Posts

October 18, 2014

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4:32 PM | How to Communicate on the Internet
Let’s say you want to communicate an idea X. You would do well to simply say “X.” Also acceptable is “X. Really, just X.” A slightly riskier strategy, in cases where miscomprehension is especially likely, would be something like “X. … Continue reading →
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2:47 PM | ON GOTTLAND BY MARIUSZ SZCZYGIEŁ
Madeleine LaRue at The Quarterly Conversation: In a series of dispatches from this tantalizing world of “more or less,” Gottland chronicles the history of the Czech Republic in the twentieth century. Each of its seventeen chapters focuses on one or...
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2:44 PM | Zephyr Teachout’s ‘Corruption in America’
Thomas Frank at The New York Times: According to Teachout, however, it’s much worse than this. Our current Supreme Court, in Citizens United, “took that which had been named corrupt for over 200 years” — which is to say, gifts...
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2:39 PM | clive james' Poetry Notebook: 2006-2014
Elaine Feinstein at the Financial Times: Clive James has always written with verve about poetry, and though much of his latest book is drawn from articles already published, the material was well worth collecting. Poetry Notebook may not have the...
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2:00 PM | Venerated Members: On Europe’s history of penis worship
Stassa Edwards in The New Inquiry: Grigori Rasputin’s dick is on display at the Museum of Erotics in Saint Petersburg. Housed in a jar of formaldehyde, the member, which the museum’s owner claims he obtained from a French antiquarian, is...
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1:54 PM | Pier Paolo Pasolini was a force against the incoherence hiding in every hypocrisy
Susan Stewart in The Nation: Writing in 1930 with Baudelaire and, subsequently, Goethe on his mind, T.S. Eliot took up the question of what it means for a poet to possess “the sense of his own age.” While it may...
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1:45 PM | Lovely grub: are insects the future of food?
Emily Anthes in Mosaic: At first my meal seems familiar, like countless other dishes I’ve eaten at Asian restaurants. A swirl of noodles slicked with oil and studded with shredded chicken, the aroma of ginger and garlic, a few wilting...
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1:34 PM | "The Idea of Order at Key West" by Wallace Stevens, read by Hana Bajramovic
No summary available for this post.
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12:08 PM | 'Richard Dawkins has a status that I can’t quite understand': Marilynne Robinson
Jane Mulkerrins in The Telegraph: “I thought Housekeeping was far too private a novel ever to be published,” says Marilynne Robinson. “And with Gilead, if I had gone to my editor and said, ‘I have a great idea for a...
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11:59 AM | Saturday poem
Now Sing NOW sing: the guards howling beat him with obscenities. ......But he did. His legend is He was singing ...........................Venceremos when they shot him. Even for them, it was too much The killed him, they couldn't kill him enough....
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11:27 AM | Invisible History of the Human Race
David Dobbs in The New York Times: Of Christine Kenneally’s father’s father — a man neither Kenneally nor her father ever knew, a man who did the deed requisite to reproduction and promptly vanished — she asks, “Did he leave...
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9:17 AM | A nineteenth century view on classification
The principle upon which I understand the Natural System of Botany to be founded is, that the affinities of plants may be determined by a consideration of all the points of resemblance between their various parts, properties, and qualities ; that thence an arrangement may be deduced in which those species will be placed next […]
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9:13 AM | From Mindless Physics To Physics Of Mind
       For the sake of clarity, let us consider the two widely known, nonsensical scenarios: The first is one that many scientists charge ‘idealist’ philosophers with, although no thinker beyond the dorm room bong level holds this view: All is just a dream and there is no physical world. The second nonsensical scenario is that a physical world “really exists independently out there” and it happens to be the case that consciousness arises in […]

October 17, 2014

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5:04 PM | Socrates on the Most Ethical Way to Eat Snack Mix
Dan Pashman in Slate: Thrasymachus: I see, Socrates, that you believe it permissible to cherry-pick your favorite ingredients from a snack mix. Socrates: I do. Should I believe otherwise? Thrasymachus: You should. The snack mix is a delicate balance of...
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4:54 PM | Our Understanding of Giraffes Does Not Measure Up
Natalie Angier in the New York Times: For the tallest animals on earth, giraffes can be awfully easy to overlook. Their ochered flagstone fur and arboreal proportions blend in seamlessly with the acacia trees on which they tirelessly forage, and...
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4:48 PM | Looking back on a fifteen-year career as a Tamil Tiger
Rohini Mohan in Guernica: Cowering behind the tree’s foliage, Mugil thought of her husband Divyan, who would be on the field somewhere, driving the cadre around. How he could be working she didn’t know. No one seemed to know whether...
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4:41 PM | David Byrne: "We don't live in a democracy anymore"
No summary available for this post.
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4:34 PM | Does Santa Exist?
There’s a claim out there — one that is about 95% true, as it turns out — that if you pick a Wikipedia article at random, then click on the first (non-trivial) link, and keep clicking on the first link … Continue reading →
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1:49 PM | Rediscovering Elizabeth Harrower
James Wood at The New Yorker: The Australian novelist Elizabeth Harrower, who is eighty-six and lives in Sydney, has been decidedly opaque about why she withdrew her fifth novel, “In Certain Circles” (Text), some months prior to publication, in 1971....
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12:56 PM | The Smile Revolution in Eighteenth Century Paris
John Brewer at Literary Review: The 18th-century cult of sensibility, spread through performances on the Parisian stage and nurtured by novels of deep emotional intensity by the likes of Samuel Richardson and Rousseau, loosened the grip of the costive, courtly...
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12:54 PM | The legacy of post-Kantian German thought
Michael Rosen at the Times Literary Supplement: Liberal political philosophy post-Rawls is directed towards justification. It takes many different approaches, all designed to identify the circumstances under which the exercise of coercive authority by the state is legitimate – that...
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12:12 PM | The Exercise Cost of Soda and Juice
James Hamblin in The Atlantic: What if nutrition labels told people exactly what calories meant, in practical terms? A bottle of Coke could dole out specific exercise requirements. The calories herein, it might say, are the equivalent of a 50-minute...
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10:36 AM | Friday Poem
At 4 in the morning (apologies to Federico Garcia Lorca) . At four in the morning Too soon for birds. Too late for bats. Alone. At four in the morning Too soon for light, Its lying eyes not right. At...
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10:32 AM | Cells' powerhouses were once energy parasites
From ScienceDaily: The study appears this week in the online journal PLoS ONE, published by the Public Library of Science. It provides an alternative theory to two current theories of how simple bacterial cells were swallowed up by host cells...

October 16, 2014

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9:49 PM | sartre's (and camus') nobel rejection
Stefany Anne Golberg at The Smart Set: If the members of the Nobel Academy felt slighted when Jean-Paul Sartre rejected their prize 50 years ago, they didn’t show it. The Academy set out the dinner plates and made their speeches...
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4:41 PM | The Beethoven Mystery Case
Leo Carey in the New York Review of Books: Nine hundred and thirty pages into Jan Swafford’s new biography of Beethoven, there is an interesting juxtaposition. After the composer died, in March 1827, his funeral was “one of the grandest...
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4:36 PM | Neuroscience: Brains of Norway
Nobel prizewinners May-Britt Moser and Edvard Moser have spent a career together near the Arctic Circle exploring how our brains know where we are. Alison Abbott in Nature: The fact that Edvard and May-Britt Moser have collaborated for 30 years...
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4:35 PM | View From Nowhere
Nathan Jurgenson in The New Inquiry (image in Franz Kline, Suspended, 1953): Modernity has long been obsessed with, perhaps even defined by, its epistemic insecurity, its grasping toward big truths that ultimately disappoint as our world grows only less knowable....
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4:31 PM | The Western Model is Broken
Pankaj Mishra makes the case in The Guardian (An empty billboard site in São Paolo, Brazil. Billboard advertising has been banned there since 2007. Photograph: Tony de Marco): As late as 2008, Fareed Zakaria declared in his much-cited book, The...
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4:27 PM | Abortion Without Apology: A Prescription for Getting the Pro-Choice Groove Back
Lindsay Beyerstein reviews Katha Pollitt's Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights in The American Prospect: A full-throated defense of abortion as a social good, Pro is a thorough debunking of anti-abortion pieties. But it’s not just anti-abortion activists on whom Pollitt, columnist...
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