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Posts

April 19, 2014

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1:50 PM | Thomas Piketty and Millennial Marxists on the Scourge of Inequality
Timothy Shenk in The Nation (Photo: Emmanuelle Marchadour)): Chest-pounding about methodology and decrees on capitalism would be of little interest if they were not joined to substantive intellectual discoveries. Piketty’s contributions on this front come in three interlocking clusters: historical,...
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1:42 PM | THE SELECTED LETTERS OF ELIA KAZAN
Wendy Smith at The Washington Post: In his blisteringly candid but skewed 1988 autobiography, “Elia Kazan: A Life,” he claimed that he had been miserable during the years of his greatest success, “straining to be a nice guy so people...
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1:39 PM | The Concrete Abyss
Lisa Guenther in Aeon: Why does prolonged isolation typically corrode a prisoner’s ability to perceive the world and to sustain a meaningful connection with his own existence? The short answer to this question is that we are social beings who...
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1:38 PM | Adam Begley’s ‘Updike’
Orhan Pamuk at The New York Times: Here, in no particular order, are some of the memorable data from Updike’s universe that I learned from this delightfully rich book: He enjoyed poker and golf. At Harvard, he was classmates with...
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1:35 PM | The battle to build Shakespeare’s Globe
Chris Laoutaris at The Financial Times: This week marks the 450th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s birth. Yet the way we remember history’s most renowned playwright might have been very different had it not been for a formidable foe. In November...
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1:26 PM | The tomatoic under-arm odour of J.C.M. Stewart
No summary available for this post.
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1:19 PM | Gabriel Garcia Marquez: The supreme storyteller, he changed his country’s reality
Boyd Tonkin in The Independent: From the era of “La Violencia” in the late 1940s, Colombia has weathered more than its fair share of hideous bloodshed, factional strife and chronic instability. But there, on the other side of the balance,...
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1:08 PM | Missing Links
Carl Zimmer in The New York Times: In the summer of 1981, a Swedish graduate student named Svante Paabo filled a laboratory at the University of Uppsala with the stench of rotting liver. Paabo was supposed to be studying viruses,...
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12:20 PM | Saturday Poem
We Join Together Spoke in a Wheel We join spokes together in a wheel, but it’s the vacant hub that makes it possible for the cart to move. We shape a pot to make a void to hold whatever we...
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11:30 AM | That’s No Moon… Well, Actually, Yeah It Is
So there’s a picture you don’t see every day. Clearly, Vader’s forces were not at all happy about the lunar eclipse.  I know, it really does look like the Moon was shooting out a laser at a passing ship, but that’s an illusion: in fact, that laser is hitting the Moon, and it was sent from Earth. While you and I were busy watching the total lunar eclipse on Monday, a bunch of astronomers were zapping it with high-powered lasers. They do this every now and again to […]
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9:04 AM | Les requins sont-ils attirés par le sang ?
Dans le quiz sur les poissons (d'avril ou pas), une majorité des participants a répondu "vrai" à la question 6: "Les requins sont attirés par une goutte de sang humain à des kilomètres". Or la réponse, ou plutôt ma réponse puisque … Lire la suite →
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8:00 AM | Letter Q: Quotation (on Science Fiction Romance Brigade: Both Sides Now) #IAN1 #atozchallenge
Q is for quotations, and that is what two of the regular blog hops I belong to are all about: quotations from one’s own work, published or not. Today’s quotation is a continuation of last week’s, also on Science Fiction Romance Brigade Presents, and is from my work in progress tentatively titled Both Sides Now. […]
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8:00 AM | The Last Word
April 14 – 18 Our boy, Abstruse Goose, becomes as one with his electronic devices.  Truer than he knows.  Well.  I don’t know what he knows.  Truer than you might think, anyway. Poor Jessa, age 35, thinking about losing her math abilities.  And yes, mathematicians do have the reputation of topping out young.  But Jessa, […]
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5:01 AM | It's Algorithmic Indulgence for the Masses (or the niche market)
Introducing the latest addition to the Synthetic Daisies blog: Popular Algorithmics. Popular Algorithmics (a takeoff on Popular Mechanics) is a collection of posts originally presented as a series on Tumbld Thoughts. Each entry is a take-off on an established algorithmic approach from the scientific literature. Of particular interest are lesser known algorithmic approaches from the standpoint of both theory and application.
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3:03 AM | De-Extinction: Bay Area Researcher Hopes to Bring Back the Passenger Pigeon
Researchers are working to revive the passenger pigeon, once the most abundant bird in the world, and the woolly mammoth, which they say could slow down the melting of Arctic permafrost. It may be possible, but is it right to turn back the clock?
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2:07 AM | The uncertain life of a squirrel
“Things as certain as death and taxes, can be more firmly believ’d.” from The Political History of the Devil by Daniel Defoe (1660-1731) As Benjamin Franklin said, “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes”. For squirrels, taxes are no certainty. Death, on the other hand, is. The chance encounter with the small corpse of a black squirrel was an affecting reminder of the fleeting nature of life – of the certainty of death.... […]
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2:00 AM | Astro-Vid of the Week- Captured: Venus Occults a Naked Eye Star
Our chart of the passage of Lambda Aquarii behind Venus on April 16th. Created using Stellarium. We love it when backyard observers rise to the challenge. We wrote recently about the prospects for catching the occultation of the +3.7 magnitude star Lambda Aquarii by the planet Venus on the morning of April 16th. Most occultations [...]
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1:07 AM | Incredibe: SpaceX Dragon Capsule Video Taken from the Ground!
Thierry Legault is a gifted astrophotographer renowned for his footage of the International Space Station and (once upon a time) the Space Shuttle that he takes through his telescope. His ability to capture these rapidly moving objects is nothing short of spectacular, and I always think there's no way he can top what he's already done. Then I see this: Video of the SpaceX Dragon capsule in orbit a mere 25 minutes after launch! Incredible. This is seriously amazing work; being able to spot the […]
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1:00 AM | Google Lunar XPrize Team Hangouts: 002 Chasing the Prize Join...
Google Lunar XPrize Team Hangouts: 002 Chasing the Prize Join the Google Lunar XPRIZE Technical Director, Andrew Barton, to learn about what must be accomplished to win the Google Lunar XPRIZE. In the coming weeks, we’ll be bringing all these teams to you so you can get to know them, their work, and how they are looking to take us back to the Moon. Overview A global team of scientists and engineers are all working toward constructing missions to land on, travel across, and send video back […]
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12:16 AM | Like Joyce, García Márquez gave us a light to follow into the unknown
Peter Carey in The Guardian: Sometime in the very early 1970s two Australian friends returned from Colombia and asked me to ghostwrite the story of their adventures, which included a conversation with an unknown writer named Gabriel García Márquez. In...
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12:08 AM | Scientists find protein that unites sperm and egg
Erika Check Hayden in Nature: Scientists have identified a long-sought fertility protein that allows sperm to dock to the surface of an egg. The finding, an important step in understanding the process that enables conception, could eventually spawn new forms...

April 18, 2014

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10:42 PM | Insulating sheath on nerve cells isn't an even coat
Myelin doesn't evenly coat axons, a finding that runs counter to what scientists suspected.
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10:05 PM | Meet Barbara Cartland, the record breaking sex and romance novelist who invented the long distance...
Meet Barbara Cartland, the record breaking sex and romance novelist who invented the long distance aeroplane towed glider. Her concept revolutionised the aero industry and was implemented by armies on all sides of WWII. Aerotow gliders had been used in Germany but only to travel short distances and perform tricks – that wasn’t good enough for Barbara. She worked with two RAF soldiers to build her own long distance glider craft and flew it over 200 miles delivering a sack of […]
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10:03 PM | Red lettuce and dinosaur germs head to space station
SpaceX has launched its third cargo mission to the ISS, carrying gear that includes robot legs, a collapsible garden and a microbes from a dino fossil
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10:00 PM | Over Meal Of Whale Meat, Japan Announces Plan To Restart "Scientific" Whaling In Antarctica
Harpooned whale A whale captured by the Yushin Maru, a Japanese harpoon vessel, in February 2008. Customs and Border Protection Service, Commonwealth of Australia On March 31, Japan was ordered to halt its whaling program in Antarctica by a United Nations court, which ruled that the activity amounted to a commercial operation and was not for research purposes as stated. Now, less than three weeks later, Japan announced it will re-launch its whale-killing […]
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10:00 PM | Grading my work, and how Wikipedia can track the flu
One research paper, seven journalists, seven different articles.
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9:12 PM | Weekend Reading: The Long Road to Ancient DNA, and Gene-Stealing Ferns
I’ve been traveling again this week, which makes blogging a challenge. But I still can still offer a …
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9:08 PM | An Invisible Barn And Other Amazing Images From This Week
Invisible Barn What do you get when you wrap a barn in mylar? You get nothing. stpmj via Co.Design
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9:03 PM | MorpHex MKII - A Badass Looking Hexpod Ball Robot
No summary available for this post.
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8:39 PM | Russia Ships The World's First Load of Offshore Arctic Oil
Oil Be There The Prirazlomnoye offshore drilling platform, in the Pechora Sea above the Arctic circle, began extracting oil in December 2013, and loaded its first shipment in April 2014 -- about a decade off schedule. The rig is 620 miles from Murmansk and just a few dozen miles from coastal and island wildlife reserves. Gazprom Russia has announced its first shipment of Arctic offshore oil.  Russian President Vladimir Putin watched oil loading from the Prirazlomnoye drilling […]
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3,437 Results