Hospitality from the Front Porch.” Bethany Hebbard describes how a front porch lifestyle promotes genuine hospitality: “If you actually have a front porch or balcony, then I what I am about to say should apply to those literal spaces. However, fret not if you don’t have a real porch. What I mean by front-porch hospitality requires only that you create some kind outdoor (or semi-outdoor) space into a beautiful, useful “porch” that invites the integration of your inside (private) life with the outside (public) world. Create a space where you and your family or friends are excited to spend time; dedicate certain activities to that space; and then watch and pray for ways to invite strangers into that space as an act of loving welcome.”

Counting the Cost of Progress.” Mary Harrington questions the foundations of the religion of progress and proposes we accept limits as a means of pursuing genuine freedom: “We need to re-imagine marriage as the enabling condition for radical solidarity between the sexes, and as the smallest possible unit of resistance to overwhelming economic, cultural, and political pressure to be lone atoms in a market. Households formed on this model can work together both economically and socially on the common business of living, whether that’s agricultural, artisanal, knowledge-based, or a mix of all these.”

An Exile’s Suitcase.” I take the occasion of A.E. Stallings’s new selected poems to articulate their wise vision: “To borrow an analogy from [one] of her poems, she makes music on an Old-World violin, its sound box like an ‘exile’s suitcase’ whose emptiness provides the possibility for resonant music. For Stallings, the proper response to death and loss is redemptive, restorative art.”

San Francisco is a Postcard from a Driverless Car Future. Here’s What it’s Like..” Heather Kelly describes the challenges people confront when they have to share the road with robot cars: “For the most part, Cruise and Waymo’s empty cars move like diligent if nervous student drivers, never exceeding the speed limit, coming to a full stop at stop signs and hitting the brakes at the slightest hint of a problem.”

On Frontier of New ‘Gold Rush,’ Quest for Coveted EV Metals Yields Misery.” Rachel Chason and Chloe Sharrock look at how the boom in electric cars is transforming life in Guinea: “The breathtaking demand for EVs — which typically require six times the mineral input by weight of their fossil-fuel-burning counterparts just to make them go — is driving a new “gold rush” for an array of metals, including bauxite, nickel, lithium and manganese, needed to build and power them. But while EVs are widely considered essential for global efforts to tackle climate change, the costs and unintended consequences of securing these minerals have often been overlooked.”

“‘The Godfather of A.I.’ Leaves Google and Warns of Danger Ahead.” Cade Metz profiles another leading AI researcher who is having second thoughts about what is being unleashed: “Dr. Hinton said that when people used to ask him how he could work on technology that was potentially dangerous, he would paraphrase Robert Oppenheimer, who led the U.S. effort to build the atomic bomb: ‘When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it.’ He does not say that anymore.”

Reconstruction: Paul Kingsnorth & Mary Harrington.” Kingsnorth and Harrington will be in conversation in a couple of weeks in London; livestream options are available for those who are interested. Kingsnorth is also speaking the following evening for UnHerd. (Recommended by Bernard Franceschi.)

Rainfall Sparks Electric Chatter Among Forest Mushrooms.” Mushrooms in forests act different than mushrooms in a lab: “A study in the forest on Laccaria bicolor mushrooms, a type of ectomycorrhizal fungi, has revealed that these mushrooms generate fluctuating electrical signals after rainfall, with evidence of signal transport among nearby mushrooms. This finding, which is a departure from previous lab-based studies, suggests the possibility of communication through electrical signals among fungi and potentially with trees, opening new avenues for research in fungal electrical potentials in their natural habitats.”

Britain needs King Charles the Weird.” Aris Roussinos takes stock of the symbolic meaning of Britain’s new king: “the King represents two divergent paths for Britain’s future. To supporters like myself, inclined to hail him — partly seriously and partly ironically — as a post-liberal figurehead, a champion of small family farms and a lost way of life, the King may still signal a renaissance of sorts. To his detractors, he represents all that is wrong with the 21st-century establishment.”

How Karl Hess went from Mr. ‘Ultra-Conservative’ to supporter of the New Left.” Bill Kauffman chronicles the delightful anti-partisan example of Karl Hess: “As with virtually every political movement, from feminism to Conservatism, Inc., the very worst people clawed their way to the top, which explains why Karl became a cheerful exponent of anti-politics and extreme decentralism. As he liked to say, Adolf Hitler as chancellor of Germany was a nightmare; Adolf Hitler at a town meeting would just be an asshole.”

Akenfield, by Ronald Blythe.” Jane Psmith wrestles with the placed imagination of the late Blythe: “The social trends already at work in 1967 have only accelerated since 2006, and I would hate to learn that the smithy was turned into a gas station or the little farm with its stream has been replaced by a two-thousand-pig factory. I would prefer, instead, to maintain the profound ambivalence, the superposition of states, that Akenfield creates: gratitude for technological progress and material prosperity, sorrow for the loss of a world that was knowable and ours.” (Recommended by Rob Grano.)

Hire the Farm Girl.” A recent meeting causes Brian Miller to reflect on the holistic formation that the responsibilities and work of farm life offer to children.

Ideas in Progress: Elizabeth Stice on Teaching Hitler’s Germany, Thinking about Place, and Reading for a Well-Balanced Life… Oh, and Her New Book!” Current Pub talks with regular FPR contributor Elizabeth Stice about her intellectual interests and current book projects.

Being Real.” Sarah Soltis describes how one social media platform—Be Real—is in fact detrimental to the authenticity it promotes: “Social media testifies to our inborn intuition that identity is communal, but ultimately twists our communal, dialogical nature toward the end of self-creation.”

Restoration, Not Representation.” Jessica Hooten Wilson envisions education as restorative: “Classical education is a restoration movement that takes stock of where we are now by learning from where we’ve come.”

We Must Declare Jihad Against A.I..” Michael Cuenco outlines his reasoning for reining in AI to foster human goods (and he even includes a reference to Melville’s Clarel): “A more commensurate response to AI would place concerns over the livelihoods and material well-being of citizens at the forefront of the debate, where they might serve as counterpoints to the still-dominant narrative about AI’s supposed inevitability and indispensability.”

AI Is About to Make Social Media (Much) More Toxic.” Jonathan Haidt and Eric Schmidt describe how AI will worsen the dangers of social media, and they propose five policies that might make our online fora more healthy: “No AI today could be described by either part of the phrase evil genius. But whatever actions AIs may one day take if they develop their own desires, they are already being used instrumentally by social-media companies, advertisers, foreign agents, and regular people—and in ways that will deepen many of the pathologies already inherent in internet culture.”

Local Culture
Local Culture
Local Culture
Local Culture