There’s a cognitive bias which supposedly causes emotional disorders, whereby you minimize your own achievements while maximizing those of other people. I feel the authors of Britannia Unchained, a new book about how to save the UK from national decline, suffer from this bias. They are far too pessimistic about the UK’s achievements, while seeing Read more…

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Are we heading for a a new Enlightenment or a new Dark Ages? On the one hand, there are signs that climate change is beginning to have serious impacts on our civilisation. As Bill McKibben writes today in Rolling Stone magazine, May was the hottest month on record for the northern hemisphere, and it was Read more…

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It’s an unlikely YouTube hit. Not sneezing pandas or dancing babies, but a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist talking for three hours about the corporate takeover of the world. I haven’t heard of him before, but former NYT journalist Chris Hedges gives a remarkable performance, discussing with intelligence and a quiet moral rage the over-reaching of American Read more…

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Daniel Batson, the social psychologist, has recently brought out what is probably his defining work on the topic he has studied for 30 years, Altruism In Humans. I bought it after hearing Martha Nussbaum rave about it when she spoke at the RSA in December. She says on the dust jacket that it’s “simply one Read more…

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[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-kRP5x2MsAw]

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