If we met an alien whose intelligence derived through an entirely separate provenance from ours, would we recognize the sparkle in each other’s eyes? In “Other Minds,” Peter Godfrey-Smith hunts the commonalities and origins of sentience. He is an academic philosopher but also a diver. Watching octopuses watching him, our author considers minds and meanings.
John Ogilby’s greatest legacy is his Britannia, the first road map of England and Wales, published in 1675-76 just before he died. The antiquary John Aubrey was one of the people Ogilby engaged to help compile Britannia, but from the start Aubrey was wary of the royal cosmographer, whom he thought to be “a cunning Scott”. Aubrey spent months researching the county of Surrey, only for Ogilby to announce he would neither pay him for his work nor include it in the printed volume. Disappointed and out of pocket, Aubrey nevertheless preserved biographical notes on Ogilby that serve as hints or clues to one of the 17th century’s most mysterious lives.
This apparent conflict between old- and new-school Asian restaurants can raise some uncomfortable questions, such as: Who’s qualified to present a region’s cuisine to American diners? And is it okay for outsiders to alter a region’s food because they think it’s too funky for the stereotypical American palate?
“I always look at pan-Asian as sort of being racist,” says David Chang, the Northern Virginia native responsible for the Momofuku empire.
Yet Chang is not calling Tunks and his ilk racists. It would be hypocritical: Chang, after all, operates his own pan-Asian restaurants, featuring Japanese, Vietnamese and Chinese dishes that are not part of the chef’s Korean heritage. He just doesn’t call them “pan-Asian” or “Asian fusion.”