Posts

October 13, 2014

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4:15 AM | Millennial Travel in the Social Media Age
by Kathleen Goodwin These days many forms of social media ask not only what you're doing, and who you're doing it with, but also where you're doing it. There is now a compulsion to make sure that almost every moment...
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4:10 AM | Why Civilization Rests on that Roast
by Dwight Furrow Food is part of nearly every aspect of social life. Both our biological families and the families we choose coalesce around food. We converse with friends over coffee, tea, a snack or a glass of wine. Going...
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4:05 AM | Tracey Emin: The Last Great Adventure is You
by Sue Hubbard She's come a long way, our Tracey, from the days of teenage sex behind the beach-huts in Margate, the seedy Kent sea-side town where she grew up, famed for its 1960s beach battles between rogue gangs of...
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2:16 AM | Atul Gawande: "We Have Medicalized Aging, and That Experiment Is Failing Us"
Michael Mechanic in Mother Jones: In Being Mortal, Gawande, a longtime staff writer for the New Yorker, takes on the utter failure of the medical profession when it comes to helping people die well, and the short-sightedness of the elder...
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1:32 AM | Fareed Zakaria: Let’s be honest, Islam has a problem right now
Fareed Zakaria in the Washington Post: When television host Bill Maher declares on his weekly show that “the Muslim world . . . has too much in common with ISIS ” and guest Sam Harris says that Islam is “the mother lode...

October 12, 2014

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9:07 PM | Fluoride debate: The scientific evidence against fluoridation – Rita F. Barnett
Recently an unpublished paper by Rita F. Barnett, an associated professor of Legal Research and Writing at Chapman University, was heavily promoted by Paul Connett’s Fluoride Action Network and associated social media groups. Although basically a legal paper it did have … Continue reading →
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5:35 PM | Cure for Type 1 diabetes imminent after Harvard stem-cell breakthrough
Sarah Knapton in The Telegraph: A cure for diabetes could be imminent after scientists discovered how to make huge quantities of insulin-producing cells, in a breakthrough hailed as significant as antibiotics. Harvard University has, for the first time, managed to...
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3:42 PM | A letter from Dr Abdus Salam to Malala
Faraz Talat in Dawn: Dear Malala, Despite all that occurred, I’d always lugged around with me a sliver of optimism. They referred to me as Pakistan’s ‘only’ Nobel laureate; I insisted on being called the “first”. I was born in...
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2:21 PM | What is, what we understand and what we communicate about it
One of the major effects of the existence of the Net is that it challenges the cartesian method and shatters the foundations of science.  As the Net is still young and the traditions are old, comparatively, the effect is not yet clearly identified. But it is there already, and even if not named, it is  […]
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12:57 PM | A Diagnosis
Jenny Diski in LRB: The future flashed before my eyes in all its pre-ordained banality. Embarrassment, at first, to the exclusion of all other feelings. But embarrassment curled at the edges with a weariness, the sort that comes over you...
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12:32 PM | The absurd history of English slang
Jonathon Green in Salon: Slang’s literary origins are widespread and ever-expanding. Its social roots, however, are narrow and focused: the city. If, as has been suggested, the story of standard English is that of a London language, so too is...
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12:14 PM | Caravaggio 1986 (Derek Jarman)
No summary available for this post.
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12:10 PM | Caravaggio - documentary by Robert Hughes
No summary available for this post.
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12:09 PM | Wild Oats by Philip Larkin
No summary available for this post.
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11:15 AM | Sunday Poem
Cafe In that café in a foreign town bearing a French writer’s name I read Under the Volcano but with diminishing interest. You should heal yourself, I thought. I’d become a philistine. Mexico was distant, and its vast stars no...
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3:48 AM | A Disquisition on the Nature of Debt
Daniel Davies over at Crooked Timber: What is debt? It’s a promise to pay back a specific amount of money at a specific time. Why is it so popular – why do people always seem to end up getting into...
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3:40 AM | What Scientists Really Do
Priyamvada Natarajan reviews Philip Ball's Curiosity: How Science Became Interested in Everything and Stuart Firestein's Ignorance: How It Drives Science, in the NYRB: In Curiosity: How Science Became Interested in Everything, the science writer Philip Ball, a former editor at...
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3:36 AM | Sins Of Commission
Hartosh Singh Bal in Caravan (photo Ashok Vahie): ON WEDNESDAY, 31 October 1984, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by two of her guards, both Sikh. In the ensuing violence, which lasted roughly three days, 2,733 Sikhs were killed in...
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3:33 AM | Bonfire of the Humanities: How did History Abdicate its Role of Inspiring the Longer View
David Armitage and Jo Guldi in Aeon (Photo by Ara Guler/Magnum Photos): The mission of the humanities is to transmit questions about value – and to question values – by testing traditions that build up over centuries and millennia. And...

October 11, 2014

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12:34 PM | The Birth of the Pill
Irin Carmon at The New York Times: By the time Eig’s book opens in 1950, Sanger had fixed her obsession on a contraceptive pill to feed the masses. Along with what Eig sets up as “a group of brave, rebellious...
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12:29 PM | the other elizabeth taylor
Adam Z. Levy at The Quarterly Conversation: One wonders why Taylor, who was hailed by Kingsley Amis as “one of the best English novelists born in this century,” has fallen so far from view in the forty years following her...
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12:23 PM | Patrick Modiano is his own genre
Anne-Sylvaine Chassany at the Financial Times: It is his ability to “create a world” that makes his work unique, says Marion Van Renterghem, a journalist at Le Monde who knows him well. “Each book is a piece of this world,...
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11:52 AM | Province of Men: In Afghanistan, girls are disguised and raised as boys
Rafia Zakaria in The New York Times: In August 2010, Time magazine published a picture of a mutilated Afghan girl on its cover — along with a warning to its readers. The image was “distressing” and “scary,” cautioned Richard Stengel,...
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10:45 AM | Is Physicalism coherent?
In my last post I argued that physicalism cannot be rejected simply because people assert there are nonphysical objects which are beyond specification. Some are, however, specifiable, and one commentator has identified the obvious ones: abstract objects like the rules of chess or numbers. I have dealt with these before in my “Pizza reductionism” post, […]

October 10, 2014

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9:36 PM | Why Weren’t Alarm Bells Ringing?
Paul Krugman reviews Martin Wolf's The Shifts and the Shocks: What We’ve Learned—and Have Still to Learn—from the Financial Crisis, in The New York Review of Books: The Shifts and the Shocks opens with a long quotation from the late...
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9:24 PM | Ignorance of Philosophy, Identity Politics, and the Cosmopolitan Ideal
Brian Leiter in 3:AM Magazine: [W]hy don’t Anglo-American philosophers engage with non-Western philosophical traditions? In my experience, professional philosophers today often perceive non-Western thinkers as inferior. Of course, few would say this explicitly. Rather, philosophers often point to non-Western philosophy’s...
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7:36 PM | The Evolution of Evolution: Gradualism, or Punctuated Equilibrium?
In some ways I’m glad I’m not an evolutionary biologist, even though the subject matter is undoubtedly fascinating and fundamental. Here in the US, especially, it’s practically impossible to have a level-headed discussion about the nature of evolutionary theory. Biologists … Continue reading →
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12:36 PM | The Strange Case of Nicholas Ray’s Johnny Guitar
Robert Pippin at nonsite: What we have instead is typical of Ray’s much more psychologically than politically complex films; that is, we have a great investiture of importance in love and being loved as the central human problem,42 or, we...
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12:31 PM | magic kingdoms
Sophia Nguyen at The Point: In the dog days of August, two books about the Ivy League landed comfortably on the New York Times bestseller list. One was William Deresiewicz’s Excellent Sheep. The other was Lev Grossman’s The Magician’s Land....
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12:26 PM | Rediscovering Regina Derieva
Cynthia Haven at the Times Literary Supplement: The Russian poet Regina Derieva was born on the Black Sea in Odessa, and enjoyed the shifting rhythms of the sea: “Water is the ideal apparel. However many times you get into it,...
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