Nathan J. Robinson: “People go after academic writing for the wrong reason, condemning its prolixity or complicatedness. This allows academics like Judith Butler to retort that intellectual work is complicated, thus it requires ‘difficult’ prose, just like an ordinary person could not understand an article in a molecular biology journal. But there’s a fundamental difference between two kinds of difficulty. The one kind of difficulty exists because I am unfamiliar with the terms, but if I looked them up, the difficulty would disappear. The other kind of difficulty is actually an impossibility. It’s impossible to understand what certain abstract academic terms mean, because there actually is no clear and agreed-upon meaning.”

Learn about game theory, trust and cooperation by playing the prisoner’s dilemma.

Auden: “Thou shalt not sit with statisticians nor commit a social science.”

Richard King on The Handmaid’s Tale:  “The idea that a near-future US regime would adopt as its organising principle the subjugation of women and gays strikes me as preposterous. There is more truth, frankly, in the dystopian visions of Snowpiercer and The Hunger Games – movies the writers and makers of which intuit that the great divide of our time – the divide that is deepening and likely to deepen further – is the divide between the rich and the poor, and who tend to draw their ruling castes as wealthy, buff, and sexually free.”


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