Posts

December 12, 2014

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1:21 PM | Jonathan Edwards didn’t, actually, preach the Protestant work ethic
Nathan Schneider at Lapham's Quarterly: It is taken as true to the point of cliché that American culture rests on the strenuous embrace of the “spirit of capitalism,” which Max Weber famously attributed to Edwards’ own Calvinist tradition. We work...
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1:10 PM | The Dark & Light of Francisco Goya
Colm Tóibín at The New York Review of Books: There are two ways, perhaps, of looking at Goya, who was born near Zaragoza in 1746 and died in exile in France in 1828. In the first version, he was almost...
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12:28 PM | Immune cells boost cancer survival from months to years
Heidi Ledford in Nature: When immunologist Michel Sadelain launched his first trial of genetically engineered, cancer-fighting T cells in 2007, he struggled to find patients willing to participate. Studies in mice suggested that the approach — isolating and engineering some...
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10:40 AM | Friday Poem
From the Republic of Conscience I When I landed in the republic of conscience it was so noiseless when the engines stopped I could hear a curlew high above the runway. At immigration, the clerk was an old man who...

December 11, 2014

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4:09 PM | Ancient vandalism? graffiti and literature
Emily Gowers at the Times Literary Supplement: When Pompeii was rediscovered in the eighteenth century, no one was particularly interested in the rash of graffiti scratched on its walls. Excavators at the time were too busy carting away bulky and...
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4:06 PM | on realism and the real
Tom McCarthy at the London Review of Books: There’s been a lot of talk in recent years about reality in fiction, or reality versus fiction. Take the many articles about the ‘true’ writings of Karl Ove Knausgaard, or the huge...
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3:58 PM | the rise of mansplanation
Heather Havrilesky at Bookforum: Bemoaning the stoned slackers of the world might not be a wise choice for the author responsible for what we might term the “Mansplanations of History for Stoned Slackers” series: Killing Lincoln (2011), Killing Kennedy (2012),...
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2:41 PM | Schools' Discipline for Girls Differs by Race and hUE
Tanzina Vega in NYTimes: To hear Mikia Hutchings speak, one must lean in close, as her voice barely rises above a whisper. In report cards, her teachers describe her as “very focused,” someone who follows the rules and stays on...
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1:07 PM | A Crazy Mixed-Up Day: Thirty Brainteasers
Walter Benjamin in The Paris Review: From 1927 to early 1933, Walter Benjamin wrote and delivered some eighty to ninety broadcasts over the new medium of German radio, working between Radio Berlin and Radio Frankfurt. These broadcasts, many of them...
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1:02 PM | God’s Work? Americans aren’t so confident in their creationism
William Saletan in Slate: In a dozen polls taken from 1982 to 2014, Gallup has asked Americans to choose among three views of evolution. One view is that humans “developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life,...
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11:21 AM | Thursday Poem
Not Intrigued With Evening What the material world values does not shine the same in the truth of the soul. You have been interested in your shadow. Look instead directly at the sun. What can we know by just watching...
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9:47 AM | Travelling with the Indian sex tourist to Tashkent in search of ‘full enjoyment’
Srinath Perur in Open: It is a bit of a rowdy excursion. Right from the outset there’s an air of impatience, of raring to go. One middle-aged man boards the plane and finds his friend already inside and buckled up....
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9:40 AM | Malala Yousafzai Speech At Noble Peace Prize Ceremony
No summary available for this post.
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9:38 AM | Novel approach to battling cancer sees striking success in Hodgkin lymphoma patients
Robert Levy in the Harvard Medical School website: A therapy that liberates the immune system to attack cancer cells drove Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) into complete or partial remission in fully 87 percent of patients with resistant forms of the disease...
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1:03 AM | Causal and probabilistic reasoning conference at MCMP
Causal and Probabilistic Reasoning18-20 June, 2015Idea and Motivation2015 marks the 15th anniversary of the publications of Judea Pearl’s Causality and the second edition of Peter Spirtes, Clark Glymour, and Richard Scheines’ Causality, Prediction, and Search, which together are the foundations for the mathematical theory of causal modeling. During this period, the theory of causal Bayesian networks has been applied to a variety of topics in the special sciences, […]

December 10, 2014

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10:45 PM | “Do your own research!”
How many times have I had discussion partners on the internet say to me “Do your own research?” Inevitably they are pushing some pseudoscientific or anti-scientific conspiracy theory – yet claiming science is their friend! Here, one of the members … Continue reading →
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8:13 PM | the slow films of Richard Linklater
Christopher J. Lee at The Point: All films are ultimately an epitaph to a particular time, place and mood, with Linklater’s achievement in his second picture being his skill at seizing an ephemeral, homegrown authenticity before it disappeared. As suggested...
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8:09 PM | Elena Ferrante: Italy’s Great, Mysterious Storyteller
Rachel Donadio at The New York Review of Books: These books have blood, of murder and menstruation, as well as tears and sweat. Men do violence against women, and women against men. Women are betrayed and also betray—themselves and others....
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6:34 PM | Are we becoming a nation of hoarders?
Joan Acocella at The New Yorker: Normal as all this sounds, there are cases of hoarding that don’t fall within the boundaries of the normal, and these are the subject of “The Hoarders: Material Deviance in Modern American Culture” (University...
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4:33 PM | Patrick Modiano's Nobel Lecture
From the Nobel Prize website: I would simply like to tell you how happy I am to be here with you and how touched I am by the honour you have done me in awarding me the Nobel Prize in...
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4:29 PM | The Long Road to Maxwell’s Equations
James C. Rautio in IEEE Spectrum: Should you wish to pay homage to the great physicist James Clerk Maxwell, you wouldn’t lack for locales in which to do it. There’s a memorial marker in London’s Westminster Abbey, not far from...
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4:24 PM | Do physical forces really exist? A debate
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4:21 PM | China has just overtaken the United States as the world’s largest economy
Joseph E. Stiglitz in Vanity Fair: When the history of 2014 is written, it will take note of a large fact that has received little attention: 2014 was the last year in which the United States could claim to be...
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1:06 PM | Wednesday Poem
Two Decimal Sonnets . every hair of your head will stand up and hum and sing The great green YES that sweeps the days up one by one, unbuttons them and kisses spring into their bones; the god of goldenrod...
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11:05 AM | Wahhabism to ISIS: how Saudi Arabia exported the main source of global terrorism
Karen Armstrong in New Statesman: As the so-called Islamic State demolishes nation states set up by the Europeans almost a century ago, IS’s obscene savagery seems to epitomise the violence that many believe to be inherent in religion in general...
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10:55 AM | Mediterranean diet linked to longer life
From KurzweilAI: The Mediterranean diet appears to be associated with longer telomere length — a marker of slower aging and thus long life, a study published in the BMJ this week suggests. The Mediterranean diet has been consistently linked with...

December 09, 2014

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10:35 PM | Dirty politics over MH17?
I have followed events in Ukraine for a year now and learned very early on never to be surprised. There have been so many seemingly outrageous things happen. On the one hand this has kept the Ukrainian events in the … Continue reading →
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10:04 PM | We Need to Stop Waiting for permission to Write
Sarah Galo profiles Ayesha Siddiqi, the editor in chief of the New Inquiry, in The Guardian (Photograph: Manahil Siddiqi /Ayesha Siddiqi): How did you begin writing online? I joined Twitter to tell jokes that I couldn’t get away with on...
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9:44 PM | A Dialogue on a Focus Group from the Unfogged Commentariat on the New Republic
Brad De Long over at his website (image from Wikimedia commons): Kephalos: I suppose that if you want to say that the *Old New Republic *was a national treasure because it provided a place where Spencer Ackerman could publish, gain...
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9:10 PM | My Great-Great-Aunt Discovered Francium. And It Killed Her
Veronique Greenwood in the New York Times: Just after Christmas of 1938, a young woman named Marguerite Perey — then 29, with a plain, open face, her eyes intent upon her work — sat at a bench in the Radium...
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