Posts

March 19, 2015

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9:25 AM | It's the Anniversary of the Invasion of Iraq. Where's the Accountability?
Jodie Evans in Alternet: The first time we crossed the desert from Amman to Baghdad was 12 years ago last month. We had been holding a vigil outside the White House to say no to war on Iraq for five...
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8:57 AM | Speaking a second language may change how you see the world
Nicholas Weiler in Science: Where did the thief go? You might get a more accurate answer if you ask the question in German. How did she get away? Now you might want to switch to English. Speakers of the two...
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8:29 AM | India’s Third Gender
Shanoor Seervai interviews Laxmi Narayan Tripathi on "the ancient legacy and contemporary struggles of hijras" in Guernica: In the minds of most Indians, a hijra is an annoyance. A man with long hair, typically dressed in a sari, who seems...
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12:47 AM | Anonymous comments on social media
  Something I picked up on the internet. Yes, I know – some people have legitimate and understandable reasons for being anonymous when they comment on social media. Concern for jobs and protection for family and self. I can appreciate … Continue reading →

March 18, 2015

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4:20 PM | Interview with Steven Weinberg
Dan Falk in Quanta: QUANTA MAGAZINE: As a physicist, how is your perspective on the history of science different from that of a historian? STEVEN WEINBERG: One difference, of course, is that they know more than I do — at...
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3:05 PM | AN OPEN LETTER TO THAT EX-MFA CREATIVE WRITING TEACHER DUDE
Chuck Wendig in Terrible Minds: Okay, fine, go read the article. I’ll wait here. *checks watch* Ah, there you are. I see you’re trembling with barely-concealed rage. Good on you. I will now whittle down this very bad, very poisonous...
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3:00 PM | Things I Can Say About MFA Writing Programs Now That I No Longer Teach in One
Ryan Boudinot in The Stranger: I recently left a teaching position in a master of fine arts creative-writing program. I had a handful of students whose work changed my life. The vast majority of my students were hardworking, thoughtful people...
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11:15 AM | Dante: a Very Short Introduction
Nicholas Lezard in The Guardian: Regular readers of this column may recall that I get pretty excited about Dante. This usually involves recommending a new translation rather than critical work on the 14th-century poet; you’re not, I presume, going to...
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11:06 AM | Don’t edit the human germ line
Edward Lanphier et al in Nature: It is thought that studies involving the use of genome-editing tools to modify the DNA of human embryos will be published shortly1. There are grave concerns regarding the ethical and safety implications of this...
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11:06 AM | Robot Painting
e-David Robot Painting from eDavid on Vimeo. And more about this here.
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11:01 AM | How Robots & Algorithms Are Taking Over
Sue Halpern in The New York Review of Books (image ‘Bizarre Figures’; etching by Giovanni Battista Bracelli, 1624): In September 2013, about a year before Nicholas Carr published The Glass Cage: Automation and Us, his chastening meditation on the human...
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10:04 AM | Wednesday Poem
Los Alamos Mon Amour The second before and the eternity after the smile that split the horizon from ear to ear, the kiss that scorched the desert dunes to glass and sealed the sun in its frozen amber. Eyelids are...
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7:25 AM | A Fish Tale
David Samuels in Lapham's Quarterly (image: Pornokrates, by Felicien Rops, 1878): The fact that Moby Dick is the philosopher’s stone of American self-reflection makes it a wonderful target for reviewers, critics, and scholars who like to identify the books that...
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6:53 AM | The Algorithmic Self
Frank Pasquale in The Hedgehog Review: At a recent conference on public health, nutrition expert Kelly Brownell tried to explain our new food environment by making some striking comparisons. First, he contrasted the coca leaf—chewed for pain relief for thousands...

March 17, 2015

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6:53 PM | Why non-Hindus need to write on Hinduism
Wendy Doniger in The Times of India: William Dalrymple was in the chair at the London lecture on November 12, 2003, where someone lobbed an egg at me, missing me in more ways than one; in his article on Indian...
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6:51 PM | The Rojava Spirit Spreads
Adam Barnett in Dissent from a few weeks ago (image Kurds celebrating Newroz, Diyarbakir, Turkey, March 2013 (Alberto Tetta / Flickr)): One of the experiences that sets the life of a reporter apart from other pursuits is the realization that...
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6:47 PM | The Laura Kipnis Melodrama
Michelle Goldberg on the reaction Laura Kipnis's recent piece in The Chronicle of Higher Education, in The Nation (image University Hall, Northwestern University (CC-BY-SA-3.0)): Last Monday, about thirty Northwestern anti-rape activists marched to their school’s administrative center carrying mattresses and...
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5:24 PM | Kazuo Ishiguro: 'Most countries have got big things they've buried'
Gaby Wood in The Telegraph: "Someone asked me what I was doing in my 10‑year break,” says Kazuo Ishiguro with a boyish chuckle. “And I thought: yes, there has been a 10-year break since my last novel, but I personally...
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5:17 PM | This Fast-Food-Loving, Organics-Hating Ivy League Prof Will Trick You Into Eating Better
Kiera Butler in Mother Jones: Wansink runs Cornell'S Food and Brand Lab, devoted to studying how our physical surroundings—everything from supermarket layout to food packaging to the color of your kitchen walls—affect what and how we eat. The lab, which...
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4:51 PM | Stephen M. Walt: I changed my mind
The piece about Bill Clinton I wish I could take back, and nine other things about which I no longer hold the same opinion. Stephen M. Walt in Foreign Policy: Changing my mind isn’t all that painful a process; in...
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4:46 PM | A Pakistani-American woman invests in India’s low income segments: Fawzia Naqvi’s fascinating story
Impact Investment from The Political Indian on Vimeo.
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10:58 AM | Older Really Can Mean Wiser
Benedict Carey in The New York Times: Behind all those canned compliments for older adults — spry! wily! wise! — is an appreciation for something that scientists have had a hard time characterizing: mental faculties that improve with age. Knowledge...
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10:46 AM | Brutal Murder in Bangladesh Highlights Growing Religious Intolerance
Raza Rumi in Fair Observer: The brutal, cowardly murder of freethinker Avijit Roy on the streets of Dhaka is a reflection of embedded intolerance in many Muslim societies. Bangladesh, despite its secular credentials, is no exception. On February 26, Roy...
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3:21 AM | More poor-quality research promoted by anti-fluoride activists
Anti-fluoridation propagandists must think all their Christmases have come at once. They at last have a “peer-reviewed” scientific paper they can claim supports their position. What’s more, it is the second such paper to appear in the last month. But … Continue reading →

March 16, 2015

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5:27 PM | The Kurds’ Heroic Stand Against ISIS
For a few weeks, anthropologist and 3QD friend Scott Atran has been on the front lines with the Peshmarga fighters in Kurdistan facing ISIS troops just a few hundred meters away. He had sent me this report some days ago...
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5:45 AM | Chasing Beavers
by Hari Balasubramanian A selection of facts, research and personal encounters involving beavers and their habitat. In October 2007, an 835-meter long beaver dam was discovered on Google Earth. It remains the longest one found so far. The dam was...
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5:40 AM | Monday Poem
Pi pi is perfection with a loose end three point 1 four and so on without pattern or closure the precision of a mandala drawn by a drunk on two martinis not scribing wholeness merely but thinking odd numbers spouting...
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5:35 AM | On Birthdays
by Charlie Huenemann a family genius, flanked by two other celebrating guardian deities (from UTexas) "A genius is a god under whose protection each person lives from the moment of his birth." This is the opinion of Censorinus, a Roman...
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5:30 AM | Perceptions
Imtiaz Dharker. Untitled. Drawing by a most talented poet! More here, here, and here. Thanks to Nargis Raza.
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5:25 AM | Advertisers should pay you
by Thomas R. Wells Advertising isn't only a waste of our time and attention, our ultimate scarce resource. It is also intensely annoying. So why do we have so much of it? It is a classic case of market failure....
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