Originally published on Thu August 23, 2012 7:09 pm
Many science-fiction storytellers worry about robots becoming self-aware and destroying us. The moment the artificial beings attain real intelligence, these tales posit, they'll realize we made them too smart and too strong for our own good, and they'll wonder why the superior beings should be relegated to working assembly lines and doing mundane repetitive tasks when they could be ruling the planet.
Of the roughly 80,000 Chinese children adopted in the United States since 1979, almost all are girls, abandoned at birth by their parents because of China's one-child policy, coupled with inheritance laws that favor boys.
During the next two weeks, the major political parties will assemble their faithful in Tampa, Fla., and Charlotte, N.C., to officially nominate their presidential tickets. These conventions were once places of high political drama. But over the decades, as the primary system has determined the candidates well in advance, conventions have become political theater. With that in mind, there's much to be said on staging in politics — not substance, but style.
President Obama is on record as opposing superPACs for normalizing gigantic donations, but his campaign has hesitantly decided to accept donations from such groups. He is shown above speaking during a campaign stop in Oskaloosa, Iowa, last week.
Credit Robert Shetterly
In The New Yorker, journalist Jane Mayer reports on how the new electoral climate around superPACs has negatively affected the Obama campaign's appeal to Democratic donors.
When the Supreme Court ruled on the landmark Citizen United case in 2010, the landscape of presidential elections shifted. SuperPACs — entities that can't make direct contributions but are allowed to engage in limitless spending and fundraising independently of the campaigns — have allowed for the some of the largest indirect gifts by wealthy Americans in the nation's history.
Obama is on record as opposing superPACs for normalizing gigantic donations, but his campaign has hesitantly decided to accept donations from these outside groups.
Paul Auster doesn't take living for granted. At 65, the author has had several "near misses," from sliding face-first into a jutting nail as a child to a traumatic car accident that almost killed him, his wife and his daughter.
Auster's new memoir, Winter Journal, is a series of meditations on his life, aging and mortality — including his mother's death.