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Posts

April 20, 2014

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9:52 PM | Ditch the 10,000 hour rule! Why Malcolm Gladwell’s famous advice falls short
Peter Brown, Henry Roediger III and Mark McDaniel in Salon: Here’s a study that may surprise you. A group of eight-year-olds practiced tossing beanbags into buckets in gym class. Half of the kids tossed into a bucket three feet away....
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9:35 PM | A Portrait of Twenty-First Century Delhi
Jon Stock in The Telegraph: I’ll always remember the early hours of April 30, 1999. I was living in Delhi, working as a foreign correspondent for this newspaper, when the news broke that a beautiful model called Jessica Lal had...
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2:35 PM | The Gandhian Moment
Karuna Mantena reviews Ramin Jahanbegloo’s "The Gandhian Moment" in the LA Review of Books: Jahanbegloo’s wager is that Gandhian politics offer a path to overcoming authoritarian rule while avoiding the pitfalls of revolution. Whether Gandhian politics did stabilize India’s postcolonial...
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11:22 AM | Sunday Poem
Song 2 When I leave this little town Harmonicas will play all night long.. But I won’t be here.. I know that as I sleep The words I use and the way I walk are pantomimed.. In the square a...
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10:11 AM | Steven Pinker on Understanding Human Nature
No summary available for this post.
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7:46 AM | GABRIEL GARCIA MARQUEZ AND FIDEL CASTRO: A COMPLEX AND NUANCED COMRADERIE
Joel Whitney at Al Jazeera: Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s 1967 novel “One Hundred Years of Solitude” is hailed as a masterpiece and harbinger of the literary genre, magical realism, a style of writing that influenced everyone from Isabel Allende to Salman...

April 19, 2014

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2:09 PM | Counterpuncher
Perry Anderson on Alexander Cockburn, in New Left Review (image from Wikimedia Commons): No other person I have ever known was so deeply and productively marked by family background. The relationship of sons to fathers is rarely without conflict; and...
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2:01 PM | Alive in the Sunshine: On Environmentalism and Basic Income
Alyssa Battistoni in Jacobin (Illustration by Edward Carvalho-Monaghan): [I]nternational disparities have, of course, long presented a challenge to those concerned with both domestic and global justice: how to acknowledge that America’s poor are wealthier than most of the world without...
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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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1:19 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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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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8:33 PM | Why Don’t We Want Our TV Series to End?
Elizabeth Alsop in the LA Review of Books: IT’S A GOOD TIME to be a canceled show. Last May, Netflix sent the viewing public into paroxysms when it released the fourth season ofArrested Development, which last aired on Fox in...
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8:31 PM | The Intellectual and Other Wanderings of Walter Benjamin
Peter Gordon in The New Republic: Walter Benjamin passed some of the happiest moments of his life wandering shirtless in the sun on the Spanish island of Ibiza. In a letter in 1932, he wrote that the little Mediterranean island...
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5:11 PM | ‘Updike’ by Adam Begley
Michael Dirda at The Washington Post: Compared to most lives, John Updike’s was golden from the get-go. The adored only son of a highly educated mother (who herself wrote fiction, some of it eventually published in the New Yorker), the...
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5:08 PM | virginia woolf on george eliot
from a 1925 essay by Virginia Woolf in berfrois: To read George Eliot attentively is to become aware how little one knows about her. It is also to become aware of the credulity, not very creditable to one’s insight, with...
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5:04 PM | The story of Italy and its citrus fruit
Clarissa Hyman at the Times Literary Supplement: A paradox pervades the Sicilian citrus groves and gardens. The scent is intoxicating but too often the fruit lies rotten on the ground, unwanted and worthless. In this maddening, singular island, where they...
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10:54 AM | Friday Poem
Father You were mine With Your subtle Limp And Fedora mustache As we Silently Went About The Business Of Shuffling The Papers On Those Cold Damp Mornings Both Wishing The News Wasn’t So Damned Important . by Bill Schneberger
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6:09 AM | Gabriel García Márquez, Conjurer of Literary Magic, Dies at 87
Jonathan Kandell in the New York Times: Gabriel García Márquez, the Colombian novelist whose “One Hundred Years of Solitude” established him as a giant of 20th-century literature, died on Thursday at his home in Mexico City. He was 87. Cristóbal...

April 17, 2014

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9:44 AM | Thursday Poem
Lullaby for a Daughter Go to sleep. Night is a coal pit full of black water — ......... night is a dark cloud full of warm rain. Go to sleep. Night is a flower resting from bees — ......... night's...
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8:53 AM | In nature, death is not defeat
Eva Saulitis in Orion Magazine: FOR TWENTY-SIX SEPTEMBERS I’ve hiked up streams littered with corpses of dying humpbacked salmon. It is nothing new, nothing surprising, not the stench, not the gore, not the thrashing of black humpies plowing past their...
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8:39 AM | A New Idea of Why Eating Less Increases Life Span
Annie Sneed in Scientific American: Nematode worms, fruit flies, mice and other lab animals live longer, healthier lives when they eat less than they otherwise would if more food were available. Primates may also benefit, and perhaps humans—which is why...

April 16, 2014

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10:02 PM | Twenty-First Century Science Writers
I was very flattered to find myself on someone’s list of Top Ten 21st Century Science Non-Fiction Writers. (Unless they meant my evil twin. Grrr.) However, as flattered as I am — and as much as I want to celebrate … Continue reading →
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8:34 PM | Uexküll, Theoretical Biology and the “Two-Cultures” of Interdisciplinary Science (an idea from 2012, to be further explored)
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