Posts

February 07, 2015

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7:50 PM | Slumming It
Daniel Brook in The Baffler: In a speech to the financial elite of India delivered in Mumbai in 2010, president Barack Obama opted for an unusual form of flattery. He saluted “all the Mumbaikars who get up every day in...
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3:12 PM | Old Masters: After 80, some people don’t retire. They reign.
Lewis H. Lapham in The New York Times: The portraits here are of men and women in their 80s and 90s, rich in the rewards of substantial and celebrated careers, and although I know none of them except by name...
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1:53 PM | Vladimir Putin and his tsar quality
John Thornhill at the Financial Times: The portrait of Putin that Dawisha and Browder paint is so damning that one wonders how any sane Russian voter could possibly support him. Yet even if Russian opinion polls are to be partly...
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1:51 PM | Rereading Eileen Simpson’s ‘Poets in Their Youth’
Lee Siegel at The New York Times: W. H. Auden said that a great book reads you. Eileen Simpson’s beautiful, recently reissued memoir of her doomed marriage to the poet John Berryman, “Poets in Their Youth” (1982), read me twice,...
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12:24 PM | Saturday Poem
Salt . Salt in a wound worth its weight in salt. Kiss that picques like fleur de sel de bretagne. Love preserved like lemon in salt. Preserved lemon, reserved love. Salt of you mixes with salt of me. Fish baked...

February 06, 2015

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8:17 PM | The State of the Early Universe
Well hello, blog. It’s been too long! Feels good to be back. The big cosmological excitement this week was the announcement of new cosmic microwave background measurements. These include a big release of new papers from the Planck satellite, as … Continue reading →
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2:27 PM | The strange voice of Edgar Allan Poe
Marjorie Perloff at the Times Literary Supplement: Aldous Huxley, who wrote one of the funniest pastiches, assumed, as did many of his Modernist contemporaries, that Poe’s French admirers praised his work largely because they had no ear for English and...
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2:23 PM | Inside Ravensbrück - Hitler's Concentration Camp for Women
Caroline Moorehead at Literary Review: Ravensbrück was never intended as a death camp. The only concentration camp built entirely for women, it was planned by Himmler as a place of labour and re-education for prostitutes, Gypsies, Jehovah's Witnesses and vagrants...
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2:20 PM | on delillo's 'cosmopolis'
Ben Jeffery at The Point: The philosopher Georg Lukács once said that there was something nightmarish in the experience of an intellectual with no vision of the future. Underneath all of its obstructions and code, DeLillo’s writing seems to express...
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1:08 PM | Luciano Floridi on the Philosophy of Information
Nigel Warburton in Five Books: NW: Can you begin by saying something about the philosophy of information? When I studied philosophy there weren’t any courses on the philosophy of information so I’m not exactly sure what it is. LF: The...
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11:16 AM | Bessie Smith (Down Hearted Blues, 1923) Jazz Legend
Bessie Smith (April 15, 1894 – September 26, 1937) was an American blues singer. Nicknamed The Empress of the Blues, Smith was the most popular female blues singer of the 1920s and 1930s.[1] She is often regarded as one of...
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10:38 AM | Scientists cheer vote to allow three-person embryos
Ewen Calloway in Nature: In a historic decision, the United Kingdom's House of Commons has voted to legalize a gene-therapy technique that could help women to avoid passing genetic defects onto their children. The vote, decided by 382 members of...
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7:00 AM | The Theory Of Everything Is Not Empirical Science
A common misconception is that all good scientific theory must be based on empirical science and provide ingredients where the theory can be potentially falsified (Karl Popper). This dogma demands that a hypothesized theory should include something falsifiable, something that could be *possibly observed* and would then refute the theory (here in the words of Lee Smolin). read more
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4:06 AM | Religion’s smart-people problem
John G. Messerly in Salon: Should you believe in a God? Not according to most academic philosophers. A comprehensive survey revealed that only about 14 percent of English speaking professional philosophers are theists. As for what little religious belief remains...
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3:04 AM | The Trauma Hero: From Wilfred Owen to “Redeployment” and “American Sniper”
Roy Scranton in the LA Review of Books: EVERY TRUE WAR STORY is a story of trauma and recovery. A boy goes to war, his head full of romantic visions of glory, courage, and sacrifice, his heart yearning to achieve...
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2:59 AM | On gospel, Abba and the death of the record
Paul Morley talks to Brian Eno in The Guardian (photo Harry Borden): On talking: 1 "I heard a recording that had been made of me 35 years ago chatting with some friends and I thought the tape must have sped...
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2:53 AM | Measles: Misinformation Gone Viral
Richard A. Epstein over at the Hoover Institution (Image credit: Sanofi Pasteur): The resurgence of measles is largely attributable to the confluence of two separate factors. On the one side there is a strong, if unacknowledged, effort on the part...

February 05, 2015

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8:11 PM | In the movie "Boyhood", time passes, moments accumulate
Morgan Meis in The Smart Set: One day in the summer of 1896, Maxim Gorky’s mind was blown. Gorky was attending a Russian fair and had gone to visit an exhibit by a couple of Frenchmen known as the Lumiére...
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8:03 PM | Shooting the Moon
Samantha Storey in the New York Times: Raul Roa has been a general-assignment photographer in Los Angeles for 20 years. He covers everything. The overturned tractor-trailer on I-5. The water polo meet at Glendale High. The protests in downtown Los...
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7:57 PM | Iranian film on prophet Muhammad set for premiere
Saeed Kamali Dehghan in The Guardian: A multimillion-dollar biopic about the childhood of the prophet Muhammad – Iran’s most expensive and lavish film to date – is set to premiere on Sunday. Tehran’s Fajr international film festival, which coincides with...
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7:19 PM | The shortest Open Access and New Forms of Publication question
If: program is stronger than proof I show the program I show the demo then wtf is the article good for? ____________________________________________________________Filed under: Uncategorized Tagged: future of publishing, github, open access
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6:47 PM | Testing further that outstanding alife, a microbes battle!
If you have javascript enabled, then go and see the epic battle between two species of microbes, all with tools to make your own! LINK ___________________________________________________________________________Filed under: Uncategorized Tagged: artificial life, chemlambda, microbes, visualizations
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12:24 PM | Split in Two: The Dred Scott Decision -- 1857
Law Professor Lea Vandervelde (University of Iowa) explains the U.S. Supreme Court's 1857 decision, based in-part on the Scott's time in Minnesota, and how the decision split the nation in two prior to the outbreak of war in 1861. Richard...
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12:09 PM | Teens These Days, Always Changing Their Gray Matter
Amanda Baker in Scientific American: Adolescence – the period extending from puberty to the point of independent stability – is often portrayed as a very dramatic time with a new emphasis placed on the importance of friendships and social input....
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11:31 AM | Thursday Poem
Tinnitus My father’s tinnitus is like the hiss off a water cooler, only louder. And it doesn’t just stop like, say, a hand-dryer— the worst is it comes and goes. Or you shine a light on it and it looks...

February 04, 2015

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10:01 PM | Social health policies, freedom of choice and responsibility
Social health policies inevitably raise the issue of the individual’s freedom of choice. While debates around these policies often concentrate on questions of fact, scientific consensus and reliability of evidence, these tend to be surrogates for the underlying values issues. To … Continue reading →
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4:47 PM | Life of an artificial chick
in a suite of visual demos, starting from here. Serious name: “Birth and metabolism of a chemlambda quine”. But it’s a chick, ‘cos it makes eggs. An artificial chick. More seriously, this artificial life proposal satisfies the full definition of life, something no other proposal does.   _______________________________________________________Filed under: Uncategorized Tagged: artificial life, chemlambda, visualizations
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3:22 PM | the stuff of proof: interview with Penelope Maddy
Richard Marshall in 3:AM Magazine: Penelope Maddy is the candy-store kid of metaphilosophical logic and maths. She’s stocked up with groovy thoughts about the axioms of mathematics, about what might count as a good reason to adopt one, about mathematical...
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3:16 PM | Our Inner Viruses: Forty Million Years In the Making
Carl Zimmer in The Loom: Each year, billions of people get infected with viruses–with common ones like influenza and cold viruses, and rarer ones like polio and Ebola. The viruses don’t stay all that long inside of us. In most...
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3:10 PM | The Tragedy of the American Military
James Fallows in The Atlantic: At the end of World War II, nearly 10 percent of the entire U.S. population was on active military duty—which meant most able-bodied men of a certain age (plus the small number of women allowed...
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