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December 11, 2013
Looking For Justice In The Book Of Job
Joan Acocella: "God boasts to Satan, Have you seen my servant Job, so pious, so devoted to me? Satan answers, Why shouldn't he be devoted? You have given him everything he could ever want: 'But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.' Well, God says, let's see, and he gives Satan permission to ruin Job's life."
The New Yorker 12.16.13
Will Learning a "Logical" Language Make You Think More Logically?
If the vocabulary and grammar of our languages shape the way we think (e.g.
, the presence or absence of verb tenses affecting the way we perceive time), then would inventing a completely logical language require its speakers to become
more logical thinkers? James Cooke Brown decided to try it.
Slate 12.10.13 (audio)
December 10, 2013
The Conversation 12.04.13
December 9, 2013
How Netflix Will Change Our Very Idea Of Entertainment
"Eventually--or so goes the strategy--people won't be able to imagine having their options defined by a programming grid. Not coincidentally, Netflix has been vying with Amazon to become the premiere source of streaming series for young children, for whom having to wait for new episodes of their favorite shows to air is unfathomable."
The New Republic 12/04/13
December 8, 2013
Want More Perseverance? Stimulate Your Brain
"The salience network is thought to be central in prepping the brain for action, such as when a driver must respond to someone darting across the road or a student readies herself for a pop quiz."
December 6, 2013
Probing The Unknowable Mysteries Of The Brain
"Is the brain a sort of quantum computer? What is consciousness? Marcelo Gleiser's brain is buzzing with big questions after participating in a conference that asked if quantum physics plays a role in how we think."
December 5, 2013
The Atlantic 12/05/13
The Deathwatch App
"At the time of this writing, there are sixteen thousand two hundred and seventy-seven days remaining in my life. I know this because an app I have installed on my phone tells me so. ... And this is essentially the point of the app. It's supposed to make you think like this - to terrify you into productivity, turning mortal dread into a procrastination preventative."
The New Yorker 12/03/13
Is Your Native Language Your Financial Destiny?
"Differences in the way various languages talk about the present and future [i.e.
, verb tense] could help explain why Germans urge free-spending Greeks to adopt their fiscal discipline, and why Americans are baffled by China's low consumption and high savings rates, according to research published [last spring]."
Pacific Standard 12//13
December 4, 2013
The Next Industrial Revolution - Things That Make Themselves
"When you 3-D-print an object, it's a fixed, static thing. If you want something more complex, you need to print it as parts and then assemble it. We thought, instead of assembling intelligence into it afterwards, why not print intelligence into it?"
Male And Female Brains Really Are Built Differently
"By analyzing the MRIs of 949 people aged 8 to 22, scientists at the University of Pennsylvania found that male brains have more connections within
each hemisphere, while female brains are more interconnected between
The Atlantic 12/02/13
With Gifts, It Actually Is The Thought That Counts
Inspired by the ever-tactful Benjamin Netanyahu's present to Pope Francis of a history of the Spanish Inquisition, Marc Herman considers what studies have shown that givers and receivers think about gifting and re-gifting.
Pacific Standard 12/03/13
December 3, 2013
Can You Distinguish Blue From Blue?
In a blog entry rendered entirely in verse, Robinson Meyer points us to an online quiz testing your ability to tell one shade of Silicon Valley's favorite color from another.
The Atlantic 11/29/13
December 2, 2013
What Happens When The Machines Can Tell How We Feel?
"If the future of advertising lies in the processing of nonlinguistic traits, then whoever controls the sensory infrastructure for analyzing and monetizing them--the "emotion sharing apparatus," as Samsung calls it in one its patents --will be the successor to today's moguls of online advertising."
December 1, 2013
The Verge 12/01/13
The New York Times 11/30/13
November 29, 2013
The New Temples To Digital Dominance
"They are to be monuments, architectural techno-visions that reflect the now inexorable digital domination. They are an expression of the worldwide economic and cultural supremacy that Silicon Valley and its leaders overtly claim for themselves."
Der Spiegel 11/28/13
November 27, 2013
Pacific Standard 11/26/13
The New Yorker 11/26/13
November 26, 2013
Why Are Humans Compelled To Take Things Apart And Examine Them?
Philosopher Michael Stevens posits the existence of a magic black box that could answer any question about the future. Sooner or later, someone would almost certainly open up and take apart the box to figure out how it works - even if it meant the box never worked properly again. What's behind that urge?
The New York Times 11/24/13
The Period Is Pissed Off.
"The period was always the humblest of punctuation marks. Recently, however, it's started getting angry. I've noticed it in my text messages and online chats, where people use the period not simply to conclude a sentence, but to announce 'I am not happy about the sentence I just concluded.'"
The New Republic 11/25/13
November 24, 2013
The Observer (UK) 11/23/13
The Globe & Mail (Canada) 11/22/13
Frank Chimero, 11/13
November 22, 2013
A Yamomami Shaman's View Of Us
In a new co-written autobiography, Davi Kopenawa, a shaman and spokesman for the indigenous Amazon group discusses his own life and his views about the white outsiders who first attacked and pushed his people, then celebrated them and made them into an international cause.
New Scientist 11/18/13
November 21, 2013
How Conspiracy Theorists Think
"How can so many people, in the name of skepticism, promote so many absurdities? The answer is that people who suspect conspiracies aren't really skeptics. Like the rest of us, they're selective doubters. They favor a worldview, which they uncritically defend. But their worldview isn't about God, values, freedom, or equality. It's about the omnipotence of elites."
Yes, Everyone Has Memories That Aren't True
"New research released this week has found that even people with phenomenal memory are susceptible to having 'false memories', suggesting that 'memory distortions are basic and widespread in humans, and it may be unlikely that anyone is immune'."
The Atlantic 11/19/13
November 20, 2013
Can You Stimulate Your Brain To Gain Aesthetic Appreciation?
"Newly published research suggests brain stimulation can heighten aesthetic appreciation. A team of European researchers report electronically stimulating a specific section of the brain can increase viewers' appreciation of representational paintings and photographs."
Pacific Standard 11/19/13
Why Is The Word "The" So Difficult To Define?
"It's the most frequent word in the English language, accounting for around four percent of all the words we write or speak. It's everywhere, all the time, so clearly it must be doing something important. Words have meaning. That's fundamental, isn't it? So what does 'the,' a word that seems to be supporting a significant portion of the entire weight of our language, mean? It must mean something, right?
The Atlantic 11/19/13
November 19, 2013
New York Review of Books 11/18/13
November 17, 2013
The Atlantic 11/15/13
The Wall Street Journal 11/15/13
November 15, 2013
Why We Need To De-Theologize The Internet
Both authors "set out to secularize contemporary discussions of technology and dispel the dubious theologies and teleologies peddled by evangelists of the cyber-creed."
Why We Prefer Smaller Rewards Today Over Larger Rewards Tomorrow
"You do it every time you bust your diet by scarfing a donut, puff 'just one last cigarette' before quitting, or watch a dancing-penguin video instead of getting to work. You are performing the self-deluding mental bookkeeping known as temporal discounting."
Pacific Standard 11/14/13
November 14, 2013
How Young People Come To Love Camus (A Centennial Appreciation)
Jerry Delaney: "Friends of mine still speak openly of their 'love' of Camus. Does anyone speak of a love of Jean-Paul Sartre? Or Martin Heidegger? I feel an intense gratitude to Camus for giving me the language to express a few basic truths on which to base a life."
The American Scholar 11/06/13