The Sunday Diigo Links Post (weekly)

by Yule Heibel on January 13, 2013

  • Such a good point…
    The AR-15 shows how guns have become gadgets, thanks to technological change and an army of fanboys connected over the Internet. It’s a military weapon in the hands of civilians, so exquisitely designed that it might as well have been invented in Cupertino by Apple. It’s the iPhone 5 of guns, only instead of an app ecosystem, it has an ecosystem of parts and ammunition designed to make it as effective as possible.

    tags: guns quartz gadgets socialcritique

  • It seems every major city (and some not-so-major ones) has a catalog of nightmare plans like this. Here’s one for NYC:
    There have been some epically bad plans for New York City over the years, like drying up the rivers, building an underground city, and encasing Midtown in a bubble.
    Read on…

    tags: nyc unbuilt urban_planning flavorwire

  • Interesting survey and critique of the self-help category.
    Still, just because there’s plenty to criticize doesn’t mean that there isn’t plenty that’s worthwhile, too. As Gretchen Rubin points out, all branches of knowledge have their quacks: “When you have your astronomy, then you get your astrology—and we have our own astrologers in this neck of the woods.” Nonetheless, “the greatest minds throughout history have thought about things like self-knowledge and self-control and how to live a good life. I don’t know why it’s now branded as snake-oil stuff.” Even the most over-the-top books offer a real benefit: they encourage the virtue of self-examination. To read self-help is to take stock of one’s self and to ask what kind of life one wants to lead.

    These are profound issues, and what the genre’s critics sometimes miss, too, is that self-help readers are well equipped to explore them. That’s because the people who buy these books are, like all book buyers, “pretty comfortable,” says John Duff of Penguin. “It’s going to be that middle-class person, reasonably well-educated” and in “very rarefied” company, as “our market for all books is really very limited. Most people stop reading when they leave school.” Those who don’t stop probably have their acts together. Call it the paradox of self-help. “The type of person who values self-control and self-improvement is the type of person who would seek more of it in a self-help book,” Whelan says. “So it’s not the unemployed crazy lady sitting on the couch eating potato chips who reads self-help. It’s the educated, affluent, probably fairly successful person who wants to better themselves.”

    tags: self_esteem self_help city_journal laura_vanderkam

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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