We get sliced and sliced into smaller and smaller groups, each with its own group of pundits, publications, and Facebook memes. And as advertising mixes with propaganda mixes with actual reporting we can’t tell the difference anymore. It’s a never-ending scorched earth campaign, made possible because harming trust and encouraging tribalism is economically rewarded. In other words, the economic incentives of news directly contribute to the divisiveness of our country.
James Gleick wrote one of my favorite books ever – The Information – and so it was an easy decision to purchase his latest, Time Travel: A History. The book flirts with the physics but focuses on the cultural history of technology-assisted time travel, which Gleick documents as originating in the 1800’s, propelled out of the ether by the discovery of deep time. Gleick spares no illusion that time travel could be a physical possibility, but dwells in the romantic appeal. While information-wise this book isn’t quite as compelling as the work noted earlier, it’s an abundantly fun read from one of the best contemporary science writers.
What a fun read! Klosterman, he of cocoa puffs and sex fame, writes with such verve in But What If We’re Wrong? that you feel as if you’re right there alongside him for his interrogation of various too-close-to-question beliefs – gravity, liberal democracy, the best rock-and-roll musician, etc. Klosterman doesn’t necessarily bring historical weight to his book, but that’s the beauty of it, an enthusiastic fool asking the questions others are too “smart” to consider. Dee-light-ful.