My media week 09/10/11

October 9, 2011

On his blog Stephen Fry paid tribute to Steve Jobs

John Gray Is not convinced by Steven Pinker’s book The Better Angels of Our Nature: the Decline of Violence in History and Its Causes. In Prospect Magazine he argues against  Delusions of peace. I intend to read it soon and I will give you my opinion as to whether the world is becoming a less violent place.

On BBC Radio 4’s In Our Time Melvyn Bragg and guests discussed the work of the Scottish Enlightenment philosopher David Hume. He was sceptical of religion and was suspected of being an atheist. His analysis of miracles is something that influenced my thinking.

My media week 02/10/11

October 1, 2011

Edge has an interview with Steven Pinker talking about his latest book Better Angels Of Our Nature: How Violence Has Declined

In the Irish Independent David McWilliams argues that it’s time for Ireland to default:: Why the markets would thank us for defaulting.

In Spiked Tim Black is unconvinced by Fairtrade products: Why Fairtrade is an unfair deal.

In a new four-part BBC series, The Philosopher’s Arms, Matthew Sweet examines philosophical problems with a live audience in a pub. The four topics of this series are:

  1. The Experience Machine
  2. A Robot Daughter
  3. The Ultimatum Game
  4. Moral Disgust

My media week 25/09/11

September 24, 2011

The BBC has produced an eight-hour dramatisation of Life and Fate by Vasily Grossman. The adaptation, which features, Kenneth Branagh and David Tennant, will be broadcast from 18 to 25 September on Radio 4.  Life and Fate, which is set in the battle of Stalingrad, charts the fate of both a nation and a family in the turmoil of war. It has been compared to War and Peace. The Soviet authorities did not share this opinion and the book itself was arrested.

To mark the Pontiff’s visit to Germany Der Spiegel has an interview with dissident theologian Hans Küng: ‘A Putinization of the Catholic Church’

On BBC Radio 4’s Analysis Jamie Whyte investigates riots. The programme opens with the following premise:

Smashing things, running amok, making mayhem: something about riotous behaviour delights us, especially when we’re young.  Getting a flat-screen television, a pair of trainers or a bottle of vodka without paying for it is also nice.  Which makes it strange that, in the weeks following last month’s riots, everyone was asking how they could have happened.  As Roger Scruton, the philosopher and social commentator points out, this question arises from the wrong assumption:

Riots, that is the normal condition of human beings. What needs explaining is why they don’t occur, not why they do occur!  And they don’t occur in England, on the whole.  That is an important observation.

I like contrarian stuff and I was surprised to see this piece in Spiked about Real Madrid defender, Pepe: Football is not just for ballerinas.

My media week 18/09/11

September 18, 2011

Nature looks at the attemps by neuroscientists to undermine free will: Neuroscience vs philosophy: Taking aim at free will.

Misha Glenny, author of McMafia: A Journey Through the Global Criminal Underworld, was at the RSA  talking about  the three fundamental threats facing us in the 21st century: cyber crime, cyber warfare and cyber industrial espionage. The talk is Dark Market: Cyber thieves, cyber cops and you.

Over the summer I saw this video of a four-year-old evangelical preacher, Kanon Tipton.

I enjoyed this news review from The Onion.

My media week 26/06/11

June 26, 2011

The New York Review of Books has a two part feature critical of the epidemic of mental illness: P1, P2.

Spiked criticises the narcissism of the Primark haters.

On In Our Time Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the ideas of Thomas Malthus, the Victorian clergyman whose work, ‘An Essay on the Principle of Population’, forecast that soon the population would outstrip food supply.

My media week 19/06/11

June 18, 2011

In Perverted Justice Jacob Sullum argues that sex offender laws represent the triumph of outrage over reason: Perverted Justice.

In Spiked Brendan O’Neill attacks the media’s role in the fake blogger debacle: Why so many hacks fell for the “gay girl in Syria.”

ABC’s The Philosopher’s Zone looks at some of the most villains in science fiction – the Daleks. What constitutes evil and why do the Daleks represent a very specific idea about rationality and morality? The evil of the Daleks.

My media week 12/06/11

June 12, 2011

On The Infinite Monkey Cage Robin Ince and Brian Cox were joined by Stephen Fry, Simon Singh and Aleks Krotoski to discuss the maths behind 6 degrees of separation and whether there is something special about Kevin Bacon that seems to make him so well connected.

I regularly feature the blog Dollars and Sex. To celebrate her 100th post, Marina Adshade has a retrospective of the fifteen most popular posts to have appeared here over the past ten months. These include:

What Explains the Lesbian Wage Premium?

Why Aren’t Porn Stars Paid More?

Prostitution Paradox: Regulating Brothels Can Spread Disease.

Free Porn Lowers Rape Rates Apparently had anthropologist Grant McCracken on How Cultural Innovation Happens.

My media week 05/06/11

June 4, 2011

In the New Yorker magazine Louis Menand asks if American students are actually learning anything at university: Why we have college. features is about how a famous Pulitzer-winning playwright turn to the political right: David Mamet’s Conversion Story

BBC Radio 4’sThe Food Programme asked if the Great British food renaissance was over: The Real Food Debate.

And on the same channel The Infinite Monkey Cage, the science/comedy chat show looked at What Don’t We Know.

My media week 29/05/11

May 28, 2011

BBC’S Great Lives had a profile of Harold Pinter featuring critic and biographer Michael Billington and Diane Abbott MP, who chose him for her great life. Her contention that he was right on every big political question is not one I share.

The RSA featured a talk by philosopher Julian Baggini looking at what the self is: What Does it Mean to be You?

In his blog Frontal Cortex Jonah Lerner looks at memory reconsolidation: Ads Implant False Memories

According toThe Daily Mash the recent threat of the End of Days would have made little difference to Britain: Biblical apocalypse leaves much of Britain unchanged.

My media week 22/05/11

May 22, 2011

The National Post looks at William Shakespeare: The most influential man in history.

In this Randian video, The Morality of Profit, Tom Palmer argues that Bill Gates doesn’t have to give back anything because he didn’t steal it.  

Finally The Onion has Government Official Who Makes Perfectly Valid, Well-Reasoned Point Against Israel Forced To Resign.