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————————— 1. Gulliver's Travels By Jonathan Swift 1726 One component of curmudgeonliness is the Cold Eye, seeing humanity plain. Jonathan Swift saw us rather too plain. The "savage indignation" he wrote of in his own epitaph was rooted in the disgust, physical and moral, he felt toward people. His famous satire Gulliver's Travels — about... Read More
Plastic Fantastic: How the Biggest Fraud in Physics Shook the Scientific World, by Eugenie Samuel Reich
Like other complex human enterprises, science has a "front" and a "back." The model here is a restaurant. In the front, waiters in spotless uniforms glide between tables murmuring suggestions and delivering exquisitely arranged platters. Meanwhile, the kitchen — the back — is a chaos of noise, heat, haste, breakage and rancor. Now and then... Read More
The Numerati, by Stephen Baker
The world is buried in data, great banks and drifts of the stuff. In recent years a new technology has emerged: computer programs that will drill through it all to pick out hidden patterns and trends — information that may be useful to marketers, politicians, employers, doctors, match-makers, or national-security analysts. Such programs are extraordinarily... Read More
Send, by David Shipley and Will Schwalbe
One of the basic rules of good manners hammered into me at an early age was: Don't impose! If one were to see a famous person in the street, for instance, it would be quite wrong to impose on that person's time and privacy by introducing oneself. It often seems to me that advances in... Read More
I Am a Strange Loop, by Douglas R. Hofstadter
Consciousness — what on earth is it? Most of us, if pressed on the matter, would confess a vague dualism. There is, we would say, mind-stuff and matter-stuff. Though non-physical, mind-stuff can push matter-stuff around somehow. Further, mind-stuff comes in discrete units, each unit attached in some more or less inextricable way to the brain... Read More
Calvin Coolidge, by David Greenberg
While Calvin Coolidge will probably never make the top ten in those rankings of our presidents that emerge periodically from academic surveys, his reputation has been considerably rehabilitated over the past 40 years from the depths to which the New Deal historians consigned it. His strengths as chief executive are now appreciated, and the immense... Read More
Talk to the Hand, by Lynne Truss
A stock character in the science-fiction stories of the 1950s was the lone telepath who went through life hearing the endless babble of other people's thoughts. Sometimes the telepath could shut off the din by an act of will. In those stories where he could not, I always found myself wondering: Wouldn't he go crazy... Read More
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John Derbyshire
About John Derbyshire

John Derbyshire writes an incredible amount on all sorts of subjects for all kinds of outlets. (This no longer includes National Review, whose editors had some kind of tantrum and fired him. He is the author of We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism and several other books. His most recent book, published by VDARE.com com is FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT (also available in Kindle).His writings are archived at JohnDerbyshire.com.