Posts

July 09, 2014

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1:11 PM | Discovery of a new means to erase pain
From EurekAlert: A study published in the scientific journal Nature Neuroscience by Yves De Koninck and Robert Bonin, two researchers at Université Laval, reveals that it is possible to relieve pain hypersensitivity using a new method that involves rekindling pain...
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11:45 AM | What is a caliphate?
Samira Shackle in The New Humanist: ISIS has declared a new caliphate in Iraq and Syria - but has overstated its theological authority. This week, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) announced that it was establishing a caliphate:...
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11:26 AM | The disarray at Belo Horizonte
Tunku Varadarajan in The Daily Beast: One has to believe that Brazil was at the receiving end of some great celestial wrath. In the days before the game, there was talk of nothing else but Neymar, Brazil’s key striker and...
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12:28 AM | Synapse servers: plenty of room at the virtual bottom
The Distributed GLC is a decentralized asynchronous model of computation which uses chemlambda molecules. In the model, each molecule is managed by an actor,  which has the molecule as his state, and the free ports of the  molecule are tagged with other actors names. Reductions  between molecules (like chemical reactions) happen  only for those molecules […]

July 08, 2014

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10:21 PM | An Interview with Amitava Kumar
Daisy Rockwell in Bookslut: In his new book A Matter of Rats: A Short Biography of Patna, author Amitava Kumar writes about his hometown, Patna, in Bihar, India. Not meant to be a comprehensive history, it's a slim volume that...
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10:19 PM | Listen to the Oldest Song in the World: A Sumerian Hymn Written 3,400 Years Ago
Over at Open Culture: In the early 1950s, archaeologists unearthed several clay tablets from the 14th century B.C.E.. Found, WFMU tells us, “in the ancient Syrian city of Ugarit,” these tablets “contained cuneiform signs in the hurrian language,” which turned...
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3:02 PM | Analytic Philosophy’s Fire Alarm
Santiago Zabala in the Columbia University Press blog: Anyone who questions or raises doubts over analytic philosophy’s role or significance today indirectly pulls a fire alarm in our framed democracies, our culture, and our universities. The doubter will immediately be...
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2:57 PM | Comments on Koubessi et al.: Have we learned anything new about the role of the claustrum in consciousness?
This is a brief comment on a new paper that presents an observation that might be relevant to the role of the claustrum in consciousness.  The paper is: Koubeissi, Mohamad Z., et al. “Electrical stimulation of a small brain area reversibly disrupts consciousness.” Epilepsy & Behavior 37 (2014): 32-35. To summarize:  the authors are neurologists … Continue reading »
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2:52 PM | Stephen Burt on emotions in American poetry
No summary available for this post.
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1:58 PM | A BRIEF TAKE ON SLAVERY AND THE HOLOCAUST
Clifford Thompson at Vox Populi: It should not be necessary to say that slavery, by its very nature, in its mere existence, is evil; that the gentlest slave owner is at best a morally compromised individual and at worst a...
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1:50 PM | what lay behind William Tecumseh Sherman's rage for order
Chris Bray at Bookforum: A WARRIOR WITHOUT WAR, William Tecumseh Sherman was an ambitious West Point graduate who stood at the periphery while other men went into combat: garrisoned in coastal Florida at the edge of the fighting during the...
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1:45 PM | Woolf's Reading of Joyce's Ulysses
James Heffernan at The Modernist Lab: In early October 1922, more than four years after her first exposure to Joyce's Ulysses, Woolf wrote the following to the art critic and philosopher Roger Fry: My great adventure is really Proust. Well--...
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1:40 PM | the war poets you don’t study at school
Owen Clayton at The New Statesman: The most prominent European war poet was Guillaume Apollinaire, a naturalised Frenchman of Polish descent who died of influenza at the end of the war. His collection Calligrammes stands as a landmark achievement in...
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9:56 AM | We dislike being alone with our thoughts
Heidi Ledford in Nature: Which would you prefer: pain or boredom? Given the choice, many people would rather give themselves mild electric shocks than sit idly in a room for 15 minutes, according to a study published today in Science1....
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9:05 AM | Seeker, Doer, Giver, Ponderer: A Billionaire Mathematician’s Life of Ferocious Curiosity
William J. Broad in The New York Times: James H. Simons likes to play against type. He is a billionaire star of mathematics and private investment who often wins praise for his financial gifts to scientific research and programs to...

July 07, 2014

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7:27 PM | Particle Fever on iTunes
The documentary film Particle Fever, directed by Mark Levinson and produced by physicist David Kaplan, opened a while back and has been playing on and off in various big cities. But it’s still been out of reach for many people … Continue reading →
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5:42 PM | Lambda calculus and the fixed point combinator in chemlambda (I)
This is the first in a series of expository posts where we put together in one place the pieces from various places about: how is treated lambda calculus in chemlambda how it works, with special emphasis on the fixed point combinator. I hope to make this presentation as easy to follow as possible, particularly by […]
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11:24 AM | Asperger Depressing Double Edged Sword
    Many high IQ Asperger sufferers think that their rationality is ultimately superior. Their moralizing provides judgments; their “honesty” blurts them out. Such behavior is usually felt to be inappropriate. Rationalizing such as a somehow more upstanding, righteous way is in many cases quite silly especially from a rational perspective. Their often narrowly focused moralizing does precisely not submit tacitly held values to rational analysis.  read more
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5:10 AM | Revisiting Kristof's Criticism of Academic Irrelevance
by D.E. Wittkower, Evan Selinger and Lucinda Rush Some time has passed since Nicholas Kristof published his controversial Op-Ed "Professors, We Need You!", and the time is ripe for us to approach the issue afresh. After briefly revisiting the controversy,...
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5:00 AM | Reflections on the Hypodermic Needle
by Gerald Dworkin Recently a ghastly case of capital punishment by means of lethal injection was featured in the news. A convicted murderer and rapist, Clayton Lockett, died 43 minutes after his execution began. He was described by many witnesses...
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4:55 AM | Leibniz's Stepped Reckoner, and a clock for the next 10,000 years
by Charlie Huenemann In 1671, in some letters exchanged with the French mathematician Pierre de Carcavy, Leibniz mentioned his plans to create a calculating machine. Apparently, he had been inspired by a pedometer, probably thinking that if machines could count,...
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4:50 AM | Monday Poem
Again My father, at the kitchen table, in a rare expression of mystery, said, I think life is a cycle But he was not a mystical man to me, nose to the grindstone he ground day after day, pressed by...
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4:45 AM | The Meaning of Apples
by Emrys Westacott What is it about the apple? Common, easily grown, and cheap to buy, yet when you think about it the apple is a major character in the history of our culture. It pops up continually to play...
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4:40 AM | Encounters in the Passing Moment
by Mathangi Krishnamurthy Last week I ran into a faintly familiar face and looked at him quizzically as he said, "You asked a good question yesterday. At the talk." I thanked him, we muttered names; I don't think I heard...
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4:35 AM | Perceptions
Michelle Lougee. Dinoflagellate. 2014. Plastic bags, 55” x 34” x 30” More here and here.
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4:30 AM | Does the Utilitarian Argument for Vegetarianism Add Up?
by Thomas Rodham Wells The contemporary animal rights movement owes a great intellectual debt to Peter Singer's pathbreaking book ‘Animal Liberation' (1975). In that book Singer made a break with the dominant moral argument for treating animals well, the Kantian...
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4:25 AM | Towards Independent Creativity
by Carl Pierer It is a good situation for European students in Scotland. We get to study at excellent universities with outstanding research. We do not pay any tuition fees. The institutions are well funded. As part of the EU,...
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4:20 AM | CATSPEAK
by Brooks Riley
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4:15 AM | Two women painters: Jenny Saville at Gagosian and Celia Paul
Two women painters: Jenny Saville at Gagosian and Celia Paul at Victoria Miro. London
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4:10 AM | The Loneliness of the Modern Warrior: Matt Murphy's "A Beckoning War"
by Prashant Keshavmurthy If there is a literary history of the modern warrior then Matthew Murphy's A Beckoning War should be its latest chapter and, surely, its finest. Told in the third-person, the novel narrates "the Allied advance through the...
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