Tim Heffernan is a freelance writer interested in heavy industry and the natural world. [more inside]
"During his days as Harvard’s influential president, Dr. Charles W. Eliot made a frequent assertion: If you were to spend just 15 minutes a day reading the right books, a quantity that could fit on a five-foot shelf, you could give yourself a proper liberal education. Publisher P. F. Collier and Son loved the idea and asked Eliot to compile and edit the right collection of works. The result: a 51-volume series of classic works from world literature published in 1909 called Dr. Eliot’s Five Foot Shelf, which would later be called The Harvard Classics." (Via) [more inside]
"A talented writer such as John Jeremiah Sullivan might, fifty years ago, have tried to explore his complicated feelings about the South, and about race and class in America, by writing fiction, following in the footsteps of Walker Percy and Eudora Welty. Instead he produced a book of essays, called Pulphead, on the same themes; and the book was received with the kind of serious attention and critical acclaim that were once reserved for novels. But all is not as it seems. You do not have to read very far in the work of the new essayists to realize that the resurrection of the essay is in large measure a mirage." (via) [more inside]
JS Mill vs. Thomas Carlyle Economics may deserve its reputation for being hardnosed and calculating, not warm and fuzzy. But sometimes it is its critics who are lacking in the spirit of humanity. [more inside]
He just can’t remember what course he’s taking. "At Phoenix, members of the armed forces can earn an associate’s degree by taking one five-week online class, “Written Communication.” They can make up for the other 19 courses required for an associate’s degree with credits for classes taken elsewhere, military experience including basic training, and passing grades on tests that gauge knowledge of a subject area. Not surprisingly, says one critic: "I’m afraid that the ease with which these outfits hand out diplomas is matched only by the disappointment of their graduates when they find out how little their degrees are actually worth.” [more inside]
A Matter of Loaf and Death is the new BBC Christmas short from Nick Park and Aardman. In the mock murder mystery, Wallace and Gromit start a new bakery business, Top Bun. The short, Park's first since 1995, will introduce a new love interest for Wallace, Piella Bakewell, a bread enthusiast.
Canadian writer, actor, and director Robert Lepage, whose work has included Jésus de Montréal and Le Confessional, has recently turned his attention to - of all places - the Bunge Grain complex in Quebec City. In celebration of Quebec's 400th anniversary, Lepage turned the complex into a vast movie screen 30 meters tall and 600 meters wide. This project is known as the Image Mill. If you happen to be in Quebec City, you can watch it at the Port of Québec, every night at 10 PM, until August 24.
From the award-winning comic series ACTION PHILOSOPHERS! comes these biographies of the titans of thought! Thrill to the killer koans of Bam-Bam Bodhidharma! Shudder before the noble savagery of Terrible Thomas Jefferson! And enjoy (Or pick apart) tales of Crusher Carl Jung, Nasty Niccolo Machiavelli, Rowdy Rene Descartes, uh, Terribler Thomas Aquinas, The Pre-Socratics, and Gentleman John Stewart Mill!(Scroll down)