Arendt and Sontag on Conservatism, Romanticism, and ‘Interesting’ Politics

Last week at Brooklyn College, the Wolfe Institute‘s Spring 2012 Faculty Study Group met to discuss Corey Robin‘s The Reactionary Mind, which aims to identify substantive theses central to that political tradition by way of an intellectual history of conservatism; more precisely, by close readings of some central works of the conservative canon. (The Faculty Study GroupContinue reading “Arendt and Sontag on Conservatism, Romanticism, and ‘Interesting’ Politics”

The FBI, Elaborate Entrapment and Hannah Arendt on Secret Police

David Shipler writes in today’s New York Times about an interesting aspect of a series of ‘lethal terrorist plots’ that have been successfully interdicted by the nation’s law enforcement agencies: [These] dramas were facilitated by the F.B.I., whose undercover agents and informers posed as terrorists offering a dummy missile, fake C-4 explosives, a disarmed suicideContinue reading “The FBI, Elaborate Entrapment and Hannah Arendt on Secret Police”

Hyman Strachman the Pirate AKA Troops Supporter

Hyman Strachman is a pirate. But he doesn’t fly the Jolly Roger, drink rum, hop around on a pegleg with a cutlass tucked neatly into a cummerbund, board ships while yelling “aarrr!” or call anyone a ‘scurvy bilge rat.’ Rather, he buys DVDs, makes multiple copies of them using a ‘duplicator’ and ships them toContinue reading “Hyman Strachman the Pirate AKA Troops Supporter”

The Real Social Software: ‘Crowd Solutions’ To Co-ordination Problems

Consider a familiar, mundane, urban situation: You walk into an ATM vestibule in a bank. Your arrival has been preceded by other customers. No queue exists. But a ‘queue’ forms nevertheless and it deploys a simple algorithm: You simply wait till everyone that was there before you takes his or her turn. You don’t careContinue reading “The Real Social Software: ‘Crowd Solutions’ To Co-ordination Problems”

Buber, Eichmann, and the Death Penalty

As part of the discussion generated by my posts on the death penalty (prompted by the Anders Behring Breivik case; here and here), my colleague, the brilliant Noson Yanofsky, wrote in to say, This reminds me of Martin Buber’s fight to keep Israel from executing Eichmann. His reasoning was not practical but moral. He lost the fightContinue reading “Buber, Eichmann, and the Death Penalty”

The Death Penalty Revisited

My post on Anders Behring Breivik and the argument his case provided against death penalty sparked some very interesting responses. Will Schenk described an interesting–and from the sound of it, extremely disturbing–meeting with a person whom he felt ‘deserved’ to be destroyed. I don’t think I’m exaggerating; please correct me if so. For Will did say,Continue reading “The Death Penalty Revisited”

Video Games and Literature: Producers of Social Dysfunction?

In the December 20th 2010 issue of The New Yorker, Nick Paumgarten wrote a profile of the video-game designer Shigeru Miyamoto (creator of, according to Wikipedia–“some of the most successful video game franchises of all time, including Mario, Donkey Kong, The Legend of Zelda, Star Fox, F-Zero, Pikmin, and the Wii series“). In the course of that article, Paumgarten wrote that games, regardless of how much we mayContinue reading “Video Games and Literature: Producers of Social Dysfunction?”

Robot Graders: A Professor’s Delight?

Over at Concurring Opinions, Deven Desai makes note of an interesting study–whose details I have not yet had the time to investigate–underwritten by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and conducted by a team of “experts in educational measurement and assessment, led by Dr. Mark Shermis, dean of the College of Education at The UniversityContinue reading “Robot Graders: A Professor’s Delight?”

We Robot 2012 – UAVs and a Pilot-Free World

Day Two at the We Robot 2012 conference at the University of Miami Law School. Amir Rahmani‘s presentation Micro Aerial Vehicles: Opportunity or Liability? prompted a set of thoughts sparked by the idea of planes not flown by human beings, and in turn, the idea of an aviator-free world.  It has been some 109 years sinceContinue reading “We Robot 2012 – UAVs and a Pilot-Free World”

We Robot 2012 – Day One

I am posting today from the University of Miami Law School, which is staging the We Robot 2012 conference. I presented and discussed Patrick Hubbard’s (University of South Carolina Law School) Regulation of Liability for Risks of Physical Injury From “Sophisticated Robots”. Presenting someone else’s work presents a difficult challenge; thanks to being an academicContinue reading “We Robot 2012 – Day One”