Posts

November 06, 2014

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11:31 AM | Thursday Poem
"To each Begum is to be delivered as follows: one special dancing-girl of the dancing-girls of Sultan Ibrahim, with one gold plate full of jewels – ruby and pearl, cornelian and diamond, emerald and turquoise, topaz and cat’s-eye and two...
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6:40 AM | Wonder Woman: The Weird, True Story
Sarah Kerr in NYRB: Wonder Woman stories showed women shackled in endless yards of ropes and chains—a constant theme in art from decades earlier demanding the right to vote. The traditional allegory of an island of Amazon princesses appears in...
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3:01 AM | Declan Waugh claims it’s “clear as day”
Declan Waugh is an anti-fluoride propagandist who specialises in naively distorting scientific and medical information to “prove” community water fluoridation (CWF) is dangerous. A common tactic of his is to select, really cherry-pick, medical data to show the mortality or disease … Continue reading →

November 05, 2014

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10:35 PM | What language looks like: Dictionary and grammar are to language what standing on one foot is to running
Send to Kindle Listen to this Post Background Sometimes a rather obscure and complex analogy just clicks into place in one’s mind and allows a slightly altered way of thinking that just makes so much sense, it hurts. Like putting glasses on in the morning and the world suddenly snapping into shape. This happened to […]
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7:00 PM | Updates on the program about artificial chemistry and decentralized computing
I pass directly to the matter. Where I’m now.  I have a development of the initial chemlambda formalism (introduced in the Chemical concrete machine) which can be coupled with with various algorithms for performing reductions, which range from the most stupid on one machine run a program which advances in sequential steps, such that each […]
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3:56 PM | Chicago Fear
May Rice in The Morning News: How scary is Chicago? People usually talk about how dangerous it is instead, and that’s certainly the more quantifiable trait. You can use police data to model the probability of being murdered: seven or...
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2:52 PM | William Basinski’s evocative tape art
Sasha Frere-Jones at The New Yorker: Basinski’s music is difficult to classify. Minimalist composers and sampling artists are related, but only somewhat. His loops are being voiced neither by humans—who repeat figures in a way that involves a fairly high...
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2:51 PM | Humans have innate grasp of probability
Ewen Callaway in Nature: People overrate the chances of dying in a plane crash and guess incorrectly at the odds that a coin toss will yield 'heads' after a string of several 'tails'. Yet humans have an innate sense of...
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2:48 PM | Patrick Leigh Fermor in crete
Jan Morris at Literary Review: In death as in life, Sir Patrick Michael Leigh Fermor, DSO, etc., etc., marches epically on. Paddy (as he is known to nearly one and all) left us three years ago, but since then he...
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2:42 PM | the nudes of Egon Schiele
Craig Raine at The New Statesman: John Updike has unnecessarily acquitted Schiele of the charge of pornography, on the grounds that his women are too gaunt and too ugly to be arousing. Julian Barnes, in a paroxysm of primness at...
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11:54 AM | Final CfP: 15th Congress of Logic, Methodology, and Philosophy of Science (CLMPS 2015)
15th CONGRESS OF LOGIC, METHODOLOGY, AND PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE (CLMPS 2015)University of Helsinki, Finland, 3-8 August 2015http://clmps.helsinki.fiSubmission 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 the Philosophy the Social Sciences (TINT) and the Division […]
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9:47 AM | Organised Hypocrisy on a Monumental Scale
Robert Wade on the economic occupation of the West Bank in the LRB: [O]n a dusty dirt road outside Nablus, with the Israeli security fence on one side and an olive grove on the other, I met two brothers walking...
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8:32 AM | Borges and God
Jorge Luis Borges and Osvaldo Ferrari in the NYRB blog (Ferdinando Scianna/Magnum Photos): Osvaldo Ferrari: Many people still ask whether Borges believes in God, because at times they feel he does and at times that he doesn’t. Jorge Luis Borges:...

November 04, 2014

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3:34 PM | Ashura 2014: Dates, Rituals And History Explained
From The Huffington Post: Ashura, an optional fast day for Muslims that commemorates different things for Sunnis and Shiites, falls on Nov. 2-3, 2014. The word itself, ashura, means 10, and the holiday is the 10th day of the Islamic...
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3:10 PM | Time, Matter, and the Universe with Physicist Sean Carroll
No summary available for this post.
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2:59 PM | The Curse of Byron and the Birth of Literature’s Greatest Monsters
Michael Dirda at the Washignton Post: Friday night, at least a few vampires and Frankenstein monsters will knock on our doors even as old Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi films play once more in darkened family rooms. Some of us...
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2:57 PM | 'graceland' and the rothko chapel
Nathan Dunne at Aeon Magazine: Rothko’s paintings, and their context within the chapel, resonate in ways not dissimilar to Graceland. The chapel allows for contemplation and prayer through painting, where the album embeds notion of inequality, alienation and racism among...
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2:54 PM | What next for Nepal?
Roman Gautem at Caravan: NEPAL WAS FIRST PROMISED a constitution written by a democratically elected assembly in 1951. A popular movement had just returned to power King Tribhuvan Shah, ending a century of autocratic, hereditary rule by the Ranas, chief...
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2:46 PM | Why Innocent People Plead Guilty
Jed S. Rakoff in the NYRB (Brittany Murray/Long Beach Press-Telegram/AP Images): [T]he information-deprived defense lawyer, typically within a few days after the arrest, meets with the overconfident prosecutor, who makes clear that, unless the case can be promptly resolved by...
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2:41 PM | Hollaback and Why Everyone Needs Better Research Methods
Zeynep Tufekci in Medium: I’ve taught “introduction to research methods” to undergraduate students for many years, and they would sometimes ask me why they should care about all this “method stuff”, besides having a required class for a sociology major...
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2:37 PM | Infinity and Beyond: The Ultimate Test
Natalie Wolchover and Peter Byrne in Quanta (image Olena Shmahalo/Quanta Magazine): If modern physics is to be believed, we shouldn’t be here. The meager dose of energy infusing empty space, which at higher levels would rip the cosmos apart, is...
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2:02 PM | A Fight for the Young Creationist Mind
Jeffery DelViscio in The New York Times: In February, William Sanford Nye, better known as Bill Nye the science guy, stepped onto a stage in Kentucky and faced down a hostile crowd in a debate that pitted evolution against creationism....
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11:28 AM | Tuesday poem
Just There We have not given up hope though we know in the end we will live in the place we do not wish to. At the beginning we will be unhappy even restless, we will not like – the...

November 03, 2014

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10:23 PM | Unusual photo of Moon and Earth.
Here’s a photo of the earth you don’t often see. Nor is the view of the moon familiar. The Chinese test vehicle Change’5 took this photo as it swung around the moon before returning to earth.  So we see the unfamiliar far side … Continue reading →
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5:55 AM | Speech by Dr. Azra Raza: Our Collective Spiritual Suicide
On May 24 of this year, the Dow Medical College (Karachi) Graduate Association of North America (DOGANA) held a function in Philadelphia honoring the "Women of Dow". My sister Azra is a Dow alumna and was presented with an award...
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5:40 AM | Monday Poem
The Impossible Glamour of Istanbul the narrow streets on the hill leading from the mooring of our ship were stepped and cobbled, or bricked. from overhead they must have looked like laces knitting together masonry walls which lined those ancient...
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5:35 AM | Almost Perfect: Cosmic Music and Mathematical Ratio
by Yohan J. John I. Before the scientific age, boundaries between disciplines were not that sharply defined. Many cultures around the world saw art, music, mathematics and theology as reflections of each other. Perhaps the most poetic expression of this...
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5:30 AM | Perceptions: A Tribute to Imran Mir
Imran Mir. Untitled. 2014. Photo sent to me by the artist in March 2014. Imran Mir, pre-eminent Pakistani graphic designer; serious, inspired, thoughtful, whimsical, prolific artist; a man of great heart, and an immensely generous soul; died on October 28,...
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5:25 AM | Time Turned to Stone, Part 1: Time as interval
by Paul Braterman I have recently visited two very different sites where time is turned to stone, where just looking at the rocks shows the passage of enormous lengths of time, dwarfing all of recorded human history. At the first...
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5:20 AM | Poem
GOOD FORM for Keith Bayard, a demigod Winsome nymphs in thongs over gym tights, nebbishes nerds nudnicks aging stud-muffins, twitterbots, bloggers, gal jocks with polished fingers racing down the steps without touching the chrome banisters, I love it here. First...
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