I’ve been running this Link Roundup series for over a year now, having written forty roundups linking to over 600 links I like. For those who don’t know, not only do I list the cool links I found that week, but I list them so the coolest is on the top, and they go in descending order of my interest.
Last time I hit #20, I did a recap roundup of the best links from #1-#20 — every top link from the first twenty roundups was included, and then re-sorted. (The all-time winner was “The Twelve Virtues of Rationality”) Then I did a second recap roundup for #21-30 (and “The Secret Joke of Kant’s Soul” [PDF] won).
Now that #40 is finished, I’m here to recap the best from roundups #31-40:
- Morality – From Heavens or From Nature? [YouTube]: “Dr. Andy Thomson gives a talk on morality at the Atheist Alliance International 2009 Conference in Burbank, California. Dr. Thomson uses Francis Collins’ claim that morality is proof of God as a jumping-off point to discuss what we know about how morality works and where it came from.”
- A Person Paper on Purity in Language: “Perhaps this piece shocks you. It is meant to. The entire point of it is to use something that we find shocking as leverage to illustrate the fact that something that we usually close our eyes to is also very shocking. The most effective way I know to do so is to develop an extended analogy with something known as shocking and reprehensible. Racism is that thing, in this case. I am happy with this piece, despite-but also because of-its shock value. I think it makes its point better than any factual article could.”
- How to Get Your Dream Job: “My assignment was very straightforward. I had forty minutes to talk about what I did, how I came to do it, and what kids could do if they wanted a similar career. That wasn’t enough for me, though. I wanted to have a message bigger than just that—this is the life of a game designer. After much thought, I decided my theme was going to be ‘How To Get Your Dream Job.’ I didn’t just want to talk to the kids about my job, but rather about what my job represented to me. I wanted to explain the holy grail of the job search. I hoped to instill in the kids that, when planning your future, you should aim high.”
- America Isn’t A Corporation : “But there’s a deeper problem in the whole notion that what this nation needs is a successful businessman as president: America is not, in fact, a corporation. Making good economic policy isn’t at all like maximizing corporate profits. And businessmen — even great businessmen — do not, in general, have any special insights into what it takes to achieve economic recovery. Why isn’t a national economy like a corporation? For one thing, there’s no simple bottom line. For another, the economy is vastly more complex than even the largest private company.”
- How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic: “Below is a listing of all the articles to be found in the “How to Talk to a Climate Sceptic” guide, presented as a handy one-stop shop for all the material you should need to rebut the more common anti-global warming science arguments constantly echoed across the internet.”
- The Order of Things – What College Rankings Really Tell Us: “There is no right answer to how much weight a ranking system should give to these two competing values. It’s a matter of which educational model you value more—and here, once again, U.S. News makes its position clear. It gives twice as much weight to selectivity as it does to efficacy. It favors the Yale model over the Penn State model, which means that the Yales of the world will always succeed at the U.S. News rankings because the U.S. News system is designed to reward Yale-ness.”
- Spreading the Wealth Around – Reflections Inspired by Joe the Plumber [PDF]: “This essay discusses the policy debate concerning optimal taxation and the distribution of income. It begins with a brief overview of trends in income inequality, the leading hypothesis to explain these trends, and the distribution of the tax burden. It then considers the normative question of how the tax system should be designed. The conventional utilitarian framework is found to be wanting, as it leads to prescriptions that conflict with many individuals’ moral intuitions. The essay then explores an alternative normative framework, dubbed the Just Deserts Theory, according to which an individual’s compensation should reflect his or her social contribution.”
- A Self-Referential Game of Twister – What Religion Looks Like From the Outside: “Here’s the thing, Rev. Cawley. I’m not dying to continue the point-counterpoint debate on the points you raised. Instead, I want to step back for a moment and give you an idea of what your arguments sound like to someone who isn’t already a Christian. Not just to someone who’s a pretty convinced atheist, but to someone who doesn’t know what they think one way or another, who’s looking at different religious beliefs and deciding what to think. You seem to be at least somewhat sincere about wanting to understand non-believers, and I want to give you, and other believers, an idea of what religion — and religious apologetics — looks like to us.”
- Some Mistakes of Scripture – When the Bible Gets the Bible Wrong: “As most atheists are well aware, fundamentalist Christians generally treat the Bible as a perfect, self-contained whole: missing nothing, containing no errors, and every word written by the infallible inspiration of God. [...But t]he Bible is not the flawless, self-contained whole they imagine it to be: the text convicts itself of this, by repeatedly quoting and referring to other writings, evidently considered in their own day to be just as canonical as the surviving ones, but that are now long lost or have long since been rejected as pious forgeries. Nor were the Bible’s authors the inspired, divinely guided saints of Christian myth; on the contrary, they were as fallible and forgetful as any other human being. We can see proof of this in the mistakes they made – mistakes that are preserved in the text as we have it today.”
- The Higgs Boson: Why You Should Care: “Tiny particles visible for fractions of a second? Turns out the implications are a very big deal for how we understand the planet, the universe, and ourselves.”
I now blog at EverydayUtilitarian.com. I hope you'll join me at my new blog! This page has been left as an archive.