Posts

October 29, 2014

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11:15 AM | ‘Data smashing’ could automate discovery, untouched by human hands
From KurzweilAI: From recognizing speech to identifying unusual stars, new discoveries often begin with comparison of data streams to find connections and spot outliers. But simply feeding raw data into a data-analysis algorithm is unlikely to produce meaningful results, say...
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10:38 AM | Wednesday Poem
A Ball Rolls on a Point The whole ball of who we are presses into the green baize of a single tiny spot. A aural track of crackle betrays our passage through the fibrous jungle it's hot and desperate. Insects...
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8:18 AM | Against Carceral Feminism
Victoria Law in Jacobin (image “Prison Blueprints.” Remeike Forbes/Jacobin): Casting policing and prisons as the solution to domestic violence both justifies increases to police and prison budgets and diverts attention from the cuts to programs that enable survivors to escape,...
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7:05 AM | Morality and Discourse in Serbia
Keith Doubt on Eric Gordy's Guilt, Responsibility, and Denial: The Past at Stake in Post-Milošević Serbia, in Berfrois (Belgrade, Serbia. Photograph by Jamie Silva): The intellectual integrity of cultural anthropology is based largely on its commitment to cultural relativism as...
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6:53 AM | Genetically Modified Organisms Risk Global Ruin
Over at The Physics arXiv Blog: Taleb and co begin by making a clear distinction between risks with consequences that are local and those with consequences that have the potential to cause global ruin. When global harm is possible, an...
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3:06 AM | A cognitive neuroscience approach to the problem of identity
(Note:  This post appeared on Scientia Salon on October 24, under the title Identity, a neurobiological perspective, with numerous comments.  I am placing a copy here for convenience.  The discussion has closed on Scientia Salon, but I would be happy to continue it here.) The philosophical problem of identity is epitomized by the paradox known as … Continue reading »

October 28, 2014

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10:00 PM | Criminal investigation of MH17 tragedy – where is it at?
I thought this der Spiegel interview with Fred Westerbeke about the ongoing criminal investigation of the MH17 tragedy could be of interest. Especially as I have been accused of ignoring the “official version” of the incident. At least this investigator … Continue reading →
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9:53 PM | The new look of the chemlambda gui, new downloads and a video demo of the space view
Here is a short video with a demo of the space view of chemlambda molecules and their interaction. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZPzsSpkl8Fw   At this link you can download the tar archive which contains the gui I play with.  I would be grateful if as many as possible download it and spread it in as many places, not […]
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3:15 PM | Schubert: the secret of song
Jonathan Rée in Prospect: Every October for the past 13 years, the Oxford Lieder Festival has been bringing classy performances of classical art songs to what used to be a rather unmusical town. I love it: great art taken seriously,...
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3:10 PM | There's more to Matisse's dancers than meets the eye
Morgan Meis in The Smart Set: In the year 1905, Henri Matisse painted a portrait of his wife wearing a rather extraordinary hat. The painting was displayed at the Salon d’Automne in Paris that same year. Much shock and controversy...
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3:06 PM | John Donoghue and Sheila Nirenberg, computer scientist Michel Maharbiz, and psychologist Gary Marcus discuss the cutting edge of brain-machine interactions
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2:03 PM | The complicated legacy of the anti-Nazi theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer
James Nuechterlein at The New Criterion: The matter of the legacy of Dietrich Bonhoeffer is at once straightforward and immensely complicated. About the man there is no question. Whatever Bonhoeffer’s flaws—and Charles Marsh’s masterly and comprehensive new biography Strange Glory...
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1:59 PM | on dangerous images
Barrett Swanson at The Point: The first photo: a fireman, a woman, and a child wait on the top-floor landing of a fire escape. Smoke purls from the windows behind them. As the gallant-eyed fireman reaches for the approaching rescue...
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1:54 PM | Thackeray Gets Grotesque
Dan Piepenbring at the Paris Review: When William Makepeace Thackeray died, near the end of 1863, he left behind a formidable library in a mansion he’d only recently designed, erected, and occupied. A few months later, his home was dismantled...
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10:47 AM | The impossible glamour of Istanbul
Jeremyy Seal in The Telegraph: It’s no surprise that imperial splendour should so often have been the keynote in published histories of Istanbul, for more than 1,500 years the glittering capital of the Byzantines and latterly that of the Ottomans....
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10:40 AM | Magic May Lurk Inside Us All
C. Nathan DeWall in The New York Times: We do grow up. We get jobs. We have children of our own. Along the way, we lose our tendencies toward magical thinking. Or at least we think we do. Several streams...
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10:12 AM | Tuesday Poem
Hattie MacDaniels Arrives at the Coconut Grove late, in aqua and ermine, gardenias scaling her left sleeve in a spasm of scent, her gloves white, her smile chastened, purse giddy with stars and rhinestones clipped to her brilliantined hair on...
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8:46 AM | Pidgin, Patois, Slang, Dialect, Creole
Public Radio International interviews the novelist M. NourbeSe Philip, and Dohra Ahmad, author of Rotten English, on literatures in the vernacular. Also at the website, you listen to readings of David Copperfield in Jamaican patois, Spanglish, Hawaiian pidgin, Trinadadian and...

October 27, 2014

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10:33 PM | There is something about those climate records that keep getting broken
I think we have all become used to headlines like this - Earth Just Had Its Hottest September On Record. It’s all ho-hum to us. We just don’t notice any more – we don’t bother reading the articles. This is the point … Continue reading →
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4:45 AM | How the "culture of assessment" fuels academic dishonesty
by Emrys Westacott According to a number of studies done over several years, cheating is rife in US high schools and colleges. More than 60% of students report having cheated at least once, and it is quite likely that findings...
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4:40 AM | Reality is down the hall
by Charlie Huenemann "It is therefore worth noting," Schopenhauer writes, "and indeed wonderful to see, how man, besides his life in the concrete, always lives a second life in the abstract." I suppose you might say that some of us...
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4:35 AM | Perceptions
Brooks Riley. Viennese Office Chair, circa 1910. More here and here. Thanks to Brooks.

October 26, 2014

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5:45 PM | A potent theory has emerged explaining a mysterious statistical law that arises throughout physics and mathematics
Natalie Wolchover in Quanta: Imagine an archipelago where each island hosts a single tortoise species and all the islands are connected — say by rafts of flotsam. As the tortoises interact by dipping into one another’s food supplies, their populations...
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5:39 PM | Modi’s Idea of India
Pankaj Mishra in the New York Times: India, V.S. Naipaul declared in 1976, is “a wounded civilization,” whose obvious political and economic dysfunction conceals a deeper intellectual crisis. As evidence, he pointed out some strange symptoms he noticed among upper-caste...
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5:29 PM | Julian Assange: Google Is Not What It Seems
Julian Assange in Newsweek: Eric Schmidt is an influential figure, even among the parade of powerful characters with whom I have had to cross paths since I founded WikiLeaks. In mid-May 2011 I was under house arrest in rural Norfolk,...
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5:25 PM | charlie muffin
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5:24 PM | smiley's people
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5:23 PM | Konono N°1 - "Lufuala Ndonga"
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3:03 PM | Project Cybersyn and the Origins of the Big Data Nation
Evgeny Morozov in The New Yorker: In June, 1972, Ángel Parra, Chile’s leading folksinger, wrote a song titled “Litany for a Computer and a Baby About to Be Born.” Computers are like children, he sang, and Chilean bureaucrats must not...
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2:48 PM | What Do Animals Think They See When They Look in the Mirror?
Chelsea Wald in Slate: The six horses in a 2002 study were “known weavers.” When stabled alone, they swayed their heads, necks, forequarters, and sometimes their whole bodies from side to side. The behavior is thought to stem from the...
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272 Results