Celebrating One Year of Book Think!
Book Think debuted one year ago this month, and I'm in the mood to commemorate. Since it's too hot for books, thinking, or even turning pages absently while staring slack-jawed into space, let's take a look back instead at the best of the blog so far.
Together we've pondered the future of book design, probed the link between poetry and the Arab Spring, and weighed the necessity of shooting lasers at Shakespeare's corpse to find out whether he smoked weed. We've celebrated the resurgence of a New York City library, proposed a holiday that could save the publishing industry, and agonized endlessly over what Amazon hath wrought.
We've wondered whether great science requires great science fiction, whether neuroscience will kill the novel, and whether time travel will ever be more than a literary fantasy. We've debated whether Richard Dawkins should take up fiction writing or whether James Wood should adopt the scientific method.
We still haven't read Jane Eyre. But we're going to!
We've discovered the true meaning of Christmas.
My sincere thanks to Big Think and its staff for the opportunities and support they've provided over the past year. Many thanks, too, to the various outlets that have featured, linked to, and tweeted Book Think posts, among them The New Yorker (Page-Turner), The Dish (Andrew Sullivan), 3 Quarks Daily, Flavorwire, and The Poetry Foundation.
Finally, thanks to all of you: the Big Think readers who have perused, praised, denounced, shared, and otherwise responded to the articles in this space. You've been the light of my life and the fire of my loins, the madeleine in my tea, the mirabilis in my annus. You've excused my least excusable puns. Onward and forward.
In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.
- The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
- Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
- Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
Military recruits are supposed to be assessed to see whether they're fit for service. What happens when they're not?
- During the Vietnam War, Robert McNamara began a program called Project 100,000.
- The program brought over 300,000 men to Vietnam who failed to meet minimum criteria for military service, both physically and mentally.
- Project 100,000 recruits were killed in disproportionate numbers and fared worse after their military service than their civilian peers, making the program one of the biggest—and possibly cruelest—mistakes of the Vietnam War.
The 116th Congress is set to break records in term of diversity among its lawmakers, though those changes are coming almost entirely from Democrats.
- Women and nonwhite candidates made record gains in the 2018 midterms.
- In total, almost half of the newly elected Congressional representatives are not white men.
- Those changes come almost entirely from Democrats; Republican members-elect are all white men except for one woman.
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