Posts

October 24, 2014

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11:43 AM | The Combination Lock Test
Brendan Fitzgerald in The Morning News: A man dies, leaving behind, among other things, a combination lock. Opening it may just prove the existence of the afterlife. I first learned about Stevenson through his obituary, which ran in the New...
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11:28 AM | Making Organizations Moral
Sophia Nguyen in Harvard Magazine: In the early 2000s, a riptide of business scandals toppled Enron, Arthur Andersen, and WorldCom. In the aftermath, says Straus professor of business administration Max Bazerman, “society turned to professional schools” to ask why their...
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11:10 AM | the death of fraternity
Chris Lehman at The Baffler: Whether we like it or not, the big idea behind American democracy is to make us like each other more. It’s a faintly embarrassing dimension of our social experiment, carved out of the crack-up of...
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11:06 AM | Judith Butler's Eqbal Ahmad Lecture at Hamshire College
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11:06 AM | bartleby at the office
Nikil Saval at Dissent: Few institutions have offered themselves as less promising for the novelist than the modern office. Work of any kind is a tricky subject for representation; office work—gray, gnomic, and unknowable—even more so. After all, what is...
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11:00 AM | Joshua Reynolds: portraits in action
Norma Clarke at The Times Literary Supplement: Reynolds dominated British art for some three decades before his death in 1792, by which time the British portrait was firmly established. Jonathan Richardson, in his influential Essay on the Theory of Painting...
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8:36 AM | Obama Is a Republican: He’s the heir to Richard Nixon, not Saul Alinsky.
Bruce Barlett in The American Conservative: A Republican stimulus would undoubtedly have had more tax cuts and less spending, even though every serious study has shown that tax cuts are the least effective method of economic stimulus in a recession....
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6:17 AM | Expressions of the American Mind
An excerpt from Tom Shachtman's Gentleman Scientists and Revolutionaries in Scientific American: During the Revolutionary War, while American laboratory and field research was much reduced, science did not grind to a halt. Scientific thought helped frame America’s initiating rhetoric of...

October 23, 2014

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3:26 PM | remembering our friend Matt Power (who would have turned 40 yesterday)
Mark Kirby at GQ: Today would've been Matthew Power's 40th birthday. The GQ contributor and friend of GQ staffers past and present died this March while reporting a story along the Nile River in Uganda. Matt was curious, adventurous, and...
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1:27 PM | Gough Whitlam, 1916-2014
John Quiggin in Crooked Timber: Gough Whitlam, Prime Minister of Australia from 1972 to 1975, died on Tuesday. More than any other Australian political leader, and as much as any political figure anywhere, Gough Whitlam embodied social democracy in its...
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12:45 PM | Who’s afraid of ‘Klinghoffer’?
Adam Shatz in the London Review of Books: The Death of Klinghoffer, John Adams’s 1991 opera about the hijacking of the Achille Lauro by the Palestine Liberation Front in 1985, has achieved a rare distinction in contemporary classical music: it’s...
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12:35 PM | Benjamin C. Bradlee (1921-2014)
David Remnick in The New Yorker: Benjamin Crowninshield Bradlee, the most charismatic and consequential newspaper editor of postwar America, died at the age of ninety-three on Tuesday. Among his many bequests to the Republic was a catalogue of swaggering anecdotes...
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12:29 PM | Afghanistan: ‘A Shocking Indictment’
Rory Stewart in the New York Review of Books: Ashraf Ghani, who has just become the president of Afghanistan, once drafted a document for Hamid Karzai that began: There is a consensus in Afghan society: violence…must end. National reconciliation and...
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12:19 PM | Thomas Piketty: New thoughts on capital in the twenty-first century
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11:42 AM | “Lingering Scars” by Farzana Hossen
Billy Kung in ArtAsiaPacific: From Dhaka, 32-year-old photographer Farzana Hossen has produced a harrowing document called “Lingering Scars” (2013), a series of photographs depicting women victims of acid attacks. Hossen is one of 13 photographers taking part in an exhibition...
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11:36 AM | The discovery of Homo floresiensis: Tales of the hobbit
Ewen Callaway in Nature: In 2004, researchers announced the discovery of Homo floresiensis, a small relative of modern humans that lived as recently as 18,000 years ago. The ‘hobbit’ is now considered the most important hominin fossil in a generation....
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10:14 AM | It’s Possible to Live in More than One Time, More than One History of the World
John Crowley in Lapham's Quarterly: "Then what is time?” St. Augustine asked himself in his Confessions. “I know what it is if no one asks; but if anyone does, then I cannot explain it.” Augustine saw the present as a...
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10:11 AM | Thursday Poem
An Arundel Tomb Side by side, their faces blurred, The earl and countess lie in stone, Their proper habits vaguely shown As jointed armour, stiffened pleat, And that faint hint of the absurd - The little dogs under their feet....
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8:49 AM | Do We Live in the Matrix?
Zeeya Merali in Discover: In the 1999 sci-fi film classic The Matrix, the protagonist, Neo, is stunned to see people defying the laws of physics, running up walls and vanishing suddenly. These superhuman violations of the rules of the universe...
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5:16 AM | The Rise of Data and the Death of Politics
Evgeny Morozov in The Observer (Photograph: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images): In the near future, Google will be the middleman standing between you and your fridge, you and your car, you and your rubbish bin, allowing the National Security Agency to satisfy...

October 22, 2014

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9:47 PM | Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 – what really happened?
Three months after the loss of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 over Ukraine the world is no wiser about what, and who, caused this crash. Well, we have the preliminary report but this only confirmed the bleeding obvious (“the aircraft was penetrated by a … Continue reading →
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2:47 PM | Pentagonal knitting of abstractions
Here is a pentagonal knitting pattern done in chemlambda, as appears after 20 steps: The knitting is made of abstraction (lambda) nodes, in the middle, bordered by fanin nodes. The knitting molecule appears after 3 steps, it can be then seen at the top of the figure. The white small molecules are loops. This pattern […]
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12:40 PM | Behind the Mask: The Life of Vita Sackville-West
Rachel Trethewey in The Independent: In the famous image of Vita Sackville-West, Lady with a Red Hat, the writer is the embodiment of the confident young aristocrat. Exuding a languid elegance, her heavy-lidded Sackville eyes gaze out from beneath the...
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12:34 PM | Are we free? Neuroscience gives the wrong answer
Daniel C. Dennett in Prospect: For several millennia, people have worried about whether or not they have free will. What exactly worries them? No single answer suffices. For centuries the driving issue was about God’s supposed omniscience. If God knew...
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12:29 PM | This Gorgeous Sculpture Creates Instant Architecture in an Empty Room
Kristin Hohenadel in Slate: Held annually since 2009 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, ArtPrize is a democratic art competition open to anyone in the world over age 18, with generous cash prizes awarded by both a jury of experts and popular...
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12:24 PM | The White Racial Slur We’ve All Been Waiting For
Michael Mark Cohen in Medium: I am a white, middle class male professor at a big, public university, and every year I get up in front of a hundred and fifty to two hundred undergraduates in a class on the...
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12:19 PM | What is the Evidence for Evolution?
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11:01 AM | ‘Hidden brain signatures’ of consciousness in vegetative state patients discovered
From KurzweilAI: Scientists in Cambridge, England have found hidden signatures in the brains of people in a vegetative state that point to networks that could support consciousness — even when a patient appears to be unconscious and unresponsive. The study...
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10:43 AM | Wednesday Poem
Bridge Builder Bridge-builder I am between the holy and the damned between the bitter and the sweet between chaff and the wheat Bridge-builder I am between the goat and the lamb between the sermon and the sin between the princess...
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9:47 AM | Do people really not know what running looks like?
Faster, higher, stronger - wobbly!When we run, our arms and legs swing in an alternating rhythm. Your left arm swings back as your left leg swings forward, same with the right. This contralateral rhythm is important for balance; the arms and legs counterbalance each other and help reduce rotation of the torso created by swinging the limbs. It turns out, however, that people don't really know this and they draw running incorrectly surprisingly often. Specifically, they often depict people […]
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