LA Hump Day Links: March 21, 2012

Forgive us now, as many of the links come from The New York Times. We strive every week to find a diverse set of writing from a wide array of sources, but this week, the NYT simply had too much good going on. At any rate, read and learn!

  • Why Bilinguals Are Smarter,” by Yudhijit Bhattacharjee at The New York Times: Sure, bilingualism is more important as humans integrate with this “globalized” culture, but the power of knowing multiple languages may actually spur our intellects, as several science studies show.
  • Your Brain On Fiction,” by Annie Murphy Paul at The New York Times: Similar to the previous piece, neuroscience studies show that fictional stories are a great stimulant because it requires us to “weigh up myriad interacting instances of cause and effect.”
  • Point/Counterpoint: Steven Pinker’s book “Better Angels of Our Nature.” Although Harvard Professor Steven Pinker’s book “Better Angels of Our Nature” — which says our current era is less violent than any other era during human existence — came out last year, The Liberal Artist thought it interesting to present a point/counterpoint on the hotly debated piece of writing.

    Point: “Is Violence History?”
    by Peter Singer at The New York Times:Although Here, Peter Singer, world-renowned bioethics professor, gives an in-depth review of Pinker’s book and gives reasons as to why he calls it “supremely important.”

    Counterpoint
    :
    Steven Pinker On ‘The Triumphs Of Angels,’” by Edward Herman at Z Magazine. Edward Herman, who co-wrote “Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media” with iconic intellect Noam Chomsky, calls Pinker’s book nothing short of “pretentious.”Counterpoint:Delusions Of Peace,” by John Gray at Prospect. Although Pinker spends a good 700 pages citing “declining” violence and war, John Gray says none of it relies on scientific investigation.
  • Theater, Disguised As Real Journalism,” by David Carr at The New York Times: For those unaware of the Mike Daisey-This American Life ordeal, click here. Then read David Carr’s take on how journalism, no matter what, ultimately relies on some level of trust, regardless of the hours of fact-checking involved.
  • The Creed Of Objectivity Killed The News,” by Chris Hedges at Truth Dig via Common Dreams: This link is an offshoot of the previous one. While Mike Daisey is being criticized for his fabrications in the name of storytelling, are journalists any better by hiding behind the veil of “objectivity”? Chris Hedges writes a terrific piece, saying today’s corporate media clings onto a hollow notion of “objectivity.” Real reporting — real journalism — is beholden to no one.

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