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On Risk and Personal Belief

On Risk and Personal Belief

Pestilence is in fact very common, but we find it hard to believe in a pestilence when it descends upon us. There have been as many plagues in the world as there have been wars, yet plagues and wars a...

Fooled by Climate Change

Fooled by Climate Change

WHEN WILLIE SOON testified before Congress in 2003 as an expert witness on the issue of man-made climate change, it was no surprise to anyone listening that he would treat the matter as an unsettled q...

Faking Galileo

Faking Galileo

The following is a feature article from the newly released LARB Quarterly Journal: Spring 2014 edition. To pick up your copy of the Journal, become a member of the Los Angeles Review of Books at ...

Different Voices

Different Voices

SOMETIMES THE WORLD reveals itself to us in unexpected ways. While I don't consider reading fiction a particularly practical habit, novels in translation often reaffirmed to me just how little I know ...

Cluster-struck

Cluster-struck

CHARLES DARWIN is more usually cited for his scientific discoveries than his moral insights. In the closing pages of his travelogue The Voyage of the Beagle however, he condemns the practice of slav...

The Multiverse in a Flat Circle

The Multiverse in a Flat Circle

I LEARNED about the possibility of the multiverse the same way lots of people did: from William Shatner. It happened well before I was born, in October 1967. Captain Kirk was in trouble.  He and his...

A Spoonful of Soil

A Spoonful of Soil

ONE BRIGHT MORNING last July, on a small farm not far from the celebrated coast of Downeast Maine, I was bent over a whiny, whirring cement mixer the size of a small bear. The farmer, Amanda, instruct...

Reaching In

Reaching In

MY TRAVELS with Lynne Sharon Schwartz began with her 2009 memoir Not Now, Voyager. Against her backdrop of exotic destinations, I enjoyed sharing concerns about an inability to cope with mundane chall...

The Age of Melting Glaciers

The Age of Melting Glaciers

  “BIG HISTORY” has become fashionable in recent years, what with all the talk about climate change and the Anthropocene and the like. Its rising currency can also be seen as an effort to fix a ...

Online and Offline in Cuba

Online and Offline in Cuba

“CUBA has two kinds of people,” writes Emily Parker. “There are the independent bloggers and other liberated individuals, who glide confidently through the streets, willing to tell pretty much a...

Oh What Voices

Oh What Voices

FOR A DECADE NOW, Emily Parker has been following China’s wangmin — the Chinese translation of “netizens,” short for internet citizens — and how they have been utilizing email, blogging plat...