Links: 30 July 2013

1. Ta-Nehisi Coates visits France and notes differences between French and American culture (for one, there are fewer overweight people AND fewer bodybuilders), and points out that the particular ways we do things in each country may be inseparable from larger cultural contexts.

2. James Fallows points out that NSA surveillance will cost the United States its Internet influence and commerce in coming years.

3. A list of 10 influential soft wares.

4. Andrew Sullivan points out that Biblical literalism is “itself an inherent contradiction, since the Bible repeatedly contradicts itself if taken literally,” and he criticizes those who “are terrified of using their minds because their faith is so often mindless.”

5. Comic “Frazz” on science and wonder.

6. Massive open online courses — MOOCs — “could be disastrous for students and most professors.”

7. Governing by sabotage: here, and here.

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