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Posts

April 11, 2014

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11:50 AM | James Lovelock reflects on Gaia's legacy
Philip Ball in Nature: A new exhibition at the Science Museum in London features the personal archives of one of the most influential modern scientists; James Lovelock. ‘Unlocking Lovelock: Scientist, Inventor, Maverick’ tells the story of the British scientist's work...
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10:15 AM | Friday Poem
We remember the rabbit when we see the duck, but we cannot experience both at the same time. ........................ —E.H. Gombrich, Art and Illusion . Duck/Rabbit What do you remember? When I looked at his streaky glasses, I wanted to...
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9:24 AM | CfP: Agent-Based Modeling in Philosophy
LMU Munich11-13 December 2014www.lmu.de/abmp2014In the past two decades, agent-based models (ABMs) have become ubiquitous in philosophy and various sciences.  ABMs have been applied, for example, to study the evolution of norms and language, to understand migration patterns of past civilizations, to investigate how population levels change in ecosystems over time, and more.  In contrast with classical economic models or population-level models in biology, ABMs are praised for their […]

April 10, 2014

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3:13 PM | More Thoughts on Constructing the World (David Chalmers)
With permission, I'm posting some of David Chalmers' quick thoughts/responses to Panu Raatikainen's critical notice of David's recent aufbauesque (2012) book, Constructing the World (some lectures on this are here on youtube):---------------------(1) Are bridge laws allowed in the scrutability base, and if so does this trivialize scrutability theses? Bridge laws are certainly not disallowed from the base in general (indeed, I'd have psychophysical bridge laws in my own base). When I said that […]
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2:15 PM | ‘No Palestinian Has Ever Written Poetry Quite Like This Before’
From Arabic Literature: Before I ever met Najwan Darwish, I’d imagined him in an impassioned frustration, throwing handfuls of promotional fliers in the air: That was at the 2011 Palestine Festival of Literature. Two years later, when I was invited...
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2:07 PM | Volkswagen Polo R WRC - Rally Sweden 2013
Volkswagen Polo R WRC - Rally Sweden 2013 from J-tec on Vimeo.
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1:38 PM | Does action scaling predict 'the embodiment of culture'? (No.)
I recently reviewed a paper for Frontiers by Arthur Glenberg and colleagues called 'Sensory motor mechanisms unify psychology: the embodiment of culture' (Soliman, Gibson & Glenberg, 2014). This is part of an ongoing research topic on embodied cognition run by Guy Dove. Once the paper had been published, I took the opportunity to write up my main remaining problem with the paper as a commentary piece (Wilson, 2014) and I'd like to review that here (and also please see my comment at the end […]
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12:26 PM | The Miracle of Analogy
Kaja Silverman at nonsite: We have grown accustomed to thinking of the camera as an aggressive device: an instrument for shooting, capturing and representing the world. Since most cameras require an operator, and it is usually a human hand that...
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12:19 PM | W. G. Sebald's unsystematic search
Damion Searls at Bookforum: When we read Sebald fifteen or so years ago, his combination of historical acknowledgment and cultural engagement seemed definitive, but rereading him recently, I was surprised to feel the work out of date in some ways....
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12:15 PM | Vegetarian cookbooks for carnivores
Jane Kramer at The New Yorker: I’m not a vegetarian. I would describe myself as a cautious carnivore. The “cautious” dates from a trip to Texas in the mid-seventies, for a book that introduced me to the pitiable state of...
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10:23 AM | the power of CRISPR: Replacing a defective gene with a correct sequence to treat genetic disorders
From KurzweilAI: Using a new gene-editing system based on bacterial proteins, MIT researchers have cured mice of a rare liver disorder caused by a single genetic mutation. The findings, described in the March 30 issue of Nature Biotechnology, offer the...
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10:15 AM | Thursday Poem
Astronomy Lesson The two boys lean out on the railing of the front porch, looking up. Behind them they can hear their mother in one room watching “Name That Tune,” their father in another watching a Walter Cronkite Special, the...
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9:00 AM | What plaster casts from Pompeii tell us about death...and life
Morgan Meis in The Smart Set: Sometime during the late summer, or perhaps the early fall, of the year 79 C.E., Mount Vesuvius erupted near Naples. The result was instant death for the people, plants, and animals in the Roman...

April 09, 2014

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9:51 PM | Declan Waugh scaremongers over fluoride – again
Mary Byrne, the convener of the anti-fluoridation activist group Fluoride Action Network of NZ, is promoting “alarming information” about incidence of neural tube developmental defects like spina bifida with the implication they are caused by community water fluoridation. Her authority … Continue reading →
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9:07 PM | Rich People Rule!
Larry Bartels in The Washington Post (via Andrew Sullivan): Everyone thinks they know that money is important in American politics. But howimportant? The Supreme Court’s Gilded Age reasoning in McCutcheon v. FEC has inspired a flurry of commentary regarding the...
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9:03 PM | The Mathematical World
James Franklin in Aeon: To the question: ‘Is mathematics about something?’ there are two answers: ‘Yes’ and ‘No’. Both are profoundly unsatisfying. The ‘No’ answer, whose champions are known as nominalists, says that mathematics is just a language. On this...
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9:00 PM | Why Only Half of Venezuelans Are in the Streets
Dorothy Kronick in FiveThirtyEight: One year after the death of former president Hugo Chávez, these six weeks of protest reveal a country still profoundly split over Chávez’s political project. On one side are those protesting his successor, Nicolás Maduro, who...
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8:01 PM | Click and zip with bacterial conjugation
Bacterial conjugation may be a tool for doing the CLICK and ZIP in the real world.  Alternatively, it may serve as inspiration for designing the behaviour 1 of a GLC actor in distributed GLC. The description of bacterial conjugation, as taken from the linked wiki page: Conjugation diagram 1- Donor cell produces pilus. 2- Pilus […]
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1:35 PM | 15th Congress of Logic, Methodology, and Philosophy of Science
CALL FOR PAPERS 15TH CONGRESS OF LOGIC, METHODOLOGY AND PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE (CLMPS 2015)University of Helsinki, Finland, 3-8 August 2015http://www.helsinki.fi/clmpsSUBMISSION DEADLINE: 30 November 2014The Congress of Logic, Methodology and Philosophy of Science (CLMPS) is organized every four years by the Division of Logic, Methodology and Philosophy of Science (DLMPS). The Philosophical Society of Finland, the Academy of Finland Centre of Excellence in […]
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12:16 PM | an interview with artist Sheila Hicks
Danielle Mysliwiec interveiws Shiela Hicks for The Brooklyn Rail: Rail: The woven works and paintings in your M.F.A. thesis exhibition lean heavily toward abstraction. When you began at Yale, Clement Greenberg gave the Ryerson lecture at Yale entitled “Abstract and...
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12:09 PM | what does "atheism" really mean?
Mike Dobbins at Killing the Buddha: But there is another definition of atheism available to us: “a: a disbelief in the existence of a deity. B: the doctrine that there is no deity.” (Merriam-Webster), or even Urban Dictionary’s second definition,...
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12:04 PM | defending John Updike
Robert Wilson at The American Scholar: Begley records the harsh things writers like James Wood and David Foster Wallace said about Updike late in his career—the former writing, “Updike is not, I think, a great writer” and the latter accusing...
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10:39 AM | Private parts: writers and the battle for our inner lives
Josh Cohen in New Statesman: At the end of last year, an international group of writers drafted a petition decrying the escalation of state surveillance and calling for a digital bill of rights to protect the privacy of all global...
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10:18 AM | Wednesday Poem
Again and Again Again and again, however we know the landscape of love and the little churchyard there, with its sorrowing names, and the frighteningly silent abyss into which the others fall: again and again the two of us walk...
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10:11 AM | Stress alters children's genomes
Jyoti Madhusoodanan in Nature: Growing up in a stressful social environment leaves lasting marks on young chromosomes, a study of African American boys has revealed. Telomeres, repetitive DNA sequences that protect the ends of chromosomes from fraying over time, are...
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3:59 AM | Critical notice of Chalmers, Constructing the World (2012) (by Panu Raatikainen)
David Chalmers recently published an ambitious and fascinating new book, Constructing the World. Oxford University Press, 2012. A critical notice by Panu Raatikainen (University of Helsinki) is here: Raatikainen, P. 2014. "Chalmers Blueprint of the World", International Journal of Philosophical Studies 22 (1):113-128.

April 08, 2014

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10:54 PM | Chaos, Hallucinogens, Virtual Reality, and the Science of Self
Chaotic Awesome is a webseries hosted by Chloe Dykstra and Michele Morrow, generally focused on all things geeky, such as gaming and technology. But the good influence of correspondent Christina Ochoa ensures that there is also a healthy dose of … Continue reading →
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10:22 PM | Arrogance of ignorance?
It always seems to be the way – those who know least about a situation usually have the strongest opinions on it. That certainly seems the case for US attitudes towards the Ukraine crisis – according to a study performed by … Continue reading →
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9:53 PM | Zipper logic (VI) latest version, detailed
Zipper logic is a graph rewrite system. It consists in a class of graphs, called zipper graphs and a collection of moves (graph rewrites) acting on zipper graphs. Let’s start by defining the zipper graphs. Such a graph is made by the basic ingredients described in the next two figures. First there are two types […]
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8:17 PM | The Eye of the Mind
J. Mae Barizo on The Poetry of Derek Walcott, 1948-2013, in the LA Review of Books: The collection, published by FSG and edited by Glyn Maxwell, is not the first selected by Walcott, but it is the most comprehensive. It...
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