From the New York Times: “As the Republican-proposed tax plan makes its way through Congress, here are three books to help you understand what’s at stake.” T.R. Reid’s A FINE MESS: A Global Quest for a Simpler, Fairer, and More Efficient Tax System is the first book on this list.
INC. has profiled Nick Riggle and his new book.
These days people use the word “awesome” to describe everything from a new episode of their favorite show to a tasty hot dog. It’s a far cry from the traditional meaning of the word – inspiring awe. So has the term become basically meaningless, just a sloppy way to say ‘very good’? Nope, argues University of San Diego philosopher professor Nick Riggle in his new book On Being Awesome: A Unified Theory of How Not to Suck. “I think there’s something deep behind the popularity of “awesome””, he insists. Being awesome, Riggle argues, actually has a specific if rarely understood meaning. And understanding more about what we mean when we use this everyday expression of praise can help unlock our own ability to be awesome at whatever it is we do. [INC.com]
The Guardian reports on the dazzling light show at Durham Cathedral which Helen Marriage’s group Artichoke is responsible for.
The festival, created by the arts trust Artichoke, has now spread to other cities and will return to London in January, but it began in Durham in 2009. “It’s fair to say that in the beginning some people wondered what on earth we were at,” its director Helen Marriage said. “Now it’s an immense source of local pride – a lot of people went down to London and said it was good but not a patch on Durham.” [TheGuardian.com]
Brian Alexander’s Glass House has made the list.
“A devastating portrait…For anyone wondering why swing-state America voted against the establishment in 2016, Mr. Alexander supplies plenty of answers.” ―The Wall Street Journal … In 1947, Forbes magazine declared Lancaster, Ohio the epitome of the all-American town. Today it is damaged, discouraged, and fighting for its future. In Glass House, journalist Brian Alexander uses the story of one town to show how seeds sown 35 years ago have sprouted to give us Trumpism, inequality, and an eroding national cohesion. [Amazon]
Even as he sets the pace in the race to autonomous cars, Larry Page, the chief executive of Alphabet and a founder of Google, is backing Kitty Hawk, a start-up that wants to move commuting into the air. And many others, including the start-up Joby Aviation, Uber and Airbus, are working on vehicles capable of flying above congested roads. These vehicles take many forms, but generally, they carry a single rider and take off like a helicopter: straight up. At first, Kitty Hawk will sell its vehicles to hobbyists. But the company hopes it can eventually convince the general public, and regulators, that flying cars make sense. That is no easy task. After all, these cars will require a new kind of air traffic control. [NYTimes.com]
Congrats to both speakers. Meredith Wadman’s The Vaccine Race (“Scientific anecdotes, historical detail and quirky characters enliven this tale of how researchers developed vaccines against polio, rubella, rabies and more.”) and Liza Mundy’s Code Girls (“Because they were sworn to secrecy, the women recruited to decipher German and Japanese codes were barely known after World War II. Mundy tells their story.”) among the notable works of nonfiction this year recognized by the Washington Post.
Helen Thorpe’s new book The Newcomers: Finding Refuge, Friendship, and Hope in an American Classroom is out now. Malcolm Gladwell says, “Helen Thorpe has taken policy and turned it into literature.” Here is an interview Helen conducted with 5280 Magazine, and read this great view in the Denver Post.
Jay Newton-Small’s latest for TIME.
If it seems like the structures that enable sexism are exploding, that’s because they scientifically are, according to the theory of critical mass. When women reached 20% in the Senate, they went after the Pentagon to reform the military’s sexual-assault protocol. When they reached 25% of Hollywood producers, they took down Harvey Weinstein and his casting-couch culture. And when they reached a third of the White House press corps, Fox’s Roger Ailes, NPR’s Michael Oreskes and other serial harassers in the media began to get called out. Somewhere in that zone, when women comprise 20% to 30% of an institution, things begin to change. [TIME.com]
The NY Times have reviewed the latest from Liza Mundy. (Above see a recent talk on the book; introduced by Liza’s husband.)
In Liza Mundy’s prodigiously researched and engrossing new book, “Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II,” she describes the experiences of several thousand American women who spent the war years in Washington, untangling the clandestine messages sent by the Japanese and German militaries and diplomatic corps. At a time when even well-educated women were not encouraged to have careers — much less compete with men to demonstrate their mastery of arcane, technical skills — this hiring frenzy represented a dramatic shift. The same social experiment was simultaneously unfolding on the other side of the Atlantic. The British debutantes and their middle-class peers recruited to work at the secret Bletchley Park code-breaking operation came to outnumber the men. [NYTimes.com]