(Picture courtesy of Ryan Davey)
1. A very good Q&A about reason and skepticism with philosopher Stephen Law, author of "A Field Guide to Bullshit"
2. New York performance artist Tania Bruguera is spending a year as a poor immigrant, living amongst illegal immigrants in Queen's. Her new-found neighbours aren't sure what to make of her, and Bruguera herself is having trouble fitting in: "After finding her apartment and roommates in January through a flier on the street, she was surprised that the local gym did not offer yoga."
3. The latest in authentic tourism: An outfit in Turkey will let you come and be "Muslim for a month".
4. The narcissism of indifference: The New York Times finds a couple of hyperlocal fanatics who are actually smug about how their ecolunacy is completely pointless and apolitical.
5. China's assualt on our preconceptions about authenticity continues with Hengdian World Studios, aka "Chinawood," which contains, among other things, a full-scale replica of the Forbidden City.
Hengdian has plenty to offer beyond the Forbidden City. There is the Qin dynasty imperial palace that was the backdrop for the movie "Hero." There are 100 authentic Ming dynasty riverside houses shipped in from southern China, and the largest indoor Buddha in China.
6. And then there is this lovely Austrian town, a UNESCO heritage site, that the Chinese are secretly making a complete copy of. Tyler Cowen gets its exactly right: "It’s funny how a town gets insulted when outsiders start taking its kitsch seriously as proper kitsch."