — it should copy it. AI power will lead to world domination, says Vladimir Putin (and more). Maureen Dowd on Elon Musk’s billion-dollar crusade to stop the A.I. apocalypse. The real danger to civilization isn’t AI — it’s runaway capitalism.

Ryan Calo (Washington): Artificial Intelligence Policy: A Primer and Roadmap. Oren Etzioni on how to regulate artificial intelligence.


Gary Lawson (BU): Representative/Senator Trump? (“There might — just might — be some perhaps counterintuitive reasons to think that President Trump may be more willing than other presidents to take the lead in reining in executive power”.) Bit by bit, Trump is taking apart the New Deal’s glorious legacy. Trump boasts he’s signed more laws than any president since Truman — he’s actually signed the least. Trump had a good year getting judges confirmed, but he’s still a long way from reshaping the courts. Why Trump isn’t getting the credit he thinks he deserves. Spread the swamp? Trump administration wants to move government offices out of Washington.


The reckoning: More than 100 power brokers have been accused of sexual misconduct. The reckoning: Jessica Delgado on sexual harassment, #MeToo, and the pain of radical change. On Wall Street, #MeToo: Sexual harassment and intimidation is far more extensive than untouchable men in media and politics victimizing powerless women — here’s how it works in the Wall Street executive suites. Low-wage workers aren’t getting justice for sexual harassment: Despite the #MeToo movement, poor women often find that speaking out against abuse at work is too costly. Anna North: What I’ve learned covering sexual misconduct this year.

From the New York Times, we asked 615 men about how they conduct themselves at work. What does “sexual misconduct” actually mean? Inspector general says mishandling of sexual harassment complaints at Justice Department is a “systemic” problem. How the legal system fails victims of sexual harassment: Federal judges have developed a narrow view of what behavior is bad enough to be illegal. No, #MeToo is not a sex panic — the phenomenon it’s describing is true.

Harvey Weinstein will not go quietly — perhaps showing us what may come after #MeToo. How the #MeToo movement can survive a brewing backlash: 9 experts weigh in. What happens now? Studies of sexual harassment can show the way. The patriarchs are falling — the patriarchy is stronger than ever.


Timothy K. Kuhner (Georgia State): The Next American Revolution. Michael R. Siebecker (Denver): Political Insider Trading. Katherine Shaw (Yeshiva): The Lost History of the Millionaire’s Amendment. Frank A. Pasquale (Maryland): First Amendment Freeze Play: Bennett’s Strategy for Entrenching Inequality. Nicole A Gordon (Baruch): Options for Continued Reform of Money in Politics: Citizens United is Not the End. How much does a politician cost? A groundbreaking study reveals the influence of money in politics. Right-wing billionaires are buying themselves a new constitution. Political donors put their money where the memes are.

Tax reform for donors: The tax bill shows that donor influence on Congress remains a problem, but reform efforts to reduce this corruption are further polarizing the country. Ciara Torres-Spelliscy on 17 things we learned about money in politics in 2017: From a Florida city council to the D.C. Circuit, various bodies wrestled with campaign finance law in 2017.


The nationalist’s delusion: Trump’s supporters backed a time-honored American political tradition, disavowing racism while promising to enact a broad agenda of discrimination. Martin Longman on how movement conservatism protects itself with racism. The past year of research has made it very clear: Trump won because of racial resentment. What makes President Trump casually dismiss black pain? White rage. Trump caught giving black staffers low-level positions, passing them over for promotions. Trump sounds ignorant of history — but racist ideas often masquerade as ignorance. What do you when the president is a paranoid delusional racist? Robert Mercer seems really racist.

Pandering to racists won’t get Democrats anywhere: There really isn’t a political center on key questions of race. Republican is not a synonym for racist: Conservatives must reckon with their policies’ discriminatory effects — that would be more likely if liberals stopped carelessly crying bigot. Racism may have gotten us into this mess, but identity politics can’t get us out. Solomon Jones on the biggest moments of racism in 2017.


India wanted a friend in Trump — instead, it’s getting chaos. Robert Jenkins on India’s democracy: Ill but not illiberal. Can Hindutva politics deliver economic growth? Gaurav Agrawal: Should India stay away from the Fourth Revolution? Child labor: The inconvenient truth behind India’s growth story. “Why were we untouchables?”: Isaac Chotiner interviews Sujatha Gidla, author of Ants Among Elephants: An Untouchable Family and the Making of Modern India (and more). In South Asian social castes, a living lab for genetic disease. How English creates a new caste system in India. India’s gay rights activists seize momentum after landmark ruling.

Indian Studies after Indology: Srinivas Udumudi interviews Vishwa Adluri And Joydeep Bagchee, authors of The Nay Science: A History of German Indology. To be an Indian writer means that you’re writing about India — what you’re doing to and with the form won’t determine the terms of critique where you’re concerned. A tiny Indian publisher is translating hidden gems of world literature for global readers.

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