Posts

August 02, 2014

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8:58 PM | Laughter in Ancient Rome
Gregory Hays in the New York Review of Books: In 1984 the American satirist Veronica Geng was asked to introduce a reprint of Dwight Macdonald’s Parodies: An Anthology from Chaucer to Beerbohm—and After. Rather than writing a conventional preface, she...
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8:53 PM | How Death Valley's 'sailing stones' move on their own
Becky Crew in Science Alert: Located above the northwestern side of Death Valley in Eastern California's Mojave Desert, an exceptionally flat dried lake called Racetrack Playa contains a peculiar phenomenon. Dozens of large stone stabs made of dolomite and syenite...
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8:47 PM | Top 10 Reasons I Don't Believe in God
Greta Christina in AlterNet: 1: The consistent replacement of supernatural explanations of the world with natural ones. When you look at the history of what we know about the world, you see a noticeable pattern. Natural explanations of things have...
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8:41 PM | Freedom for Palestine: #GazaNames Project
No summary available for this post.
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12:33 PM | War and Peace: the history of Russia during the Napoleonic campaign
James Wood in The Guardian: Henry James once said that "really, universally, human relations stop nowhere," and that the exquisite problem of the writer is to draw the circle "within which they shall happily appear to do so". James would...
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12:24 PM | A Distant Mirror: modern conservative movement in America from1973 to 1976
Frank Rich in The New York Times: Next to the more apocalyptic spells of American history, the dismal span of 1973 to 1976 would seem a relative blip of national dyspepsia. A period that yielded the blandest of modern presidents,...
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11:29 AM | Afghanistan's Prison Children
Mike Healy on the Al Jazeera show 'People and Power': Badam Bagh prison (Credit: Anja Niedringhaus/AP) Once we got there, perhaps the biggest surprise was just how young the majority of the children were. But actually it made sense that...
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10:43 AM | Saturday Poem
The Death of the Hired Man Mary sat musing on the lamp-flame at the table Waiting for Warren. When she heard his step, She ran on tip-toe down the darkened passage To meet him in the doorway with the news...
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9:33 AM | Chemlambda artificial chemistry at ALIFE14: article and supplementary material
Louis Kauffman presents today our article in the ALIFE 14 conference, 7/30 to 8/2 – 2014 – Javits Center / SUNY Global Center – New York Chemlambda, universality and self-multiplication Marius Buliga and Louis H. Kauffman Abstract (Excerpt) We present chemlambda (or the chemical concrete machine), an artificial chemistry with the following properties: (a) is […]
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4:15 AM | Forever Orwell
Francis Mulhern in New Left Review: Rob Colls’s intellectual portrait George Orwell: English Rebel joins an already substantial body of commentary—his introduction lists some twenty predecessors, who themselves are only a sub-set of the much larger corpus of writing devoted...

August 01, 2014

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4:13 PM | Chris Blattman on Cash, Poverty, and Development
Russ Roberts over at EconTalk interviews Chris Blattman: Russ: So, you have been writing a series of articles and done quite a bit of research, and I hope we get into much of that. Arguing that giving people cash rather...
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4:09 PM | China’s Bad Dream
Gene Frieda in Project Syndicate: China’s debt/GDP ratio, reaching 250% this month, remains significantly lower than that of most developed economies. The problem is that China’s stock of private credit would normally be associated with a per capita GDP of...
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4:04 PM | Should Buying Sex Be Illegal?
Michelle Goldberg in The Nation: [D]efining “trafficking” can be politically fraught; there is a gray area between absolute exploitation and total free agency. “Most cases of trafficking are not the media-popular story of somebody being forcibly taken out of their...
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3:13 PM | Why writers have spent centuries attacking Shakepeare
Adam Kirsch in The New Republic: Does Shakespeare suck? Ira Glass, the host of the popular upper-middlebrow radio show “This American Life,” apparently thinks so; he tweeted as much after suffering through a performance of King Lear in Central Park....
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2:53 PM | Octopus Cares For Her Eggs For 53 Months, Then Dies
Ed Yong in Not Exactly Rocket Science: In April of 2007, Bruce Robison sent a submersible into a huge underwater canyon in California’s Monterey Bay. At the canyon’s base, 1400 metres below the surface, he spotted a lone female octopus—Graneledone...
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2:48 PM | The life and strife of Pakistan's only Nobel Laureate
The life and strife of Pakistan's only Nobel... by dawn-news
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1:50 PM | Christopher Williams’s sophisticated pictures
Peter Schjeldhal at The New Yorker: Working with the MOMA curator Roxana Marcoci, Williams shows scores of photographs, mostly of odd objects (glass flowers, stacks of chocolate bars, cameras that have been cut in half to reveal their anatomy) and...
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1:47 PM | hal foster goes to The Whitney
Hal Foster at the London Review of Books: This poisoned apple, this witchy charm, is what Koons offers in his best work, and when the ambiguity isn’t there, the performance falls flat. Thus his paintings are mostly a computer-assisted updating...
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1:44 PM | The death of a fly is utterly insignificant – or it’s a catastrophe
Stephen Cave at Aeon Magazine: There is an equal and opposite alternative to veganism’s insistence on the momentousness of each death, and its ensuing death-denial. We can instead assert death’s insignificance. Whereas in the first approach, each life acquires infinite...
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12:30 PM | The many shades of rape cases in Delhi
Rukmini Shrinivasan in The Hindu: A six-month long investigation by The Hindu has revealed that the nature of reported sexual assault in Delhi is far more complex than earlier imagined. Among the key findings is that a third of all...
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12:14 PM | This is your brain on racism: Inside the mind of modern bigotry
Stephan Eric Bonner in Salon: Karl Marx once quipped that “violence is the midwife of every old society pregnant with a new one.” Just as surely, however, prejudice is the midwife of violence. The bigot embraced this view from the...
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12:07 PM | The social origins of intelligence in the brain
From KurzweilAI: By studying the injuries and aptitudes of Vietnam War veterans who suffered penetrating head wounds during the war, researchers have found that brain regions that contribute to optimal social functioning are also vital to general intelligence and emotional...
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10:44 AM | Friday Poem
Sex After being told, "Oh, what would you know about it anyway." How the room rained down a mother's only blistering ash, her words lifting then settling clear and hot, then the branding of me complete. After she proclaimed to...
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3:12 AM | July ’14 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
 Image Credit: Learn Blog Tips There are now over 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, … Continue reading →

July 31, 2014

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3:08 PM | the great Bohumil Hrabal
Zuzana Slobodová at The Times Literary Supplement: Both books reflect Hrabal’s fascination with language, and it is here that his main achievement lies. Hrabal started out as a surrealist poet, and his stories and novels are written in the form...
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3:04 PM | just read hrabal
John Yargo at The Millions: Bohumil Hrabal was born near the beginning of World War I in Brno, in the Austro-Hungarian empire. He was raised by a gallery of colorful relatives, including an uncle who served as an early model...
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3:01 PM | Geoff Dyer at a conference on . . . Geoff Dyer
Philip Maughan at The New Statesman: I couldn’t help but smile on a recent, drizzly afternoon when an earnest, hyper-intelligent historian from Queen Mary, University of London, concluded a lecture entitled “What Colour Was the 1990s?” – an echo of...
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1:27 PM | bananas and foreign policy
From delanceyplace.com: In the early 20th century, with American industry just beginning to expand overseas and Latin America still just emerging from colonial shackles, bananas became one of America's first powerhouse industries: "[Bananas] are the world's largest fruit crop and...
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11:06 AM | Cancer biomarkers: Written in blood
Ed Yong in Nature: In 2012, Charles Swanton was forced to confront one of cancer's dirtiest tricks. When he and his team at the Cancer Research UK London Research Institute sequenced DNA from a handful of kidney tumours, they expected...
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10:22 AM | Thursday Poem
Van Gogh Well, he lived among us and hated winters. He moved to Arles where summer and blue jays obliged him to cut off his ear. Oh, they all said it was a whore but Rachel was innocent. When cypresses...
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