Scott Aaronson: Steven Pinker and I debate AI scaling

Scott Aaronson in Shtetl-Optimized: Before June 2022 was the month of the possible start of the Second American Civil War, it was the month of a lively debate between Scott Alexander and Gary Marcus about the scaling of large language models, such as GPT-3.  Will GPT-n be able to … | Continue reading | 4 hours ago

After Roe v. Wade: US researchers warn of what’s to come

Mariana Lenharo in Nature: The constitutional right to an abortion has been struck down in the United States. The US Supreme Court announced on 24 June that it would overturn the 1973 landmark decision Roe v. Wade, which had protected abortion access up until the point that a fet … | Continue reading | 4 hours ago

Faster Than We Thought

Omar El Akkado in Orion: I grew up in Qatar, a tiny peninsula off the eastern coast of Saudi Arabia. Less than a century ago, before the boom, it was a desolate corner of the world, home to Bedouin tribes, shepherds, fishermen, and pearl divers. Today it is, by virtue of its mass … | Continue reading | 4 hours ago

Sabine Hossenfelder: Why does Science News Suck So Much?

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From aardvark to woke: inside the Oxford English Dictionary

Pippa Bailey in New Statesman: The team at the Oxford English Dictionary felt some nervousness about writing the definition for “Terf”, an acronym for trans-exclusionary radical feminist, which this month has been added to its pages. “To a certain extent, it is like any other wor … | Continue reading | 7 hours ago

Wednesday Poem

First Flush At that age when love is more of an academic necessity than a cinematic happenstance, you learn to will your lover to manifest, conjurer like. Your viraha, crowded with the airy mass of calf love, makes a ritual out of obsession. When the face of your beloved springs … | Continue reading | 7 hours ago

Cassidy Hutchinson Did Her Job

Michelle Cottle in The New York Times: In this age of political cowardice and self-dealing, it can be easy to forget that public service is supposed to be a noble calling — one that at times requires people to step up and do hard, scary things. On Tuesday, a former White House ai … | Continue reading | 7 hours ago

Ode To Grapefruit

Isobel Wohl at Astra Magazine: I have never liked grapefruit. They are hard to peel. A friend of mine once used them to practice tattooing: the leathery skin can stand up to the action of the gun, it turns out, plus it holds ink well enough and provides a sizable canvas. I suppos … | Continue reading | 10 hours ago

The Gospel According to Mavis Staples

David Remnick at The New Yorker: Mavis Staples has been a gospel singer longer than Elizabeth II has worn the crown. During concerts, sometimes, she might take a seat and rest while someone in her band bangs out a solo for a chorus or two. No one minds. Her stage presence is so u … | Continue reading | 11 hours ago

Mavis Staples: NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert

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Mary Gaitskill on the deracination of literature

Mary Gaitskill in UnHerd: As a fiction writer who teaches, I often speak about what I love in fiction, what to me makes it powerful and engaging. This is a version of a talk I have been giving for years to students and other interested parties; it is a talk I’ve become — what is… | Continue reading | 1 day ago

Sean Carroll’s Mindscape Podcast: Andrew Papachristos on the Network Theory of Gun Violence

Sean Carroll at Preposterous Universe: The United States is suffering from an epidemic of tragic gun violence. While a political debate rages around the topic of gun control, it remains important to understand the causes and possible remedies for gun violence within the current s … | Continue reading | 1 day ago

Agnes Callard: If I Get Canceled, Let Them Eat Me Alive

Agnes Callard in the New York Times: What should my friends do if I am being canceled? A decade ago, when I was a nonpublic philosopher writing only for a small group of academics, it would never have occurred to me to ask myself this question. But things have changed. These days … | Continue reading | 1 day ago

Is nature friend or foe? Slavoj Žižek and Yuval Noah Harari debate

Watch more videos on | Continue reading | 1 day ago

Does Hungary Offer a Glimpse of Our Authoritarian Future?

Andrew Marantz in The New Yorker: The Republican Party hasn’t adopted a new platform since 2016, so if you want to know what its most influential figures are trying to achieve—what, exactly, they have in mind when they talk about an America finally made great again—you’ll need to … | Continue reading | 1 day ago

A Psychedelic Renaissance at the V.A.

Ernesto Londono in The New York Times: The last known experiment at a Department of Veterans Affairs clinic with psychedelic-assisted therapy started in 1963. That was the year President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. “Surfin’ U.S.A.” topped the music charts, and American troo … | Continue reading | 1 day ago

Tuesday Poem

Unfettered I relinquished you more times than I can count. Holding on is too risky. A tight grasp drains the container, leaving its contents empty. My fingers poised for release, both hands curled against your back, I expect nothing. Anything more is an offering. You have learned … | Continue reading | 1 day ago

Passing Through: On Leonard Cohen

Andrew Martin at The Paris Review: When Leonard Cohen starts singing “Passing Through” on his 1973 Live Songs album, he sounds tentative, like a child who’s been asked to sing a song he learned at school in front of a party of adults. “I saw Jesus on the cross, on a hill called c … | Continue reading | 1 day ago

Hilary Putnam on the Depths & Shallows of Experience

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Please Support 3QD If Possible, Dear Reader

Will you please consider becoming a supporter of 3QD by clicking here now? We wouldn’t ask for your support if we did not need it to keep the site running. And, of course, you will get the added benefit of no longer seeing any distracting ads on the site. Thank you! NEW POSTS BEL … | Continue reading | 2 days ago

Abort All Thought That Life Begins

by Mike Bendzela One tedious outcome of the ascendance of the anti-abortion movement in the United States is having to listen to the tiresome arguments about “the beginning of [human] life.” It’s like being stuck in a dentist’s office waiting for an appointment while nauseating t … | Continue reading | 2 days ago

Monday Poem

Umwelt what I can perceive is the outer limit of what I am there is a universe of unknown dimensions it whirls about me but is not about me I am constrained I ride its hub Jim Culleny 6/22/22 | Continue reading | 2 days ago

How the Industrial Revolution Played Favorites

by Rebecca Baumgartner In his book Enlightenment Now, when discussing the drastic improvements in quality of life over the past several decades, Steven Pinker says that “the liberation of humankind from household labor is in practice the liberation of women from household labor. … | Continue reading | 2 days ago

We Should Fix Climate Change, But We Should Not Regret It

by Thomas R. Wells Climate change is a huge and urgent problem. It is natural to suppose that it is therefore a terrible mistake, an unforced error that we should regret and try to prevent ever happening again. I disagree. Climate change is the unfortunate outcome of the economic … | Continue reading | 2 days ago


Sughra Raza. This Moment … late June 2022. Digital photograph. | Continue reading | 2 days ago

Princely State to Postcoloniality

by Claire Chambers I know Lyn Innes from her career as an eminent postcolonial critic at the University of Kent. Since retirement, Innes has turned her hand to life writing. This is unsurprising when one learns of her unique and fascinating family history. Her book The Last Princ … | Continue reading | 2 days ago


by Michael Abraham I have been told it is a bad thing. I have been told this by doctors and friends and my parents and lovers. They worry over me, worry over me the way a Catholic worries over her rosary. They insist on the medication and the therapy and anything but this feeling … | Continue reading | 2 days ago


by Brooks Riley | Continue reading | 2 days ago

Does Respect for Legal Institutions Ultimately Serve Despots?

by Joseph Shieber More than any other, one article I read last Friday, June 24, brought home to me how difficult it is to maintain respect for the law in the face of injustice. You’re probably thinking that it was one of the articles reporting on the United States Supreme Court’s … | Continue reading | 2 days ago

The Ur-Alternative: Quantum Mechanics As A Theory Of Everything

by Jochen Szangolies At the close of the 20th century, the logical end-point of physics seemed clear: unify all physical phenomena under the umbrella of a single, unique ‘Theory of Everything’ (ToE). Indeed, many were convinced that this goal was well within reach: in his 1980 in … | Continue reading | 2 days ago

Monday Photo

Self-portrait at a wedding last week. | Continue reading | 2 days ago

The Buried Giant, Memory, and the Past

by Derek Neal In last month’s column, I wrote about the opening pages of Philip Roth’s Nemesis, and how Roth creates the backdrop of 1940’s Newark upon which the events of the novel play out. I’m using the words “backdrop” and “play out” intentionally, as these pages really do fu … | Continue reading | 2 days ago

Charaiveti: Journey From India To The Two Cambridges And Berkeley And Beyond, Part 50

by Pranab Bardhan All of the articles in this series can be found here. Some years after Carlos died, another friend and another noted development economist, Hans Binswanger, was diagnosed as HIV-positive. He initially took that as a death sentence and gave away much of the mater … | Continue reading | 2 days ago

The Federal Reserve says its remedies for inflation ‘will cause pain’, but to whom?

Clara Mattei in The Guardian: The Fed’s recipe to bring prices under control will increase the cost of borrowing money, which is good news for creditors, while heavily indebted households that rely on loans for their daily survival will face higher bills. The cost of borrowing wi … | Continue reading | 3 days ago

The Rise And Reign Of The Mammals: A New History, From The Shadow Of The Dinosaurs To Us

Leon Vlieger at The Inquisitive Biologist: Imagine being a successful dinosaur palaeontologist and landing a professorship before you are 40, authoring a leading dinosaur textbook and a New York Times bestseller on dinosaurs. Imagine achieving all that and then saying: “You know … | Continue reading | 3 days ago

How COVID has deepened inequality — in six stark graphics

Saima May Sidik in Nature: The past two years have been particularly challenging for the world’s poorest people, and this is just the beginning. By the end of this year, at least 75 million more people will have been pushed into poverty (living on less than US$1.90 a day) than wa … | Continue reading | 3 days ago

This Rare ‘Hair Ice’ Forms on Dead Wood and Now Scientists Know How

Tamás Varga at Earthly Mission: Hair ice is a type of ice that forms on dead wood and takes the shape of fine, silky hair. Also known as ice wool or frost beard, this natural phenomenon is pretty uncommon, having been reported mostly at latitudes between 45 and 55 °N, in broadlea … | Continue reading | 3 days ago

A history of American thought on abortion: It’s not what you think

Harry Bruinius in The Christian Science Monitor: In a 6-3 majority ruling on Friday, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision giving women the right to abortion. In anticipation of the ruling last week, the Monitor interviewed Geoffrey R. Stone, author of the l … | Continue reading | 3 days ago

America the Merciless

Pamela Paul in The New York Times: As the Fourth of July looms with its flags and its barbecues and its full-throated patriotism, I find myself mulling over the idea of American exceptionalism. What, if anything, makes this country different from other countries, or from the rest … | Continue reading | 3 days ago

Ken Knowlton (1931 – 2022) Computer Graphics Pioneer

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Baxter Black (1945 – 2022) Cowboy Poet

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James Rado (1932 – 2022) Actor And Playwright

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Sunday Poem

Failing and Flying Everyone forgets that Icarus also flew. It’s the same when love comes to an end, or the marriage fails and people say they knew it was a mistake, that everybody said it would never work. That she was old enough to know better. But anything worth doing is worth … | Continue reading | 3 days ago

Radicalizing Human Rights

Zachary Manfredi in Boston Review: In 2017 Senator Bernie Sanders made the Republicans’ tax bill a human rights issue by connecting it to UN Special Rapporteur Philip Alston’s investigation of “extreme poverty” in the United States. Following a meeting with Sanders, Alston castig … | Continue reading | 4 days ago

How Chinese Science Fiction Imagines Our Future

Qiufan Chen | 2041: How Chinese Science Fiction Imagines Our Future from Cornell East Asia Program on Vimeo. | Continue reading | 4 days ago

Can We Make Social Media Safe for Democracy?

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The Ruling Overturning Roe Is an Insult to Women and the Judicial System

The Editorial Board in The New York Times: Even if we knew it was coming, the shock reverberates. For the first time in history, the Supreme Court has eliminated an established constitutional right involving the most fundamental of human concerns: the dignity and autonomy to deci … | Continue reading | 4 days ago

how big business takes on science and wins

Bibi van der Zee in The Guardian: “Playbook” is a term that feels overused at the moment – mostly because of Vladimir Putin’s military adventures. We now know all too well that his playbook, deployed in Chechnya, then Syria, and now Ukraine, involves heavy bombardment of civilian … | Continue reading | 4 days ago