"If this history is right, the American political divide may have arisen not so much from different conceptions of human nature as from differences in how best to tame it. The North and coasts are extensions of Europe and continued the government-driven civilizing process that had been gathering momentum since the Middle Ages. The South and West preserved the culture of honor that emerged in the anarchic territories of the growing country, tempered by their own civilizing forces of churches, families and temperance."

Forum panelist Steven Pinker on why ideology and geography cluster into red and blue states. 

Read the entire article here

"This is the most exciting time to be alive."

President Bill Clinton at The Connecticut Forum. 

March 16, 2012

notasenator:

Neil deGrasse Tyson Lists 8 (Free) Books Every Intelligent Person Should Read

A Reddit.com user posed the question to Neil deGrasse Tyson: “Which books should be read by every single intelligent person on the planet?”
Below, you will find the book list offered up by the astrophysicist, director of the Hayden Planetarium, and popularizer of science. Where possible, we have included links to free versions of the books, all taken from our Free Audio Books and Free eBooks collections.
If you’re looking for a more extensive list of essential works, don’t miss The Harvard Classics, a 51 volume series that you can now download online.
1.) The Bible (eBook) - “to learn that it’s easier to be told by others what to think and believe than it is to think for yourself.”
2.) The System of the World by Isaac Newton (eBook) – “to learn that the universe is a knowable place.”
3.) On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin (eBook – Audio Book) - “to learn of our kinship with all other life on Earth.”
4.) Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift (eBook – Audio Book) – “to learn, among other satirical lessons, that most of the time humans are Yahoos.”
5.) The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine (eBook – Audio Book) – “to learn how the power of rational thought is the primary source of freedom in the world.”
6.) The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith (eBook – Audio Book) - “to learn that capitalism is an economy of greed, a force of nature unto itself.”
7.) The Art of War by Sun Tsu (eBook – Audio Book) - “to learn that the act of killing fellow humans can be raised to an art.”
8.) The Prince by Machiavelli (eBook – Audio Book) - “to learn that people not in power will do all they can to acquire it, and people in power will do all they can to keep it.”
Tyson concludes by saying: “If you read all of the above works you will glean profound insight into most of what has driven the history of the western world.”
H/T goes to Galley Cat

notasenator:

Neil deGrasse Tyson Lists 8 (Free) Books Every Intelligent Person Should Read

A Reddit.com user posed the question to Neil deGrasse Tyson: “Which books should be read by every single intelligent person on the planet?”

Below, you will find the book list offered up by the astrophysicist, director of the Hayden Planetarium, and popularizer of science. Where possible, we have included links to free versions of the books, all taken from our Free Audio Books and Free eBooks collections.

If you’re looking for a more extensive list of essential works, don’t miss The Harvard Classics, a 51 volume series that you can now download online.

1.) The Bible (eBook) - “to learn that it’s easier to be told by others what to think and believe than it is to think for yourself.”

2.) The System of the World by Isaac Newton (eBook) – “to learn that the universe is a knowable place.”

3.) On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin (eBookAudio Book) - “to learn of our kinship with all other life on Earth.”

4.) Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift (eBookAudio Book) – “to learn, among other satirical lessons, that most of the time humans are Yahoos.”

5.) The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine (eBookAudio Book) – “to learn how the power of rational thought is the primary source of freedom in the world.”

6.) The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith (eBookAudio Book) - “to learn that capitalism is an economy of greed, a force of nature unto itself.”

7.) The Art of War by Sun Tsu (eBookAudio Book) - “to learn that the act of killing fellow humans can be raised to an art.”

8.) The Prince by Machiavelli (eBookAudio Book) - “to learn that people not in power will do all they can to acquire it, and people in power will do all they can to keep it.”

Tyson concludes by saying: “If you read all of the above works you will glean profound insight into most of what has driven the history of the western world.”

H/T goes to Galley Cat

(Source: briangefrich, via brooklynmutt)

"I will not wait to love as best as I can. We thought we were young and that there would be time to love well sometime in the future. This is a terrible way to think. It is no way to live, to wait to love."

— Dave Eggers, What is the What

Dave Eggers on his incredible, inspiring tutoring center, 826 Valencia. 

"The discrepancy between the panic generated by terrorism and the deaths generated by terrorism is no accident. Panic is the whole point of terrorism, as the root of the word makes clear: “Terror” refers to a psychological state, not an enemy or an event. The effects of terrorism depend completely on the psychology of the audience. Terrorists are communicators, seeking publicity and attention, which they manufacture through fear."

- Steven Pinker, past Forum panelist

Pinker’s piece is a part of a compilation of essays in the Chronicle of Higher Education reflecting on the anniversary of September 11. You can see all of Pinker’s piece, as well as other pieces by influential thinkers, here

Majora Carter in a brilliant, emotional TED Talk where she discusses her fight for environmental justice. 

She’ll join us for Our Fragile Earth on May 5. 

"You can’t believe in progress if you think you are perfect."

Anne-Marie Slaughter, first female director of Policy Planning for the State Department, and our guest at the Global Affairs Forum in October. 

Watch the entire interview, here

Tomorrow, we start making panelist announcements, beginning with the Global Affairs Forum

Any guesses? 

"The larger question is this: Do we try to balance budget deficits just by cutting antipoverty initiatives, college scholarships and other investments in young people and our future? Or do we also seek tax increases from those best able to afford them?"

Nicholas Kristof

Read the entire article here