Posts

August 14, 2014

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11:22 AM | Lambda calculus and the fixed point combinator in chemlambda (VIII)
This is the 8th  (continuing from part I  and part II  and part III and part IV and part V and part VI  and part VII) 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, […]
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10:44 AM | Worlds Without Domain
An article "Worlds Without Domain" arguing against the idea that possible worlds have domains. The abstract is: "A modal analogue to the "hole argument" in the foundations of spacetime is given against the conception of possible worlds having their own special domains".
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10:43 AM | Saadat Hasan Manto’s distaste for dogmas
Hirsh Sawhney in TLS: The Urdu writer Saadat Hasan Manto wrote penetrative short stories about India’s tragic Partition in 1947, an event defined by mass murder, rape and forced migration. Though Manto was born a Muslim, these stories are distinctly...
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10:23 AM | Scientists and the social network
Richard Van Noorden in Nature: In 2011, Emmanuel Nnaemeka Nnadi needed help to sequence some drug-resistant fungal pathogens. A PhD student studying microbiology in Nigeria, he did not have the expertise and equipment he needed. So he turned to ResearchGate,...
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12:18 AM | Why We Can’t Rule Out Bigfoot
Carl Zimmer in Nautilus (illustration by Jeffrey Alan Love): People often think that the job of scientists is to prove a hypothesis is true—the existence of electrons, for example, or the ability of a drug to cure cancer. But very...

August 13, 2014

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7:25 PM | John Updike on John Cheever
John Updike from a 1991 piece in The New Republic: In 1970, after the disappointing reception of the rather punchyBullet Park, an entry begins with the unforgettable cry, “Whatever happened to Johnny Cheever? Did he leave his typewriter out in...
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7:20 PM | the literature of Alessandro Spina
André Naffis-Sahely at The Nation: Three months after Alessandro Spina’s death in July 2013, Ilario Bertoletti, his Italian editor, published a memoir in which he described his first near-encounter with the notoriously reclusive writer: “It was June, 1993. The bell...
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7:14 PM | The Shadows of Lauren Bacall
Richard Brody at The New Yorker: There’s no better evidence for the idea that watching a great actor means watching a great director at work than the career of Lauren Bacall, who, at the time that she was discovered by...
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4:17 PM | The operational road to consciousness
I would like to define, in the nittiest and grittiest way, what constitutes a scientific approach to consciousness, as I see it. First let me say what I mean by “consciousness”.  Scientific studies that purport to be studies of consciousness generally operationalize it in one of two ways.  The first is used in medicine:  it … Continue reading »
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1:44 PM | The Arab world is still trying to sort out the unfinished business of the Ottoman Empire
Vali Nasr in the New York Times: The Arab world today is the product of maps drawn by the British diplomat Sir Mark Sykes and his French counterpart François Georges-Picot in 1916, and sanctified at the Treaty of Versailles in...
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12:34 PM | How Green Was My Valley
Nadia Al-Issa in ArtAsiaPacific: “How Green Was My Valley” was a poetic meditation on the backbreaking labor, bittersweet sacrifice and precious pleasures entailed in the Palestinian people’s love for their homeland and struggle for its liberation. Featuring photography, painting, sculpture,...
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11:40 AM | A Lost Way of Making Bodies From Before Skeletons and Shells
Ed Yong in National Geographic: The program running on Jennifer Hoyal Cuthill’s computer is deceptively simple. First, it creates a cylinder. As the cylinder grows, it sprouts branches, first to the left and then to the right, always at the...
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11:09 AM | Koko's Tribute to Robin Williams
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11:07 AM | Lauren Bacall
Akim Reinhardt in The Public Professor: In the late 1960s, when my father was just starting Ken’s Home Improvements, the contracting business he decided to get up and running now that he had a young son *cough* he relied on...
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11:03 AM | On the 75th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz, remembering that there's no place like home – and nothing like leaving it
Morgan Meis in The Smart Set: Salman Rushdie wrote an amusing little book in 1992. The title of the book is The Wizard of Oz. It’s about the famous movie with Judy Garland’s Dorothy and Toto and the Wicked Witches,...
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7:57 AM | A symplectic Brezis-Ekeland-Nayroles principle
We submitted to the arXiv the article Marius Buliga, Gery de Saxce, A symplectic Brezis-Ekeland-Nayroles principle You can find here the slides of two talks given in Lille and Paris a while ago,  where the article has been announced. UPDATE: The article appeared, as  arXiv:1408.3102 This is, we hope, an important article! Here is why. The […]
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3:19 AM | Maryam Mirzakhani wins Fields Medal
Bjorn Carey at the Stanford website: Maryam Mirzakhani, a professor of mathematics at Stanford, has been awarded the 2014 Fields Medal, the most prestigious honor in mathematics. Mirzakhani is the first woman to win the prize, widely regarded as the...
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2:54 AM | Open letter to Jane Nielson – a “fluoridation convert.”
Hi Jane, I read your article in the Sonoma County Gazette which was republished at Paul Connett’s Fluoride Alert website – Fluoridation convert. A scientist explains what changed her mind. You briefly described scientific studies which you claim convinced you to take … Continue reading →
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12:08 AM | It will be sunny one day
From Letters of Note: Early-2006, during a bout of depression, a young lady by the name of Crystal Nunn wrote a desperate letter to Stephen Fry. Says Crystal: "I had no idea who to turn to. But I really needed...

August 12, 2014

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9:24 PM | Wilkins on demarcation
Continuing Adam Ford’s series of me as a talking head:
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3:43 PM | The Glory of Math Is to Matter
Amir Alexander in Scientific American: In 1842, when the famed German mathematician Carl Gustav Jacobi was invited to speak to a scientific meeting in Manchester, he had a surprise in store for his English hosts. “It is the glory of...
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3:34 PM | Is Pakistan's Democracy Under Threat?
Ahmed Humayun in Foreign Policy: Although he won a big mandate last year at Pakistan's polls, Nawaz Sharif, the prime minister of Pakistan and head of the ruling party, the Pakistan Muslim league (PML-N), is under siege at home. The...
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1:58 PM | obama and the 'g' word
Cynthia Haven at The Book Haven: It was, perhaps, his most statesmanlike moment: a president brought to the decision he didn’t want to make, to defend a far-off nation he’d hoped was part of our nation’s past. “Earlier this week,...
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1:55 PM | West of the Revolution: An Uncommon History of 1776
Andrew Graybill at The American Scholar: For years, Claudio Saunt vividly recalled the summer of 1976, when as an eight-year-old boy he went to see an enormous birthday cake that had traveled cross-country to his hometown of San Francisco in...
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1:53 PM | Quantum Foundations of a Classical Universe
Greetings from sunny (for the moment) Yorktown Heights, NY, home of IBM’s Watson Research Center. I’m behind on respectable blogging (although it’s been nice to see some substantive conversation on the last couple of comment threads), and I’m at a … Continue reading →
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12:17 PM | Wilkins on philosophy of science
As part of the Science Week activities that informed the last few posts, I will be giving a brief introduction to philosophy of science as well as talking about the relation between science and religion shortly. The organiser of this event (on 23 August, at the East Melbourne Unitarian Church) is Adam Ford, who interviewed […]

August 11, 2014

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3:15 PM | How not to do the beta move: use emergent algebra instead
In the frame of chemlambda and g-patterns, here is how not to do the beta move. We pass from chemlambda to a slightly enlarged version, see the graphical formalism of projective conical spaces, which would correspond to an only local moves version of the whole GLC, with the emergent algebra nodes and moves. Then we […]
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12:45 AM | Accidental Renaissance – or intuition?
Saw this photo on the Guardian – see Accidental Renaissance: the photos that look like Italian paintings. The author says: “Currently doing the rounds on Twitter is the image below, taken from Facebook by artist James Harvey, whose tweet has been shared … Continue reading →

August 10, 2014

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8:08 PM | List of Ayes/Noes of artificial chemistry chemlambda
List of noes distributed (no unique place, no external passive space) asynchronous (no unique time, no external global time) decentralized (no unique boss, no external acyclic hierarchy) no semantics (no unique meaning, no signal propagation, no values) no functions (not vitalism) no probability   List of ayes syntactic transformer (graph rewrites) local moves (chemical reactions […]
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4:03 PM | Oh It's A Lovely War Sung By Courtland & Jeffries
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