Posts

January 18, 2015

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10:17 PM | Six months on – concerns about MH17 investigation
People around the world are frustrated over the sluggishness of the official investigation into the MH17 tragedy. The documentary “Reflections on MH17″ describes some of this frustration felt by families of the victims and those who are carrying out their own … Continue reading →
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10:16 PM | Living computations
What’s better than a movie? A life performance. I just started new pages where you can see the last living computations with chemlambda: a 20 nodes creature which I qualified previously as a quine, but is not, struggles to survive in a random environment (random reduction method) here the reduction of the predecessor function from … Continue reading Living computations →
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5:47 PM | WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT MACHINES THAT THINK?
The responses to Edge.org's Annual Question for 2015 have been published. Here is my answer: The Values Of Artificial Intelligence The rumors of the enslavement or death of the human species at the hands of an Artificial Intelligence are highly...
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4:51 PM | Robert Pinsky looks back on “Cascando” by Samuel Beckett
Robert Pinsky in Slate: Here is a love poem, clear-eyed yet passionate, personal and impersonal in ways I admire: “Cascando” by Samuel Beckett. The poem’s intensity and misgivings are epitomized by the invented word at the end of its first...
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4:30 PM | Ocean Life Faces Mass Extinction, Broad Study Says
Carl Zimmer in the New York Times: A team of scientists, in a groundbreaking analysis of data from hundreds of sources, has concluded that humans are on the verge of causing unprecedented damage to the oceans and the animals living...
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4:22 PM | The War with Radical Islam
Jeffrey D. Sachs in Project Syndicate: French Prime Minister Manuel Valls was not speaking metaphorically when he said that France is at war with radical Islam. There is, indeed, a full-fledged war underway, and the heinous terrorist attacks in Paris...
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4:07 PM | An Economics Lesson: Teaching for Disciplinary Understanding
S. Abu Rizvi in Education Week: Fifteen years ago, my colleagues and I observed that most economics undergraduates we taught quickly lost a third to half of their knowledge. "A" students turned into "C" students in a matter of weeks,...
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3:24 PM | rare Interview with J. Robert Oppenheimer
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3:24 PM | Day at Night: Edward Teller, nuclear physicist
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3:23 PM | Day at Night: Irving Howe
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1:32 PM | Radical Linguistics in an Age of Extinction
Ross Perlin in Dissent: Every language has a complex grammar—an almost invisible glue between words that enables meaning-making—and new vocabulary can always be borrowed or coined. Some languages may specialize in melancholy, or seaweed, or atomic structure, or religious ritual;...
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1:22 PM | DISRUPTING CANCER…Dr. Soon-Shiong, Turning Heads
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1:04 PM | Sunday Poem
The QPP The quietly pacifist peaceful always die to make room for men who shout. Who tell lies to children, and crush the corners off of old men's dreams. And now I find your name, scrawled large in someone's blood,...

January 17, 2015

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9:33 PM | The History Manifesto
A Roundtable on The History Manifesto: The Role of History and the Humanities in a Digital Age from Heyman Center/Society of Fellows on Vimeo. From the introduction of The History Manifesto, "a call to arms to historians and everyone interested...
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9:29 PM | What SAT Critics Miss
Jeffrey Aaron Snyder reviews Lani Guinier's The Tyranny of Meritocracy: Democratizing Higher Education in America in Boston Review (Image: zaveqna): “The world . . . provides us with more than one correct answer to most questions,” Guinier says, and nods...
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9:22 PM | Severe dental fluorosis and cognitive deficits – now peer reviewed
Last May I raised the possibility that the much touted relationship of small IQ declines for children living in areas with naturally high fluoride in drinking water could be associated with severe dental fluorosis and not a chemical neurotoxicant (see Confirmation blindness … Continue reading →
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9:18 PM | On Edgar Allan Poe
Marilynne Robinson in the NYRB (photo from Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore): In the last year of his life he wrote a prose poem, Eureka, which would have established this fact beyond doubt—if it had not been so full of...
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7:48 PM | We Are All Machines That Think
My answer to this year’s Edge Question, “What Do You Think About Machines That Think?” Julien de La Mettrie would be classified as a quintessential New Atheist, except for the fact that there’s not much New about him by now. … Continue reading →
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6:58 PM | The predictive brain (part one): what is this about?
LSE hosted quite an exciting public event (15/01/2015): Is the Brain a Predictive Machine? I had the pleasure to attend it and now find myself toying with a handful of ideas that are perhaps worth sharing. But first, the basics:…Read more ›
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5:19 PM | Sins of the fathers: child sex abuse in the Catholic Church
Francis Beckett in New Humanist: Betrayed: The English Catholic Church and the Sex Abuse Crisis (Biteback) by Richard Scorer. The Devil’s Advocate: Child Abuse and the Men in Black (Devil’s Advocate Library) by Graham Wilmer Priestly sex abuse has done...
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3:24 PM | The Most Annoying People on the Plane starring Sir Patrick Stewart
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3:12 PM | Selected Letters of Norman Mailer: a thrilling and revealing collection
Alexis Forss at The Guardian: Seven years have passed since the death of Norman Mailer, and a campaign is being waged in his name on several fronts. The publication late last year of J Michael Lennon’s authorised biography asked us...
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3:09 PM | ‘A Voice Still Heard: Selected Essays of Irving Howe’
Franklin Foer at The New York Times: “A Voice Still Heard” appears at a relatively inert moment in American intellectual life and, therefore, at just the right time. Though Howe’s reputation dissipated quickly after his death in 1993, he was...
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3:06 PM | ‘When the Facts Change: Essays 1995-2010’, by Tony Judt
Mark Mazower at the Financial Times: Tony Judt was a historian whose journalism includes some of the finest things he wrote. At the time of his death from motor neurone disease in 2010 at the age of 62, he was...
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2:18 PM | Saturday Poem
Gift He said: here is my soul. I did not want his soul but I am a Southerner and very polite. I took it lightly as it was offered. But did not chain it down. I loved it and tended...
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2:01 PM | Among the Disrupted: the state of culture in the digital age
Leon Wieseltier in The New York Times: Amid the bacchanal of disruption, let us pause to honor the disrupted. The streets of American cities are haunted by the ghosts of bookstores and record stores, which have been destroyed by the...

January 16, 2015

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6:42 PM | Culture: A scientific idea "ready for retirement"?
Alberto Acerbi over at the LSE's International Cognition and Culture Instiute, with comments in the comment section by Pascal Boyer (pictured), Dan Sperber and others: Every year the website edge.org asks their panel a general question on science and/or society....
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5:15 PM | Dynamic rendering of the Ackermann function computation, deterministical and random
This video contains two examples of the computation of the Ackermann function by using artificial chemistry. The (graph rewriting) rules are those of chemlambda and there are two models of computation using them. In the first one the rules are applied deterministically, in the order of their importance. The rules which increase the number of … Continue reading Dynamic rendering of the Ackermann function computation, deterministical and random →
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4:17 PM | Being Johnny Rotten
Wesley Stace at The Times Literary Supplement: Lydon the narrator is endlessly self-contradictory – there is no use criticizing the book on the basis of this essential component of his character. He is also abrasive, immodest, given to outlandish claims,...
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4:14 PM | Jeff VanderMeer: The Weird Thoreau
Joshua Rothman at The New Yorker: The three weirdest books I read last year were all by the same writer. His name is Jeff VanderMeer, he’s from Tallahassee, Florida, and he’s the King of Weird Fiction. He writes in the...
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