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Posts

April 13, 2014

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10:52 PM | Welcome to the Jungle
Steven Malanga in City Journal: Anthropologist Napoleon Chagnon’s heart was pounding in late November 1964 when he entered a remote Venezuelan village. He planned to spend more than a year studying the indigenous Yanomamo people, one of the last large...
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9:50 PM | Dungeons and Dragons and Philosophers
Over at Existential Comics:
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7:35 PM | Five Ways of Looking at Steve Reich
David Meir Grossman in Tablet (Steve Reich, 2005. (Photo treatment Tablet Magazine; original photo Jeffrey Herman): 1. “You’re floating 10 feet off the Earth. Try to put your feet on the ground and ask the next question.” It’s Wednesday, March...
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7:33 PM | Wherever You Live, it is Probably Egypt: Thoughts on Passover
Corey Robin in Crooked Timber (image from Wikimedia Commons): The first night of Passover is on Monday, and I’ve been thinking about and preparing for the Seder. I had a mini-victory this morning, when I was shopping for fish in...
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7:31 PM | Parental Involvement Is Overrated
Keith Robinson and Angel Harris in the NYT (image from Wikimedia Commons): Over the past few years, we conducted an extensive study of whether the depth of parental engagement in children’s academic lives improved their test scores and grades. We...
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7:27 PM | The Real Darwin Fish
Chris Mooney in Slate (photo via PBS): We all know the Darwin fish, the car-bumper send-up of the Christian ichthys symbol, or Jesus fish. Unlike the Christian symbol, the Darwin fish has, you know, legs. But the Darwin fish isn't...
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3:15 PM | doc watson
No summary available for this post.
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2:07 PM | peter mathiessen (1927-2014)
No summary available for this post.
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1:04 PM | a smile to remember
No summary available for this post.
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12:13 PM | Class war exposes India's dark heart
Kavita Bhanot reviewsThe Gypsy Goddess by Meena Kandasamy in The Independent: This is not an easy novel to read. There is no intention to entertain. It is, as the blurb tells us, a “novel about the impossibility of writing a...
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11:09 AM | Sunday Poem
The Tree . The tree my father grew from his garden I take an axe and branch by branch I break the tree and set to work the million maddened bits, the fire of night. Only for ash I keep....

April 12, 2014

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9:51 PM | An outdated tax anomaly – charitable status of relgion
Here is a New Zealand Kickstarter project well worth supporting – a film which sets out to answer the questions: Why do religions pay few taxes? Why do companies owned by religions also avoid tax? With more non-believers than ever … Continue reading →
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9:28 PM | Brandeis and the Cancellation of Ayaan Hirsi Ali's Honorary Degree
First, Ali Gharib in the Forward makes the case for the cancellation, at The Forward's Foward Thinking: The university, in tandem with its notice to Hirsi Ali that her award was rescinded, invited her to campus to expound on her...
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9:22 PM | “Against World Literature”: The Debate in Retrospect
Gloria Fisk in The American Reader: “World literature” is as heavily freighted as any of Apter’s Untranslatables, and many of its common usages have only slight relation to literary texts. It has worked historically to map the lines of inheritance—cultural...
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9:15 PM | 7 Lectures on Nietzsche by Raymond Geuss
The first lecture was not uploaded, but you can find an intro summary here.
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2:07 PM | Sue Townsend – 'a lone voice, a humanist and a genius'
Ian Rankin, Michael Rosen, Jonathan Coe, Alexis Petridis, Bob and Roberta Smith, Susan Calman, Frank Cottrell Boyce, Robin Ince, Luke Wright, Isy Suttie in The Guardian: Alexis Petridis: Of all the books about teenage angst that I read as a...
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1:54 PM | The Cubs of Wall Street
Chris Hayes in The New York Times: Imagine you’re a scientist in some sci-fi alternate universe, and you’ve been charged with creating a boot camp that will reliably turn normal but ambitious people into broken sociopaths more or less willing...
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1:03 PM | money
Heidi N. Moore at The New York Times: Most people are used to owing money to others, but few think about what money may owe us: an equitable society, a functioning political system, a peaceful economy that can stay off...
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12:14 PM | the unique literature of lydia davis
Scott Esposito at The Quarterly Conversation: We seem to be reaching a consensus that there is something distinctly new about what Lydia Davis does. After awarding her the 2013 International Booker Prize over a slate of titans like Marilynne Robinson,...
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12:09 PM | On the music of Kurt Cobain, 20 years after his death
Stefany Anne Golberg at The Smart Set: Grunge was often defined by its negativity. It was not a rebellious negativity but a passive negation, a cancelling out. If you asked grunge what it was for, the answer was, supposedly, “Nothing.”...
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11:34 AM | Bacterial conjugation is beta reduction
I come back to the idea from the post   Click and zip with bacterial conjugation , with a bit more details. It is strange, maybe, but perhaps is less strange than many other ideas circulating on the Net around brains and consciousness.   The thing is that bacteria can’t act based on semantics, they are more […]
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10:16 AM | Saturday Poem
Hvar/Glagoli a man enters the vineyard, sits and weeps at the edge of the island, where God no longer awaits the stars to reveal himself to the sea, the woman rises and jumps into the sea, One and the Other...
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7:17 AM | The Banker, the Visitor, His Wife and Her Lover
Amitava Kumar in the New York Times: Zia Haider Rahman Another month, another bright young star in the firmament of Indian writing. I didn’t write that sentence. It appeared in these pages almost 14 years ago, in August 2000, opening...
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2:48 AM | Closet Darwinism, and definitions
Every so often, somebody makes the case that “Darwinism”, “Darwinist” and “Darwinian”, being the generic noun, the individual term, and the adjective of Darwin’s name and therefore (supposedly) theory, are dead terms that cause nothing but harm (see Scott and … Continue reading →

April 11, 2014

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8:55 PM | Why We’re in a New Gilded Age
Paul Krugman in the NYRB (photo by Emmanuelle Marchadour): Piketty throws down the intellectual gauntlet right away, with his book’s very title:Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Are economists still allowed to talk like that? It’s not just the obvious allusion...
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8:45 PM | How the CIA Turned Doctor Zhivago into a Propaganda Weapon Against the Soviet Union
Colin Marhsall in Open Culture: Humanity has long pondered the relative might of the pen and the sword. While one time-worn aphorism does grant the advantage to the pen, most of us have entertained doubts: the sword, metaphorically or literally,...
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8:42 PM | The Banker, the Visitor, His Wife and Her Lover
Amitava Kumar reviews Zia Haider Rahman's ‘In the Light of What We Know’ (photo by Katherine Rose): In diverse genres, but primarily in fiction, writers from India and (especially after the attacks of Sept. 11) from Pakistan and Bangladesh, as...
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1:37 PM | Free will and the psychology of freedom
The most basic distinction in the philosophy of free will is between “compatibilists” and “incompatibilists”. The difference is in their view of determinism. “Incompabilists” believe that determinism is incompatible with free will. Compatibilists do not necessarily believe that free will exists, but they don’t believe that determinism automatically implies that it doesn’t. My goal in … Continue reading »
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12:47 PM | kate bush returns
Ian Penman at The London Review of Books: Kate is perceived to be more ‘one of us’ than other pop/rock figures, one of the extended family. There’s a feeling that she’s ‘stayed the same’, that success ‘hasn’t spoiled her’. She’s...
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12:43 PM | can the transition to a more modest way of living be accomplished peaceably?
Jonathan Benthall at the Times Literary Supplement: In Pauperland: Poverty and the poor in Britain, Jeremy Seabrook makes an eloquent case that wealth, which now commands “many of the rites and observances formerly associated with religion”, is founded on an...
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