Posts

July 26, 2014

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6:05 PM | What is Random? What is NOT random?
No summary available for this post.
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2:55 PM | how many children should we have? The case for none
From More Intelligent Life: The Big Question: we asked six writers, how many children should we have? David Benatar believes that the only way to prevent harm is not to have any Millions of years of evolutionary history have programmed...
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2:16 PM | The Selected Letters of Elia Kazan
Charles Isherwood at The New York Times: “So much precious time goes by and it seems to me I get so little out of it,” Elia Kazan wrote to John Steinbeck in 1955. “I ask myself is this it? Is...
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2:12 PM | atheism as intellectual laziness
Michael Robbins at Slate: Atheists: The Origin of the Species seems to have been born out of frustration with these and other confusions perpetuated by the so-called “New Atheists” and their allies, who can’t be bothered to familiarize themselves with...
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2:00 PM | testimonies from soldiers of the first world war
David Stevenson at the Financial Times: The canon of first world war reminiscence was established early. Erich Maria Remarque’s novel All Quiet on the Western Front blazed the trail, selling nearly 2m copies in 1929. An avalanche of testimonials followed,...
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11:41 AM | Powerful and Coldhearted
Michael Inzlicht and Sukhvinder Obhi in The New York Times: The human brain can be exquisitely attuned to other people, thanks in part to its so-called mirror system. The mirror system is composed of a network of brain regions that...
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10:33 AM | Saturday Poem
The War Works Hard How magnificent the war is! How eager and efficient! Early in the morning, it wakes up the sirens and dispatches ambulances to various places, swings corpses through the air, rolls stretchers to the wounded, summons rain...
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8:44 AM | Separation of form from content, no semantics
One of the principles which make the net possible, as stated by Tim Berners-Lee, separation of form from content: The principle that one should represent separately the essence of a document and the style with which it is presented. Applied to decentralized computing, this means no semantics. [One more confirmation of my impression that logic […]

July 25, 2014

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10:47 PM | War Comes to Ukraine
Alexander J. Motyl in Foreign Affairs (image: Maxim Zmeyev/Courtesy Reuters): This week also saw a major escalation of Russian military involvement in Ukraine; in the early morning hours of Sunday, July 13, about 100 Russian armored personnel carriers and other...
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10:40 PM | Roger Scruton on the Sacred
Over at Philosophy Bites: Is there a place for the sacred in contemporary life? Roger Scruton believes there is. In this discussion he explains his understanding of the experiences he calls sacred. Listen to Roger Scruton on the Sacred
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10:40 PM | Truth, Success and Frank Ramsey
Richard Marshall interviews Pascal Engel in 3:AM Magazine [Photo: Claire Poinsignon]: 3:AM: As an epistemologist do you think knowledge is elusive because the term is empty, and would that be an approach developed out of your work on Ramsey’s principle,...
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10:37 PM | Of Maggots and Brain Scans
Anne Fausto-Sterling in The Boston Review of Books: Consider the case of Grady Nelson, a Florida man who was convicted of murdering his wife, Angelina Martinez. During the 2010 hearing to decide if Nelson should be sentenced to death, his...
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10:32 PM | America’s Memory of the Vietnam War in the Epoch of the Forever War
H. Bruce Franklin in The LA Review of Books: Teaching students in the 21stcentury — including the combat veterans, National Guard soldiers, and reservists in my classes at Rutgers University, Newark — I have to keep reminding myself that they...
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10:27 PM | To Zion and Back
Ismail Khalidi interviews Max Blumenthal in Guernica: Guernica: The last month has seen the killing of three teenage Israeli settlers near Hebron and a massive Israeli sweep into the West Bank in which hundreds of Palestinians were arrested, injured, and...
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3:10 PM | Lessons From America's War for the Greater Middle East
Andrew Bacevich in Notre Dame Magazine: For well over 30 years now, the United States military has been intensively engaged in various quarters of the Islamic world. An end to that involvement is nowhere in sight. Tick off the countries...
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2:28 PM | The Human Brain Project kerfuffle
We’ve had a lot of controversy recently about the Human Brain Project, a European initiative that plans to spend a billion-plus Euros over the next few years to advance brain research.  To summarize ultra-briefly, a group of several hundred European neuroscientists have signed an open letter arguing that the Project is going in the wrong … Continue reading »
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1:09 PM | For Better Treatment, Doctors And Patients Share The Decisions
From NPR: Many of us get confused by claims of how much the risk of a heart attack, for example, might be reduced by taking medicine for it. And doctors can get confused, too. Just ask Karen Sepucha. She runs...
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11:28 AM | Duelling nationalities
Douglas Coupland in FT Magazine: A way of rethinking the global web of overlapping allegiances would be to wonder what might happen if Earth instituted a planet-wide citizenship flush. Whoever you are, you now have to choose just one passport...
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10:47 AM | Friday Poem
Vincent's Shoes He built his palette around the ragged colors of her tortoise-shell calico, piled like clotted earth in a sunny corner. His worn soul embraced the tales of those crumpled old shoes— shredded laces, wilted leather— scuffed with the...

July 24, 2014

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10:50 PM | How to Choose?
Michael Schulson in Aeon (Illustration by Tim McDonagh): Over the millennia, cultures have expended a great deal of time, energy and ingenuity in order to introduce some element of chance into decision-making. Naskapi hunters in the Canadian province of Labrador...
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10:44 PM | Who Is Mehdi Nemmouche, and Why Did He Want To Kill Jews?
Marc Weitzmann in Tablet: Last May 24, a Saturday, at 3:27 p.m., according to the accusatory file, a man appeared at the doorstep of the Jewish Museum of Belgium. Out of his bag he pulled a Magnum .357 and fired....
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10:44 PM | Who Is Mehdi Nemmouche, and Why Did He Want To Kill Jews?
Marc Weitzmann in Tablet: Last May 24, a Saturday, at 3:27 p.m., according to the accusatory file, a man appeared at the doorstep of the Jewish Museum of Belgium. Out of his bag he pulled a Magnum .357 and fired....
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3:19 PM | Why Probability in Quantum Mechanics is Given by the Wave Function Squared
One of the most profound and mysterious principles in all of physics is the Born Rule, named after Max Born. In quantum mechanics, particles don’t have classical properties like “position” or “momentum”; rather, there is a wave function that assigns … Continue reading →
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2:03 PM | Hans Christian Andersen’s painful fairy-tale life
Dinah Birch at the Times Literary Supplement: Andersen was profoundly committed to the Romantic ideal of the extraordinary genius, singled out for distinction from birth. “It doesn’t matter if you’re born in a duck yard if you’ve lain in a...
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2:01 PM | ROCK STARS and their EX-LOVERS
Alexandra Molotkow at The Believer: Rock stars are the gods of the last century, avatars for the emotional and religious yearnings 1960s youth would have had nowhere else to place. Bob Dylan’s cryptic magnetism marked him as the Person With...
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1:57 PM | Kabuki at Lincoln Center
Joan Acocella at The New Yorker: For people accustomed to the cooler precincts of modernist and postmodernist art, it is often a joy to reëncounter older, messier forms of theatre, with coincidences and murders and the like. Therefore, when I...
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11:09 AM | Medina in Birmingham, Najaf in Brent: Inside British Islam
Christopher de Bellaigue in The Guardian: Along with the "Trojan Horse" controversy about the imposition of a strict Islamic ethos on a number of Birmingham schools, the disclosure that several hundred Britons have been to Syria and Iraq to fight...
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10:02 AM | Thursday Poem
In My Spare Time During my long, boring hours of spare time I sit to play with the earth’s sphere. I establish countries without police or parties and I scrap others that no longer attract consumers. I run roaring rivers...
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10:02 AM | Treat ageing
From Nature: By 2050, the number of people over the age of 80 will triple globally. These demographics could come at great cost to individuals and economies. Two groups describe how research in animals and humans should be refocused to...
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9:47 AM | Mathematicians' intuitions - a survey
I'm passing this on from Mark Zelcer (CUNY): A group of researchers in philosophy, psychology and mathematics are requesting the assistance of the mathematical community by participating in a survey about mathematicians' philosophical intuitions. The survey is here: http://goo.gl/Gu5S4E. It would really help them if many mathematicians participated. Thanks!
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