Reading List: Avoiding Ethical and Existential Disasters, at Home and Abroad

Dearests! We’ve made it to Friday with hardly a scratch on us, and I hope you’re going to treat yourself today with the finest CBD coffee your state legally allows. Which might be none considering even California is trying to restrict the use of CBD hemp oil (federally legal because no THC) in food and beverage products.

So instead, put those headphones on and rock out to the “This is Aretha Franklin” playlist on Spotify, in memory of the dearly departed Queen of Soul.


Rebecca Mead, “A New Citizen Decides to Leave the Tumult of Trump’s America” (The New Yorker) - As a new citizen myself, Mead’s emotional reckoning of the contrast of the optimism of naturalization ceremony under Obama against our current American political landscape maps closely to what I struggle with on a daily basis. I feel her heartache over the state of her adopted home on a deep level.

Arielle Pardes, “Silicon Valley Writes a Playbook to Help Avert Ethical Disasters” (WIRED) - As Pardes points out in the very first line of the story, “Silicon Valley is having its Frankenstein moment,” especially considering most of the tech founders probably didn’t envision their creations threatening democracy as we understand it. She takes a look at how organizations like the Institute of the Future and the Tech and Society Solutions Lab are tackling the impacts of the tech industry on, well, everyone, by developing guidelines like EthicalOS.

Thor Benson, “Suicidal Vet Calls MDMA Treatment ‘a Miracle’” (Daily Beast) - I still haven’t finished Michael Pollan’s book on the history of LSD and other psychedelic drugs, but I am very much interested in the potential positive impacts of these substances on mental health.

Cass R. Sunstein, It Can Happen Here (New York Review of Books) - “Woof, this isn’t an easy one to recommend you read without coffee,” she types in her kitchen as Rome burns around her.

Love you all. Be kind to each other. And if you can, get outside this weekend.