Posts

February 13, 2015

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10:59 AM | Rise in Weight Linked to Cognitive Decline in Older Adults
Traci Watts in The National Geographic: An expanding waistline may lead to a shriveled brain, new research suggests. In a long-term study of people in their early 60s, a brain region called the hippocampus shrank close to 2 percent a...
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10:21 AM | Collective Intelligence seems a bigger threat than Artificial Intelligence
Recently both Stephen Hawking and Bill Gates have voiced their concern over Artificial Intelligence (AI), warning that AI could possibly become a threat to humanity in the future. This prompts me to (finally) write down some thoughts on Collective Intelligence … Continue reading →
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7:14 AM | Morgan Meis in The New Yorker: Tadeusz Konwicki, 1926–2015
Ladies and Gentleman, I am proud to tell you that our own Morgan Meis has been asked to be a contributor to The New Yorker, which, as I am sure you know, has been for almost a century the acme...

February 12, 2015

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11:11 PM | Scientism and Skepticism: A Reply to Steven Pinker
Sebastian Normandin responds to Steven Pinker's New Republic article in Berfrois ( Illustration by Frank R. Paul. Via): [W]hat Pinker is advocating is not even just scientism, it is actually a kind of ossified rationalism that sees an underlying unity...
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10:56 PM | Moore’s Law Is About to Get Weird
Gabriel Popkin in Nautilus (Left photo by Gregory MD; right photo by De Agostini Picture Library): I’ve never seen the computer you’re reading this story on, but I can tell you a lot about it. It runs on electricity. It...
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7:02 PM | What Would Darwin Think About Modern Darwinism?
David Sloan Wilson in This View of Life: Imagine if Darwin could be transported to the present and learn what has become of his theory. What would excite him the most? Would anything disturb or disappoint him? TVOL has polled...
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6:49 PM | Answers for Creationists
Phil Plait in Slate: After writing yesterday about the now-famous/infamous debate between Bill Nye and Ken Ham, I don’t want to make this blog all creationism all the time, but indulge me this one more time, if you will. On...
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4:20 PM | The Double Life of Hasidic Atheists
Batya Ungar-Sargon in Aeon: Solomon is one of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of men and women whose encounters with evolution, science, new atheism and biblical criticism have led them to the conclusion that there is no God, and yet whose social,...
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4:09 PM | Muhammad Ali 1974 Interview with Sir Michael Parkinson
No summary available for this post.
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3:29 PM | Why Max Weber matters
Duncan Kelly at the Times Literary Supplement: As Ghosh notes, Weber had always been a superb political analyst. His “probability” theory about when peace would come and the possibilities of German victory was as ruthlessly realistic as anything else he...
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3:26 PM | Guantánamo Diary by Mohamedou Ould Slahi
Dan Duray at Bookforum. A few reviews have likened Guantánamo Diary to Memoirs from the House of the Dead, written after Dostoyevsky’s four years in Siberian exile. Diary does share that book’s vignette structure. But while Dead’s narrator draws on...
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3:21 PM | How an irritable Danish author left an enduring mark on the national character
Michael Booth at The Paris Review: “Jante Law is just as normal as the law of gravity,” newspaper editor and anthropologist Anne Knudsen assured me. “You find it everywhere, especially in peasant societies, and back [in Sandemose’s day] there were...
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2:54 PM | Two walkers enter into a Holliday junction…
In this post I want to explain the signal transduction process which replaces signal transmission in chemlambda. It will be hopefully something clear  with the help of some visual demos. [Don’t believe what I write and proceed by the scientific method by checking my experiments yourself. You can easily do this by using the links … Continue reading Two walkers enter into a Holliday junction… →
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12:32 PM | 14 Books to Read This Black History Month
Andrea Collier in NBC News: February is not only Black History Month, but it is also the month when many titles by Black authors are released. 2015 kicked off with a wide selections of books and stories to settle into....
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11:57 AM | New software analyzes human genomes for disease-causing variations in 90 minutes
From KurzweilAI: Investigators at Nationwide Children’s Hospital say they have developed an optimized analysis “pipeline” that slashes the time it takes to search a person’s genome for disease-causing variations from weeks to hours. An open-access preview article describing the ultra-fast,...
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4:53 AM | A triumphalist history of psychiatry seeks to vindicate the profession
Gary Greenberg in Bookforum: In 1917, psychiatrist Thomas Salmon lamented that the classification of diseases was still “chaotic”—a “condition of affairs [that] discredits the science of psychiatry and reflects unfavorably upon our association,” and that left the profession unable to...
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3:37 AM | Elise Crull on Philosophy of Physics
Over at the Rationally Speaking podcast: Elise CrullFeynman famously said that a philosopher of science is as much use to scientists as an ornithologist is to birds. This episode of Rationally Speaking features philosopher of physics Elise Crull, who explains...
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3:34 AM | Academia, Skepticism and Bias
No summary available for this post.
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3:31 AM | Does the Punishment Fit the Crime?
Gil Garcetti in The LA Review of Books: ON MY FIRST READING of An Eye for an Eye, Mitchel P. Roth’s new book, I recall closing it and asking myself a series of questions: “What have I learned?,” “How do...
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3:27 AM | The Stuff of Proof
Richard Marshall in 3:AM Magazine: 3:AM: You’re interested in metaphilosophical issues of logic and maths. So let’s start with the status of mathematical proof. It was once thought that maths rested on logic – ‘the stuff of proof’ as you...

February 11, 2015

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6:37 PM | Problem Book in Relativity and Gravitation: Free Online!
If I were ever to publish a second edition of Spacetime and Geometry — unlikely, but check back in another ten years — one thing I would like to do would be to increase the number of problems at the … Continue reading →
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3:04 PM | rubens at the royal academy
Martin Gayford at The Spectator: Rubens was a truly European figure. Not for nothing is the preface to the RA catalogue penned by Herman Van Rompuy. A passion for Rubens spanned the political and religious borders of 17th-century Europe. He...
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3:01 PM | A dark time in the city of light
Charles Trueheart at The American Scholar: Transitory, confusing, hopeless, the Paris Commune of 1871 is easily ignored or misunderstood. The title of John Merriman’s new book gets right to the point he wants us to remember: that it ended in...
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2:56 PM | alice munro's domestic gothic
Mary Rose Doorly at The Dublin Review of Books: In a foreword to the collection, Jane Smiley describes the paradox in Munro’s writing as, “simultaneously strange and down to earth, daring and straightforward”. Laid out in the chronological order in...
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12:37 PM | Lost Malcolm X Speech Heard Again 50 Years Later
Guy Raz in npr.org: Last semester, Brown senior Malcolm Burnley took a narrative writing course. One of the assignments was to write a fictional story based on something true — and that true event had to be found inside the...
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12:17 PM | Is There Something Uncanny About Machines That Can Think?
Tania Lombrozo in npr.org: Thinking machines are consistently in the news these days, and often a topic of discussion here at 13.7. Last week, Alva Noë came out as a singularity skeptic, and three of us contributed to Edge.org's annual...
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10:38 AM | Wednesday Poem
Congregation —Weir, Mississippi, 1984 Sara Ross, Great and Grand-mother of all rooted things waits on the family porch.
 We make our way back to her beginnings. Six daughters gather space and time 
in a small kitchen.
 Recipes as old as...
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1:58 AM | A perspective of distances in space
This video has been making the rounds lately. It is a view of the sun, the camera moving back at the speed of light – illustrating in realtime, the journey of a photon of light emitted from the surface of the … Continue reading →

February 10, 2015

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5:36 PM | History of Lynchings in the South Documents Nearly 4,000 Names
Campbell Robertson in The New York Times: DALLAS — A block from the tourist-swarmed headquarters of the former Texas School Book Depository sits the old county courthouse, now a museum. In 1910, a group of men rushed into the courthouse,...
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4:29 PM | Are Economists Overrated? A debate
From the New York Times: One in 100 articles in The New York Times over the past few years have used the term “economist,” a much greater rate than other academic professions, according to a recent article in The Upshot....
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