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Posts

April 16, 2014

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10:02 PM | Twenty-First Century Science Writers
I was very flattered to find myself on someone’s list of Top Ten 21st Century Science Non-Fiction Writers. (Unless they meant my evil twin. Grrr.) However, as flattered as I am — and as much as I want to celebrate … Continue reading →
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8:34 PM | Uexküll, Theoretical Biology and the “Two-Cultures” of Interdisciplinary Science (an idea from 2012, to be further explored)
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5:08 PM | Why Chris Marker's Radical Images Influenced So Many Artists
Sukhdev Sandhu, William Gibson, Mark Romanek, and Joanna Hogg discuss Marker in The Guardian (h/t: Meg Toth; image of a museum built by Chris Marker in Second Life). Sandhu: Marker didn't regard artistic forms as sacred. He didn't believe in...
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5:07 PM | Sean Carroll: Poetic Naturalism
No summary available for this post.
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5:04 PM | Karl Polanyi Explains It All
Robert Kuttner in The American Prospect: In November 1933, less than a year after Hitler assumed power in Berlin, a 47-year-old socialist writer on Vienna’s leading economics weekly was advised by his publisher that it was too risky to keep...
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5:00 PM | How the President Got to ‘I Do’ on Same-Sex Marriage
Jo Becker in the NYT Magazine (photo illustration by Daan Brand for The New York Times. Obama: Mark Wilson/Getty Images.): Despite the president’s stated opposition, even his top advisers didn’t believe that he truly opposed allowing gay couples to marry....
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4:58 PM | How Philosophy Makes Progress
Rebecca Newberger Goldstein in The Chronicle of Higher Education (image: André da Loba for The Chronicle): Questions of physics, cosmology, biology, psychology, cognitive and affective neuroscience, linguistics, mathematical logic: Philosophy once claimed them all. But as the methodologies of those...
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3:43 PM | Hejinian, Whitman, and more on the politics of sleep
Siobhan Phillips at Poetry Magazine: Sleep is invisible and inconsistent. Aping death, sleep in fact prevents it; at the very least, sleep deprivation leads to premature demise (and before that, failures in mood, metabolism, cognitive function). All animals sleep, and...
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3:40 PM | crimean meditations
Jacob Mikanowski at The Millions: Who does the Crimea belong to? First of all, to the sea that made it. Seven thousand years ago, the Black Sea was much lower than it is today. Then a waterfall tumbled over the...
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3:36 PM | The Dadliest Decade
Willie Osterweil at The Paris Review: The eighties, at least, were drenched in cocaine and neon, slick cars and yacht parties, a real debauched reaction. But nineties white culture was all earnest yearning: the sorrow of Kurt Cobain and handwringing...
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2:56 PM | Memory trace formation caught in the act?
I want to discuss a very interesting new paper from Jim Knierim’s group at Johns Hopkins, which has the potential to be a major advance in our understanding of episodic memory.  It also perhaps is the beginning of an answer to a question that has been in my mind for 20 years. The paper is: … Continue reading »
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1:23 PM | Shift the meat-to-plant ratio
Miles Becker in Conservation: Can farmers feed an additional 4 billion people with current levels of crop production? A team from the University of Minnesota tackled the problem by shifting the definition of agricultural productivity from the standard measure (tons...
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12:26 PM | brain's anti-distraction system
From Phys.Org: Two Simon Fraser University psychologists have made a brain-related discovery that could revolutionize doctors' perception and treatment of attention-deficit disorders. This discovery opens up the possibility that environmental and/or genetic factors may hinder or suppress a specific brain...
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10:19 AM | Wednesday Poem
First Poem of the Morning When you and I wave I wonder if for you the stranger across three gray rooftops over the blackbirds pecking the softening skylight rim of morning through the shapes of blackened branches on the other...
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2:57 AM | Paul de Man Was a Total Fraud: The literary-critical giant lied about every part of his life
Robert Alter in The New Republic: Evelyn Barish begins her impressively researched biography by flatly stating that “Paul de Man no longer seems to exist.” This may be an exaggerated expression of frustration by a biographer whose long-
incubated work now...
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2:49 AM | Navy’s New Railgun Can Hurl a Shell Over 5,000 MPH
More from Wired here.
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2:41 AM | 2014 Pulitzer Prize Winners in Journalism, Letters, Drama and Music
From the New York Times: FICTION DONNA TARTT “The Goldfinch” (Little, Brown) Ms. Tartt’s best-selling novel is about a boy who comes into possession of a painting after an explosion at a museum. In a phone conversation on Monday, Ms....
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2:01 AM | The first victim!
It is well established that the first victim in war is truth. Mind you the dispatch of truth usually comes well before the shooting starts. I have a personal interest in Ukraine and the dispatch of truth occurred for me … Continue reading →

April 15, 2014

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8:49 PM | Why Nobody Can Tell Whether the World’s Biggest Quantum Computer is a Quantum Computer
Leo Mirani and Gideon Lichfield in Quartz (via Jennifer Ouellette, D-Wave Systems photo): For the past several years, a Canadian company called D-Wave Systems has been selling what it says is the largest quantum computer ever built. D-Wave’s clients include...
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3:16 PM | Talks on God and Cosmology
Hey, remember the debate I had with William Lane Craig, on God and Cosmology? (Full video here, my reflections here.) That was on a Friday night, and on Saturday morning the event continued with talks from four other speakers, along … Continue reading →
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11:54 AM | russia and the history of 'eurasianism'
Pádraig Murphy at The Dublin Review of Books: There is thus a lively debate in Russia itself on the country’s orientation. The question is, where does the leadership stand in this debate? The answer is difficult, because not only has...
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11:52 AM | The Guggenheim’s Futurism exhibition
Barry Schwabsky at The Nation: For years I’ve been hearing it said that young artists think art began with Andy Warhol. It’s never been true. But now what I hear is art historians complaining that none of their students want...
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11:46 AM | The Mental Life of Plants and Worms
Oliver Sacks at the New York Review of Books: We all distinguish between plants and animals. We understand that plants, in general, are immobile, rooted in the ground; they spread their green leaves to the heavens and feed on sunlight...
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11:32 AM | Samuel Beckett's lost work
Tim Martin in The Guardian: The years in which the young Samuel Beckett prepared and published his first collection of short stories were, as he later remarked, “bad in every way, financially, psychologically”. In late 1930 he had returned to...
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11:23 AM | Sperm RNA carries marks of trauma
Virginia Hughes in Nature: Trauma is insidious. It not only increases a person’s risk for psychiatric disorders, but can also spill over into the next generation. People who were traumatized during the Khmer Rouge genocide in Cambodia tended to have...
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7:35 AM | Book review: Understanding Evolution
I posted this on Panda’s Thumb, but I thought I would repeat it here. I occasionally get books for review unsolicited, and many of them are not worth noticing. However, Kostas Kampourakis’ Understanding Evolution is a wonderful resource for students of all … Continue reading →
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4:10 AM | Tuesday Poem
. I remember your square jaw father Strong and viselike Your grip Of my hand father That wouldn’t let go I remember you at the bottom of the stairs father Telling me We had to go son now I remember...

April 14, 2014

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10:00 AM | Survey: What does “Darwinism” mean?
Following on from the last post, I thought I’d do an unscientific self-selected survey on what “Darwinism” means. Please take a few minutes to fill it out. Click here to take survey
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5:10 AM | The conflict between competition and leisure
by Emrys Westacott In 1930 the economist John Maynard Keynes predicted that increases in productivity due to technological progress would lead within a century to most people enjoying much more leisure. He believed that by 2030 the average working week...
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5:05 AM | Keeping up with the Lemmings
by Brooks Riley Click to enlarge. As I hover over my life in cyberspace, I look down at the various trails emanating from me that find their way across the globe to multiple destinations, known and unknown, whether or not...
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