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Posts

March 30, 2014

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6:03 PM | The Big Sleep - Chapter 1
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6:01 PM | "Nymphomaniac: Vol. 1": Fishers of Men, Meaning
Lowry Pressly in The LA Review of Books: It’s funny — and quite telling — that now that von Trier has made an unmistakably Sadean film, the majority of critical attention is focused not on the sadistic but on the...
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5:46 PM | A “Lost Interview” With Michel Foucault
Via Open Culture:
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5:45 PM | Between Hegemony and Distrust: Representative democracy in the Internet era
Nadia Urbanati in Eurozine: Democracy is undergoing a series of metamorphoses, even though its fundamental norms are not subject to legal and formal changes. From Italy comes my third example. In the 1990s, Beppe Grillo, already known to the wider...
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5:38 PM | Beating the Drum: Dwyer Murphy interviews Jesmyn Ward
Over at Guernica: Guernica: You said a moment ago that some people thought your first novel was “just a Southern book.” Does Southern literature get treated as a niche genre, with a limited audience, in your experience? Jesmyn Ward: Publishing...
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5:34 PM | Jennifer Saul on Implicit Bias
Over at Philosphy Bites: Are we more biased than we imagine? In this episode of the Philosophy Bitespodcast Jennifer Saul investigates a range of ways in which we are prone to implict bias and the philosophical implications of these biases....
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3:12 PM | The anatomy of a turning point: Remembering Sherwin Nuland
Emily McManus in TED: Surgeon, author and speaker Sherwin Nuland died on March 3, 2014, at age 83. The author of a dozen books — including the award-winning How We Die, a clear-eyed look at life’s last chapter — Nuland...
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1:39 PM | Afghan war rugs
Nigel Lendon in HimalSouthAsian: In late 1989 the last troops of the Soviet Union’s occupation of Afghanistan had left after a decade of resistance by the various factions of the mujahideen. During this period one finds an extraordinary profusion of...
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10:39 AM | Sunday Poem
Drinking Alone I take my wine jug out among the flowers to drink alone, without friends. I raise my cup to entice the moon. That, and my shadow, makes us three. But the moon doesn't drink, and my shadow silently...

March 29, 2014

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5:48 PM | How Vladimir Putin became evil
Tariq Ali in The Guardian: Once again, it seems that Russia and the United States are finding it difficult to agree on how to deal with their respective ambitions. This clash of interests is highlighted by the Ukrainian crisis. The...
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5:41 PM | Gunshot victims to be suspended between life and death
Doctors will try to save the lives of 10 patients with knife or gunshot wounds by placing them in suspended animation, buying time to fix their injuries. Helen Thompson in New Scientist: Neither dead or alive, knife-wound or gunshot victims...
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5:27 PM | The Story of the Jews
Judith Shulevitz at The New York Times: Most of the book celebrates Schama’s main thesis: that Jews were not the rigidly pious and self-segregating people Christian invective as well as the theologically dominated research of the late 19th and early...
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5:21 PM | ON LYDIA DAVIS’ TRANSLATIONS OF A.L. SNIJDERS
Florian Duijsens at The Quarterly Conversation: Imagine a literary genre much like a diary but composed for immediate consumption. A genre part commonplace book, part Blue Octavo Notebooks, part Twitter stream. Imagine something like a blog but written by public...
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5:18 PM | The Self-Portrait: A Cultural History
Frances Spalding at The Guardian: "The moment when a man comes to paint himself – he may do it only two or three times in a lifetime, perhaps never – has in the nature of things a special significance." So...
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3:21 PM | The Oldest Living Things On Earth
Carl Zimmer in his excellent blog, The Loom: It is easy to feel sorry for the gastrotrich. This invertebrate animal, the size of a poppy seed and the shape of a bowling pin, swarms by the millions in rivers and...
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3:12 PM | Ellen DeGeneris: Bic Pens for Women
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2:41 PM | Finnegans Wake - in pictures
John Vernon Lord in The Guardian: A new illustrated edition of Finnegans Wake, as imagined by artist John Vernon Lord for the Folio Society, matches James Joyce's extravagant word games with elaborately collaged pictures, shedding a brilliant new light on...
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12:35 PM | Outsider Art
Fernanda Eberstadt in The New York Times: In the 1980s, a series of posters began appearing on the streets of New York. The most arresting one — a yellow-and-crimson image of Ingres’s “Odalisque” wearing a gorilla mask that demanded, “Do...
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10:52 AM | Saturday Poem
Chai I've only seen a photograph — boats anchored on the muddy shoals of the Ganges. Splintered canopies on top of blistered bows and sterns, sari'd women leaving their men to wash, or launch the dead among the reeds. A...
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1:21 AM | The origins of “speciation”
As I do some research on the history of speciation theories, I came across this, which is perhaps the original coining of the term: Evolution is a process of organic change and development, universal and continuous, and due to causes … Continue reading →

March 28, 2014

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10:25 PM | Scientific cooperation despite political posturing
I find it heartening scientific cooperation continues (so far) despite all the political posturing going on down here over the Ukraine political crisis. Here we see the arrival of Russian cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Artemyev and NASA astronaut Steven Swanson … Continue reading →
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3:32 PM | Poetry and Action: Octavio Paz at 100
Joel Whitney in Dissent: When protest movements spread through cities around the world in 1968, Octavio Paz looked upon the “great youth rebellions . . . from afar,” he wrote, “with astonishment and with hope.” The poet was then Mexico’s...
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3:27 PM | Wealth Over Work
Paul Krugman in the New York Times: It seems safe to say that “Capital in the Twenty-First Century,” the magnum opus of the French economist Thomas Piketty, will be the most important economics book of the year — and maybe...
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3:19 PM | A Math Puzzle Worthy of Freeman Dyson
Thomas Lin in Quanta: Freeman Dyson — the world-renowned mathematical physicist who helped found quantum electrodynamics with the bongo-playing, Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman and others, devised numerous mathematical techniques, led the team that designed a low-power nuclear reactor that...
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3:01 PM | Suicidal crickets, zombie roaches and other parasite tales
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2:53 PM | Bertolt Brecht: A Literary Life
Donald Sassoon at Literary Review: What a predicament it is to be an artist or a writer. You are never fully in control of your productions. You paint a cheerful Florentine housewife and, a few centuries later, some jumped-up critic...
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2:50 PM | The Case for Working Less
David Spencer at berfrois: The idea that society might work less in order to enjoy life more goes against standard thinking that celebrates the virtue and discipline of hard work. Dedication to work, so the argument goes, is the best...
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2:47 PM | how to write about birds of prey
John Burnside at The New Statesman: Anyone who has ever stopped to watch a hawk in flight will know that this is one of the natural world’s most elegant phenomena. In many traditions, hawks are sacred: Apollo’s messengers for the...
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1:05 PM | WHEN NATURE OUTPLAYS NURTURE
Ed Smith in More Intelligent Life: Thirty-five years ago, a hundred tennis-playing children were tested for general athleticism. One girl (pictured) was rated by the psychologist leading the analysis as “the perfect tennis talent”. She outperformed her contemporaries at every...
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12:55 PM | First synthetic yeast chromosome revealed
Ewan Callaway in Nature: It took geneticist Craig Venter 15 years and US$40 million to synthesize the genome of a bacterial parasite. Today, an academic team made up mostly of undergraduate students reports the next leap in synthetic life: the...
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