Tag Archives: Culture

Of Course We’re Living in a Simulation | WIRED

The only people who absolutely disagree are, well, scientists. They need to get over themselves and join the fun.

By Jason Kehe, Mar 9, 2022 7:00 AM

Image Courtesy of W. W. Norton & Company

The best theory physicists have for the birth of the universe makes no sense.

It goes like this: In the beginning—the very, if not quite veriest, beginning—there’s something called quantum foam. It’s barely there, and can’t even be said to occupy space, because there’s no such thing as space yet.

Or time. So even though it’s seething, bubbling, fluctuating, as foam tends to do, it’s not doing so in any kind of this-before-that temporal order.

It just is, all at once, indeterminate and undisturbed. Until it isn’t.

Something goes pop in precisely the right way, and out of that infinitesimally small pocket of instability, the entire universe bangs bigly into being. Instantly. Like, at a whoosh far exceeding the speed of light.

Source: Of Course We’re Living in a Simulation | WIRED

The history of the culture wars — from abortion to school books : NPR

By Ari Shapiro, February 2, 20225:00 AM ET, and Matt Ozug

A woman tosses a Ouija Board into a bonfire outside a church in New Mexico in 2001, after the church’s pastor urged parishioners to burn dozens of Harry Potter books and other types of literature and games they found offensive.
Neil Jacobs/Getty Images

America’s culture wars are creating a world of “magnificent heroes and sickening villains” as people fight a fierce battle in black and white, says writer and podcaster Jon Ronson.

Ronson said he watched his own friends fight in the trenches, often to their own detriment, and he wanted to know more.

So he set out to explore not just the culture wars themselves, but the humans behind the stories and how these fights began. Riffing on a famous line of poetry by William Butler Yeats that reads, “Things fall apart; the center cannot hold,” Ronson has released a new BBC podcast called “Things Fell Apart”.

Continue reading The history of the culture wars — from abortion to school books : NPR

1922: the year that made modernism – New Statesman | UK edition

Ulysses, “The Waste Land”, Jacob’s Room: a year of radical experiments changed the course of literature.

By John Mullan

University at Buffalo Libraries/Album

In the spring 1922 issue of the avant-garde American literary journal Little Review, Ezra Pound published a calendar for a modern era. The months were renamed after Greek and Roman deities, under the heading “Year 1 p.s.U”. Readers in tune with literary innovations knew that those letters stood for “post scriptum Ulysses”, or “after the writing of Ulysses”.

With the publication of James Joyce’s novel in February 1922, on the author’s 40th birthday, a new age had begun. Pound (his most famous slogan: “Make It New”) was a great one for announcing, or demanding, literary revolutions; this time history would vindicate him.

A century on, 1922 still looks like the year literature changed, when modernism came into its own. It was the year not only of Ulysses, but also “The Waste Land”, by the 34-year-old TS Eliot, first published in October. The great novel of modernism was followed by its greatest single poem. These would be enough to mark 1922 as a watershed. But in this year too, Virginia Woolf, the same age as Joyce, published Jacob’s Room, her first radically experimental novel, and began writing Mrs Dalloway.

Pound, who was living in Paris, was embarking on his magnum opus, “The Cantos”. It was he who creatively edited the early drafts of “The Waste Land”, telling Eliot what to cut from the copious first drafts of the poem. Thus Eliot’s dedication of the poem to him, quoting Dante: “Il miglior fabbro” (“the better maker”).

Source: 1922: the year that made modernism – New Statesman

The Dining Car Will Soon Return to Amtrak Trains | Southern Living

The throwback to a golden era of train travel will only be available for certain routes.

By Melissa Locker, Updated October 22, 2021

Credit: NBC / Contributor/Getty

Good news for people who like eating while in motion: Amtrak may be bringing back the beloved dining car.

That’s right, eating your Whataburger honey butter biscuit behind the wheel is no longer the most glamorous way to eat-on-the-go.

Back in the fall of 2019, Amtrak announced that it was getting rid of the classic dining car —the ones with china and flatware on a white tablecloth—in favor of pre-packaged options. This was before the pandemic, so they couldn’t use health and safety as an excuse to stave off the inevitable firestorm of criticism.

While Amtrak executives may have been looking to cut costs, people really love the romantic notion of dining off of fine china while rolling through the night. Cutting the full dining car experience transformed train travel from something elegant and nostalgic to utilitarian.

Luckily, Amtrak has realized the error of its ways. The Washington Post reports that six long-distance routes, including the Texas Eagle, on the leg that connects Los Angeles to San Antonio, and the Sunset Limited, which runs between New Orleans and Los Angeles will once again offer dining options for sleeper car customers “that harken back to the golden age of rail travel.” Sadly, folks traveling routes on the eastern side of the Mississippi will be stuck with decidedly unromantic ready-made meals served on plastic trays.

Source: The Dining Car Will Soon Return to Amtrak Trains | Southern Living