Posts

September 30, 2014

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8:59 AM | Does the history of philosophy matter?
Malcolm Thorndike Nicholson in Prospect: If you study philosophy at a British or American university, your education in the history of the subject will likely be modest. Most universities teach Plato and Aristotle, skip about two millennia to Descartes, zip...
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8:53 AM | Steven Salaita: U. of I. destroyed my career
Steven Salaita in the Chicago Tribune: Being recruited for a tenured faculty position at a major university is no small feat, nor should it be; tenure represents the pinnacle of an academic career. In my case, it involved numerous interviews...
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8:35 AM | Talal Asad: Reflections on the Origins of Human Rights
No summary available for this post.
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8:34 AM | God, Darwin and My College Biology Class
David P. Barash in the New York Times: It’s irresponsible to teach biology without evolution, and yet many students worry about reconciling their beliefs with evolutionary science. Just as many Americans don’t grasp the fact that evolution is not merely...

September 29, 2014

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8:09 AM | Brain Plasticity Tradeoffs and Sascha Vongehr Musician
This may surprise, but Ludwig Wittgenstein, for many the greatest philosopher, or anyway the most eminent exponent of analytic philosophy according to Roger Scruton, maintained that music (!) was the most important to him, not formal logic or philosophy. On the other hand, it is known for at least a century, this I take from a mentioning in Bertrand Russell’s “The Analysis of Mind”, that artistic skills, apparently especially that of drawing pictures, suffer when the brain […]
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4:55 AM | The shortest path, the traveling salesman, and an unsolved question
by Hari Balasubramanian The Shortest Path How does Google Maps figure out the best route between two addresses? The exact algorithm is known only to Google, but probably some variation of what is called the shortest path problem has to...
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4:45 AM | Heaven and Earth
by Brooks Riley Go on, admit it. You've always wanted to come back as a capybara. Why not? There are worst entities for a come-back kid when its mortal coil is taken up again. As a capybara you would live...
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4:40 AM | Perceptions
Jay Kelly. Before Your Very Eyes. 2013. Collage & resin on panel, 60"x96" made of vintage magazines, hand dyed paper, novels & art books. More here and here. Current show in Boston.
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4:35 AM | Israel, Gaza, and the stupidity of leaders
by Emrys Westacott Like millions of other people, I found the recent Israel-Gaza conflict sickening and depressing. After fifty days of military exchanges from July 8 to August 26, over 2,000 Gazans had been killed of which, even according to...
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4:30 AM | Longing for Letters
by Mathangi Krishnamurthy On July 15, 2013, after a hundred and sixty-three years of witnessing birth, death, revolution and marriage, the Indian telegraphic service sent out its last telegram. I felt a small sense of loss, but truth be told,...
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4:25 AM | Quaere, how much do we really see?
by Charlie Huenemann How much of the world do we actually experience? Of course, I'm not bemoaning the shortness of human life, or the narrow range of the visual spectrum, or the insensitivities of our skins and tongues. There's no...
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4:20 AM | CATSPEAK
by Brooks Riley
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4:15 AM | The Humour of Disappearance
by Carl Pierer Hard-working, dedicated snow plough driver, Nils Dickman (Stellan Skarsgård), is living a peaceful life with his wife Gudrun in a small, rural town in Norway. Just after being named Citizen of the Year, their son is found...
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4:13 AM | Peer review of an anti-fluoride “peer review”
In  Anti-fluoride activists define kangaroo court as “independent” I promised to review the anti-fluoridationist “International Peer Review.” This is Anti-fluoride  critique of the recent review Health Effects of Water Fluoridation: a Review of the Scientific Evidence produced by the Royal Society of NZ together with the Office … Continue reading →
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4:10 AM | Cry ISIS
by Maniza Naqvi Offspring of wanton wants, they arrive, together, these gods of war and weather, to the beating drums, and sound of thunder, crying out crisis, each September. This century's, Septembers, all arrive back to school, as it were,...
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4:05 AM | 2 Cheers for Libertarian Paternalism!
by Thomas Rodham Wells ‘Libertarian paternalism' is how Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein characterise their big idea, redesigning how choices look so that we will be nudged to choose the option in our own best interests. Their proposal has come...

September 28, 2014

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9:05 PM | Virtue Ethics: an ancient solution to a modern problem
Peter D. O. Smith in Scientia Salon: This article is neither a defense of nor an attack against either religion or secularism. It treats them as well established sociological facts and no more than that. I take them as given...
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8:48 PM | The Viroid: A Tiny Emissary From the Ancient Past
Carl Zimmer in the New York Times: In the early 1920s, farmers in New Jersey noticed their potatoes were shriveling, their leaves becoming deformed. The plants were sick with an illness that came to be known as potato spindle tuber...
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8:25 PM | To end inequality, we must realise that it isn’t about the rich, it’s about the poor
Clare Melamed in Aeon: Close observers of the development scene will have noticed an interesting shift over the past few years. Where once institutions such as the World Bank and charities like Oxfam described their goal as simply ‘ending poverty’,...
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8:20 PM | Nasta'liq: The Genius of Persian Calligraphy
No summary available for this post.
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4:25 PM | The Dismal Science
Paul Krugman reviews 'Seven Bad Ideas,' by Jeff Madrick, in the NYT's Sunday Book Review (picture by Michael Lionstar): In “Seven Bad Ideas: How Mainstream Economists Have Damaged America and the World,” Jeff Madrick — a contributing editor at Harper’s...
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4:22 PM | The Anti-Academic’s Anti-Academic
Charles Green in Inside Higher Ed (image from Wikimedia Commons): Rebecca Schuman...has a Ph.D. in German studies and a forthcoming book on Kafka, Wittgenstein, and Modernism. Despite those impressive credentials, she left academe and the crumbling job prospects of German...
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4:14 PM | Military Containment is Only a Partial Solution to ISIL’s Evils
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum in The National (via Hussein Ibish): Only one thing can stop a suicidal youth who is ready to die for ISIL: a stronger ideology that guides him onto the right path and convinces him...
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2:58 PM | How to visualize artificial molecules in chemlambda
I am preparing  a click and play tutorial on that. You can go already to the gallery of examples.  Look at them and play with the nice graphs! But you can already play with the stuff which makes the graphs! I shall explain in a moment how to do this. Before that I write a […]
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1:31 PM | Sunday Poem
Roses The house with the nick- and snigger-name Snort and Grunt . Shunned trailer-house, (pocked) scorn-brunt. Side-indented, thorn-bined, boondocked in a hollow. In a green-holler clamber-mire of itch-moss and bramble. Tremblescent ditch-jellies, globberous spawn-floss. Drupes of (dapple-clinkling) bottle-glass in trees....
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12:23 PM | Really the Invisible Man Blues
Dave Marsh in Counterpunch: “…all unorganized violence is like a blind man with a pistol.” ~ Chester Himes In his autobiography, Really the Blues, Mezz Mezzrow, locked up in a New York City jail on a drug charge, convinces the...
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12:10 PM | Basement Sanctuaries
Gesche Wurfel in lensculture: "Basement Sanctuaries" explores how apartment building superintendents decorate the basements of their buildings in Northern Manhattan, NYC. These intimate photos attempt to illuminate the process of how migrants adapt to their new homes. The basements occupy...
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2:00 AM | The information war – The NZ Listener takes up arms
First – have a look at this satirical programme from Germany. It has English captions but is worth watching a few times for the subtleties. I have commented before about the information war going on around the Ukrainian conflict. It … Continue reading →

September 27, 2014

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4:56 PM | Among the Kurds in southeastern Turkey
John Palattella in The Nation: The highway leading from the airport to town is new, or at least has been recently upgraded: four lanes of smooth blacktop running north-south and bordered by broad sidewalks empty under the blistering summer sun....
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4:48 PM | Democracy, predictability and the worrying state of international affairs
I usually consider myself an optimist, but I am scared, scared sh*tless, to be precise. Why? Because the responses of Western democracies to the threats posed by Putin and IS have been, are and predictably will be mindbogglingly stupid. The…Read more ›
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