Infinity is a terrifying concept. Blaise Pascal once said: “When I consider the short duration of my life, swallowed up in an eternity before and after, the little space I fill engulfed in the infinite immensity of spaces whereof I know nothing, and which know nothing of me, I am terrified. The eternal silence of … Continue reading Everyday Infinities
This week, I watched the 2013 film Olympus Has Fallen, described somewhat aptly by one critic as “a lumpy version of Die Hard but with Gerard Butler instead of Bruce Willis.” In my opinion, it was a bit disappointing, even rating it on the exclusive criteria of a stock action movie. For one, the plot … Continue reading “Olympus Has Fallen” and the Danger of the Modern Action Film
In her book Plutocrats, Chrysia Freeland writes: “In 2005, Bill Gates was worth $46.5 billion and Warren Buffet $44 billion. That year, the combined wealth of the 120 million people who made up the bottom 40 percent of the U.S. population was around $95 billion—barely more than the sum of the fortunes of these two men.” That is astounding, and by logical extension of this fact, if we were to hypothetically expropriate these two men of their wealth and redistribute it, we could double the material conditions of four in ten American citizens.
Last week, British Columbia announced its plan for reopening schools in September. At best, it is optimistic, and at worst, it could be dangerously incompetent. The plan involves a full reopening of schools in “learning cohorts” of up to 60 individuals in elementary schools and up to 120 in high schools, including both students and … Continue reading British Columbia’s Perilous School Reopening Plan
Yesterday morning I turned the final page of A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara, concluding a three-day marathon of working through one of the darkest and most deliciously agonising novels I’ve read in a while. It follows the lives of four friends through several decades, and manages to capture both the dramatic traumas they encounter … Continue reading No Happy Endings: Yanagihara’s “A Little Life”
Among my menagerie of desk toys, I have no fewer than seven snowglobes neatly lined up in arrow formation, fond mementos of Northern Ireland, Panama, Disneyland, and beyond. They began as innocently decorative sources of amusement, but after days of sitting idly in my room, staring into these neatly packaged spherical universes, they occupy a … Continue reading Snowglobe Utopia
In an interview, Albert Einstein once said that “Everything is determined, the beginning as well as the end, by forces over which we have no control. It is determined for the insect, as well as for the star. Human beings, vegetables, or cosmic dust, we all dance to a mysterious tune, intoned in the distance by an invisible piper.” The origin of the universe and the method by which events are determined is a question that has simultaneously transfixed and eluded humankind for most of our short history. This article will discuss how the scientific community’s conception of determinism evolved through history, with a specific focus on the comparison between the Newtonian and Heisenbergian approaches to examining cause and effect relationships.
As John Steinbeck’s East of Eden would put it, “Samuel may have thought and played and philosophized about death, but he did not really believe in it. His world did not have death as a member. He, and all around him, was immortal. When real death came it was an outrage, a denial of the immortality he deeply felt, and the one crack in his wall caused the whole structure to crash. I think he had always thought he could argue himself out of death. It was a personal opponent and one he could lick.”
An issue that consistently escapes my understanding is the complexity of racial disparity in the United States. The knowledge that the life expectancy in some low-income African American communities is lesser than parts of rural Algeria is a bit irreconcilable with my image of the U.S. as the world’s most powerful and free nation (questionable … Continue reading Literary Perspectives on American Racial Inequality
When I read Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne a few years ago, I thought it would be interesting to spend a ridiculous amount of time in a confined space and watch myself become more and more psychologically unhinged. I have since discovered that this literary daydream was in fact highly context driven (context being a romanticised submarine) and living in my house with little human interaction and an abundance of instant noodles is really not the same thing.