Ending Agriculture isn’t the Climate-Crisis Solution Some Think It Is.” Taras Grescoe weighs in on the debate about lab-grown protein and makes a sensible defense of farming: “we need to forget about techno-mirages. Lab-grown protein, like the hyperloop and flying cars, will probably always belong to an ever-receding future. It is in the wisdom of the past, much of it rooted in Indigenous traditions, that we can find solutions to our food-security worries.”

And Did Those Feet?” Paul Kingsnorth ponders the past and future of the English nation, and the English soul: “The harsh truth, though, is that if Christian England is dead or dying, it was the English who killed it. No hostile foreign army rode in and forcibly converted our churches into mosques or temples to Odin. We just wandered off to the shopping centre, and the Bishops sold them off for nightclubs or flats. The real battle for the English Soul, for now at least, is not Jesus vs Mohammed, but God vs Whatever.”

The Story of Vince Maney.” Would that Bill Kauffman wrote about baseball more often: “Every year at this time I also order a cheap Detroit Tigers decal or pennant to place across the grave of Vince Maney, the only boy from my hometown ever to play a game of major-league baseball — and that’s all he played, one single game, and it took him almost a century to get credit for it.”

The Underrated Charm of Minor-League Hockey.” Will Bardenwarper describes the joys of taking his son to a game: “Though Bates was bummed to learn we’d missed a rare goalie fight the previous night, we were greeted with exciting play, our proximity to the ice — we could hear the players shouting to each other and slamming into the boards — more than making up for the disparities in talent between these players and their NHL counterparts. My six-year-old son couldn’t make out the difference between Sidney Crosby and an ECHL journeyman anyway. In his eyes, they were both big, cool-looking hockey players who can skate fast and shoot hard.”

Finding the Boundaries of the American Midwest.” A new issue of the Middle West Review is out, and Jon Lauck introduces it with further findings from recent polls about regional identity: “The once-tight divisions between American regions have been eroded by post-Civil War nationalism, mass culture, and the living of seemingly placeless lives in the internet era. But regions are far from gone, as recent survey work sponsored by Middle West Review has revealed.”

Ethan Mollick says Anthropomorphizing AI is a Sin of Necessity. Repent! I Say.” The title of Rob Nelson’s review of Mollick’s new book pretty much sums up his assessment: “Humans learn to be careless when given machine assistants. They substitute the machine’s judgment for their own, even in situations when following the machine’s direction will crash the plane. Mollick’s research on consultants using AI shows that this sort of learned carelessness accounts for tasks where knowledge workers without AI help do better than those working with AI.”

Skateparks, Gyms and Breweries: The Right and Wrong Way to Repurpose a Closed Church Building.” John Miller reports on the fraught questions raised when churches look to decommission their building: “The closure of a church opens the possibility of a gift to the community. It also raises healthy human questions we should all be thinking about: What makes a place sacred? Can we have church without buildings? Is it wrong to convert churches to brewpubs and condos? How about museums or libraries? Many Catholics believe the church’s real estate holdings are a gift, and the question is simple: What’s the most loving thing we can do with them?”

Porch Sittin’, Part Two.” Brian Miller’s porch sets the stage for many activities over the course of a day: “Following Jefferson’s injunction to a nephew not to think during his daily afternoon walk, I sit without purpose.”

Club Med.” Broadcast ran a fascinating and disturbing symposium on Adderall, the recent shortage, and its longterm effects on users: “If Adderall were not considered a productivity drug—economically beneficial, on balance—we would almost certainly be talking about an amphetamine epidemic. And maybe we should be. Adderall’s efficacy for treating ADHD, and its popularity among the Professional Managerial Class, has helped obscure what a strange and deleterious drug it can be. Adderall is highly addictive, the returns it delivers are steadily diminishing, and the risks of heart disease and psychosis increase by the year. In the meantime, it just makes you kind of annoying.”

Resisting Our ‘New Dark Age.’” Karen Swallow Prior describes her efforts to change her habits of information acquisition—and her responses to that information: “I want to know a little less news because all this information we are inundated with has created — paradoxically — what James Bridle calls ‘a new dark age.’ Bridle describes this current condition as ‘an apparent inability to see clearly what is in front of us, and to act meaningfully, with agency and justice in the world.’ Perhaps by knowing, not less, but more — more deeply — we can regain our agency and better fulfill the demands of justice.”

This May Be Our Last Chance to Halt Bird Flu in Humans and We Are Blowing It.” Zeynep Tufekci has a sobering report on the avian flu spreading among cows: “The H5N1 outbreak, already a devastating crisis for cattle farmers and their herds, has the potential to turn into an enormous tragedy for the rest of us. But having spent the past two weeks trying to get answers from our nation’s public health authorities, I’m shocked by how little they seem to know about what’s actually going on and how little of what they do know is being shared in a timely manner.”

Local Culture
Local Culture
Local Culture
Local Culture


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