Posts

September 26, 2014

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9:16 AM | Small Is Ugly 2
The very small is very weird; I explained that the last time in Small Is Ugly 1 already with help of the example of water being in the driest of places (Vastness and Fastness of the Small helps Evolution is of course somewhat related). And today, I still do not mean supposed "quantum weirdness", which is not about small stuff. read more

September 25, 2014

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12:33 PM | On tribalism
Humans evolved in tribes, our species’ equivalent of the general primate troop structure. This meant that members of the tribe benefited from shared resources, the protection of the group and the inherited knowledge of the tribe. It also meant that we will natively and naively defend our group against others, and demonise the other groups. […]
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2:43 AM | MOM “a thousand times better than cricket”
This is how the Indian Prime Minister responded to the success of the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) yesterday: “History has been created by our scientists”, said PM Narendra Modi in his speech immediately after the scientists declared the mission a … Continue reading →

September 24, 2014

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7:25 AM | Activist’s anti-science adverts found misleading – again
The activist Fluoride Free NZ (FFNZ) organisation have had a bad year with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). They have had half a dozen complaints against them for misleading advertising upheld. The latest complaint referred to FFNZ’s adverts for a meeting … Continue reading →

September 23, 2014

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11:44 AM | Visual illusions and direct perception
A while back I reviewed a bunch of papers by Rob Withagen who is currently arguing that while perception is not typically based in specifying variables, it can and should still be ecological in nature. While we are also developing an account of information that goes beyond specification I still have some reservations about the details of Rob's work. That said, I do think there is a lot of overlap and I'm still interested in figuring out what that is. Rob's latest paper (de Wit, van […]

September 22, 2014

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4:07 PM | Is it possible to be in pain and not know it?
I ran into this question on Quora, a question-and-answer website, and thought it was interesting enough to be worth discussing in a blog post. At a superficial level the question might not seem very difficult. It would be easy to say that the answer is no, end of story. But that would be a facile … Continue reading »
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8:39 AM | Winter School on Paradoxes and Dilemmas -- Groningen
On January 26th-27th 2015, the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Groningen will host a short Winter School aimed at advanced undergraduate students and early-stage graduate students. The theme of the winter school is Paradoxes and Dilemmas, and it will consist of 6 tutorials where the topic will be discussed from different viewpoints: theoretical philosophy, practical philosophy, and the history of philosophy. As such, the Winter School may be of interest to at least some of the M-Phi […]
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6:00 AM | The Winners of the 3QD Science Prize 2014
Frans de Waal has picked the three winners from the nine finalists: Top Quark, $500: Eric Michael Johnson, Promiscuity Is Pragmatic Strange Quark, $200: Christie Wilcox, Did Allergies Evolve To Save Your Life? Charm Quark, $100: Carl Zimmer, The Wisdom...
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5:00 AM | A Place Called Home
by Namit Arora Former changing rooms in the Birla Industries Club ‘No man ever steps in the same river twice,’ wrote Heraclitus, the ancient Greek philosopher, ‘for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.’ Some also...
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4:55 AM | Monday Poem
Parallel Universe everything unknown returns to life upon awakening in my bed supine in light sun bequeathed day ignites a fire beneath my blankets burn mind’s the filament of a lamp upon awakening stupidity tumbles down a sheer of chance...
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4:50 AM | On Optimal Paths & Minimal Action
by Tasneem Zehra Husain It sounds a bit ridiculous when you admit your jealousy of inanimate objects. If you confess that you covet the skill with which these lifeless forms navigate their circumstances, you're bound to get some strange looks....
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4:45 AM | 7500 Miles, Part I: Baltimore>NYC>A2>QC>Lincoln>Omaha>Vermillion>Brookings
by Akim Reinhardt I'm currently circling the nation in a black and orange ‘98 Honda Accord, my rusted chariot. About 7,500 miles in a little over two months. That's the plan. As far north as North Dakota, as far south...
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4:40 AM | Conquistador of the Useless
by Leanne Ogasawara Fitzcarraldo: "As tr...
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4:35 AM | Perceptions
Ray Smith. Red Army, 1991. Painted steel. Digital photograph taken by Sughra Raza at Kentuck Knob sculpture park, PA, Sept 5, 2014. (Thanks to Akila and Ute Viswanathan). More here and here.
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4:30 AM | Another Great War List
By Eric Byrd Journey to the Abyss: The Diaries of Count Harry Kessler, 1880-1918 The Belle Époque cosmopolitan, after bidding Rodin adieu at the Gare du Nord the day of the Austrian ultimatum, returned to Germany and donned the feldgrau...
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4:25 AM | Is Feminism Relevant Today?
My take on the evolving conversation around feminism today.
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4:22 AM | As This Year Goes Out
by Josh Yarden The new year, Rosh HaShana, according to the Hebrew Calendar, arrives this week with the coming of the new moon. As we also reach the end of the annual cycle of Torah readings, I revisited the final...
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4:20 AM | CATSPEAK
by Brooks Riley
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4:15 AM | Macroanalysis and the Directional Evolution of Nineteenth Century English-Language Novels
by Bill Benzon In The Only Game in Town: Digital Criticism Comes of Age I argued that digital criticism was the most important development in contemporary literary studies because it is the only line of investigation that presents us with...
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4:10 AM | Dennis Hopper: The Lost Album
"Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive/But to be young was very heaven," wrote Wordsworth on the eve of the French Revolution. Though his words could equally have been describing a very different time and place and another, later, revolution where to be young was, also, ‘very heaven'.
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4:05 AM | Strained Analogies Between Recently Released Films and Current Events: Dolphin Tale 2 and the Apple Watch
by Matt McKenna I didn't see the first Dolphin Tale movie starring Harry Connick Jr., Morgan Freeman, and a couple kids who look as if were custom built at the Disney Channel Research Lab, but allow me to synopsize the...
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2:30 AM | Don’t you get tired of this?
I have seen so much of this lately: And this: And in so many cases when we challenge this cherry-picking and confirmation bias we get this:
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1:13 AM | Planck Speaks: Bad News for Primordial Gravitational Waves?
Ever since we all heard the exciting news that the BICEP2 experiment had detected “B-mode” polarization in the cosmic microwave background — just the kind we would expect to be produced by cosmic inflation at a high energy scale — … Continue reading →

September 21, 2014

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3:17 PM | One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed
Seth Stevenson in Slate: Before any of the six entrants in the 2014 Sinquefield Cup had nudged a white pawn to e4, they’d already been hailed as the strongest collection of chess talent ever assembled. The tournament, held in St....
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3:11 PM | Murder 'comes naturally' to chimpanzees
Jonathan Webb at the BBC: A major study suggests that killing among chimpanzees results from normal competition, not human interference. Apart from humans, chimpanzees are the only primates known to gang up on their neighbours with lethal results - but...
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1:17 PM | Battle Ground: A look at the tangled political history of modern Gaza
Hussein Ibish in Bookforum: As this review was going to press, the latest bout of hostilities between Hamas and other Gaza-based militants and Israel had become even more bloody and destructive than 2009’s brutally named Israeli incursion into Gaza, Operation...
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12:55 PM | What Slipped Disks Tell Us About 700 Million Years of Evolution
Carl Zimmer in his excellent blog, The Loom: There’s a unity to life. Sometimes it’s plain to see, but very often it lurks underneath a distraction of differences. And a new study shows that there’s even a hidden unity between...
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12:52 PM | A Gentleman's Guide To Sex In Prison
Daniel Genis in The Concourse: When I tell people that I recently finished serving a 10-year prison sentence for armed robbery, mostly in maximum-security facilities, I often feel a question lingering in the air. The moment I sense it, I...
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12:47 PM | Junkopia - A Short Film by Chris Marker
No summary available for this post.
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12:46 PM | hush hoggies hush
No summary available for this post.
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