Posts

July 12, 2014

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10:22 AM | Saturday Poem
QE II is the Ocean Liner Dear Queen Elizabeth, Your Majesty, I found a pencil sharpener that belongs to you with E II R under a little crown stamped on it. I picked it out from other pencil sharpeners not...

July 11, 2014

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7:05 PM | Servings of Small Change
Over at Guernica, Meara Sharma interviews food writers Jane Black and Brent Cunningham,"on reality television, school lunch reform, and building a food movement that transcends class lines": Guernica: I’m curious to hear what drew you to the subject of food...
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7:02 PM | Dividing the Indivisible
Steven J. Brams in Plus Magazine: The problem of how to fairly divide goods between people has been around since the dawn of humanity. Even the Hebrew Bible mentions it. In the book of Genesis (13: 5-13), Abraham and Lot...
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7:00 PM | Bringing Iran in from the Cold
Ana Palacio in Project Syndicate: Rapprochement between Iran and the West has long been a “white whale” of global politics. But it increasingly appears that the world may be on the verge of a new era, characterized by a wary...
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3:39 PM | Lambda calculus and the fixed point combinator in chemlambda (III)
This is the 3rd  (continuing from part I  and part II)  in a series of expository posts where we put together in one place the pieces from various places about: how is treated lambda calculus in chemlambda how it works, with special emphasis on the fixed point combinator. I hope to make this presentation  self-contained. […]
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3:00 PM | Quitting the Cancer Battle
D. G. Myers at Good Letters: No matter how often you swear that you will fight the cancer, you are helpless against it. The journalistic convention in obituaries to praise the dead for their “coura­geous battle” against cancer is a...
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2:57 PM | the fiction of norman rush
Charles Finch at The Point: Last year the great American novelist Norman Rush published a new book, Subtle Bodies, his fourth. Unlike the first three—Whites, Mating and Mortals—it is not set in Botswana, where Rush and his wife Elsa were...
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2:53 PM | a new theistic argument
Justin Erik Halldór Smith at his blog: 1. As with, say, colour perception, reports on the direct experience of feelings are necessarily veridical. E.g., you cannot report (in good faith) that you are experiencing fear, while not in fact being...
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11:54 AM | Interview at 3am magazine
Here is the shameless self-promotion moment of the day: the interview with me at 3am magazine is online. I mostly talk about the contents of my book Formal Languages in Logic, and so cover a number of topics that may be of interest to M-Phi readers: the history of mathematical and logical notation, 'math infatuation', history of logic in general, and some more. Comments are welcome!
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11:51 AM | In Defense of Fanny Price
Tara Isabella Burton in The Paris Review: Poor Fanny Price. The unabashedly mousy, pathologically virtuous protagonist of Mansfield Park—which turns two hundred this year—is Jane Austen’s least popular heroine. She spends most of the novel creeping around the periphery of...
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11:45 AM | In Stories Of Muslim Identity, Playwright Explores Fault Lines Of Faith
Bilal Qureshi in NPR: Ayad Akhtar is a novelist, actor and screenwriter. And when his first play, Disgraced, won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2013, he also became one of the most talked about new voices in American theater....
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10:19 AM | Limbo
The firstborn was handed back to them in a small cask not much bigger than a shoebox only wooden no more about it they took it home by pony and trap wasn’t the river in flood at the gate? they...

July 10, 2014

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9:28 PM | The Birth of Bad Taste
Barry Schwabsky in The Nation: Henri Matisse is supposed to have encountered someone who complained that the arm of a woman in one of his portraits was too long. “Madam, you are mistaken,” he replied. “This is not a woman,...
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6:11 PM | Artificial Life 14 from MIT Press, freely available under Creative Commons licenses
Thanks to the organizers of the ALIFE 14 conference, 7/30 to 8/2 – 2014 – Javits Center / SUNY Global Center – New York! That’s the way to do it [source]: “The proceedings of ALIFE 14 are now available from MIT Press. The full proceedings, as well as individual papers, are freely available under Creative Commons […]
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3:34 PM | On failed replications in social psychology
Jason Mitchell at Harvard: When an experiment is expected to yield certain results, and yet it fails to do so, scientists typically work to locate the source of the failure. In principle, the cause of an experimental failure could lurk...
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3:26 PM | Luminato Festival: David Byrne
No summary available for this post.
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2:50 PM | Lambda calculus and the fixed point combinator in chemlambda (II)
This is the second  (continuing from part I)  in a series of expository posts where we put together in one place the pieces from various places about: how is treated lambda calculus in chemlambda how it works, with special emphasis on the fixed point combinator. I hope to make this presentation  self-contained. (However, look up […]
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1:58 PM | The search for a science of the mind
Adam Kuper at the Times Literary Supplement: In the early twentieth century, a handful of Cambridge men, young medical doctors mostly, established modern anthropology, neuroscience, psychology and psychotherapy in Britain. Ben Shephard sums up their quest as “a search for...
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1:56 PM | Did the Civil Rights Act change the Constitution?
Maggie Gram at n+1: THIS JULY MARKS the fiftieth birthday of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. It is one of the most important pieces of legislation that Congress has ever passed; it made racial discrimination illegal in many of the...
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1:53 PM | The extraordinary life of Simone de Beauvoir
Anne Hollander at The New Republic (from the archives): They help to create a world, she wrote, where men are forever feeling betrayed, not supported, by the true character and the quality of women, because when fantasy is governing perception,...
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12:40 PM | The Collapse of the Status Quo in Israel
Jon Western over at Duck of Minerva (image from wikimedia commons): Officially, the Israeli government is still committed to the two-state solution, but for all practical purposes, Netanyahu and the right wing have largely abandoned it. With the continual expansion...
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12:35 PM | Brazil's World Cup Debacle Lays Bare its Soccer Myths
David Goldblatt in Al Jazeera America (Vanderlei Almeida / AFP / Getty Images): After the 1998 World Cup final, when France swept aside Brazil and the catatonic Ronaldo, there was eventually sufficient political pressure to force the creation of congressional...
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11:37 AM | The Influencing Machine
Jessica Pishko in The Morning News: People talk about feeling in debt when someone donates an organ. Dr. Sally Satel, who had a kidney transplant and is a doctor, eloquently writes about her mixed feelings of relying on someone else...
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11:29 AM | Housekeeping can be a matter of life and death—at least for social animals like ants
Katie Langin in National Geographic: According to a study published Tuesday in the journal Biology Letters, common red ants (Myrmica rubra) that were prevented from removing their nestmates' corpses died more frequently than those allowed to bring out their dead....
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2:36 AM | Methodology in the Philosophy of Logic and Language
This M-Phi post is an idea Catarina and I hatched, after a post Catarina did a couple of weeks back at NewAPPS, "Searle on formal methods in philosophy of language", commenting on a recent interview of John Searle, where Searle comments that"what has happened in the subject I started out with, the philosophy of language, is that, roughly speaking, formal modeling has replaced insight".I commented a bit underneath Catarina's post, as this is one thing that interests me. I'm writing a more […]

July 09, 2014

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11:47 PM | On Cruelty
Judith Butler reviews Jacques Derrida's The Death Penalty: Vol. I, in The LRB: ‘Whence comes this bizarre, bizarre idea,’ Jacques Derrida asks, reading Nietzsche on debt in On the Genealogy of Morals, ‘this ancient, archaic (uralte) idea, this so very...
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11:16 PM | Anti-science US Congressman on House science Committee!
This guy is spouting a  bunch of simple-minded anti-scientific rubbish. Not surprising in itself – he is actually opening a climate change denial conference in th US – one of the semi-annual get-togethers of climate change denialists organised by the Heartland Institute. … Continue reading →
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10:13 PM | How Much Do Our Genes Influence Our Political Beliefs?
Thomas B. Edsall in the NYT In “Obedience to Traditional Authority: A heritable factor underlying authoritarianism, conservatism and religiousness,” published by the journal Personality and Individual Differences in 2013, three psychologists write that “authoritarianism, religiousness and conservatism,” which they call...
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9:27 PM | How Sinhala Extremism Turned Against Sri Lanka’s Muslims After the Civil War
Samanth Subramanian in Caravan (Gemunu Amarasinghe / AP Photo): One evening in Colombo, my friend Sanjaya dropped by, intending to collect me on our way to someplace else. I offered him a drink—beer, I seem to remember now, but given...
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9:17 PM | More Chicks and Dicks: On Samuel Beckett
Joanna Walsh in Berfrois (image--Goppeldangers: Samuel Beckett by Nell Frizell): The first time I read More Pricks Than Kicks I was assailed by terrible cramps that rippled up and down the front of my torso until I stopped reading. It...
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