The Folly of Betterment

"For all his swashbuckling assaults on what he called the 'booboisie', Mencken was the first important writer to probe and relish middle-class American life."

"Our public and private life still embrace improvement... Mencken was brave enough to turn his face from all that, with a mixture of ironic dismay and scorn...to grasp that the purpose of literature is not to expose, instruct, explicate ideas, or advance causes; to apprehend that Lardner’s achievement was 'to take familiar personages, usually regarded with tolerant smiles, and to show the viciousness under their superficial imbecility'; and to embrace a view of public affairs without uplift, without virtue, without purpose... (Mencken) knew all efforts at betterment are ultimately shabby, inane, narcissistic, or brutal — and that knowledge renders his satiric force nearly tragic."

SpaceX catches Falcon Heavy nosecone with net-outfitted boat

It marks another milestone in SpaceX's long-standing effort to make spaceflight cheaper.

Technology & Innovation
  • SpaceX launched Falcon Heavy into space early Tuesday morning.
  • A part of its nosecone – known as a fairing – descended back to Earth using special parachutes.
  • A net-outfitted boat in the Atlantic Ocean successfully caught the reusable fairing, likely saving the company millions of dollars.
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Are these 100 people killing the planet?

Controversial map names CEOs of 100 companies producing 71 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions.

Image: Jordan Engel, reused via Decolonial Media License 0.1
Strange Maps
  • Just 100 companies produce 71 percent of the world's greenhouse gases.
  • This map lists their names and locations, and their CEOs.
  • The climate crisis may be too complex for these 100 people to solve, but naming and shaming them is a good start.
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‘Climate apartheid’: Report says the rich could buy out of climate change disaster

The world's richest people could breeze through a climate disaster – for a price.

(Photo by SSPL/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • A new report from a United Nation expert warns that an over-reliance on the private sector to mitigate climate change could cause a "climate apartheid."
  • The report criticizes several countries, including the U.S., for taking "short-sighted steps in the wrong direction."
  • The world's poorest populations are most vulnerable to climate change even though they generally contribute the least to global emissions.
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