New this week on F&O

In Commentary:

protest-455714_1280A new age of ignorance, by Tom Regan

Ordinarily, it would be laughable for a U.S. Republican senator to throw a snowball in the chamber, as did climate change denier James Inhofe, and say that recent cold temperatures in Washington, D.C., prove that climate change was a hoax. But Inhofe is the head of the Senate’s Environment and Public Works committee, which means he gets to highly influence American policy about climate change. It is like a member of the Ku Klux Klan being appointed the head of a anti-racism committee.

Yankee Seamen on Fresh Water, Part 2 of a three-part series on the War of 1812, by Jim McNiven

America did not need control over the lower Great Lakes to access their communities to the extent that the British did, except for two spots. The first was the Niagara area, where inconclusive battles were fought mostly on the British side. The second was the western end of Lake Erie and its feeder, the Detroit River.

In Arts:

 From Shakespeare to “Blue Bloods”: Len Cariou, by Brian Brennan

By envisioning King Lear’s age as “four score and upward,” Shakespeare created a great role for an actor to play in the autumn of his career. So wasn’t Len Cariou, at age 44, a bit young for the part? In fact, he told me, he had already done it. Ten years earlier, when he was only 34, Cariou had played Lear at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. That made him one of the youngest actors ever to play the part. 

Zombies for a globalized, risk-conscious world. By Joseph Gillings

Bookshops, cinemas and TVs are dripping with the pustulating debris of zombies. And it is no coincidence that our societies are also  dominated by an overarching anxiety reflecting the risk associated with each unpredictable scientific development.

Oscars’ snub to world cinema reveals outdated worldview. By Stephanie Dennison

 By privileging English-language production, the Oscars promote an incredibly old-fashioned worldview in which UK, Australian and Irish films, for example, are not “foreign.” It’s a preposterous notion, proposed, lest we forget, by a private enterprise whose function it is to promote American movies (the Motion Picture Association of America), but we all play along. A whopping 83 countries played along in 2015 and submitted entries for the competition.


15097510784_73bcc4b2e6RAJENDRA PACHAURI: Defended climate science, resigned amid sex scandal. By Marianne Lavelle

Rajendra Pachauri, who resigned Tuesday from chairmanship of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change amid charges of sexual harassment, presided over the international effort to forge consensus on climate change during eight years in which the science grew stronger, but so did the attacks.

Flash Crash jitters: high-speed trading. By  Andrei Kirilenko

The transition from human to electronic trading came with the promise of using faster and cheaper technology to drastically lower the costs of trading shares and to make it much easier to determine the most up-to-date prices for all market participants (commonly known as price discovery). But with all that speed, automation and complexity comes the risk that a string of problematic ones and zeros could cause a market meltdown, even if only a temporary one.  

14743452312_ca04c8cebe_zNet Neutrality may face uphill battle. By  Leticia Miranda, ProPublica

The United States Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 for a proposal today that effectively bars Internet companies from prioritizing some Internet traffic over others. As John Oliver famously explained ”ending net neutrality would allow big companies to buy their way into the fast lane, leaving everyone else in the slow lane.” The FCC’s proposal faces plenty of opposition from telecom companies and others, but it’s just the latest round in a long fight.


In case you missed it:

BRIAN BRENNAN– Brief Encounters (paywall) 

From Shakespeare to “Blue Bloods”: Len Cariou
One Playwright’s Homage to Another: Tennessee Williams
The clown prince of music: Victor Borge 
Absolutely Fabulous: Sophia Loren

JONATHAN MANTHORPE — International Affairs  (paywall)

Jonathan Manthorpe is on assignment and will return March 13. Meanwhile, in case you missed these columns:

Boko Haram heaps electoral bad luck on Goodluck Jonathan 
Co-opted judiciary sentences Malaysia’s Anwar Ibrahim to 5 years 
Truth of Franco-Taiwanese bribery scandal dies with arms-broker

CHRIS WOOD — Natural Security (paywall)

The Reichsmarschall’s Apprentices 
Thinking Outside the Pipe: Reflections on flood season
Davos: Pantomimes of Concern From the One Percent 


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