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For posts before June 2012, please follow these links to our archives.

Skin of Dust

James P. Lenfestey EARTH IN ANGER
Minnesota poet James P. Lenfestey's "Skin of Dust" offers an aerial view of our environmental holocaust, the Earth as a living body endangered.

`Rise of the Robots' and `Shadow Work'

Barbara Ehrenreich New York Times Book Review
Even the most expensively educated - Lawyers, radiologists and software designers, among others - have seen their work evaporate to India or China. Tasks that would seem to require a distinctively human capacity for nuance are increasingly assigned to algorithms, like the ones currently being introduced to grade essays on college exams.

My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me: A Black Woman Discovers Her Family's Nazi Past

Charles S. Weinblatt New York Journal of Books
In these days of heightened discussion about "race" and racism, it is useful to keep reminding ourselves about the contingency of racial categories. Jennifer Teege is a German author who is the daughter of a Nigerian father and German mother. In her search for origins, she found that her grandfather was an officer in the SS who ran a World War II concentration camp. Charles S. Weinblatt reviews this harrowing tale of cross-racial family discovery.

'The Trials Of Spring' Documentary Project Amplifies Voices Of Women In The Arab Spring

Nick Robbins-Early Huffington Post
Six short films profile nine women across Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Syria, Bahrain and Yemen, with each detailing their journey through uprisings and crackdowns. While each story is unique, they often share an arc similar to the larger political developments of the post-revolution countries in the region, where an initial hope for change is quashed by increasing repression and conflict.

Why Are You a Picky Eater?

Brian Handwerk
The complicated science behind picky eating is giving experts plenty of food for thought.

Gender and Identity in the Wachowskis' "Sense8" on Netflix

Sara Stewart Women and Hollywood
Eight strangers around the globe are psychically linked after experiencing violent visions involving a woman (Daryl Hannah) unknown to any of them. The eight characters are about as diverse as you can get in terms of location, culture, race, economic situation, sexual orientation and occupation. As Lana Wachowski put it in an interview with io9 earlier this year, the show is "trying to get at the human question of how are we the same, and how are we different.


Philip C. Kolin The New Verse News
Mississippi poet Philip C. Kolin sees analogies between the recent wave of police shootings and the old Fugitive Slave Act.

Wising Up to the Wise Men of American Foreign Policy

Jeet Heer New Republic
Propping up dictators, rigging elections and aligning with some of the world's more unsavory characters is an accurate description of U.S. foreign policy past and present. It's also a fair characterization of the narrow gamut of thinking for both the wise oracles who urge containment and the hawks promoting armed confrontation. The book focuses on these elite policy makers who have become not just complacent with, but complicit in, U.S. hegemonic crimes worldwide.