Posts

July 07, 2014

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4:55 AM | Leibniz's Stepped Reckoner, and a clock for the next 10,000 years
by Charlie Huenemann In 1671, in some letters exchanged with the French mathematician Pierre de Carcavy, Leibniz mentioned his plans to create a calculating machine. Apparently, he had been inspired by a pedometer, probably thinking that if machines could count,...
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4:50 AM | Monday Poem
Again My father, at the kitchen table, in a rare expression of mystery, said, I think life is a cycle But he was not a mystical man to me, nose to the grindstone he ground day after day, pressed by...
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4:45 AM | The Meaning of Apples
by Emrys Westacott What is it about the apple? Common, easily grown, and cheap to buy, yet when you think about it the apple is a major character in the history of our culture. It pops up continually to play...
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4:40 AM | Encounters in the Passing Moment
by Mathangi Krishnamurthy Last week I ran into a faintly familiar face and looked at him quizzically as he said, "You asked a good question yesterday. At the talk." I thanked him, we muttered names; I don't think I heard...
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4:35 AM | Perceptions
Michelle Lougee. Dinoflagellate. 2014. Plastic bags, 55” x 34” x 30” More here and here.
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4:30 AM | Does the Utilitarian Argument for Vegetarianism Add Up?
by Thomas Rodham Wells The contemporary animal rights movement owes a great intellectual debt to Peter Singer's pathbreaking book ‘Animal Liberation' (1975). In that book Singer made a break with the dominant moral argument for treating animals well, the Kantian...
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4:25 AM | Towards Independent Creativity
by Carl Pierer It is a good situation for European students in Scotland. We get to study at excellent universities with outstanding research. We do not pay any tuition fees. The institutions are well funded. As part of the EU,...
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4:20 AM | CATSPEAK
by Brooks Riley
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4:15 AM | Two women painters: Jenny Saville at Gagosian and Celia Paul
Two women painters: Jenny Saville at Gagosian and Celia Paul at Victoria Miro. London
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4:10 AM | The Loneliness of the Modern Warrior: Matt Murphy's "A Beckoning War"
by Prashant Keshavmurthy If there is a literary history of the modern warrior then Matthew Murphy's A Beckoning War should be its latest chapter and, surely, its finest. Told in the third-person, the novel narrates "the Allied advance through the...
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4:05 AM | Travels in Northeast Turkey: Part 2
by Hari Balasubramanian After the road trip to the Turkey-Georgia border (see Part 1), I returned along with my friend Serhat to Erzurum on the third day. Serhat flew back to Istanbul that same evening. My plan was to travel...
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3:59 AM | UDAY SINGH MEHTA IN CONVERSATION WITH AKEEL BILGRAMI
From Permanent Black: Mehta: I think of you, especially in the essays that constitute this book, as doing a rather particular kind of philosophy. It is a very distinguished tradition of practitioners, including the late Richard Rorty, Bernard Williams, and...
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3:54 AM | Why 10% of the Population Hates Cilantro and the Rest Doesn't Know Any Better
From Reason I am Here: The first time I tried cilantro I didn’t realize it; I just thought somebody had emptied a bottle of Old Spice on my pizza in an attempt to poison me. Cilantro tastes like soap to...
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12:12 AM | “Creative” reporting of fluoridation science
I am all for genuine creativity in science, and elsewhere. But some people seem to think anything goes when the are promoting their ideology or political views. Again and again I come across campaigners , especially in areas like “natural” … Continue reading →

July 06, 2014

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6:16 PM | The Hunt for Life Beyond Earth
Michael Lemonick in National Geographic (photo by Mark Thiessen): It's difficult to pin down when the search for life among the stars morphed from science fiction to science, but one key milestone was an astronomy meeting in November 1961. It...
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6:13 PM | The Poems (We Think) We Know: Emily Dickinson
Alexandra Socarides in The LA Review of Books: It’s one thing to say that Dickinson’s poems are uncertain, or complicated, or contradictory (all of which they are), but it’s an entirely other thing to compound that uncertainty with my own....
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6:08 PM | Ground Down to Molasses: The Making of an American Folk Song
Dave Byrne in Boston Review (photo: Alan Lomax, Library of Congress): The folk revival that emerged in New York in the mid-twentieth century took as its texts two primary sources: the six-volume Anthology of American Folk Music curated by the...
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3:46 PM | Greatest World Cup Goals ● 1970-2010
No summary available for this post.
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3:45 PM | Japan to Hong Kong by Philip H. Elwood, 1929
No summary available for this post.
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3:44 PM | The Present by Michael Donaghy
No summary available for this post.
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12:39 PM | Every Datum Tells a Story: The dawning of the age of meta-information
Mark P. Mills and M. Anthony Mills in City Journal: How will these technologies transform human communication? The beginnings of an answer can be found in the nearly century-old writings of German critic Walter Benjamin, who came of age during...
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12:32 PM | Fourth of July: Almost two hundred years ago, Thoreau moved into his Walden Pond cabin
Danny Heitman in Chritian Science Monitor: On July 4, 1845, Thoreau moved into the cabin on Walden Pond. Soon after, Harvard asked what he had been up to and Thoreau detailed his adventures for his alma mater. It’s class reunion...

July 05, 2014

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7:50 PM | My Dear Americans
From Chapati Mystery: Here is a short made by Arpita Kumar, being screened at PBS ONLINE FILM FESTIVAL. Here is what Kumar told us about the short: I made My Dear Americans during my Project Involve fellowship at Film Independent...
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6:14 PM | How Should We Think About the Caliphate?
Owen Bennett-Jones in The LRB (image from wikimedia commons): In its recent propaganda video, Clanging of the Swords: Part 4, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (Isis) presented a tightly edited series of grotesque executions. Thirty-eight people were filmed...
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3:07 PM | Ambient Genius: The working life of Brian Eno
Sasha Frere-Jones in The New Yorker (Photograph by Richard Burbridge): In January, 1975, the musician Brian Eno and the painter Peter Schmidt released a set of flash cards they called “Oblique Strategies.” Friends since meeting at art school, in the...
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3:05 PM | Johnson: Simpler and more foreign
R.L.G. in The Economist (via Tunku Varadarajan): SEVERAL weeks ago, Johnson discussed his debate with Nicholas Ostler about the lingua franca of the future. Johnson thinks that English has a very long run ahead of it. Mr Ostler sees English’s...
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3:03 PM | Cosmopolitans
Nigel Warburton in Aeon (Queuing for food in Haiti. Photo by William Daniels/Panos): It is a cliché to say that the internet has transformed the nature and speed of our links with people around the world, but it is true....
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3:00 PM | The Basic Rules of Dungeons and Dragons Next Have Some Cool Things To Say About Gender Identity
Victoria McNally in The Mary Sue (via Jennifer Ouellette ): Yesterday, Wizards of the Coast released a set of free-to-download “basic rules” for the upcoming fifth edition of Dungeons and Dragons, with the idea of putting this new version of...
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2:06 PM | who was whistler?
Deborah Solomon at The New York Times: Of all the American artists of the 19th century, James Abbott McNeill Whistler was probably the talkiest. In the 1870s, when he painted his famous portrait of his mother, he was living in...
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2:03 PM | Alternate Americas for the Fourth of July
David L. Ulin at The LA Times: What makes the best alternate histories effective is how plausible they are. Just look at Philip K. Dick’s 1962 masterpiece “The Man in the High Castle,” with its vision of America divided after...
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