Friday, May 28, 2010

Around the Web

For the week of Saturday, May 22 through Friday, May 28.

1) David Mermelstein in the WSJ: Placido Domingo is the Last Superstar Tenor.

2) In Prospect, Peter Popham on the restoration effort at Pompeii.

3) At the New Liturgical Movement, Matthew Alderman on German Gothic: a new model for church construction?

4-5) Two documentaries on Stanley Kubrick:
  1. Stanley Kubrick's Boxes [Youtube Video]
  2. On Kubrick's Unmade Napoleon [Youtube Video]
6-7 ) Remembering science author Martin Gardner, 1914 – 2010:
  1. from Roger Kimball
  2. from Stefan Kanfer in City Journal 
8) In the WSJ, Peter Berkowitz on "Why Liberal Education Matters":
How can one think independently about what kind of life to live without acquiring familiarity with the ideas about happiness and misery, exaltation and despair, nobility and baseness that study of literature, philosophy and religion bring to life? How can one pass reasoned judgment on public policy if one is ignorant of the principles of constitutional government, the operation of the market, the impact of society on perception and belief and, not least, the competing opinions about justice to which democracy in America is heir?

How can one properly evaluate America's place in the international order without an appreciation of the history of the rise and fall of nations, and that familiarity with allies and adversaries that comes from serious study of their languages, cultures and beliefs?

A proper education, culminating in a liberal education, gives science an honored place. It teaches students, among other things, the fundamentals of the scientific method and the contribution that science has made to human security, freedom and prosperity; it exposes all students to the basic achievements of biology, chemistry and physics; and it encourages those with aptitude to specialize. At the same time, a liberal education brings into focus the limits of science, beginning with the impossibility of explaining the value of science and math in scientific and mathematical terms—to say nothing of science's incapacity to account for the worth and dignity of the individual.
9) In Spiked Online, Tim Black interviews scientist Mike Hulme:
‘Even in a secular setting, people have very different attitudes that inform their relationship to climate change. For instance, some see nature, and therefore the planet, as something that is fragile and easily dislocated. Others see that nature is actually quite robust and resilient. And then there are different attitudes – secular or religious – to technology. People have very different views on the ability of technology to mitigate against risk and danger. Some people see technology as inherently loaded with further problems and complications and unintended side effects.’

Why isn’t the battle, the argument and the public debate about the Good Life, about how we should organise society, being had in its own terms? Why is it being had through the prism of climate science?

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