Posts

November 07, 2014

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1:54 PM | portrait of jennie
Stefany Anne Golberg at The Smart Set: From the moment Eben first sees Jennie, time begins to slip. Each time they meet, Jennie is a little older; Eben starts to wonder, then, just who Jennie Appleton is. He embarks on...
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1:43 PM | Don’t Waste Any Tears on the Democrats
Ezra Palmer in Far From Brooklyn: There are a thousand and one reasons the Democrats lost control of the Senate, but the main one is this: They didn’t stand for a goddam thing. The GOP ran on a single talking...
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1:39 PM | DEATH AND THE MISSING PIECE OF MEDICAL SCHOOL
Atul Gawande at TED: I learned about a lot of things in medical school, but mortality wasn’t one of them. I was given a dry, leathery corpse to dissect in my first term — but that was solely a way...
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1:35 PM | The Science of Fireworks
No summary available for this post.
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1:03 PM | How Modern Life Is Making Us Addicted and Insane
Ron Taffel in Alternet: Over the past decade or two, seasoned therapists who treat young people have been seeing some increasingly worrisome trends. Although solid statistics are hard to come by, one indication of a surge in troubled young adults...
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12:56 PM | A Voice Still Heard: Selected Essays of Irving Howe
Robert Minto at Open Letters Monthly: In addition to being dead, Irving Howe might seem irrelevant to 21st century culture because he was dedicated to causes few take seriously anymore – at least in Howe’s country, the United States –...
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12:53 PM | a not-too-distant time when Arabs and Jews lived as neighbors
Ben Lynfield in The Christian Science Monitor: Projecting the Palestinian-Israeli conflict's intensity and seeming intractability today onto the past, many people assume that enmity has been at the fore of relations for centuries. But in Lives in Common, the dovish...
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12:50 PM | Does anyone feel genuinely at home in the age of global gentrification?
Agri Ismail at Eurozine: At an Irish pub managed by an international hotel chain, German beer is being served by Filipino waitresses. An Eritrean bartender is mixing a cocktail, his theatrical performance indicative of extensive industry training, a training that...
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12:36 PM | Friday Poem
The One The enormous head and huge bulbed knees, elongated hands and feet, don't fit with the filed down chest, limbs of kindling, yet this is one whole boy, suspended in a cloth harness hooked to what looks like a...
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10:59 AM | Nihilism
Over at Rationally Speaking: Are you a nihilist? Forget about wearing all black and being indifferent to the rest of the world -- nihilism is a lot more complicated than most people think. In this episode of Rationally Speaking, Massimo...
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8:35 AM | Free Will and Psychological Determinism
Steve Snyder in Scientia Salon: I am going to connect issues of free will and determinism … to Buddhism! (But only as a psychology, folks.) I’m going to explain why I reject free will in the sense of being associated...

November 06, 2014

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10:02 PM | Purposeful Distortion
Here is a map, slightly off-kilter but completely recognizable, by Gaicomo Faiella. Can you tell what is special/interesting about it? (Hat tip to Joe Polchinski, and following his lead I won’t reveal the answer in this post — but feel … Continue reading →
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2:49 PM | the soldier poets of the First World War
Sean O'Brien at the Times Literary Supplement: One of the worst experiences for soldiers in the trenches seems to have been the sense that landscape itself had been dissolved and unwritten by the continuous bombardment known as drum-fire, and replaced...
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2:21 PM | F by Daniel Kehlmann: 'clever in all the right ways'
Toby Lichtig in The Telegraph: With Measuring the World (2006), Daniel Kehlmann established himself as one of the pre-eminent (and bestselling) German-language novelists, his blend of gravitas, humour and postmodernism winning him admirers across an enviably broad base.His latest book...
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2:16 PM | Humans and baboons share cumulative culture ability
From PhysOrg: Humankind is capable of great accomplishments, such as sending probes into space and eradicating diseases; these achievements have been made possible because humans learn from their elders and enrich this knowledge over generations. It was previously thought that...
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2:13 PM | The Ganga is Moving Away from the Ghats. Can Modi Save It?
Saraswati Nandini Majumdar in Open the Magazine (Photo: Majority World/UIG/Getty Images) [h/t: Tunku Varadarajan]: Any plan for the revitalisation of the Ganga and the ghats would ideally have to demonstrate a holistic understanding of the heritage that they together constitute...
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2:13 PM | We Are Not the Only Political Animals
Justin E. H. Smith in the New York Times: Homo sapiens has long sought to set itself apart from animals — that is, apart from every other living species. One of the most enduring attempts to define humanity in a...
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2:09 PM | We Can Eradicate Malaria—Within a Generation
Bill Gates in his blog: I’m in New Orleans, where I just had the honor of speaking at the annual meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH). As you can imagine, given that this is a...
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2:00 PM | How I Stopped Being a Jew by Shlomo Sand and Unchosen: The Memoirs of a Philo-Semite by Julie Burchill – review
Will Self in The Guardian: In 2006, as the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) were undertaking their second major incursion into Lebanon, I resigned as a Jew. I did it publicly in an article for the London Evening Standard. My resignation...
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1:56 PM | The art of choosing - Sheena Iyengar
[Thanks to Namit Arora.]
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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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