Someone’s Sending Feces to Philosophers, and Other News


On the Shelf


Full of shit.

  • There are plenty of people in this world who deserve to find an envelope full of human feces in the mail. Philosophers, in my experience, are not among these people; the life of the mind does not often cry out for comeuppance. But someone thinks otherwise. Sally Haslanger, a professor at MIT, was among four philosophers to receive shit in the mail last summer: “Haslanger wasn’t as confounded as one might expect a well-respected philosopher to be when faced with a mysterious package of poop. That’s because three other philosophers also received shit in the mail last summer … All four philosophy professors were embroiled in a 2014 academic brawl over what they perceived as an abuse of power within their field. Now they say someone is sending them shit in an attempt to shut them up. The question is, who? And why now?”

  • New York’s public libraries were once powered by coal, so someone had to stay on the premises to keep the fires lit. That means, yes, there are apartments in city libraries—in another time, you could live at the library. Today, only thirteen of the apartments remain. Sarah Laskow visited one of them: “In today’s New York real-estate market, this apartment is not unappealing. Yes, it would need cleaning and modernizing before anyone moved in. The one toilet in the apartment is facing into a corner. But the rooms are large enough, the kitchen could fit multiple people, and it’s in a library. Finding this much empty space anywhere in Manhattan is a rarity; walking upstairs in a well-used building and finding an empty floor feels like being in on a great secret.”