A history of the debate (putting it very mildly) in the West on the proper role of religion in politics. Lilla uses the Great Separation to name the period, beginning with Hobbes, in which the idea that religion and politics should be separate began to take shape and recounts the different thinkers who advanced this idea that eventually came to be the default assumption in the West. But, as Lilla shows, this idea was never inevitable and is not now irreversible. The “Stillborn” in the title refers to an early 20th century attempt by liberal thinkers and theologians in Germany to bring politics and religion back together. Though it never took hold and was swept away by the events of the second world war, it demonstrates how a religiously-infused politics will always be a “live” idea.
This is a very good reference to Clojure, I can recommend it for anyone wanting to learn the language. I like a lot of the ideas in Clojure and it’s well worth learning the basics just to be introduced to them. Ultimately, I found I just didn’t find the language as compelling as some others I’ve learned recently like Erlang and Go, which seem to require a smaller mental model to work in.
A lovely sequence of short but dense meditations on the deeper significance of selected English words. Very rewarding, but best read slowly.
Oddly reminiscent of The Tender Bar this collection of sort-of-sci-fi stories from Amazing is pretty entertaining and has spots of very good writing. It tends to descend into the cornball a little too much for my taste.
The extraordinary story of the blind stumble of Japan’s government and military into its disastrous war with the US during World War II. I had no idea how easily this could have been averted, and how many people at the top of Japan’s leadership were aware of the likely disastrous outcome. A fascinating and tragic account of institutional and collective decision making gone horribly wrong.
Just to let you know, krondo.com will be offline much of tomorrow for a server migration.
What a strange species is the particle physicist. Generally brilliant (pretty much a requirement to work in the field at all), they also seem to get big helpings of eccentricity, bluntness, and arrogance. Combine that with the intense competitiveness of the field along with the general weirdness that is modern particle theory and you get one of the more unique sub-cultures of our time. The author does an excellent job of portraying not just Gell-Mann, the subject of this biography, but also many of the people he worked with in the field and the developments in particle physics that Gell-Mann did so much to usher along. Great read.