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Posts

April 02, 2014

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3:58 PM | Immanuel Velikovsky’s strange quest for a scientific theory of everything
Paula Findlen at The Nation: In the 1940s, a curiously enigmatic figure haunted New York City’s great libraries, his mind afire with urgent questions whose resolution might reveal, once and for all, the most ancient secrets of the universe in...
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3:53 PM | The new war literature by veterans
George Packer at The New Yorker: Soldiers who set out to write the story of their war also have to navigate a minefield of clichés: all of them more or less true but open to qualification; many sowed long before...
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11:57 AM | The need for the public practice of the humanities in India
Prashant Keshavmurthy in Chapati Mystery: In 1892, Maulana Shibli Nu’māni, an internationally celebrated Indian Muslim historian, (Urdu-Persian) literary critic and theologian of his day, traveled by sea from Bombay to the Ottoman Empire, journeying through Cyprus, Istanbul, Syria and Egypt....
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11:40 AM | The Video Game Engine in Your Head
Joshua Hartshome in Scientific American: For years now, physicists and engineers have been building computer simulations of physics in order to understand the behavior of objects in the world. Want to see if a bridge would be stable during an...
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10:39 AM | Wednesday Poem
Under our boot soles In memory of Jim Thomas Once you stepped out an open window onto nothing we could see from our desks, and for a whole long second you floated and didn't fall through two floors of air...

April 01, 2014

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11:54 PM | Is anyone listening?
Thanks to: Twitter / SonyKapoor: “Is this mic actually on?” ….
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1:17 PM | How Darwinian is Cultural Evolution?
Nicolas Claidière, Thomas C. Scott-Phillips, and Dan Sperber over at the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society (image via Wikimedia Commons): Abstract Darwin-inspired population thinking suggests approaching culture as a population of items of different types, whose relative frequencies may...
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1:06 PM | Gloomy Terrors or the Most Intense Pleasure?
Via Andrew Sullivan, Philip Schofield discusses Jeremy Bentham's writings on religion and sex, over at the Oxford University Press blog: In 1814, just two hundred years ago, the radical philosopher Jeremy Bentham (1748–1832) began to write on the subject of...
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12:04 PM | Speciation – a brief history: Linnaeus
One of the fundamental aspects of evolution is speciation. This is the process by which more species come into being, and there are many different definitions and mechanisms that have been proposed by biologists in the last couple of centuries. … Continue reading →
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11:35 AM | What slang says about us
Nicholas Shakespeare in The Telegraph: Slang’s first compilers were chippy individualists, routinely beset by financial worries and complex marital lives. They were never grandees like the 70-odd team beavering away still on the Oxford English Dictionary in Great Clarendon Street...
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11:18 AM | Spite Is Good. Spite Works
Natalie Angier in The New York Times: The “Iliad” may be a giant of Western literature, yet its plot hinges on a human impulse normally thought petty: spite. Achilles holds a festering grudge against Agamemnon (“He cheated me, wronged me...
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11:00 AM | Chemlambda, universality and self-multiplication
Together with Louis Kauffman, we submitted  the following article: M. Buliga, L.H. Kauffman, Chemlambda, universality and self-multiplication,   arXiv:1403.8046 to the ALIFE 14: THE FOURTEENTH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON THE SYNTHESIS AND SIMULATION OF LIVING SYSTEMS . The article abstract is: We present chemlambda (or the chemical concrete machine), an artificial chemistry with the following properties: (a) […]
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12:52 AM | March ’14 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Image Credit: SingleHop.  There are now almost 300 blogs on the list, although I am weeding out those which are no longer active or have removed public access to sitemeters. (Let me know if I weed out yours by mistake, or get … Continue reading →

March 31, 2014

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2:08 PM | Guest Post: Jaroslav Trnka on the Amplituhedron
Usually, technical advances in mathematical physics don’t generate a lot of news buzz. But last year a story in Quanta proved to be an exception. It relayed the news of an intriguing new way to think about quantum field theory … Continue reading →
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5:00 AM | Billiards, Chaos, and the 2014 Abel Prize
by Jonathan Kujawa Yakov Sinai On March 26th it was announced that Yakov Sinai, a mathematician at Princeton University and the Landau Institute for Theoretical Physics, had won the 2014 Abel Prize. The Abel prize was established in 2001 by...
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4:55 AM | Are women too emotional to be effective leaders?
by Quinn O'Neill It is a widely held view that women are more emotional than men, and some argue that this makes them unsuitable for positions that demand important, cool-headed decision making. The argument often rears its head in discussions...
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4:50 AM | Sharing Our Sorrow Via Facebook
by Jalees Rehman Geteiltes Leid ist halbes Leid ("Shared sorrow is half the sorrow") is a popular German proverb which refers to the importance of sharing bad news and troubling experiences with others. The therapeutic process of sharing takes on...
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4:45 AM | Monday Poem
Who Is Urizen, anyway In William’s crisp mandala Urizen asymmetrically stoops Laying dualism on the world, cleaving philosophers’ minds, inspiring theologians to settle scores, he undoes the unity of chaos splitting it to bits like logs to fuel the fires...
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4:40 AM | The Rationalist and the Romantic
By Namit Arora On Arundhati Roy’s introduction to Dr. BR Ambedkar’s Annihilation of Caste. A few weeks ago, the Indian publisher Navayana released an annotated, "critical edition" of Dr. BR Ambedkar’s classic, Annihilation of Caste (AoC). Written in 1936, AoC...
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4:35 AM | Every Genuine Encounter Destroys Our Existing World: On Things
by Madhu Kaza It’s cold outside. New York City is probably exciting as ever out there, but I’m staying in with my soup and my soup spoon and all of the spoons, with books listing this way and that on...
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4:30 AM | perceptions
Mehreen Murtaza. Congratulations and Celebrations. 2007. Digital C type print. More here and here.
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4:25 AM | Uncle Warren Thanks You For Playing
by Misha Lepetic "Is it the media that induce fascination in the masses, or is it the masses who direct the media into the spectacle?" ~Baudrillard I usually buy my cigarettes at a corner store, on Manhattan's Upper West Side,...
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4:20 AM | A Call for Reform: Student Mental Health on College Campuses
by Kathleen Goodwin There are many bitter and hopeless thoughts that have plagued me since the night that Wendy Chang took her own life in her Harvard dorm room in April 2012, just 34 days before she would have graduated....
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4:15 AM | CATSPEAK
by Brooks Riley
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4:10 AM | What Is Good Taste?
by Dwight Furrow I suspect most people would say "good taste" is an ability to discern what other people in your social group (or the social group you aspire to) find attractive. Since most people cannot say much about why...
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4:05 AM | Interrogating a Poet
by Shadab Zeest Hashmi You write of your country as if from a great distance. Distance is journey’s squinting twin; it courts vision. My country, you will understand, came from vision’s egg. It came from a dreamer of journeys—a poet...
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2:32 AM | An Attempt to Discover the Laws of Literature
Joshua Rothman profiles Franco Moretti's efforts at 'distant reading' in the New Yorker (via Andrew Sullivan): Franco Moretti, a professor at Stanford, whose essay collection “Distant Reading” just won the National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism, fascinates critics in...

March 30, 2014

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6:10 PM | The Top of the World
Doug Henwood reviews Thomas Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-First Century, in Bookforum: The core message of this enormous and enormously important book can be delivered in a few lines: Left to its own devices, wealth inevitably tends to concentrate in...
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6:07 PM | Les Blank on his Love for Gap-Toothed Women
No summary available for this post.
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6:05 PM | T'ai Chi Ch'uan, first American film
No summary available for this post.
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