Posts

October 07, 2014

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11:50 AM | Don’t Spoil the Ending
Abigail Zuger in The New York Times: Perhaps we should reform the medical profession by keeping the young and immortal out of it. Let’s bar medical school entry till age 50: Presumably that would fix our present bizarre disconnect between...
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11:36 AM | What would Plato make of the modern world?
Joe Gelonesi in ABC Radio: More than 2,500 years ago an urgent question arose: why should we matter to ourselves, or anyone else? The existential angst of the Axial Age unleashed a protean intellectual energy. Enter Socrates and his famed...

October 06, 2014

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10:11 PM | How to change your Mind – and why it is good for you
It’s funny how we all recognise confirmation bias in others but a loath to see it in ourselves. Yet it is only human – and in fact the desire to fit new evidence into existing models in our mind does … Continue reading →
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8:52 PM | Varia: updates and preparations
Yesterday I found a bug in one of the programs for the chemlambda visualiser, namely an  unexpected functioning of the priority choice part when applied to a particular mol file (graph). Today I took it methodically and found two bugs which create that behaviour. One was that the priority choice was not covering all the […]
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8:05 AM | Is physicalism an impoverished metaphysics?
Every so often, we read about some philosopher or other form of public intellectual who makes the claim that a physicalist ontology – a world view in which only things that can be described in terms of physics are said to exist – is impoverished. That is, there are things whereof science cannot know, &c. […]
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4:45 AM | Randomness: the Ghost in the Machine?
by Yohan J. John "Mine is a dizzying country in which the Lottery is a major element of reality; until this day, I have thought as little about it as about the conduct of the indecipherable gods or of my...
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4:35 AM | Poem
FIRE TREE Tips of his mustache whip braided, a turbaned invader four centuries ago carried Persian saplings in a caravan across the Himalayas to Kashmir. “Our chinar will last a thousand years,” my grandfather said as rustling boughs reigned above...
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4:30 AM | Perceptions: Avian aesthetics
Bowerbirds. "make up the bird family Ptilonorhynchidae. They are renowned for their unique courtship behaviour, where males build a structure and decorate it with sticks and brightly coloured objects in an attempt to attract a mate." From Wikipedia. "To woo...
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4:25 AM | Sam Harris on How to Emancipate Muslims by Subjugating Them
by Ahmed Humayun How should the West approach Islam? Sam Harris provides one answer in his book, The End of Faith (2004), a book ostensibly about the pernicious impact of religious faith. A bestseller, The End of Faith received glowing...
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4:20 AM | CATSPEAK
by Brooks Riley
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4:15 AM | Bookworm
by Carol A. Westbrook I gave a signed copy of my new book about beer, "To Your Health!" to a couple of favorite bartenders and a bar owner, all of whom had been featured in a story or two in...
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4:10 AM | Radiant Blues
by Mara Jebsen Woke up this morning, the moon wasn't right. Woke up this morning, the moon wasn't right. Sharp as a blade, and she slung to the right. Woke up this morning, the moon wasn't right. Carolina, I miss...
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4:05 AM | Welcome to Weimar
by Lisa Lieberman Hadn't there been something youthfully heartless in my enjoyment of the spectacle of Berlin in the early thirties, with its poverty, its political hatred and its despair? Christopher Isherwood The Weimar Republic is everybody's favorite example of...

October 05, 2014

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9:09 PM | Quick and dirty argument for space from chemlambda
One of the least understood ideas of chemlambda is related to this question: which is the space where these artificial molecules live? There are two different possible applications of chemlambda, each having a different answer for this question. By confusing these two applications we arrive at the confusion about the conception of space in chemlambda. […]
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3:16 PM | The Arab whodunnit: crime fiction makes a comeback in the Middle East
Jonathan Guyer in The Guardian: From Baghdad to Cairo, a neo-noir revolution has been creeping across the Middle East. The revival of crime fiction since the upheavals started in 2011 should not come as a surprise. Noir offers an alternative...
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3:07 PM | We are told that we are an irrational tangle of biases, to be nudged any which way. Does this claim stand to reason?
Steven Poole in Aeon: Humanity’s achievements and its self-perception are today at curious odds. We can put autonomous robots on Mars and genetically engineer malarial mosquitoes to be sterile, yet the news from popular psychology, neuroscience, economics and other fields...
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2:58 PM | 'I am not a spy. I am a philosopher.'
Ramin Jahanbegloo in the Chronicle of Higher Education: The heavy steel door swung closed behind me in the cell. I took off my blindfold and found myself trapped within four cold walls. The cell was small. High ceiling, old concrete....
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2:52 PM | How Not To Understand ISIS
Alireza Doostdar at the University of Chicago Divinity School website: The group known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant or simply the Islamic State (ISIL, ISIS, or IS) has attracted much attention in the past few months...
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2:48 PM | Love and Death in Sarajevo
No summary available for this post.
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1:07 PM | Sunday Poem
Shaving I am not shaving, I'm writing about it. And I conjure the most elaborate idea— how my beard is a creation of silent labor like ocean steam rising to form clouds, or the bloom of spiderwebs each morning; the...
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1:01 PM | "Underwear" by Lawrence Ferlinghetti
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12:20 PM | U. Srinivas (1969 - 2014)
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12:04 PM | Life as an orphan in a plastic tent city, bombing Iraq (again) and keeping my “Juslim” name
Jemima Khan in New Statesman: Zaatari camp in Jordan is a chalky pop-up city and temporary holding pen for the collateral damage from Syria’s civil war; 80,000 refugees, mostly women and children, existing in orderly limbo. Most left Syria on...
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11:59 AM | First sentences of non-fiction texts: The Top Ten
John Rentoul in The Independent: After an online debate with Brian Moore over the opening sentence of 'A Tale of Two Cities' (best of lines, worst of lines), which I would have rejected for my Top 10 First sentences of...
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3:24 AM | Heinrich Himmler, family man: Why “The Decent One” is the most haunting documentary I’ve ever seen
Andrew O'Hehir in Salon: Much of the history of human thought has revolved around our efforts to understand the nature of evil, which have never yielded anything like a satisfactory result. We are fascinated by serial killers and murderous dictators,...
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12:47 AM | The science and politics of climate change
Michael Mann: The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars – TAM 2013. Have a look at this video for an excellent description of the history and science of climate change. It’s presented by one of the central figures. Michael Mann … Continue reading →

October 04, 2014

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2:10 PM | the novels of Yoram Kaniuk
Mona Gainer-Salim at The Quarterly Conversation: Kaniuk draws the reader into his fictional world as a participant, not just a spectator. The reader is forced to consider his own role in relation to the work, to reflect on his reactions...
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2:05 PM | The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher
Terry Castle at The New York Times: Plot — in the ordinary sense — is frequently subordinated to dialogue in Mantel: In fact, as in an Ivy Compton-Burnett novel, the dialogue seems almost to become the plot. Two ill-assorted characters...
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2:01 PM | trying to make sense of contemporary art
Jackie Wullschlager at The Financial Times: There are some forms of success, Degas said, that are indistinguishable from panic. The 21st-century art market is one. Prices soar, museums bloat, buyers swarm, but still everyone involved – collector, dealer, commentator, curator...
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1:35 PM | In Facebook’s Courtroom
Joshua Rothman in The New Yorker: Earlier this month, when TMZ released a video of Ray Rice punching Janay Palmer, his fiancée (now wife), in an Atlantic City* elevator, the online response followed a pattern that’s both familiar and strange....
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