Links: Intellectual cowardice, fiction, child support threats, writing, oppression, and more!

* “Our Intellectual Cowardice,” which the structure of academia makes rife. That being said, I also suspect that a lot of academics are silent regarding the weakness or silliness of other academics because none of their work matters: it’s already so widely ignored that another silly journal article is never going to have any impact anyway.

* Be wary of fMRI brain scan studies like this one, but it does at least get around the correlation-is-not-causation problem that plagues similar claims: “Study: Reading a Novel Changes Your Brain: College students experienced heightened connectivity in their left temporal cortexes after reading fiction.”

* Child support and the threat point.

* What is it like to operate on obese patients?

* “Writing to Win;” why do we obsess over the moment of a writer’s publication?

* Great news for pot smokers: drug cartels are building massive underground railroads into the U.S. to transport goods that Americans desperately want to buy.

* Are Bedrooms Superfluous? The next-generation Murphy bed.

* “How the Drug War Disappeared the Jury Trial,” which everyone needs to read and which should also scare everyone who does read it.

* “An MLA Story;” takeaway: Don’t go to grad school.

* “Why Does A Good Kettle Cost $90+?” Since I started drinking tea I have wondered about this and now have an answer. The Hacker News discussion is also good, except for the top comment.

* “The Humanities and Us: Don’t listen to today’s narcissistic academics—the West’s cultural inheritance is indispensable;” on some level you’ve read this before and as usual the writer goes too far in imagining a golden, magical past but nonetheless it is worth reading and complements “An MLA Story” and “Our Intellectual Cowardice.”

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