Posts

October 04, 2014

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1:31 PM | Jeff Goldblum GE Commercial
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1:25 PM | Hollywood Salaries Revealed, From Movie Stars to Agents (and Even Their Assistants)
From The Hollywood Reporter: How bad is the decline in actor salaries over the past decade? Despite the huge sums still being raked in by such superstars as Robert Downey Jr. (his $75 million comes from his 7 percent, first-dollar...
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11:54 AM | Saturday Poem
Mistaken Identity I thought I saw my mother in the lesbian bar, with a salt gray crew cut, a nose stud and a tattoo of a parrot on her arm. She was sitting at a corner table, leaning forward to...
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11:53 AM | Can life in a nursing home be made uplifting and purposeful?
Atul Gawande in The Telegraph: In 1991, in the tiny town of New Berlin, in upstate New York, a young physician named Bill Thomas performed an experiment. He didn’t really know what he was doing. He was 31 years old,...
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11:18 AM | Market-Driven Behavior
David Bromwich in The New York Times: Paul Roberts thinks a society that wants it now is untenable, and he has written a prophecy to tell us why. He begins “The Impulse Society” with a parable: a visit to a...

October 03, 2014

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4:20 PM | Ten Questions for the Philosophy of Cosmology
Last week I spent an enjoyable few days in Tenerife, one of the Canary Islands, for a conference on the Philosophy of Cosmology. The slides for all the talks are now online; videos aren’t up yet, but I understand they … Continue reading →
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3:30 PM | The Birds of War
Christopher Benfey in the New York Review of Books: Is it to be war? It would seem so, now and for the foreseeable future. Yet the future seems, increasingly, unforeseeable, as the seers with furrowed brows, convened around the tables...
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3:21 PM | The Odds, Continually Updated
F. D. Flam in the New York Times: Statistics may not sound like the most heroic of pursuits. But if not for statisticians, a Long Island fisherman might have died in the Atlantic Ocean after falling off his boat early...
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3:09 PM | The Sound So Loud That It Circled the Earth Four Times
Aatish Bhatia in Nautilus: On 27 August 1883, the Earth let out a noise louder than any it has made since. It was 10:02 AM local time when the sound emerged from the island of Krakatoa, which sits between Java...
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2:39 PM | Story SLAM Winner: Micaela Blei
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12:43 PM | Unraveling “Racial Threat”
Laura Levis in Harvard Magazine: Riding the train to work every day in Chicago, Ryan Enos began to notice an intriguing pattern: at a certain downtown station, all the African-American riders seemed to get off just as Caucasian riders climbed...
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12:37 PM | How cancer cells assure immortality by lengthening the ends of chromosomes
From KurzweilAI: On Sept. 23, KurzweilAI noted that scientists at the Salk Institute had discovered an on-and-off “switch” in cells that might allow for increasing telomerase, which rebuilds telomeres at the ends of chromosomes to keep cells dividing and generating....
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12:17 PM | A journalist remembers her days in Libya with James Foley
Clare Morgana Gillis at The American Scholar: BENGHAZI, April 2011–A large and detailed map of Sirte hung on the wall of the general’s office where James Foley and I conducted what turned out to be our last interview before our...
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12:13 PM | Pope Francis Revisits Liberation Theology
Eric Frith at Dissent: Late last month, Pope Francis told reporters he considers it very important that the beatification of Oscar Romero—the process of declaring Romero officially “blessed” that is the stepping-stone to sainthood—be accomplished quickly. “Romero is a man...
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12:07 PM | a week spent undercover among immigrant labourers in Italy
Fabrizio Gatti at Eurozine: "Find out what this guy wants. If he's looking for work, tell him we don't need anyone today." Having addressed the bodyguard in dialect, the boss drives off in his SUV. The Maghrebi speaks perfect Italian....
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11:11 AM | Friday Poem
There is Never Enough Time Above the clouds is nothing but a leprous single star —(B. Brecht) The more I look at it the less I feel. I try to recollect. I shake a distant hand & pay for laughter....
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10:08 AM | Something New On The Illusion Of Time
Look at a fan rotating. Now look just to the side of it. It seems to rotate slower. Now shift your gaze slowly back toward the center of the fan. The fan seems to pick up speed. There are not just two appearances of its speed, one fast if I stare at it, and one slow if it is in the periphery of my visual field, but instead the fan seems to pick up speed gradually!  read more

October 02, 2014

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6:07 PM | debating the double life of Paul de Man
Ann Jefferson at the Times Literary Supplement: But there is a further and more problematic accusation. Using de Man’s argument according to which the evolution of literature is determined by its inherent dynamic, independently of individual writers – Jewish or...
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6:04 PM | in pursuit of the amazons
Tom Holland at Literary Review: No one today believes that an army of female warriors really sailed from the Black Sea to attack Athens. If a historical basis for the legend has to be found, then it is likeliest to...
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6:02 PM | is religion to blame for history’s bloodiest wars?
John Gray at The New Statesman: The idea that religion is fading away has been replaced in conventional wisdom by the notion that religion lies behind most of the world’s conflicts. Many among the present crop of atheists hold both...
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5:44 PM | The Anatomy of Attention
Alan Lightman in The New Yorker: Every moment, our brains are bombarded with information, from without and within. The eyes alone convey more than a hundred billion signals to the brain every second. The ears receive another avalanche of sounds....
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5:39 PM | Apocalypse soon: the scientists preparing for the end times
Sophie McBain in New Statesman: The men were too absorbed in their work to notice my arrival at first. Three walls of the conference room held whiteboards densely filled with algebra and scribbled diagrams. One man jumped up to sketch...
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5:32 PM | “Fanaticism Anxiety” about Muslims has been with us since the Colonial Era
Edmund Burke III in Informed Comment: Today we hear a great deal about the question of what went wrong in Middle Eastern societies. For an historian of the early twentieth century world, it’s déjà vu all over again. Similar questions...
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5:25 PM | Maya Angelou Recites Her Poem "Phenomenal Woman"
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5:12 PM | Tender Is The Night and the “Ode to a Nightingale”
William Doherty in Fitzgerald.narod.ru: Critics often express a feeling that there is something mysterious about Fitzgerald’s Tender Is The Night, that there is something unsatisfying in the analyses we have had—a discomfort one does not feel with the more elaborately...
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4:26 PM | More input request about the chemlambda gui, thanks
 I get mixed messages from some of those who tried the chemlambda proto-gui. It works for  most, does not work for some of them. I am a mathematician, not a programmer, I learn as I do, I appreciate more input from everybody who tried it. Hope that in a month or so it will be […]
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12:41 PM | How to Solve the Famous Birthday Problem
Jason Marshall in QuickandDirtyTips: As you may know, the quadrennial World Cup was recently played in Brazil. As you may not know, each of the 32 teams in this year's tournament had 23 players on their roster. This week's Math...
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10:15 AM | Thursday Poem
The Rain . Rain, and driving thoughts of rain, miles and hours of it, inches and yards of light and dark rain, where seamless cloud has been stitched and gathered into a great undoing of itself, in wind that brings...
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1:14 AM | Science and belief
As long as it agrees with, or can be interpreted to agree with, one’s beliefs.  

October 01, 2014

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6:15 PM | Iraq’s forgotten Christians in Kurdish exile
Jenna Krajeski at Harper's Magazine: One afternoon in early September, a crowd formed in the mall’s basement. “We are disrespected, all of us!” a man shouted, waving his arms. His audience shuddered. “I waited for three hours and all I...
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