With the help of Our Final Hour author Martin Rees, Cambridge will soon open a Centre for the Study of Existential Risk. The Centre will investigate the threats posed by “artificial intelligence, climate change, nuclear war and rogue biotechnology.” To my ears, this sounds an awful lot like Oxford’s Future of Humanity Institute, which was memorably depicted in John Jeremiah Sullivan’s “Violence of the Lambs.”
Rohan Maitzen on Virginia Woolf‘s literary criticism: “What—I can imagine her asking herself, as she writes about other novelists—am I doing, what else can I do, with the novel? Surely figuring this out was always, for her, the underlying project of her criticism.”
Amazon just announced a new program entitled Kindle MatchBook, “giv[ing] customers the option to buy—for $2.99, $1.99, $0.99, or free—the Kindle edition of print books they have purchased new from Amazon.” MatchBook will include purchases made as far back as 1995, so you are officially out of excuses when it comes to cracking that lofty, intimidating TBR pile in your house.
Lord Byron is perhaps our most prominent example of an extravagant writer in a bygone age. There’s a reason his antics earned him a popular adjective. However, he’s not the only writer from long ago to live large, as made clear in this New Yorker piece by Elizabeth Kolbert — inspired by the release of two new biographies — that deals with the up-and-down life and reputation of Seneca. Sample quote: “Seneca’s fortune made possible a life style that was lavish by Roman or, for that matter, Hollywood standards.”